The assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma Bar Association will be the top attorney for the state Ethics Commission.
Commissioners voted 5-0 on Wednesday to hire Debbie Maddox as the agency's general counsel.
Maddox, of Oklahoma City, will succeed Rebecca Adams, who held the post 21 years until she left the agency in November. Maddox, who will start her new duties in about two weeks, will be paid an annual salary of $96,000.
She is the daughter of former state Sen. Jim Maddox, a Democrat from Lawton, who last served in the Legislature in 2004. He had to step down because of 12-year legislative term limits.
Commissioners were unaware of her relationship with the former lawmaker until after she was hired, commission Chairman Jo Pettigrew said.
Maddox, 49, practiced criminal and family law in a private practice in Norman before going to the Oklahoma Bar Association in 2009. Before that, she was a lawyer with the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System's Capital Trial Division for 11 years.
She was among six finalists and more than 50 candidates who applied for the post, Pettigrew said.
“She's very bright, she's got a lot of experience in litigation,” Pettigrew said. “She also is a superb writer. She's just done a lot of different things in the field.”
Maddox said she was attracted to the Ethics Commission post because she hopes to be able to improve transparency and accountability.
“I hope that this office can put together the message that insists on accountability but also balances it with fairness,” she said. “It's very easy to make accusations against anybody.”
Lee Slater, hired earlier this month as the agency's executive director, starts his new duties Friday.
The two recent hires increase the number of employees in the office to four. It is authorized to have six. Pettigrew said the position of investigator, which has been vacant since November, will not be immediately filled. Maddox will handle investigations, she said.