Colony Councilwoman cleared of ethics violation charges by State Ethics Commission

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Colony Councilwoman/Mayor Pro Tem Ethel Alexander. (Photo courtesy of Ethel Alexander)

COLONY, Ala. – Colony Councilwoman Ethel Alexander, subject of an ethics complaint filed by Mayor Curtis Johnson in February charging that she had used her office for personal gain, was cleared of the charge by the State of Alabama Ethics Commission on May 5.  

In 2020, Alexander-who holds a master’s degree in education-and a group of Colony mothers started a program for children in the Colony area who were struggling to keep up with virtual learning under COVID-19 school restrictions, and the council voted to donate $50 per month to support the program. Johnson cast the only vote against the measure. 

On Feb. 22, 2021, Alexander announced to the council that she had talked to the Alabama League of Municipalities about the monthly donation and reported that the League had informed her that it was improper for her as a member of the council to accept money from the town for services beyond her position on the council. She had, by that time, already received $150 from the town before Johnson stopped the payments. 

Then Alexander told the council, “Then what I did was, I went out and got a money order of $150 to be paid back to the town, and I will give this to (Town Clerk) Pat (Ponder).” 

She handed over the money order at that time, after which Johnson informed her that he had filed the complaint. 

On May 5, Ethics Commission General Counsel Cynthia Probst Raulston wrote to Alexander: 

“As the complainant announced in February, he filed a complaint against you with the Alabama Ethics Commission that you may have used your position as a council member with the Town of Colony for personal gain. 

“After a review of the information provided, we have determined that there is no evidence on the face of the complaint that would constitute a violation of the Ethics Act. Because our jurisdiction is not invoked, we are closing our file in this matter.” 

Neither Alexander nor Johnson offered comments on the matter following Tuesday’s Colony Town Council meeting, beyond noting that the Ethics Commission had closed the case. 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com