DeKalb County

DeKalb County
5:15 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

May in "Precarious Position" Due to Legislative Measure Awaiting Governor's Signature

Lee May has served as DeKalb County's Interim CEO since Gov. Nathan Deal appointed him in July 2013 following the indictment of CEO Burrell Ellis.
Credit Lee May

A bill awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature requires the DeKalb County Commission to fill its District 5 seat temporarily.

However, that may not be a simple task.

  Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams helped push the bill through on the final day of the legislative session. She told WABE, “The impetus for this was resolving a flaw in the law, as I see it, for dealing with the removal of a person from active engagement of their job.”

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4:20 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Contentious Hearings Wrap Up in DeKalb CEO Corruption Case

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis during a break at Tuesday's hearing.

Lawyers in the corruption case of suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis wrapped up two days of contentious pretrial hearings Tuesday. Much of the debate centered on what would be allowed as evidence in the upcoming trial.

Ellis' attorneys continued to argue District Attorney Robert James is politically motivated and should be removed from the case due to prosecutorial misconduct. They also said secretly captured audio and video of Ellis should be inadmissible because it was taken without his consent.

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3:34 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Alleged Ellis Video Focus of DeKalb Corruption Hearing

Suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

A pretrial hearing took place Monday in the public corruption case against suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis.

Ellis faces 14 felony charges alleging he shook down county contractors for campaign contributions.

At the hearing, Ellis’ attorneys argued District Attorney Robert James should be disqualified from prosecuting the case due to misconduct issues. They said James is politically motivated and may be withholding secretly captured video of Ellis. 

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4:15 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

DeKalb Commissioner Under Fire For Alleged Misuse Of County Funds

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer is under fire for allegedly misusing her county debit card for thousands of dollars of personal expenses.

According to a recent investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boyer used her county VISA card to pay for non-work-related meals, rental cars, and airline tickets.

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6:40 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

DeKalb Cityhood Bills Dead For The Year

Updated map of proposed Lakeside and Tucker boundaries.

Legislative efforts to incorporate portions of DeKalb County have fizzled out, at least for this year. 

State House leaders Monday were unwilling to change procedural rules to accommodate a last-minute compromise between two cityhood groups – Lakeside and Tucker.

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6:02 am
Fri March 14, 2014

DeKalb Signs Economic Development Deal

County officials held a signing ceremony for the new economic development deal in the parking lot of the Kensington Road MARTA station. It's one area of DeKalb they want to target for economic development.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

 DeKalb County is touting its new economic development program.

 It signed a five-year, $6.3 million deal with the Development Authority of DeKalb County Thursday for the authority to serve as the county’s designated economic development agency for the next five years.

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6:43 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Making Cities in DeKalb Gets Messy

  Only one of DeKalb County’s three cityhood bills still stands a chance of passing the Georgia legislature this year.

No one seems happy with the process, and there is plenty of finger-pointing going on. Among the barbs being tossed:

“Behind closed doors” is the accusation from Allen Venet, head of the City of Briarcliff Initiative.

“An illusion of confusion” is what Lakeside City Alliance Mary Kay Woodworth accuses legislators of creating.

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3:56 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Bill Calling For Nonpartisan CEO Elections in DeKalb Voted Down, But Still Alive

Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven
Credit Ga. House of Reps.

The state House Thursday rejected Senate Bill 95 calling for nonpartisan CEO elections in DeKalb County, but the legislation can be considered again next week.

On the House floor, Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, suggested the strong Democratic majority in DeKalb was hurting the county.

“There is no incentive for candidates for CEO to talk to Republican voters,” said Jacobs.

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4:26 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Lakeside Cityhood Bill Tabled, Advocates Say It's Not Over

Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody.

A House committee has tabled a bill that would create a city of Lakeside in central DeKalb County.

With only three days left in this year’s legislative session, it’s now an uphill battle for Lakeside, but advocates say it’s not over yet.

In a packed committee room, Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, made his final case for Lakeside.

“What I’m telling you is the reason people are doing these cities - its very simple. We want our roads paved. We want code enforcement. And, by god, we want police protection,” said Millar.

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5:55 am
Mon March 10, 2014

New DeKalb Police, Fire Officers Not Hitting the Streets Right Away

Dr. Cedric Alexander (front), with DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May, heads the county's public safety departments.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

 The newly passed DeKalb County budget includes 160 new police officers and 100 new firefighters, but the additions to the force will not be manning their stations right away.

The first 30 police recruits will start work early next month, but it could be the end of the year before all 160 officers are on the job.

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5:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Tension Rising in DeKalb Cityhood Debate

DeKalb residents packed the House Governmental Affairs Committee Thursday.

Tension is rising over cityhood efforts in central DeKalb County. It comes as the Georgia House considers three conflicting proposals.

Thursday, after two hours of packed hearings before the House Governmental Affairs Committee, it seemed no one was any closer to agreement.

