Stonecrest mayoral election: Frazier touts military leadership, temperament

Kirby Frazier

Credit: Kirby Frazier

Combined ShapeCaption
Kirby Frazier

Credit: Kirby Frazier

Kirby Frazier, an Army veteran and relative newcomer to Stonecrest, aims to inject some fresh blood into the city’s government.

He’s among four candidates running in a May 24 special election to fill the remaining term of Jason Lary, the city’s founding mayor who resigned in January to plead guilty to federal fraud charges.

Whoever wins will bear the responsibility for leading Stonecrest past the recent scandal, which rocked DeKalb County’s newest, and most populous, city. In addition, they’ll become the city’s second-ever mayor and inherit a position that saw its voting power stripped by the state Legislature last year.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed each of the four candidates, asking them the same list of questions. The other candidates are Diane Adoma, Jazzmin Cobble and Dr. Charles Hill Sr.

»Links to the other candidate Q&As are available at the bottom of this story.

Stonecrest residents have until April 25 to register to vote in time for the mayoral special election. Early voting will be held from May 2 through May 20. Polls will be open on May 24 — the same day as the 2022 General Primary elections — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

ExploreAccusations begin to fly in special election for Stonecrest mayor

Frazier is a former U.S. Army paratrooper who moved to Stonecrest in 2018. He has a background in business administration and formally served on the Atlanta Veterans Administration Improvement Board and was the former board chairman and CEO of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Contract Management Association.

Frazier’s interview was conducted Thursday, April 7. It has been lightly edited for brevity, and answers were not checked for accuracy.

Q: What is the most important thing for the next mayor to bring Stonecrest? And how will you accomplish that?

A: The first thing I need to do coming into the office of mayor is to restore the trust of the people. And how would I accomplish that? Day one, I would go ahead and put together an advisory board, and let’s explore why we don’t have oversight.

We’d have oversight and a system of checks and balances, so we can control (situations) if there’s issues and keep it open to the public. That’s what I heard this morning (at the April 7 joint candidate news conference about alleged campaign violations by Cobble). Even when the question was being asked about issues that were going on in the city in the past, there’s always a system of checks and balances. That’s just way the government works.

Q: How does the city move forward from the previous mayor’s actions?

A: I was really confused about why there was really an issue and how that even happened. I’m assuming you’re talking about the money, COVID relief money?

That falls underneath ethics. It makes certain that when we take money from the federal government, there is a clear, clear pipeline shown that the money came from the government and into the city and how we managed it.

The federal government, when money gets distributed into a (local) government, usually in the form of a grant, it usually comes in the form of some type of a solicitation. There was a need for that particular money, and when there’s a need for that particular money, what’s the plan for that money? And how are we going to control it?

In government contracting, it’s a systematic process for a reason because we’re dealing with taxpayers’ money. I’ve been doing government contracting for several years now, and I was the former president of the National Contract Management Association back in 2015, and my whole thing was, even being a part of the organization, is to understand that we have to train professionals who deal with government contracts on the right way to do things. And by the right way to do things, it’s already outlined.

This is not something we just came up with overnight. This is a systematic process, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the federal level and it doesn’t matter if you’re on the state level; it’s through the same process. And there’s always going to be some type of compliance, and there’s always going to be some type of oversight, so these (corrupt) things won’t happen. I’m just not certain that we have those things in place in the city of Stonecrest. If I’m elected mayor, we will.

Q: How will you ensure that impropriety and scandal doesn’t return to City Hall?

A: Now this is the reason why were there today (at the joint candidate news conference). We were invited to a forum (by DeKalb Democrats on April 6), and a lot of what I heard from the voice of the constituents – it was clear. How do we control corruption in the city? And we hear this from candidates all the time, but these scandals still pop up.

Again, that goes back to ethics and putting controls in place to make sure we manage that and make sure that some type of oversight is there. If there were ethics in place and there was oversight in place, then this wouldn’t of even happened.

So I’m going to assure that these things are put in place. If you wanted to go on the (city’s) website and check to see if COVID-19 money came to the government, where did it get disbursed and how much is actually what the balance is? I’m going to give this as an example, but if they got $100 million in COVID relief, if $50 million was spent or appropriated, you should now exactly where that money was spent to the penny.

Q: With the mayor’s role reduced from what it once was, meaning that the mayor doesn’t vote anymore on majority of items, what are your major policy goals, and how will you accomplish them?

A: That’s one of the questions that came up from the (DeKalb Democrats) forum. I’m not certain how long it would take to restore the mayor’s powers, but that was one of the questions asked to me and asked of the other candidates too. What I said then is when the mayor is actually elected and returned to the office of the mayor, I believe that power should be returned back to the mayor.

I understand now that they minimized (the mayor’s powers) due to the previous administration’s acts. But I believe the policy should be restored, so the mayor can actually effectively manage that position. So day one, I would ask the City Council, please restore that power so we have the system of checks and balances in place, and then hold me accountable. Put the ethics in place. Put the compliance in place. Show the oversight, so there’s no confusion. That may mean we have to go back and look at the charter, and open the charter up again to restore that power to the mayor to make sure that the mayor is effectively. I mean, how can the mayor be effective if he doesn’t have any power? We have to restore that.

Q: From my understanding, that wouldn’t be a quick process because that would have to go back to the state Legislature to change the charter.

A: Yes, we understand that this is going to be a special election to finish up the previous mayor’s term. So hopefully we can go through and go through the systematic process and come to the agreement that we need to do this. And hopefully that won’t take a whole year.

Q: What do you hear Stonecrest residents want most from their city leaders?

A: They want honesty. They want communication. They want effective leadership. That’s what I heard. There’s was a buzz around here of, guys, why haven’t we started a police department in the City of Stonecrest? That was something that came up during the (DeKalb Democrats) forum. And we need to look at that.

I understand the city is still fairly young and we depend on DeKalb County. There’s nothing wrong with that because everybody was learning their roles. But in order to move the city forward, we have to really look at these things. Do we need to take on that part of the business to make sure that our citizens are safe? I think we may need to look at that and explore that… we got some work to do. I know we get committee complaints and a lot of people here have different ideas. But we have to sit down and talk about these things and be effective when we talk about these things and communicate it back to the citizens.

Q: Why should voters choose you over the other candidates?

A: Here’s the deal. I’m a former military officer. I came through the ranks in the Army. I understand this thing about trust. I understand this thing about leadership. You can always count on me because I believe in holding people accountable, and I believe in being responsible. That’s one thing I know from being in the military. You can never delegate those two: accountability and responsibility. You can never delegate those things. That’s what you can get out of me.

Frazier does not currently have a campaign website. The news release announcing his candidacy can be found at scribd.com/document/569248806/Kirby-Frazier-News-Release.

Read more about the candidates who want to be Stonecrest’s next mayor

»Stonecrest mayoral candidates in race to out-ethics the competition

»Adoma says she has unfinished business in City Hall

»Cobble aims to stabilize city government

»Hill wants to completely overhaul City Hall