APS Member English Hasn’t Paid Ethics Fine

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(APN) ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education Member Courtney English has yet to pay his ethics fine, two weeks since it became due, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

Howard Grant of APS confirmed to APN in a phone conversation that, as of this morning, English had not paid the fine, which he has already agreed to pay.

It is unclear what the consequence of this should be.

It is plausible that English is having financial difficulties, making him unable to pay the fine.  However, English could have protested the fine at the time of the Ethics Commission recommendation, asking for an alternative sanction, but did not.  He also has not communicated with APS about requesting an extension or acknowledging his failure to keep his promise to the school system.

English is currently facing a new ethics complaint concerning his apparent efforts to defraud the public concerning his repeated misuse of an APS credit card.  The current complaint–which the Commission voted to investigate last week–focuses specifically on the issue of fraud.

If found guilty of fraud, the APS Charter requires that the Commission recommend dismissal of English.

Previously, the Ethics Commission investigated the credit card misuse in and of itself.  The Commission recommended a reprimand, which was read into the record at an APS BOE meeting; the 2,500 dollar fine; and loss of charge card privileges.

According to several sources, the Ethics Commission recommendations became official when the Board failed to overturn them; and Mr. English expressed that he was nothing less than pleased with the recommendations at the time.

According to the January 2011 report by AdvancED/SACS CASI, the Board failed to adopt a resolution accepting the Commission’s recommendations, because several Board Members felt the resolution did not adequately describe the full extent of English’s ethical violations.  AdvancED seemed to imply that this remained unfinished business for the Board, which has not been addressed to date.

Whether English’s failure to adhere to the sanctions he agreed to may mean that he could receive new sanctions is not immediately clear.  Mr. Grant told APN he would have to inquire with the APS law department to find out what the implications are.

Reached by telephone, English said he would have no comment on his failure to pay the ethics fine.

Civil Rights Movement activist Joe Beasley told APN he hoped English would weather the storm of ethical issues and that he believed he and his family were upstanding citizens in the community.

(END / 2011)

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