Stonecrest, city manager part ways

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Stonecrest and its city manager have parted ways.

The circumstances of Janice Allen Jackson’s departure this week were not immediately clear. But her exit leaves DeKalb’s largest city lacking leadership in an important position as it continues to recover from a wide-reaching corruption scandal.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first contacted Stonecrest officials on Monday about the split. In an email that day, Mayor Jazzmin Cobble wrote that “the council has not fired the city manager.”

A little over 24 hours later, Cobble informed city employees that Jackson’s employment had ended.

Asked Wednesday morning for further details on that announcement, Cobble issued a statement saying that Jackson “ended (her) professional service agreement” with Stonecrest on Tuesday morning.

“The Mayor and City Council would like to thank Ms. Jackson for her service to the city, its residents, and stakeholders,” Cobble’s statement said. “We wish her well in her future endeavors.”

While her statement suggested Jackson initiated the split, the mayor did not address questions for clarification.

Jackson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jackson, who had previously held government roles in Albany and Augusta, was hired as Stonecrest’s acting city manager in April 2021.

The role had been vacant for years but the timing was no coincidence. Jackson’s hiring came quickly on the heels of an internal investigation that raised questions about Mayor Jason Lary misappropriating city COVID-19 relief funds and subsequent action by the state legislature that stripped the mayor’s position of many of its powers — making a city manager all that more important.

Since last spring, Lary has pleaded guilty to a number of federal charges related to his theft of relief funds and was sentenced to spend nearly five years in prison. He’s currently due to report to prison in December.

Another woman, Lania Boone, was recently sentenced to six months in federal prison for her role in the scheme.

Jackson, meanwhile, had the “acting” designation removed from her title and helped Stonecrest transition away from a staffing structure that relied on consulting firm Jacobs Engineering to hire and appoint employees.

Just last month, Jackson and the city touted a series of in-house hires they said would “help us enhance the quality of life for our residents and attract more strategic investments in Stonecrest for generations.”

Asked about the process and a potential timeline for hiring Jackson’s replacement, Cobble said only that “the Mayor and City Council will follow the city’s charter to fill the role.”