Government watchdog hired for DeKalb

An independent watchdog has been hired to help safeguard taxpayers’ money in DeKalb County.

The DeKalb Commission voted 6-0 on Tuesday to hire John Greene as the county's chief auditor, responsible for exposing waste and fraud in county government.

Greene, the inspector general for the Florida Secretary of State's Office, will be tasked with monitoring the finances of DeKalb's $1.38 billion annual budget.

The hiring concluded years of efforts to bring deeper oversight to a government that's been troubled by corruption scandals and criminal prosecutions.

The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill last year creating the auditor position after the county repeatedly failed to do so. Along with the auditor, state lawmakers also required DeKalb to hire a chief ethics officer, and Stacey Kalberman started that job earlier this year.

Greene will first conduct a risk assessment to determine what needs investigating, said Harold Smith, the chairman of the citizen-led Audit Oversight Committee that vetted candidates for the position.

DeKalb’s government has dealt with numerous allegations of misspending in recent years, including abuses of charge cards, contracting irregularities and problems associated with a $1.35 billion upgrade to the county’s water and sewer system.

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