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5:52 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Representative Opposes Potential 'Megacity' in DeKalb County

Map of the proposed city of Tucker
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

A state lawmaker sponsoring legislation for the proposed city of Tucker says he opposes the creation of a megacity in what is currently unincorporated DeKalb County. Currently, state lawmakers are considering the proposed cities of Briarcliff, Tucker and Lakeside in what is now unincorporated DeKalb County.

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$584 Million Budget
5:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

New DeKalb Budget Adds New Police, Firefighters

DeKalb County Commissioners answer questions following their approval of a new budget.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

 If you live in DeKalb County, you are likely to see more police and firefighters on the beat soon.

Hiring more public safety officers is part of the budget county commissioners approved unanimously Thursday, but that unanimous vote does not mean all commissioners are happy about the new spending plan.

 The new budget provides money to hire 160 new police officers and 100 new firefighters.

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5:00 am
Thu February 27, 2014

City of Lakeside Closer to Reality After Senate Vote

Sen. Fran Millar speaks about the Lakeside cityhood bill on the Senate floor.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The Georgia Senate approved a bill paving the way for the creation of the city of Lakeside. The proposed city currently sits in unincorporated DeKalb County.

Currently, the proposed city would border I- 85 on the west, Gwinnett County on the north, Chamblee-Tucker on the East and the Emory area in the South. Republican Senator Fran Millar spoke in favor of Lakeside.

“All I’m trying to do is give people a right to vote. This is a self-determination bill.”

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4:42 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Date Of DeKalb School Board Election Up In Air

Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven (left).
Credit Ga. House of Reps.

DeKalb elections chief Maxine Daniels says unless state lawmakers resolve their political differences quickly, school board elections scheduled for May will be delayed.

“We can’t make law and so unless we’re provided with some kind of guidance, some kind of law, we will not do anything,” said Daniels.

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4:32 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Vernon Jones Officially Announces Candidacy for DeKalb County Sheriff

Vernon Jones announced his candidacy for DeKalb County Sheriff at a rally attended by about 40 supporters in Decatur.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

Vernon Jones officially announced his intentions today to run for DeKalb County Sheriff.

Jones is the best-known candidate so far, but he is also the only one with no law enforcement experience.

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6:10 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Senate Approves Bill Requiring Nonpartisan Elections for DeKalb CEO

State Senator Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) sponsored the bill to make the DeKalb Co. CEO election nonpartisan.
Credit Sen. Fran Millar

A bill aimed at changing the way the chief executive officer is elected in DeKalb County was narrowly approved by the Georgia Senate.

The bill would require nonpartisan elections for CEOs in counties with chief executive officers and county commissions. DeKalb County is the only county in the state with an elected CEO.

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3:55 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

DeKalb Wants Residents' Input to End "Nightmare" Permitting Process

DeKalb interim CEO Lee May says residents should have a say in where the county goes in the coming years.
Credit Lee May

“DeKalb County Needs Your Feedback,” reads the headline on inserts stuffed alongside county water bills this month. 

The enclosed flier asks residents to offer ideas to include in DeKalb’s long-term strategic plan. 

“God knows this is something that’s never been done in DeKalb County," says DeKalb interim CEO Lee May. “This is our way of establishing who we are as a county, understanding our assets, and really writing a plan that brings all that together.”  

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Corruption Case Against Burrell Ellis
6:12 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

DeKalb CEO Tries to Get Case Against Him Thrown Out of Court

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis in court
Credit WABE

Attorneys for suspended DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis spent the last two days trying to get the corruption case against him thrown out of court.

Defense attorneys say charges against Ellis should be dropped because Ellis has not been afforded the rights of a peace officer. That includes the right to attend the grand jury proceedings that led to his indictment.

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6:02 am
Fri January 24, 2014

DeKalb's Interim CEO Focuses on Ethics in State of the County Address

DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May delivers the State of the County address Thursday night at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts & Community Center in Decatur.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

  Pre-trial proceedings in the theft and conspiracy case against suspended DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis took a full day in court yesterday.

Meanwhile, the man filling in for Ellis spent Thursday touting a new day for the county.

 Interim CEO Lee May presented his State of the County address not once – but twice – first to DeKalb business leaders and then the general public.

Most of his plans May has announced before: hiring more fire and police officers, beefing up code enforcement and streamlining the business permitting process.

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4:00 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Key DeKalb Lawmaker Doubtful on Cityhood Legislation in 2014

Three of the proposed cities and their overlap.
Credit Atlanta Regional Commission

Several neighborhood groups in DeKalb County want to become cities. However, the chair of DeKalb’s legislative delegation is doubtful cityhood legislation will pass this year.

State Rep. Howard Mosby made the comments during a break from an open meeting between county residents and the DeKalb legislative delegation. 

“I think that it is extremely complicated that I think us coming up with a great solution in the short time period between now and the end of legislative session will be difficult at best,” said Mosby.

