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Gov. Deal suspends DeKalb CEO Ellis immediately, appoints Lee May
by LaTria Garnigan
July 16, 2013 05:45 PM | 6050 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Nathan Deal suspended Tuesday DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis immediately and appointed District 5 Commissioner Lee May as interim CEO.

On Monday, the three-person review panel, appointed by Deal, made up of Attorney General Sam Olens, Rockdale County CEO Richard A. Oden and Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeffrey E. Turner, ruled unanimously in favor of the suspension of Ellis.

According to Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Deal’s office, the panel determined “the charges against DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis relate to and adversely affect his ability to carry out his official responsibilities and therefore should be suspended from office.”

“I agree with the bipartisan panel of elected officials that the allegations against Burrell Ellis directly relate to and adversely affect his ability to carry out his duties as DeKalb CEO,” Deal said. “I will therefore sign an executive order to suspend him from office until his term ends or until the case against him is adjudicated. The responsibility to suspend and replace elected officials is one that I do not relish, but one I will not shy away from. The laws of Georgia give the governor the authority to appoint an interim official, but with my appointment, I will respect the spirit of the local statute which calls for the commission chairman to succeed the CEO should the office come open. I gave this appointment thoughtful consideration and I was looking for a leader who had already won approval from DeKalb voters and knows how the county operates. The new CEO meets these criteria, and I thank him for his willingness to serve.”

The review panel was appointed July 8 to determine whether or not the charges against Ellis render him unable to fulfill his duties at DeKalb’s chief executive.

Ellis was formally indicted June 18 on 15 counts by a grand jury relating to the Jan. 7 search warrant that was executed at his home and office.

The indictment includes:

-four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion

-two counts of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition

-two counts of criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings

-three counts of theft by taking

-one count of conspiracy to defraud a political subdivision

-three counts of coercion of other employee to give anything of value for political purposes.

Ellis has maintained his innocence since January’s search.

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