DeKalb ethics overhaul gets overwhelming support

Published Nov. 3, 2015

DeKalb voters approved an overhaul of the county’s ethics board in Tuesday’s election.

Elsewhere, metro Atlanta voters selected a slew of mayors, city council members and other public officials, while Gwinnett voters adopted a sales tax for school construction.

In DeKalb, voters approved a plan that would shake up the board that handles ethics complaints. The measure will change the way the board is chosen. Instead of the county commission and CEO appointing members, various community organizations would choose them.

The measure also will authorize the board to fine public officials who violate ethics rules up to $1,000 and to refer cases for prosecution. Those convicted could face up to six months in prison.

Tuesday’s vote comes as DeKalb has been buffeted by a series of scandals, including criminal prosecutions of government officials. Most recently, independent investigators questioned more than $537,000 in DeKalb spending by on everything from food and flowers to pricey consultants.

Meanwhile, in Gwinnett County, a proposed 1 percent sales tax passed easily. The measure will generate some $950 million over five years for school construction and other improvements for Gwinnett and City of Buford schools.

Across Metro Atlanta, dozens of candidates were vying for local and state offices. Among the early returns:

  • In the race for state House District 92, Doreen Carter of Lithonia led fellow Democrat Sherri L. Washington of Conyers. The district includes parts of DeKalb and Rockdale counties.
  • Nine candidates were competing to represent state Senate District 43, which includes parts of DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton counties. If none wins a majority, the race would be decided in a Dec. 8 runoff election.
  • In Johns Creek, Jay Lin led Todd Burkhalter and Chris Coughlin for City Council Post 2, but did not appear to have enough votes to avoid a runoff. Incumbent Steve Broadbent led Thomas Radford in Post 6.
  • In the Kennesaw mayor’s race, Derek Easterling defeated Debra Williams in unofficial returns. In City Council Post 1, Jim Eaton defeated Steve Creason. In Post 2, Yvette M.A. Daniel took the race against incumbent Tim Killingsworth. The Post 4 race between Jimmy Dickens, Bruce Jenkins and Jon Whitmer appeared to be headed for a runoff.