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Push for Cityhood
5:55 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Briarcliff City Proponents Say Their Numbers Are Better than Lakeside’s

Credit City of Briarcliff Initiative, Inc

  The group hoping to form the City of Briarcliff says its feasibility study shows it would be a better city than the proposed City of Lakeside.

The study, from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, shows Briarcliff could pay for its services, with no tax increase, and end up with an annual surplus of almost $8 million, some 50% more than the surplus shown in a study for the proposed City of Lakeside which has overlapping boundaries with Briarcliff. The Vinson Institute also did that study.

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5:16 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

DeKalb’s New Public Safety Leader’s Mandate: Cut the Budget

DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander (front) with DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May at a press conference on December 17.
Credit Lisa George/WABE

DeKalb County’s Police Chief has just been promoted to an administrative job overseeing not only police but all public safety functions.

At least in the eyes of one county commissioner, an indication of Cedric Alexander’s performance in his new post will be how much money he can save.

In announcing Alexander’s promotion Thursday to Deputy Chief Operating Officer in charge of Public Safety, interim Chief Executive Officer Lee May said, “What we have here today is a unified front with the Board of Commissioners and the Office of the CEO in lockstep on this.”

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5:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Funding For Low-Income Heating Assistance Program Tapped Out In Fulton, DeKalb

Visitors to the Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority's LIHEAP information page are greeted with a message saying the authority has run out of money for the program.
Credit Fulton Atlanta Community Action Authority

Representatives from Fulton and DeKalb counties say they have run out of federal money to help people pay their winter heating bills.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – or LIHEAP -- is a federal program that’s run here by the Georgia Department of Human Services. It helps those who are over 65, homebound or who make below 60 percent of the median income (based on family size) pay for energy costs between November and March.

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1:00 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

DeKalb County Tests Plywood Replacement to Combat Blight

DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May and County Commissioner Lee Watson take out their frustrations with crime and other problem related to vacant houses on a SecureView 'window.'
Credit Burke Brennan / DeKalb County

DeKalb County is starting a pilot project to see if replacing plywood on boarded up houses with something that looks like a window – but isn’t a window -- will help deter crime.

There are more than 10,000 foreclosed homes in DeKalb County. County code requires the owners of vacant houses to cover the doors and windows with plywood.

For the next few months, the county’s going to make an exception as long as the owner uses a new product that looks like a glass window but is almost impossible to break.

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9:09 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Election Results: Local Non-Atlanta Races

On Tuesday, Georgians gathered at polling places to cast their votes in a number of elections that will have a direct impact on the future of life both inside and outside of Atlanta.

WABE was broadcasting live on Tuesday night with the latest results, analysis and information. 

Below are the results of some of the more significant races that were held in the Atlanta metro area but were not City of Atlanta races.

Disclaimer: WABE’s broadcast license is held by the Atlanta Board of Education. WABE doesn’t endorse candidates in any elections.

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5:18 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Judge Says "No" to Brookhaven's Annexation of Century Center

DeKalb County Superior Court judge Tangela M. Barrie ruled the city of Brookhaven may not proceed with the annexation land that includes the Century Center complex.

A DeKalb County Superior Court judge ruled Monday the city of Brookhaven can’t annex land which includes a prime office complex. The decision comes after Brookhaven’s city council has already approved the move.

Judge Tangela M. Barrie’s decision means DeKalb County voters will get the first say in the matter. Residents near the Century Center office complex will vote next Tuesday on whether they want the area to become part of the city of Chamblee.

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1:07 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

DeKalb Sheriff Tom Brown To Challenge Hank Johnson For Congressional Seat

DeKalb Sheriff Tom Brown at Wednesday's campaign kickoff in Decatur.

After 13 years as DeKalb County sheriff, Tom Brown announced Wednesday he’s running for Congress.

Brown will challenge Hank Johnson, who has held the District 4 seat since 2007.

At a campaign kickoff in Decatur, the four-time-elected sheriff acknowledged Johnson remains a popular Democrat across the district.

“He is well-liked. So am I. So now it comes down to who’s the best. And I believe I’m the best.”

The district includes parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, and Newton Counties.

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4:30 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

DeKalb County Opens Door to Teamsters Representing Sanitation Workers

DeKalb sanitation workers rallied in August 2013 for their right to join a union.

Starting next year, DeKalb County’s 450 sanitation workers will have a new route to air their grievances, and they will have a union with them.

It’s not full union representation – no collective bargaining or legal ability to go on strike – but county commissioners are changing an ordinance to allow the workers to bring their grievances directly to Human

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6:45 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Wild Boars Roaming in Metro Atlanta

Wild boars, like the ones in this picture, are once again seen roaming in metro Atlanta.

Some residents of metro Atlanta are being extra cautious as they head outdoors.

That's because wild boars are once again reported roaming around DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

"If they're in a nice neighborhood that's plush and has nice yards and everything....that's where they're going to be able to eat and thrive," says David Neck, a wildlife control expert with the Atlanta-based Team Pest USA.

Neck says these animals are usually scared of humans and will maintain a distance unless they feel threatened.

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