A Woodstock resident has field an ethics complaint against Cherokee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo and the district's spokesperson. 

Tim Adderholdt has filed a complaint against Petruzielo and Barbara Jacoby, the school district's director of communications, community relations and partnerships, with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

He's accusing Petruzielo and Jacoby of providing "direct" campaign support to Creekview High School teacher Meagan Biello by sending four emails that inform district employees about the January special election.

Biello finished second in the Jan. 7 special election to take on Rep. Sam Moore (R-Ball Ground) during the subsequent Feb. 4 run-off. However, Moore defeated Biello to win the House District 22 seat.

Adderholdt cites commission code 21-5-30.2 and its subsections, which spell out that no agency or person acting on behalf of said agency can make contributions, whether directly or indirectly, towards any campaign committee, candidate, political action committee or political organization.

"There can be no reasonable interpretation of the email content other than a
valuable and direct contribution was made to the campaign of Megan Biello by Barbara Jacoby on four separate occasions," Adderholdt wrote in his complaint.

The four emails Adderholdt provides as evidence are dated between Jan. 7 and Jan 15. They include information given to district employees about the Jan. 7 special election and, after that election resulted in a run-off, information pertaining to the Feb. 4 run-off election. 

The emails informed employees on the results of the Jan. 7 special election; updated employees on a recount requested by third-place candidate Jeff Duncan that showed no change in results and; and provided information on how employees can find out where their polling place is for the run-off. 

Adderholdt said he filed the complaint because he was "not satisfied" with Petruzielo's response when he asked the superintendent "what he was doing to address the ethics concerns of naming a specific candidate."

He said Petruzielo's response was that the issue was a personnel matter, making him unable to discuss it openly. 

"This issue is not about me, it is not about Sam Moore and it is not about Meagan Biello," he said. "It's about Georgia campaign finance laws, and what constitutes value."

However,  according to state campaign records, Adderholdt donated $100 to Moore's campaign on Jan. 19.

When asked if that could compel some residents to view his complaint as driven by bias, Adderholdt said his support of Moore "had absolutely nothing to do with me filing the complaint whatsoever."

"Jeff Duncan is the candidate that was most affected by these emails, not Sam Moore," he added.

Duncan failed to make it to the run-off as he placed third by only two votes from Biello.

Jacoby, who is the superintendent and district's spokesperson, did not respond to requests for comments. 

Adderholdt said he hopes voters would understand that his assertion that Petruzielo and Jacoby's violation of the law is the real issue. 

"I would say that they should be much more concerned about the superintendent openly violating Georgia ethics laws and jeopardizing QBE (Quality Basic Education) funding, then trying to cover it up by saying its a confidential personnel issue," he said, adding he would file a complaint against anyone "if they openly violated campaign finance laws by using taxpayer funded resources."

Both Petruzielo and Jacoby were notified of the complaint, and have 30 days to respond to the complaints.

Adderholdt said he hopes to see more voters become more "engaged" when it comes holding public officials "who spend our tax dollars" accountable.

"There is no such thing as an average voter," he said. "Every voter is equal, and every voter and every taxpayer should hold those that misuse tax dollars accountable." 

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