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Newton County fire chief on unpaid leave
District attorney reviewing the GBI investigation
kevin obrien

Update: According to Newton County Manager Harry Owens, Fire Services Chief Kevin O'Brien's administrative leave is unpaid.

O'Brien was placed on leave after an emergency executive session by the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Newton County District Attorney Layla Zon said the Newton County Sheriff's Office had received an anonymous tip on May 12 concerning O'Brien's alleged use of the county purchasing card for personal expenses. Two days later, the sheriff's office referred the information to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

On May 26, Zon said, the District Attorney's office received similar information from a source concerned about the chief's possible misuse of county funds. She formally requested GBI's assistance in investigating the matter on June 3, and received the completed investigation from the state agency on Oct. 9.

"I am currently reviewing the investigation," Zon said. 

According to Scott Dutton, Public Relations Officer for the GBI, the investigation was specific to O'Brien and no other officials or employees were involved.

"This matter is under investigation and additional information will be released when a final decision is made," Ellis said.

Kevin O’Brien was hired as interim chief in May of 2011 after serving as deputy chief of operations and training, and was officially hired in December of 2012.

The Newton County Fire Service Department protects an area of 278 square miles has a force of 80 full time firefighters.