CANTON, Ga - An embattled Cherokee County School Board member is asking that taxpayer dollars foot the bill for a lawyer to represent her at an ethics hearing.
Kelly Marlow has been the talk of Cherokee County after her arrest last month. Marlow and two others were charged with filing a false report after their claim that the Cherokee School Superintendent tried to run them down with their car.
Taxpayers like Ashley Cline, a member of the group Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow, are angry that the school board member wants public money to clear her name.
"For her to ask the taxpayers to pay for her legal representation over something she did, it just boils my blood," said Cline.
In a letter to School Board Chairman Janet Read, Marlow notes that the board will be represented at her upcoming ethics hearing by a taxpayer funded lawyer.
"As the defendant, I am entitled to equal representation," Marlow writes. "I request that you authorize counsel at the rate at which Mr. Roach (the school board attorney) bills the school district.
A school spokesperson says the cost would be about $150 an hour.
In an email to 11Alive, Marlow says the hearing "is directly related to my duties as an elected School Board Member. Under the chairman's request a hearing officer, court reporter, and prosecutor are being financed with taxpayer dollars. It seems only appropriate that I be afforded equal representation."
Marlow is backed by the Tea Party Patriots, including Carolyn Cosby.
"She's elected by the taxpayers, and this is her right as much as her opponents right," said Cosby. "If they're going to pay for anybody they should pay for all."
The district's spokesperson says an ethics hearing for a sitting board member is unprecedented. The board agreed to hire a hearing officer and court reporter for the hearing. The board's lawyer has estimated the cost for both to be $900 to $1,00.
The school board will meet to consider Marlow's request next Thursday.