After DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown announced his plans to start an exploratory committee to consider his chances at challenging Hank Johnson for the 4th District Congressional seat, he spoke candidly about Gov. Nathan Deal removing another elected official in the county.
Tuesday Deal suspended Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis. In February he removed six DeKalb County school board members.
"It's a difficult time for DeKalb County. The issues with the CEO's office, the school board issue, all of that is painting DeKalb County in a light that is not a good light," said Brown. "I'm very concerned about our county in that regard."
Ellis said during the suspension, he will devote his time fighting the criminal charges he's facing. He's allegedly tried to force vendors who do business with the county to donate to his campaign.
He's also accused of forcing county employees to work on his campaign during business hours. Those charges are spelled out in a 15-count indictment.
"I think we need to wait and hear the evidence. I know the district attorney is very thorough in his deliberations, but no one should rush to judgment at this point," said Brown. "There is too much going on, there is too much at stake."
Commissioner Lee May is now the county's interim CEO. He will run the county until Ellis' case is resolved or his term is up, whichever happens first. Ellis has three years left in office
"Burrell had a very promising career. I hope that career in politics will continue because I think he is a good public servant. I wish him the best," said Brown. "I hope these charges are not true, but if they are, then the process works as it should be, and we will recover from this and move on."
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