DeKalb reorganizes county government leadership

DeKalb County’s government bureaucracy is going through a transition, with several department heads hired while other officials have resigned.

Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May recently filled five senior leadership positions: Police Chief James Conroy, Watershed Director Scott Towler, Community Development Director Allen Mitchell, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Director Mario Evans and Medical Examiner's Office Director Patrick Bailey.

Most of these officials previously served as interim directors and were promoted internally after national searches. Towler was hired from the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Meanwhile, others have resigned or retired in the last few months, including former Purchasing Director Scott Callan, Interim Chief Financial Officer Gwen Brown-Patterson, Chief of Staff Edmond Richardson and Community Development Director Chris Morris.

The reorganization is the result of a long-term effort to find high-quality leadership for the county, said spokesman Burke Brennan.

“There have been several national searches that have been running concurrently, and we were able to make several announcements at once,” Brennan said. “We will continue to strive for the best and brightest candidates as we move forward to fill other opportunities in DeKalb County.”

Interim Purchasing Director Talisa Clark replaced Callan, Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams will oversee the Finance Department and Senior Policy Adviser Erik Burton took over special projects and initiatives for the CEO's office.

Other resignations from the county include Deputy Chief Financial Officer Stefan Jaskulak, who oversaw accounting, water billing, auditing, payroll and risk management; and Assistant Watershed Director Kenneth Saunders, who was responsible for capital improvement projects.

DeKalb hired two deputy directors in the Watershed Department from the city of Atlanta: Margaret Tanner, who will handle capital improvement projects; and Reginald Wells, who will supervise operations.

One high-ranking position remains vacant. The county hasn't hired a new deputy chief operating officer for infrastructure since Morris Williams abrutly resigned in March.