DECATUR, Ga. -- DeKalb County commissioners held their first meeting of 2013 Tuesday morning, and some had reactions to the search warrants executed Monday on locations including the home of county CEO Burrell Ellis.
The warrants list allegations including extortion, bribery, theft and conspiracy. Ellis says he has done nothing wrong, and points out that he has not been charged with a crime.
Ellis did not appear at Tuesday's meeting. He is not required, by law, to appear at county commissioners' meetings, and typically only appears at few county commission meetings each year. There was no mention of Ellis on the commission's agenda or during the formal meeting itself.
After the meeting, several commissioners said they were as surprised as anyone else in the community was to learn of the allegations.
"It's unfortunate that the county is experiencing so many negative things at the same time," said District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton. "I am optimistic and hope that we can overcome this and work through it, and do what's best for our citizens. This is not the first time something bad has happened; it is not the first time someone has been accused."
The county has experienced a number of investigations in the past, including an ongoing one presently into the county's watershed department -- which the investigation of Ellis may be related to.
Some of the commissioners pointed out that it is important to allow the investigative process to run its course, and to maintain someone's innocence through the investigation without jumping to conclusions prior to any findings being developed.