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King appeals removal from school board

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Michael King is once again a member of the Clayton County Board of Education.

King says he mailed an appeal of the school system's ethics commission's Feb. 11 order that he be removed from office, and a motion to have the commission reconsider that decision, to the system's central office Wednesday by certified mail.

King said he also hand-delivered copies of the appeal and motion for reconsideration to the office Thursday, to make sure officials received them.

School system General Counsel Julie Lewis confirmed Thursday night that King's appeal had been received by school system officials.

Thursday was the last day King could appeal the commission's decision to commission Chairman Robert Flournoy, and school board Chairwoman Alieka Anderson.

"Now that he has filed his notice of appeal, he shall remain a voting member of the board until he has exhausted all of his appeals," Lewis said.

The school board now has 30 days to review the commission's documents regarding King. The board can either affirm or modify the ethics commission's decision.

King argues the commission lacks subject matter jurisdiction to remove him from office, and that its existence constitutes "several constitutional violations."

According to King, state law does not allow "special laws" to conflict with "general laws." He said the only code of ethics which he is legally required to abide by is the one outlined in Official Code of Georgia Annotated 45-10-3 for public officers and employees.

"The state has already spoken on that issue," King said. "There can be no other code of ethics except the one which already existed ... Therefore, the law which created the [Clayton County Schools'] ethics commission is null and void."

King is accused of engaging in unethical behavior by representing a former Clayton County teacher in a lawsuit against the school system - and the school board - while he was sitting on the board.

The code cited by King does not mention public officers representing people in lawsuits against government agencies, but the code of ethics created last year by the Georgia General Assembly specifically for the Clayton County school board forbids such action.

Citing the ethics commission's decision to remove King from office, Jonesboro police told King he could watch the school board's work session Monday from the audience but could not participate. King said his removal from the dais amounted to "false imprisonment."

King also said he may file a lawsuit against the Jonesboro Police Department for alleged violations of the Federal Voting Rights Act, contending residents of District 4 were not represented in the meeting.

Flournoy said removing King from the meeting was the right thing to do.

"He's in violation of the code of ethics," Flournoy said. "He shouldn't have been allowed to participate in that meeting."

Anderson could not be reached for comment.