Summary of Advisory Opinion 2;
Request of DeKalb County Commission Member Allan J. Ballard for Advisory Opinion
Allan J. Ballard is a member of the DeKalb County Planning Commission (DCPC), representing District 6. Prior to his appointment to the DCPC, Commissioner Ballard served on the Board of Directors for the Druid Hills Civic Association (DHCA), and also as Chairman of Division 5 of the DHCA. While serving the DHCA, then Chairman, Ballard, wrote a letter to the planning commission expressing his opposition to the then plan for development of Durand farm, a tract of land included within Division 5 of the DHCA, and near to property upon which Mr. Ballard resides.
Commissioner Ballard requested an advisory opinion as to whether he had a conflict of interest barring him from voting on matters before the Commission relating to the development of Durand Farm because (1) Durand Farm was near to property upon which Commissioner Ballard resided; (2) Commissioner Ballard had previously served on the Board of Directors of the DHCA , and also as Chairman of division 5 of the DHCA; and because (3), while serving in these capacities, Commissioner Ballard expressed opposition to proposed development of Durand Farm.
The Board of Ethics concluded Mr. Ballard had no interest, including no remote interest, in the proposed development of Durand Farm since he would receive from such development no direct or indirect monetary or material benefit, including no impact on the value of his personal residence near Durand Farm.
The DeKalb County Code of Ethics requires any member of the governing authority to disqualify himself from participating in any official act or action of DeKalb County directly affecting a business or activity in which he or she may directly or indirectly receive any monetary or material benefit. 22A(e)(1); (b)(7). Here, no such benefit was found, and the Board determined that Commissioner Ballard’s participation and vote as a member of the DeKalb County Planning Commission on issues concerning the development of Durant Farm would not violate the Code of Ethics as set forth in Ga. L. 1990, P. 3900 et. seq., as amended.