Mike Thurmond, who won the race for DeKalb County CEO on Tuesday, greets seniors Elayn Ansari and Helen Norris during at forum at Salem Bible Church in Lithonia on May 5. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Mike Thurmond wins DeKalb County CEO race

DeKalb County’s next CEO is Mike Thurmond, who will take leadership of a government trying to restore trust, improve customer service and remove corruption.

Thurmond, a Democrat and former DeKalb schools superintendent, won a convincing victory against Jack Lovelace, a Republican and retired business manager.

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Thurmond campaigned as the candidate who can fix the county’s problems by running a competent and accountable government.

He’ll be in charge of a county with 735,000 residents, more than 6,000 government employees and a $1.38 billion annual budget.

“We have to get the fundamentals right, and that’s what’s really hurting us now,” Thurmond said last week. “The government has been distracted for so many years.”

When he takes office in January, Thurmond will become the county’s first elected chief executive in charge of the county in three and a half years.

He’ll replace CEO Burrell Ellis, who has been suspended since July 2013 and was later found guilty of attempted extortion and perjury. He’ll take over for Interim DeKalb CEO Lee May, whom Gov. Nathan Deal appointed to manage the county when Ellis was indicted.

Thurmond, an attorney, has previously served as Georgia’s labor commissioner and as a member of the state House of Representatives.

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