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Published: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 3:14 p.m.

Judge tosses ethics board fine for state worker

OLYMPIA -- A judge says a manager at the Department of Corrections did not violate ethics rules by spending work hours on a nonprofit program she founded.
The Olympian reported that Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor issued the ruling Friday, leading to a $5,000 reduction in fines to be paid by Belinda Stewart. Stewart must still pay $8,400 for violating ethics rules by using an agency computer for an outside job.
The state Executive Ethics Board had argued that the ethics board properly fined Stewart for working on a nonprofit that helps felons re-enter society. The board contended that the work did not benefit DOC employees. But Tabor says the work benefited DOC because the agency has a role in reducing recidivism.
Both sides are considering appeals of the ruling.

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