Interim DeKalb CEO announces ethics reforms

DECATUR, Ga. -- Saying he is sick and tired of hearing about scandals involving government officials and employees, DeKalb County's top politician announced some major ethics reforms Wednesday.

"The bottom line is that violations of these ethics rules will not be tolerated by anyone, including me," said Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May.

Commissioner May took over the top spot after former CEO Burrell Ellis and two of his staffers were indicted on corruption charges last year.

Recently, DeKalb's Ethics Board launched investigations into Commissioners Elaine Boyer, Sharon Barnes Sutton and Larry Johnson's use of county credit cards.

While all of those cases have yet to resolved, May said, "the time is now for us to take drastic steps to ensure integrity and ethics in DeKalb County government."

He signed executive orders to create a clear cut ethics policy and to hire three full time employees to help the part time ethics board.

They include a county integrity officer, an investigator and an administrative assistant.

May also wants all county officials and employees to undergo new ethics training.

The new rules would limit gifts and meals to $40 each, with a $120 limit each year.

Also, all travel and tickets must be related to government business.

May also promised tougher ethics standards for the county's purchasing and police departments in a few weeks.

He called his reforms, "an aggressive approach to restore the public's trust in DeKalb County government, right here, right now."

William Perry of Common Cause Georgia praised DeKalb as a "shining light" of ethics reform.

"I would like the Governor, the Mayor of Atlanta and every county commissioner and city council member across the state to take lessons from Interim Commissioner May," Perry added.

May must still get DeKalb County's commissioners to go along with the nearly $100,000 needed to hire the ethics staff


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