August 13, 2009 10:51:00 AM
Lowndes County Tax Assessor and Collector Greg Andrews has paid a $15,000 fine after the Mississippi Ethics Commission determined he violated state ethics laws.
An investigation conducted by the Ethics Commission found Andrews employed his wife in the Tax Assessor and Collector''s Office and recommended pay raises for her at least 11 of the last 12 years.
Andrews'' wife, Alicia Andrews, resigned from his office in April as a result of the investigation.
Mississippi''s Ethics in Government Laws prohibit a government official from using his or her position to benefit a relative such as a spouse.
Greg and Alicia Andrews began working in the tax office more than 20 years ago, and worked there for a few years before they were married. Greg Andrews became the county tax assessor/collector in 1996. Greg Andrews'' attorney, Jeff Smith, had said that he believed Andrews and his wife were "grandfathered in" before ethics rules took effect.
The Ethics Commission ordered a total fine of $60,000, but suspended $45,000 on the condition that Andrews commits no further ethics violations during the remainder of his current term in office. The Ethics Commission received the payment last Thursday and deposited it into the State General Fund.
Andrews'' fine payment comes two years after he was fined $1,200 by the Ethics Commission for purchasing land at tax sales held by his office.
The 2006 ethics investigation revealed Andrews had purchased four parcels of property at county tax sales, for which he received $263.55 in interest payments from the county.
The recent case was the first reviewed under the Ethics Commission''s enhanced authority. Last year, the Mississippi Legislature doubled the maximum fine in ethics cases to $10,000 per offense and gave the commission the power to hold hearings and impose penalties. Andrews agreed to settle the case before any hearing was held.
Chris P commented at 8/13/2009 11:58:00 AM:
This is just awful. I know Greg and he is a very good man, and so is his family.He is one of the most ethical people I have ever met. This sounds like a witch hunt to me.
Stay strong and we all know that you are a good man. I will vote for you for relection
how can commented at 8/13/2009 12:05:00 PM:
How can a city council man(Jay Jourdan-I know he is no longer on the board)have his wife on the school board? Then how can that wife employ the superintendent of schools wife as the manager of her for profit tutoring business? Talking about an ethics violation!!!! Nobody went after them and it was known around town that this was going on. Matye they were more liked than Greg and that is why nothing was done. It was still wrong!!!
kennek commented at 8/14/2009 1:05:00 PM:
I know Greg too...he is Crooked as a Snake on 82
Jeff N commented at 8/15/2009 10:23:00 AM:
I have been here for 13 years, and have had pretty good results from Greg's Office. Unless it's the last business day in January (tax deadline), I haven't had any problems with the service. I own several cars and a home, and the tax info shows up on time....We may not like to pay taxes (who does), but working with the ladies at the counter has not been an issue. In business, that's called good service.
As for his wife being an employee of Lowndes County-Tax Office, common sense would have been nice on this one. She worked there before their marriage, and it's sad that a good worker was forced to quit. I'm disappointed the someone was forced to choose between job and family.
As for Greg's "actions", his office always seems business-like. One would wish that the Supervisor's Meeting would project similar professionalism and decorum, especially since their meetings are broadcasted.
I know that I will receive critism about my post. However, in this case, I feel Greg A. has been given the smelly end of the stick, and I don't like it. That's just my opinion. Jeff.
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