Is That How Ethics Works in Georgia?

     ATLANTA (CN) – A second executive claims in court that the Georgia Ethics Commission fired her doing her job – in this case, investigating irregularities in Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign.
     Sherry Ellen Streicker sued the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, the successor to the Georgia Ethics Commission, in Fulton County Superior Court.
     Streicker was deputy executive secretary for the commission from September 2010 until June 2011, when, she says, she was fired under the pretext of budget cuts.
     Her job duties included helping former Executive Secretary Stacey Kalberman investigate complaints of violations of the Ethics in Government Act.
     Kalberman sued the commission last Friday, claiming it fired her because she did her job: investigating violations of campaign finance laws.
     Streiker’s complaint states: “Almost as soon as Ms. Streicker became employed with the commission, she was made aware of complaints filed against Governor Nathan Deal relating to possible violations of state law concerning the failure to disclose certain personal assets, acceptance of impermissible campaign contributions, and the failure to properly disclose airplane travel.
     “During the pendency of the investigation of these complaints, Ms. Streicker and Ms. Kalberman coordinated with federal agents who were also looking into Governor Deal’s financial activities, as well as with the United States Attorney’s Office.
     “Ms. Streicker and Ms. Kalberman eventually determined that formal complaints and subpoenas for records were necessary in the investigation of Governor Deal.”
     Streicker claims that after she and Kalberman provided subpoenas to the commissioners, then-Commissioner Patrick Millsaps asked Kalberman to meet him to discuss concerns about the commission’s budget.
     Millsaps requested information such as salaries of agency personnel, and which members of the staff were involved in investigations and to what degree, according to the complaint.
     Streicker claims that when Millsaps met Kalberman to discuss the budget, he told her that Streicker’s position would be eliminated for budgetary reasons.
     She says Millsaps claimed that the proposed cuts would “free up $40,000 to $50,000 in the budget.”
     Millsaps is named as a defendant in Kalberman’s complaint, but not in Streicker’s.
     Streicker claims that just three months after the commission fired her, it posted a job for a staff attorney, whose duties were almost identical to hers.
     She claims that although she was qualified and she applied for the position, she was not even interviewed, and the commission hired a less experienced candidate.
     Streicker claims the commission retaliated against her for exposing Gov. Deal’s campaign finance irregularities. She seeks reinstatement, lost wages and compensatory damages.
     She is represented by Cheryl Legare with Buckley & Klein.

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