State dismisses ethics complaint against Shewbart
It was in November 2016 that Red Bay director of operations Mike Shewbart faced an ethics complaint stemming from actions during his campaign for mayor of Red Bay. April 6, Shewbart was cleared of any wrongdoing.
A letter from the State of Alabama Ethics Commission, dated April 6 and received by Shewbart Monday, states that after investigation, the commission “concluded, upon review of the evidence from the investigation, that there was not probable cause to believe that you violated the Alabama Ethics Law. Accordingly, the complaint has been dismissed.”
“I was very much relieved. Any time you’ve been accused of wrongdoing, it sets in the back of your mind,” said Shewbart. “That was what I felt like they would find, but sometimes you don’t know.”
The accusation was levied by Judy Bullen, of Red Bay, who alleged that Shewbart taking 88 days of sick leave from city employment during the time he campaigned for mayor was not aligned with the authorized uses for sick leave in the City of Red Bay Employee Handbook.
At the time of the complaint, Shewbart said he was blindsided by it.
“When I started to run for office, it was made known that I would have to take a leave of absence,” Shewbart said. After asking whether he could use comp time and sick time, Shewbart said, he was told by the city clerk and then-mayor David Tiffin that doing so was permissible and in fact was a customary course of action. He submitted time sheets and was paid according to those timesheets, out of time accumulated as part of the standard employment benefits package. He said it was his understanding that the leave pay was also OK’d by the League of Municipalities.
Shewbart said while he is glad to be cleared from any ethics violation, one point makes the dismissal bittersweet – his mother passed away in February before seeing this outcome, and the accusation had greatly troubled her. He said he wishes she could have been here to know the resolution.
Nevertheless, “I’m glad it’s over with and hope we can put Red Bay first and hit the ground running trying to make Red Bay a better place.”