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County employee reprimanded for operating business

Posted: October 23, 2011 - 12:03am

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A Columbia County code enforcement officer received a reprimand this past week after she was discovered operating a home business catering to the developers and builders whose work she inspects.

Long-time employee Patti Laster was building signs for developers out of her home with her husband, said County Administrator Scott Johnson.

“That’s a conflict of interest,” Johnson said. “We don’t want her working for developers on the side and inspecting them later on.”

Any county employee wishing to operate their own business or seek noncounty employment must fill out a form and request permission. Laster didn’t, Johnson said.

“I’m not saying there was impropriety, but certainly if she had requested outside employment of this type we would have denied it,” he said.

Since Laster wasn’t using county resources in operating her business, Johnson said she will at minimum receive a written reprimand warning her that if she engages in this business further more severe action will be taken.

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