DeKalb ethics panel gets two new members

The panel that rules on ethical questions in DeKalb County has been plagued by a lack of reappointments, but is now getting two new members.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis has appointed Isaac Blythers, the former president of Atlanta Gas Light, and Bobbie Kennedy Sanford, a real estate agent and widow of former county commissioner Porter Sanford, III, Ellis spokesperson Shelia Edwards said Wednesday. They replace Veronica Higgs Cope and Aubrey Villines, Edwards said.

The Board of Ethics still has vacancies that can only be filled by the county commission. Several members of the ethics panel have complained that they cannot reach a quorum due to the number of empty seats. The ethics board has seven members at full strength, but one position has been vacant for over four years and two more positions have been manned by volunteers who have remained beyond their terms of service and have said they want to retire.

The panel rules on allegations of conflict of interest and enforces financial disclosure requirements. It can fine officials and remove them from office, but needs five members present to do so.

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