DeKalb CEO Thurmond plans for police pay, deficits and blight

DeKalb County CEO Mike Thurmond said Tuesday his upcoming budget will improve police pay, eliminate deficit spending and begin the teardown of a notorious burnt-out condo complex.

But his presentation to the DeKalb Commission lacked specifics about how much his plans will cost and how many police officers, firefighters and 911 operators will receive raises.

Those details could be revealed when Thurmond presents his 2017 mid-year budget next week.

Thurmond warned that improving compensation for underpaid public safety employees won't be accomplished all at once. He said public safety employees' compensation should be changed to reflect their skills and experience.

"You can’t correct years if not decades of issues in one mid-year budget cycle, but we must always have a plan of action to get us to the next step of systemically improving pay and compensation,” Thurmond said.

County commissioners, who are scheduled to vote on the budget July 11, said they appreciated hearing Thurmond’s spending overview.

“Let it be clear to everyone who sits here today: This entire board supports an increase for first responders,” said Commissioner Greg Adams, a former DeKalb police officer.

Among Thurmond’s priorities:

  • Reducing pay disparities among public safety employees
  • Ensuring the county government spends less than its income, ending a $25 million deficit that was built into the annual budget passed in February
  • Demolishing several burnt-out buildings at the Brannon Hill condo complex near Memorial Drive

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