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|Ellington's wife can keep $54K state job for now|
Rep.-elect Noble Ellington's wife, Brenda Anderson Armstrong, can keep her $54,540-per-year job as Ellington's legislative assistant, a district court judge in East Baton Rouge Parish ruled Friday.
Judge Don Johson, of the 19th Judicial District Court, issued a temporary restraining order, saying Armstrong could continue working as Ellington's assistant in spite of a state Ethics Board ruling that said she had to give it up.
Butch Speer, clerk of the House of Representatives, said the House would appeal Johnson's ruling.
In a 3-2 vote Thursday, the Ethics Board said Armstrong would have to quit working as Ellington's legislative assistant when he took the oath of office Monday as a member of the House of Representatives.
Armstrong has worked as Ellington's legislative assistant since 1988, or the year he first took office as a member of the Legislature. They were married in 2006.
The state Ethics Board's ruling was prompted by Ellington, who sought an opinion on whether he could hire Armstrong as has assistant when he took office in the House of Representatives. In ruling against Ellington, the Ethics Board cited state ethics laws that prohibit state lawmakers from hiring members of their family to work for them in the Legislature.
Though the Ethics Board ruled against Ellington on Thursday, he sought approval Friday from the House of Representatives to hire Armstrong anyway.
When the House rejected Ellington's move to hire Armstrong, Armstrong sought relief from the 19th Judicial District Court, which hears all legal proceedings concerning the Legislature.
When Armstrong and Ellington were married in 2006 she was "grandfathered" into the position, or allowed to keep the job as his legislative assistant, since she worked for him in that capacity before they were married.
In 2006 when Armstrong and Ellington were married, he represented Senate District 32. Ellington was barred from running for re-election to the Senate in the fall 2007 elections because of term limits. Instead, Ellington ran for and won the District 20 seat in the House of Representatives.
Ellington represented House District 20 from 1988-1996. He was elected to the Senate in the fall 1995 elections.
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