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|Judge says Armstrong out as Ellington's aide|
Brenda Anderson Armstrong's career as a legislative aide to her husband, Rep. Noble Ellington of Winnsboro, could be coming to an end.
That would be the case in light of a ruling Monday by 19th Judicial District Court Judge Curtis Calloway.
Calloway denied Armstrong and Ellington's request for Armstrong to continue working as Ellington's aide. Calloway said Armstrong could keep her $54,000-per-year job if and until she exhausted any appeals of his ruling.
Armstrong and Ellington sought relief in district court in Baton Rouge when House of Representatives officials denied Ellington's request in January to employ Armstrong as his legislative aide. Armstrong has worked as Ellington's aide since he first took office as a member of the Legislature in 1988. They were married in late 2006.
House officials based their decision on a state Ethics Board ruling. Issued in January, the Ethics Board said Ellington could not employ Armstrong as his aide once he gave up his seat in the state Senate and moved to the House of Representatives.
When House officials denied Ellington's request to employ Armstrong, Armstrong and Ellington asked the 19th Judicial District Court to intervene. At that point, a 19th Judicial District court judge issued a temporary injunction, setting up Monday's court hearing in which Calloway ruled against Armstrong and Ellington's request that Armstrong be allowed to keep her job.
"I really cannot tell you anything," Ellington said of Calloway's ruling. "The judge just said it was denied and that was it."
"I was kind of surprised," Ellington continued. "I was surprised first that we lost and then I was surprised again that he (Calloway) didn't give us any reason."
Ellington served in the Senate from 1996-2008. Term limits forced Ellington to give up his Senate seat.
Ellington sought and won the District 20 seat in the House in the fall 2007 elections. He first represented District 20 in the House from 1988-1996.
At the time of their marriage in 2006, Armstrong was allowed to keep her job as Ellington's aide. That decision was based on a prior Ethics Board ruling, which was issued years ago in a case involving then-state Sen. Steve D. Thompson of Winnsboro.
That Ethics Board ruling was sought by Thompson, who had married his legislative aide.
Alfred "Butch" Speer, clerk of the House of Representatives, said the temporary court order issued in Armstrong's case earlier this year would be in effect "until there is a final judgment," meaning if and until Armstrong exhausts any appeals of Calloway's ruling.
"Until they (Armstrong and Ellington) make a decision (whether to appeal), that's where we are," Speer said. "She will continue to work under the court order that was issued in January."
Ellington said he and Armstrong had not made a decision on whether to appeal Calloway's ruling.
"If we appeal or until the appeal is done, she is still on the job," he said.