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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 10:38am

Former State Ethics Commission Secretary : The System Is Broken

The former Executive Secretary of the state ethics commission says the system is broken.

A jury awarded Stacy Kalberman $1.8 million after reaching a verdict that the commission retaliated against her for looking into Governor Nathan Deal’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The commission also reached a legal settlement with three other former employees who alleged retaliation.

In an interview with GPB’s “On The Story” Kaberman said that things need to change.

“There’s no longer an education director, there’s no longer someone running the IT division. As far as I understand, more than half the staff has left.”

The Governor and the Speaker of the House appoint members of the state ethics commission, but Kalberman says that is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. She believes the commission should be chosen by an independent body.

Kalberman also says her $1.8 million award doesn’t come without a price for Georgia’s taxpayers.

“Every single one of us as taxpayers pays for that in one way or another. Here is a dramatic result. The state government of Georgia is paying $3 million dollars to settle four separate whistleblower cases all related to the same matter. If that doesn’t make Georgians mad, I don’t know what would.”

The commission hopes to hire two staff attorneys in the next month or two. Commission Chair Kevin Abernethy’s term is set to expire July first. The state has appointed Atlanta lawyer Mary Paige Adams to fill his spot.

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