Leadership change planned for DeKalb economic development arm

All of DeKalb County’s economic development board may be replaced, including its chairman, Vaughn Irons, whose company received a $1.5 million county contract while he was serving as a board member.

The DeKalb Commission is vetting six nominees to the DeKalb Development Authority, which promotes trade, commerce, industry and employment. If confirmed, they would reconstitute the board’s leadership.

Interim CEO Lee May announced he would nominate new board members of the DeKalb Development Authority in March, days after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported on a suspicious document that allowed Irons’ company, APD Solutions, to bid on a housing rehab contract. Irons, who is campaigning to become a county commissioner, has said he had nothing to do with an invalid ethics opinion that said he had no conflict of interest.

Only five of the board’s seven seats are currently filled, and all of their terms have expired.

“We want to make sure we get a full board that’s moving forward with economic development,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson.

May has said revamping the board will give it a “fresh start.”

The six nominees are:

  • Don Bolia, a member of the Brookhaven Zoning Board of Appeals and a partner with a lobbying firm
  • Kevin Gooch, an attorney who handles loan documentation
  • Miranda McKenzie, an executive with Atlanta Technical College who previously worked as a director for community affairs for Anheuser-Busch Inc.
  • Tyrone Rachal, the president of a finance firm who serves as a board member for several civic associations
  • Keisha Taylor, senior director of entertainment marketing for Turner Broadcasting
  • Baoky Vu, an investment strategy executive who serves on the board for the Technical College System of Georgia

No one has been nominated yet for the seventh seat on the board.

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