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White on ethics decision: 'I still think it was a valid complaint'

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Former Clayton County Board of Education Chairman Eddie White was disappointed over the board's decision not to sanction board member Sandra Scott for what White called distributing allegations against him in April.

Scott found allegations of an inappropriate relationship allegedly involving White and a school system employee on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's online blog, and distributed printed copies of the allegations to other board members during an April 23 executive session. White resigned and filed an ethics complaint against Scott as a result.

On Monday, school system attorney, Julie Lewis, told board members she and special attorney, Richard Schwartz, looked at the complaint and both lawyers decided Scott had not violated the board's ethics policy, because the information was already on the Internet.

"By virtue, that does not mean one brings that into a meeting and distributes it in a formal setting," White said. "The board should act on the appropriateness of the action, and the board chose not to do that."

White also has sent copies of his complaint to Clayton County District Attorney Jewel Scott and the State Ethics Commission. A Clayton County grand jury has included the former chairman's complaint as part of its investigation of alleged malfeasance by the entire board.

State Ethics Commission Spokesman Rick Thompson said he could not find the complaint in the commission's files.

"I thought it was a valid complaint at the time, and I still think it was a valid complaint," White said.

Scott said the board's decision justified her actions. She reiterated her claim that it was White, not her, who violated board policy, because he took the issue to the media after it was discussed in executive session.

"Sandra Scott has not done anything wrong," she said. "If I would have done anything wrong, do you think I would be walking around today? The only thing that needs to be going on is we all need to be working on saving the accreditation ...

"This ethics issue is not something we should still be talking about."