Review of DeKalb’s unique government fails to pass Legislature

Georgia lawmakers couldn’t agree bill to start a broad review of DeKalb’s unique form of government, including the county’s CEO position.

The proposal failed because the House didn’t re-consider it after the Senate voted 40-0 on Thursday to pass it with amendments. The measure, Senate Bill 246, died when this year’s legislative session concluded after midnight Friday.

The Charter Review Commission could have evaluated whether DeKalb should continue to be the only county in Georgia led by a chief executive officer. Many other counties hire a professional manager to oversee government operations.

The commission also could have considered county commissioners, term limits, district boundaries, ethics rules, purchasing policies and more.

“It seems like there have always been issues and concerns that come up related to the charter,” said Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick, D-Lithonia.

After the commission made recommendations, the Georgia General Assembly would have considered legislation to enact them.

“If there are things in the charter that need to be changed, or if we need to switch to one form of government to another, we need to get about doing that,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain, earlier this week.

The Charter Review Commission, which would have been appointed by various DeKalb elected officials, failed to pass after the Senate amended it Thursday. 

The amendments would have increased the number of people serving on the Charter Review Commission from 13 to 15, with additional appointees from the DeKalb Board of Commissioners and the county’s state legislators.

The House didn’t bring up the bill, which applied only to DeKalb, as it voted instead on statewide legislation.

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