Oakman Council member fined for ethics violation
by James Phillips
Jun 17, 2011 | 2881 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A member of the Oakman City Council was recently fined $1,000 by the Alabama Ethics Commission for what one official called “a minor violation” of the ethics law.

Jim Sumner, director of the Ethics Commission, said the group levied an administrative penalty against Oakman Council member Pat Blackwell during its monthly meeting on June 1. Sumner said the penalty was handed down because Blackwell recently voted to approve her son, Shane Calloway, as Oakman’s fire chief.

“She initially voted for him as acting fire chief and later voted to retain him as fire chief,” Sumner said. “It is a minor violation of the ethics law.”

Sumner said administrative penalties are common. He guessed the Ethics Commission approves three to six per meeting. He said many times the violations are honest mistakes.

“I can’t speak to this particular situation. They can be honest mistakes, but not always,” Sumner said. “We heard the case at our previous meeting and voted on it at our June meeting.”

According to Sumner, Blackwell admitted to the violation.

Blackwell said Wednesday that she had affidavits signed by four other members of the Oakman City Council which say she did not vote on the matter. She said she didn’t know if she would appeal the decision and declined to comment further, stating she was seeking the advice of an attorney.