Resident complaints that the state’s third largest-county has been limping along for years aren’t likely to calm despite a growing sense that indicted DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis is on his way out.
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Gov. Nathan Deal said his office received the indictment on Thursday morning. He must appoint a panel in two weeks to consider whether to suspend the CEO. The commission has another 14 days to make a recommendation to the governor. Only if the panel recommends suspension can the governor remove him.
Ellis maintained several scheduled meetings on Thursday. However, he kept a low profile again around the media and did not show up to a meeting at the county’s sanitation headquarters with several dozen workers who have raised concerns about pay and working conditions in their bid to form a union.
Key government positions
County executive - Called the county manager in Cobb, county administrator in Gwinnett and chief assistant or chief operating officer in DeKalb, this person handles most of the daily business of government. Only DeKalb, with its CEO, has a single person atop this job.
Cobb Manager David Hankerson has served since February, 1993 and is the state’s longest serving manager.
DeKalb Chief Operating Officer Zachary Williams has served since December, after four years working as Fulton County Manager.
Gwinnett Administrator has served since September 2009, after previously working as the county’s planning director and in the Gwinnett law department.
Fulton County appointed R. David Ware as interim manager in January, after Williams left for DeKalb.
Cobb Chief John Houser was named chief in August 2010.
DeKalb Police Chief Cedric Alexander in April. His predecessor served three years as chief, including one as interim.
Gwinnett Police Chief Charlie Walters has served since September 2003.
Fulton Police Chief Cassandra Jones was named chief in 2007.
Cobb appointed Rob Hosack as Community Development Director, its version of planning director, in March 1999 after four months as the interim director.
DeKalb appointed Andrew Baker, the associate director of the county’s planning and sustainability office, to director in May. He served as interim director for more than a year before an acting director was named for about 14 months.
Gwinnett appointed Planning and Development Director Bryan Lackey in March 2012, after he served as a deputy director and manager in the department.
Fulton does not have a “cabinet level” planning director.
Residents and business owners have long complained about service problems that range from a lack of police officers on the street to lengthy delays in securing permits to basic upkeep at county parks. Experts say that changeover among the 20 different cabinet-level directors who have worked under CEO Burrell Ellis in the past five years have contributed to, and are a product of, such struggles. Those challenges remain even if Gov. Nathan Deal decides to remove Ellis.