Eaton-Welsh brought the issue to the attention of the Kennesaw Board of Ethics in a letter, which was briefly discussed at the board’s Aug. 29 meeting. However, the board, which is busy rewriting the city’s code of ethics, won’t be tackling it anytime soon, Copeland said.
“It’s not something at this point that we’re going to look into,” she said on Friday. “She was simply disclosing a possible conflict of interest.”
The ethics board will meet to review the code during a work session at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ben Robertson Community Center, 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw.
First elected in June 2009 and re-elected to a four-year term in 2011, Eaton-Welsh is also a doctor at Eaton Chiropractic on South Main Street in downtown Kennesaw, where she has a private practice with her father, Doc Eaton. As pro bono work, she has often treated police, fire, ambulance and active military personnel at no charge, according to the letter.
But Mayor Mark Mathews has suggested that the longstanding practice may violate the city’s current ethics code, said Copeland. Eaton-Welsh in the letter said such pro bono work is an industry-wide practice.
“The mayor has brought it to her attention that this is a conflict of interest and possible violation of the code of ethics, so she wanted to submit a letter acknowledging the fact that this practice goes on and that she is no longer treating anyone personally,” Copeland told the five-member ethics board.
Copeland said it’s unclear whether the practice violates any current ethics. Once the city’s new ethics code is approved by elected officials, the issue could be addressed in an advisory opinion, board members said at their last meeting.
The process of rewriting the current code, which has been criticized as being vague in some areas and lacking teeth, is expected to be completed by December.