ATLANTA — A three-member review commission appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to look into Dougherty School Board member Velvet Riggins' indictment on felony school lunch fraud charges on Friday recommended that she be removed from office until the charges are resolved.
Deal spokesperson Stephanie Mayfield said in an email Monday that the governor was considering the recommendation. There was no indication in the email as to when a decision would be made.
Mark Brimberry of Albany, Riggins' attorney, said this afternoon that he had no immediate response to the decision.
"I have yet to speak to Ms. Riggins, and out of fairness I don't feel I can comment this time," said Brimberry.
On June 15, Deal appointed Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Henry County School Board member Erik Charles and Tift County School Board member Shawn Utley to review the charges against Riggins and to make a recommendation on whether the charges impact her ability to perform as a school board member.
The panel met with Riggins and Brimberry and with Assistant District Attorney Heather Lanier, who was representing special prosecutor District Attorney Joe Mulholland, on June 26 in Atlanta. On Friday, the tribunal reported to the governor that "the commission has determined the charges relate to and adversely affect the administration of the office of the Board member."
The Review Commission recommended that Riggins be suspended from office. Deal is not bound by the commission's recommendation.
Riggins was indicted on April 25 by a Dougherty County grand jury on two counts of theft by taking, public record fraud and providing false information to obtain free school meals for a child.
The indictment stems from two 2011-12 free or reduced-cost school lunch applications filed for her children at Robert Cross Middle Magnet School and Lincoln Elementary Magnet School.
Riggins represents District 3 on the School Board. Her term expires Dec. 31, but she is running unopposed for a new four-year term in the Nov. 6 general election.