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DeKalb task force reform list focuses on ethics, efficiency

A task force assembled to recommend changes to DeKalb government aimed at restoring public trust has submitted a to-do list to interim DeKalb CEO Lee May.

Highlighting the list is a recommendation that DeKalb establish an internal auditor with broad authority to investigate the efficiency of the county's departments and programs. But the panel of citizens and elected leaders also decided to strip the county's ethics board of its ability to remove an elected official for malfeasance, a move criticized by local government watchdogs.


The DeKalb Government Operations Task Force was formed by interim CEO Lee May to study how DeKalb operates and to suggest improvements. The 17-member panel of elected officials and DeKalb citizens has worked for six months.

Among the recommendations submitted to May:

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Establish Charter Review Commission: Would continue to meet to study DeKalb County government and recommend changes.

Rethink Ethics Board. Task Force wants the citizens not commissioners to appoint ethics board members.

Revamp Purchasing: Task force recommends suspending the use of purchasing cards after recent abuses came to light.

Property Tax to Address Pension Liability: As more cities form in DeKalb, fewer citizens are responsible for paying for DeKalb County pension benefits. Task force recommends a special property tax levy on a special service district that would encompass unincorporated DeKalb.

SPLOST: The task force would like to add a Special Local Option Sales tax devoted to roads and other infrastructure. It would also like to extend the Homestead Option Sales Tax to every home in the county. Right now, it applies only to homes in unincorporated DeKalb.

“This was a very open and transparent process which brought key stakeholders from the community together to reach a consensus on many issues that affect our government that will continue the journey of reform and the restoration of the public’s trust,” said May. “We are indebted to the members of the task force for their tireless dedication to this cause.”

A final report of these recommendations will be forwarded to the General Assembly for their consideration during the 2015 legislative session.

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