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Letter to the Editor: May on the right track
by Lawrence P. Callahan
CEO of Pattillo Industrial Real Estate
July 25, 2013 03:43 PM | 2323 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By order of Gov. Nathan Deal, DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May was elevated to the DeKalb County CEO role last week. What would you do first if you were put in charge of a major metropolitan county? Thirty-seven-year-old May arrived in the CEO office and had to face that question.

May was elected to the county commission in 2006 at the age of 30. Seven years later, the youngest commissioner found himself sitting in the CEO’s office facing reporters and television cameras. You might think that an elected official would use that moment to promote himself or his personal agenda, but May is not that kind of man.

He has been engaged in DeKalb County government for the last seven years and he has observed the structural problems that continue to frustrate citizens and business owners alike. DeKalb’s government structure is highly unusual in the state of Georgia. The CEO title sounds businesslike but the allocation of power between the CEO’s office and the board of commissioners has created constant tension and gridlock for many years. Regardless of who occupied the CEO office, this pattern persisted.

Our governor recognized the need to install a new DeKalb County CEO. May recognizes that this particular form of government is part of the problem. The people in DeKalb County are suffering because of the constraints imposed by a dysfunctional form of government.

So May used his first day in the CEO office and his first press conference to call for the elimination of the CEO’s office. That is a bold move by a bold man. How many of you would rise to a powerful position and then step up and recommend that your job should be eliminated?

Most of the other counties in Georgia have an elected county commission that hires a professional county administrator to run daily operations. May thinks that the people of our county would be better served by this form of government.

DeKalb is the only county in Georgia with an elected CEO who is charged with running daily operations. May now sits in that office and he has recommended that the state legislature amend the DeKalb County charter and eliminate the CEO form of government.

On behalf of the people in DeKalb County, May has just pointed the direction toward a better DeKalb future. His first step was in the right direction.

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