Recommendations from the hearing officer—who acts as judge—assigned to Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin’s ethics case have been submitted and are expected to be accepted by the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission this afternoon.
Shanklin, a Democrat representing District 2, has been accused of violating five provisions of the city’s ethics code, including writing checks to family members. Last year, the Ethics Commission held hearings on the matter in which Shanklin twice walked out of the room, after answering some questions, pleading the Fifth Amendment.
Hearing officer Ann Sheadel has now submitted her recommendations for the commission based on facts collected during the hearings and based off additional documents and findings of fact provided by both prosecuting attorney James Earhart and Shanklin attoreny Aubrey Williams.
Sheadel’s recommendations could call for no action against Shanklin, a censure, or suggest the council remove her from office, but the documents won’t be made available until after the commission makes its decision, which is expected by March 15.
This week, Shanklin filed suit against Mayor Greg Fischer’s office claiming it withheld documents that were vital to the case. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday, but ethics commission legal counsel Deborah Kent says she believes the court will not consider the case before the ethics commission makes its recommendations.
Update 5:57 pm: After meeting in executive session for an hour the seven member Ethics Commission announced it would schedule meetings on Feb. 21 at 4 pm, Mar. 6 and 14th at 4 pm to deliberate.
Commission attorney Deborah Kent says the commissioners will review the hearing documents in preparation for the next meeting.
“Each one of those seven individuals has got homework in front of them until the next meeting to get familiar with all this, get their opinions together, come back, then they’ll start talking and we’ll see where it goes from there,” she says.