Ethics chief hopes to make a difference in DeKalb

DeKalb County’s first ethics officer, Stacey Kalberman, has started her job of trying to make the government more honest and accountable.

Kalberman said she’ll work through a backlog of pending complaints against county officials while emphasizing ethics training to prevent bad behavior. Kalberman started the job March 28 and will earn a $144,000 annual salary.

She plans to add information to the DeKalb Board of Ethics’ website, take over administration of the county’s ethics hotline and launch an online education program for government employees.

“Hopefully we’re going to start having an atmosphere where people will be able to say if they have a question, and they can call in and run it by the ethics officer,” Kalberman said.

Ethics complaints against suspended DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and several former county employees are awaiting consideration by the DeKalb Board of Ethics. Kalberman will be responsible for investigating complaints and making recommendations to the board.

Kalberman said she hopes to make a difference by teaching employees about appropriate conduct. She intends to create a revamped ethics website that includes examples of appropriate behavior, advisory opinions and an email address to ask questions.

“Some of these things aren’t so apparent to everybody. They might think they’re doing the right thing,” she said.

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