A lawyer for the state countered that Stacey Kalberman, the commission's former executive secretary, had behaved unprofessionally and didn't offer solutions to budget woes.
The claims came in opening statements Tuesday as a trial began on a lawsuit filed by Kalberman.
Kalberman claims commissioners cut her salary and eliminated her deputy's position as she sought approval to issue subpoenas as part of the agency's investigation into Deal's 2010 campaign reports and financial disclosures.
Commissioners have denied wrongdoing. Deal has said he wasn't involved. He was later cleared of major violations in the ethics probe and agreed to pay $3,350 in administrative fees.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.