ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The executive director of the state Ethics Commission has resigned in the middle of an ethics investigation of his workplace behavior.
The investigation began in January after coworkers filed complaints. At the time, Stefan Ritter called the allegations untrue and vowed to fight. But at the midpoint, he decided to call it quits and negotiated a settlement.
Long time state attorney Stefan Ritter's resignation was accepted by the commission today.
Senior FOX 5 I-Team reporter Dale Russell has been following the investigation and was there when the decision was announced.
“I think this is a great result for both parties,” said Commission chairman Jake Evans.
An ethics investigation of the Ethics Commission executive director ends with his resignation. Long time state attorney Stefan Ritter tendered his resignation in the middle of an investigation of his workplace behavior.
“At that point we ceased the investigation, because we wanted to resolve it in a diplomatic way,” said Evans.
In 2015, Ritter was an assistant attorney general working with the commission, when the commission voted to fire ethics executive secretary Holly LaBerge.
Ritter was the unanimous pick to take over the job. The open records and sunshine law expert got credit for clearing backlogs and helping get raises for his staff.
But at the last Ethics Commission meeting, we learned at least two co-workers filed complaints about - among other things - Ritter's not showing up for work and his use of porn on state computers.
“They [allegations] are incorrect,” said back in January.
But in the middle of the outside investigation, Ritter and the state reached an agreement. The commission officially accepted the resignation today, congratulating Ritter on his "years of service." Ritter will step down, promised not to sue, and gets 3 months’ salary - totaling about $45,000.
Russell: Is it fair for the public to believe Mr. Ritter did something wrong.
I can't answer that question. The investigation did not come to full completion so we can't make an opinion one way or the other.”
Commission Chairman Jake Evans wouldn't comment on specific allegations, but by law, the Ethics Commission must make the records available to the public within three days.
The search for a new executive secretary is underway.