The woman who has headed the state Ethics Commission for 25 years — all but the first six months of its existence — plans to give more attention to her lawn.
Marilyn Hughes said she doesn't have any plans for the next three months after she leaves the agency Nov. 30.
“I'm going to take a tree out of my front yard, put in a sprinkler system to save the lawn and stuff like that — things I haven't had time for,” Hughes said.
Hughes, 63, and two other longtime employees of the agency were honored Thursday during a reception. Their departure will leave two employees in the agency, which writes civil penalty rules governing state campaigns and the conduct of state officers and employees.
In addition to Hughes, Rebecca Adams, 62, the Ethics Commission's general counsel for the past 21 years, and Darey Roberts, 72, the agency's investigator for 17 years, also are leaving Nov. 30.
Each received a plaque and a gift from the commission and a commendation from Gov. Mary Fallin. Commissioners personally paid for the items and refreshments served at the reception.
Former Commissioner John Raley, who served the maximum two five-year terms on the commission, said Hughes was “a very dedicated administrator and lawyer.”
“It will be difficult if nigh impossible to find someone to even match her experience, knowledge and dedication to the mission of the Ethics Commission — full accountability, full transparency and dedicated to the principle of trying to reduce undue influence by special interests,” said Raley, whose final term expired earlier this year.
“They're chronically underfunded, and she's been able to manage and inspire during these periods of time when the agency was underfunded, understaffed and overworked,” he said.
James Loy, who served 10 years on the commission through last year, also spoke highly of Hughes.
“She was the brains behind it, interpreting the rules, assisting all of the commissioners — and service beyond the normal call of duty,” he said. “We appreciate her service so much.”