Stonecrest mayor: ‘Nothing concerning’ about recent staff resignations

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary said the city can continue operating normally after the recent resignations of three top officials.

Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary said the city can continue operating normally after the recent resignations of three top officials.

The mayor of Stonecrest is pushing back against allegations there is a management problem in City Hall after three top officials resigned in a span of three months.

Since December, Stonecrest’s city attorney, city clerk and city manager have announced their retirement, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

On Thursday, Mayor Jason Lary said personnel is in place to continue running DeKalb County’s newest city until permanent replacements are hired for the key roles.

“I have a well-oiled machine here, and we’re doing just fine,” Lary said in an interview Thursday. “There’s nothing concerning or odd about what’s happening around here.”

Previously: Within span of months, 3 senior officials resign from Stonecrest

Also: Stonecrest city attorney steps down, names successor

Some questioned whether the high-ranking turnover sent a message of mismanagement within Stonecrest.

“It’s never a good sign when you have to start over,” Councilmember Diane Adoma told the AJC.

But Lary boiled it down to the business of politics, explaining that all three officials left the city for individual, personal reasons.

City Manager Michael Harris is leaving to work as the assistant tax commissioner for Henry County, Lary said. Harris’ resignation, which he announced publicly after Monday night’s City Council meeting, is effective March 8.

Before the city hires a new manager, Lary said he and other staff members will take over Harris’ tasks.

“We have staff that can cover those issues with regards to what he was doing,” he said.

Former City Clerk Brenda James left about a month ago to take another job closer to her home in Fayette County. Lary said the city hired an interim clerk who served as the clerk in Lithonia for five years.

Former City Attorney Thompson “Tom” Kurrie Jr. named a successor in December and still works with the city as a “trusted advisor,” Lary said.

Kurrie, James and Harris were the first people to hold their respective positions after Stonecrest voted to become a city in 2016.

Staff resignations in city government are fairly common, especially among people who have been with the city since the beginning, Georgia Municipal Association spokeswoman Amy Henderson said.

“It’s just kind of the nature of city government that there is turnover,” Henderson said.

However, she said it’s “a little unusual” that all three are leaving around the same time.

“That just could be because the circumstances worked out that way,” she said.

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