By Matt Robbins
I attended the meeting with the acting CEO Lee May last Thursday – about 100 + people attended at the Tucker Library.
He is Interim Acting – and is not sure how long that will continue (all depends on the status of Burrell Ellis’ legal issues). His own district (District 5 encompassing Lithonia, etc. is vacant as well – so there are six Commissioners now).
First thing he did was move his offices into the same building as the commissioners – to emphasize a working relationship.
He listed a series of priorities:
Public safety – officers are leaving. The county needs to fill all authorized position. Presently there are 1100 authorized; 1000 of these positions are funded, and 915 are filled so immediately he is seeking to hire an additional 85 and then seek more funds to get to the authorized level.
Economic development – jobs; the county needs an economic development professional separated from politics.
Permit system - needs to be reworked; why does it take so long to get proper permits.
2014 budget - how does the county budget for technology, and how does the county raise more reserves.
Beautification efforts – important.
Legislative agenda – how does the county work toward annexing/incorporating properly.
He took a series of questions for about 80 minutes: on milage rates – how to deal with them when property values get back to where they were years ago.. On relationship with School Board – which often moves at its own agenda without partnering with the county government (he has met with Michael Thurmond to discuss improving that.) On flooding along Peachtree Creek.. On traffic in the emory area and in south DeKalb.. On collection of unpaid fees/fines… On zoning code rewrite.. On seeking federal grants – remember feds often require a match.. On the building of cell towers at nine county schools: not county decision but school board one. On environmental balance.
All praised the police for their response at McNair the other day, and their ongoing work – also praised sanitation workers for their work.
Overall it was a very good meeting – but again he is interim and not sure how much he will be able to accomplish.