Ethics programs created in DeKalb budget

DeKalb County commissioners approved spending Tuesday for new integrity programs and employee pay raises.

Those initiatives are included in the county’s mid-year $554 million government operations budget, which calls for spending 2 percent more than last year as property values have increased. The budget holds property tax rates steady.

The budget, which passed on a 4-2 vote, includes funding for the county Board of Ethics to hire an integrity officer, an investigator and an assistant.

It also appropriates money for the DeKalb County district attorney’s office to create a six-person public integrity unit to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by government officials.

Three auditor positions would be put under the Board of Commissioners’ authority to scrutinize spending practices.

The budget also gives each of the county’s more than 6,000 government employees to receive a 3 percent pay raise, which would cost the county $4.3 million and take effect Aug. 1