DeKalb County plans to hire 480 more police officers and 300 more firefighters in the next three years — and give those already in uniform a one-time bonus by year’s end — under a plan laid out Wednesday by interim DeKalb CEO Lee May.
Making his first community address since taking over the county’s top job from suspended CEO Burrell Ellis, May said his three-year plan shows a renewed commitment to public safety after years of complaints from workers and residents alike. May spoke exclusively with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his plans just before making them public.
“It is time now to put our money where our mouth is,” May said. “We can’t afford not to do this.”
Cost will be an issue to the plan. For instance, the 3 percent bonus for the 1,700 county police officers, firefighters, marshals and sheriff’s deputies who earn up to $60,000 a year will cost taxpayers $980,000. May proposes using money in savings to cover that tab.
More challenging will be paying to hire 160 police officers and 100 firefighters every year and finding the money to allow merit pay raises for the first time since 2008.
May said he is willing to further reduce services elsewhere in the county as he readies the 2014 budget. Those cuts will be part of a larger overhaul to focus on specific services such as public safety and potentially turn over other programs to cities or stop them entirely.
Read tomorrow’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution or www.myajc.com for more details.