The Florida Commission on Ethics met Oct. 20 and heard 48 complaints, four of them against Walton County officials.

The commission found probable cause to believe that Walton County Zoning Board of Adjustments member Anthony Vallee had a conflicting employment relationship that created a frequently recurring conflict between his private interests and the proper performance of his public duties or that impeded the full and faithful discharge of his public duties.

However, the commission found no probable cause to believe he voted on matters in which he had a conflict and that he participated in those matters without first disclosing his conflict.

Vallee is a South Walton architect who is no longer on the board. The Zoning Board of Adjustments hears petitions from developers asking for variances.

"Vallee now has the the right to a full evidentiary hearing or he could choose to reach a settlement agreement with the commission advocate," said the Ethics Commission's Kerrie Stillman. "Whether by hearing or by settlement, the commission will determine whether or not the law has been violated and if so, what the penalty they will recommend."  

The commission reviewed a number of complaints for legal sufficiency. These reviews are limited to questions of jurisdiction and determinations as to whether the contents of the complaint are adequate to allege a violation of the Code of Ethics or other laws within the commission's jurisdiction.

The commission dismissed the following complaints against State Attorney Bill Eddins, former County Attorney Mark D. Davis, Walton County Commissioner Bill Chapman or Walton County Code Enforcement Office Buddy Burgess for lack of legal sufficiency.

The Florida Commission on Ethics is an independent nine-member commission formed in 1974 to review complaints filed under the statutory Code of Ethics and to answer questions from public officials about potential conflicts of interest through its issuance of advisory opinions. If the Ethics Commission believes a violation of the law may have occurred, it may decide to hold a public hearing. If it concludes a violation has been committed, it may recommend civil penalties that include removal from office or employment and fines up to $10,000 per violation.