Charges against former Grambling mayor Martha Andrus have been dismissed. Louisiana State Ethics Board recently vindicated Andrus of ethics charges. The allegations date back to 2008 when Andrus was connected to $50,000 that has yet to be proven missing.
Andrus allegedly fired business manager Willie Mabry and town clerk Pam Stringfellow and suspended Police Chief Tommy Clark.
The Ethics Board filed charges against Andrus after receiving complaints. This initiated the investigation.
After taking depositions and interviewing the involved parties, the board felt as if they could not prove “Ms. Andrus fired them because they were whistleblowers,” said Mike Dupree, the board’s deputy general counsel, according to the News Star.
He continued to state that with the new standard of “clear and convincing evidence, the board would have to have substantial evidence” to prove that’s why Andrus took action against them.
“The Ethics Board in Louisiana operates more like a district attorney’s office,” Dupree said.
“Oftentimes we do dismiss because we can’t sustain that new burden of proof,” he said.
In this case, “When we started getting the other side of the story, the board asked ‘Where is the proof? Where is the evidence?’ Clear and convincing is not an issue of ‘he-said, she-said.’
“The information obtained by the board indicates they weren’t fired for that reason.”
According to the Fount Online News, Andrus stated that there are no records to confirm that any monies were missing.
“Just because somebody said money was missing did not make it so,” she said.
She also informed the news publication that Grambling Police Chief Tommy Clark and clerk Pamela Stringfellow were never fired as previously claimed, nor had they proven themselves to be whistleblowers.
Andrus explained to the Fount Online News that Clerk Stringfellow was reassigned according to her own reasonable discretion as mayor, and that none of Stringfellow’s statutory duties were denied her.
She continued to say that she suspended Chief Clark pending the Grambling Council’s concurrence. Neither Clark nor Stringfellow were ever fired.
Nevertheless, after Mabry was fired, Mayor Pro Temp Edward R. Jones and the Council began procedures through the Lincoln Parish Court system to force the rehire of Mabry.
In January 2009, Andrus was ruled by Judge Wayne Smith to rehire Mabry and was barred from being able to discipline her.
When Edward R. Jones took office as new mayor on Jan. 3, he replaced Mabry.
The Louisiana State Board of Ethics announced that they did not have adequate evidence to prove Andrus intentionally punished whistleblowers or that her actions were at all retaliatory.
Therefore, all charges have been dropped.
Andrus is currently seeking to be vindicated of all false allegations.
She said that this is a step in the right direction towards clearing her reputation and family mayoral legacy.
“This is the beginning of good things to come,” she said.