DeKalb government overhaul passes Senate committee

Legislation to eliminate DeKalb County’s CEO position moved forward in the Georgia Senate this week.

The bill is the second pending proposal to change DeKalb’s form of government, giving state lawmakers more options. It passed the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee on a 4-2 vote Tuesday.

Both measures would put a professional county manager in charge of local government operations, but there are differences.

Sen. Fran Millar, who introduced Senate Bill 378, said his legislation would restructure DeKalb’s government after the 2018 elections instead of waiting until 2020 as envisioned by the House bill.

“We’re the only system in the state like this. We’ve had continual fighting between the commissioners and the CEO,” said Millar, R-Atlanta. “Let’s go with the system that’s working for others.”

The CEO would be replaced with a county commission chairperson elected countywide, according to both bills.

The Senate bill proposes seven commission districts, with each commissioner representing about 100,000 people. The House bill has eight districts, with each commissioner representing roughly 87,500 people.

Some DeKalb legislators have said they want to review DeKalb’s government structure more broadly instead of eliminating the CEO position this year.

The Senate bill is now eligible for consideration by the Senate Rules Committee, and the House bill is pending in the Policy Committee of DeKalb’s House delegation.

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