Gov. forms a panel to look into Marlow suspension
by Michelle Babcock
November 06, 2013 12:26 AM | 1707 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday signed an executive order appointing a three-person panel to determine whether school board member Kelly Marlow’s felony indictment adversely affects her ability to do her job.

On the panel to review Marlow’s indictment are Attorney General Sam Olens, Cobb County School Board member Tim Stultz and Forsyth County School Board member Ann K. Crow.

The panel must make a recommendation to the governor regarding Marlow’s possible suspension no later than Nov. 19.

Sasha Dlugolenski, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said the panel has 14 days from when the panel was formed to make a recommendation to the governor on whether or not Marlow should be suspended from her position on the Board of Education until the resolution of her trial or until her term concludes, whichever comes first.

“They will make the recommendation to the governor,” Dlugolenski said Tuesday. “The recommendation is final.”

Marlow and two of her associates, political adviser Robert Trim and GOP Secretary Barbara Knowles, were indicted last month on multiple felony counts of making a false statement.

The charges stem from a June 13 call that Knowles made to 911, reporting to the Canton Police Department that the Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo almost ran them over with his car when they were walking from the school board meeting to the Painted Pig Tavern.

“The state Constitution calls for the panel to determine if the indictment relates to and adversely affects Marlow’s ability to perform her official duties,” a news release from Deal’s office Tuesday stated.

Georgia law requires that Olens fill one of the three positions on the panel and the other two positions to be filled by school board members from the state.

Stultz began serving his first term on the Cobb County School Board in January 2011.

Stultz said this is the first time he has been asked by the governor to be on a panel.

“I was contacted earlier (Tuesday) afternoon,” Stultz said Tuesday. “I’m thankful for the governor asking me to perform the duty, but other than that I don’t have any reason why I think he would’ve chosen me over anybody else.”

Crow began her third term on the Forsyth County School Board in January 2011, and serves as a director of the Georgia School Board Association.

The panel will make a determination as to whether or not Marlow’s indictment “relates to and adversely affects the administration of the office” of the Cherokee County BoE, the executive order from Deal reads.

Marlow and her associates are scheduled to appear before Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris for arraignment Nov. 21 at 9:30 a.m., according to the Cherokee County Clerk of Courts office.

Marlow has filed a motion asking her indictment be overturned, and that request is expected to be considered at the hearing.

Marlow was sanctioned Oct. 2 for violating board policy by sending a letter to the school accrediting agency AdvancEd, calling for an investigation, and appealed the Cherokee School Board’s decision Friday.

The “final order” for the Cherokee School Board Code of Ethics violation hearing for Marlow was put on the agenda by the school board attorney for this Thursday’s meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., Cherokee School District spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said Tuesday.

According to Jacoby, the “final order” is on the agenda for a vote so it would be placed into the official meeting minutes as a record of Marlow’s sanction.

The board also voted last month to fine Marlow $3,600 to cover part of the cost for the ethics hearing, and concluded that the money would be deducted from her monthly stipend for serving on the board.

However, the exact method in which the fine would be collected from Marlow was not decided at the hearing, and Jacoby said the fine is not on Thursday’s meeting agenda.

“Discussion of the sanction fine is not part of the agenda item,” Jacoby said.

According to Georgia Board of Education rules, Petruzielo has 10 days after the appeal is filed with him to transmit it to the state. The rules also state Marlow’s appeal is required to include the complete record of the sanction, including a certified transcript from the hearing.

After some confusion, the school board attorney ordered the hearing transcript and the superintendent will include it with the appeal, which will be transmitted to the state Board of Education by Nov. 11, in accordance with state law.

“The school board attorney has contacted the court reporter with the request that she provide a transcript per Ms. Marlow’s request,” Jacoby said Tuesday. “The superintendent will transmit the appeal in accordance with state law.”

On Monday, Jacoby said Petruzielo received a letter from Marlow, along with a payment of $750 for a regular turnaround of the hearing transcript.

“Given the fact that you were made aware of my intentions to appeal to the state Board of Education on multiple occasions, verbally at the time of the hearing on Nov. 2, via correspondence sent to your attention by me on Oct. 23 and then again on Nov. 1, when I filed the official appeal,” Marlow wrote. “It is your duty to have already placed the non-expedited order for a copy of the transcript and certify that it is true and correct so that it may be prepared within a reasonable amount of time.”

Marlow wrote in the letter Monday she expects the transcript to be submitted with her appeal to the state Board of Education within 10 days of when she filed the appeal Friday.

The Cherokee County School Board meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the historic Canton High School Board Auditorium, at 111 Academy St. in Canton.

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