Ethics chief rejects claim of ‘rotten’ DeKalb government


DeKalb County isn’t “rotten to the core.”

That’s the conclusion of DeKalb Ethics Officer Stacey Kalberman in her first annual report.

Kalberman disagreed with the assertion of special investigators Mike Bowers and Richard Hyde in 2015 that misconduct was rampant in DeKalb’s government.

“DeKalb has its issues, as do many counties,” Kalberman wrote. “Nevertheless, the greatest problems have been caused by a handful of individuals whose loyalties were aligned with their own personal interest and not the interest of the county. It is DeKalb’s great misfortune that those individuals have primarily been in leadership positions.”

Her report said government employees have been eager to improve the county’s image and learn about ethics. More than 1,900 employees have attended classes organized since Kalberman was hired in March.

But the county still has problems, and the DeKalb Board of Ethics has been hindered by a lawsuit that questions its legality. Pending ethics cases involving former Commissioners Sharon Barnes Sutton and Stan Watson have been put on hold until the lawsuit is decided.

“While I cannot say that the ethical health of DeKalb County is strong, I am certain that the work to bring systemic, positive change is well underway, and I believe that the future holds a different grade in ethics for DeKalb,” Kalberman wrote.

Voters approved an overhaul of the DeKalb Board of Ethics in November 2015 that created the ethics officer position and made the board more independent, removing appointment power from the county’s commissioners and CEO.

Kalberman highlighted several of the board’s accomplishments:

  • Resolved 11 ethics complaints. In two cases, the board reprimanded former commissioners’ aides for abuses of government charge cards.
  • Developed educational classes and established an online program that will be launched this year. Online education and an annual quiz will be required of all county employees.
  • Investigated 15 complaints and oversaw an anonymous ethics hotline.
  • Created an ethics website.

RELATED: Read the DeKalb ethics annual report


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Exclusive: Atlanta to reform bail system jailing some too poor to pay
Exclusive: Atlanta to reform bail system jailing some too poor to pay

Atlanta’s new mayor is pushing to eliminate the use of cash bail for poor defendants accused of low-level offenses. The move comes after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that some indigent people were spending months in the crowded Fulton County Jail for nuisance crimes like panhandling and disorderly conduct. The Southern Center for...
Suspect accused of killing man during meetup surrenders
Suspect accused of killing man during meetup surrenders

Nearly two months after a man was killed while selling his video game console during a meetup, authorities have arrested the suspected trigger man, East Point police said Monday.  Quantavious Poole, 21, was booked into the Fulton County jail Sunday after surrendering. Police say he shot and killed 24-year-old Larry Stewart, according to jail records...
City of Atlanta to conduct annual homeless count
City of Atlanta to conduct annual homeless count

The city of Atlanta Continuum of Care has launched the 2018 annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count this week through Jan. 28. The Atlanta PIT Homeless Count helps to identify vulnerable groups by conducting surveys that collect demographic characteristics, homeless experiences and history, and other vital information. The homeless count is crucial for...
Powder Springs Town Hall postponed to Jan. 30
Powder Springs Town Hall postponed to Jan. 30

Due to the icy weather, the Powder Springs Town Hall has been postponed from Jan. 18 to Jan. 30 - also at 7 p.m. at the Ford Center Reception Hall, 4181 Atlanta St., Powder Springs behind the Powder Springs Library. During that meeting, final plans on the new downtown park and parking are to be presented by Powder Springs officials. After the Jan....
Atlanta Motor Speedway rolling out new bar, hospitality event space 
Atlanta Motor Speedway rolling out new bar, hospitality event space 

The Atlanta Motor Speedway is adding a new bar and hospitality area to its grandstand to add more year-round options to visitors. The “Restart Bar” is being added to the Hampton destination about 20 rows above the track in the Earnhardt Grandstand, Speedway officials announced on Monday. The bar, which will open in late February...
More Stories