HAMPTON — An ethics complaint against a member of the Hampton City Council was dismissed by the city’s ethics board last week and discussed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The ethics complaint was filed against Councilwoman Stephanie Bodie by Councilman Elton Brown concerning what was seen as the release of personal information.
According to the ethics board’s attorney, the complaint centered around Bodie sharing information on an arrest with city officials.
The attorney said no ethics violation had occurred since the arrest was public record.
“After presenting the information, the ethics committee met in executive session and decided that they did not find that (Bodie) had violated,” the attorney said.
The ethics committee voted unanimously in favor of dismissing the ethics complaint, and thus, the Hampton City Council was not required to vote on the ethics complaint.
Had the council been required to vote on the ethics complaint, both Bodie and Brown were recommended by Hampton City Attorney L’Erin Wiggins to not vote on the findings of the ethics board, although Wiggins said the ethics ordinance was “silent” on the matter.
While it was not stated whose arrest led to the ethics complaint, it is possible that Danny Lamonte’s arrest, which led to the end of his brief tenure as finance director, led to the ethics complaint.
In September, days after Lamonte was hired by the city of Hampton, a member of the public sent Bodie a mugshot from February 2016 when Lamonte had been arrested in Ware County.
“Someone brought this mugshot to my attention, and I felt I need to make you both aware,” wrote Bodie in an email to Mayor Steve Hutchison. “Was a background check completed when Mr. Lamonte was hired and was this found on his background check?”
Bodie included a mugshot reportedly of Lamonte. The mugshot was obtained from a third party mugshot website.
In September, the Herald confirmed with the Ware County Sheriff’s Office that Lamonte had been arrested in 2016 on one count of misdemeanor family violence, but the WCSO did not specify if Lamonte had been found guilty or not.
In Lamonte’s application to the city of Hampton, he indicated that he had not been “convicted of, or pleaded guilty or not guilty to, a felony or misdemeanor in the past eight years.”
The emails, and Lamonte’s application, were obtained by the Henry Herald in an open records request.
Hampton Ethics Board to hear complaints against Brown
The city of Hampton issued a notice on Wednesday that the ethics board will hear a complaint against Brown at its next meeting March 19.
The complaint has been filed by three Hampton residents, although those residents were not named in the notice.
The board will meet in the council chambers of Hampton City Hall. on Tuesday, March 19 at 5 p.m.
Hampton City Hall is located at 17 E. Main Street in Hampton.