DeKalb County, Georgia

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DeKalb County is one of 159 counties in Georgia. Its county seat is Decatur.

Evaluation of website

Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Public records
Local taxes
County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

Main article: Evaluation of Georgia county websites

The good

  • Budget information is posted.[1]
  • Meeting information is available including agendas and minutes.[2]
  • Information on the County Commissioners is posted.[3]
  • Administrators and contact information are listed.[3]
  • Building and zoning information is provided[4].
  • Annual financial reports are provided back to 2003.[5]
  • Property taxes and bills can be searched and paid online.[6]
  • County contracts are listed.[7]
  • The county lists what lobbying associations it is a member of.[8]
  • The website includes information on filing open records requests, along with contact information.[9]
  • The website should includes a page for tax information, including state "fees" such as drivers' licenses.[10]


According to a budget presentation for 2011 provided on the DeKalb County website, recommended increases in the budget focused on the sheriff's department and court system, the parks and recreation department, and the county library system. Transportation and road works would take a significant hit in those budget recommendations. Total, spending would decrease by 0.8% for 2011.[11]

On May 18, 2011, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported that DeKalb County could slash as much as an additional $20 million to $25 million from the 2011 budget because of falling property values and a depressed tax base. County Commissioner Lee May told WSB-TV that taxpayers could anticipate a possible tax rate hike as a result. The county commissioners court has 60 days to approve changes to the budget and tax rate, and three public hearings must be held in that time period.[12]


DeKalb County received and distributed $240,770,553 in federal stimulus dollars through the Federal Reinvestment and Recovery Act in 2009. Information on distribution of these funds was published in a county newsletter from County Commissioner Lee May in October 2009.[13]

In June 2010, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that DeKalb County commissioners approved the use of $36 million in federal stimulus bonds to aid the transformation of a former General Motors plant into a mixed-use urban center.[14].

Public Employees

Elected Officials

DeKalb County is administered by a full-time Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, legislative policy is set by a seven member Board of Commissioners. The Chief Executive Officer is elected county-wide and the Commissioners are each elected by district. The Chief Executive and the Commissioners serve four-year staggered terms. The Chief Executive Officer has the exclusive power to supervise, direct, and control the administration of County Government. The Board of Commissioners' primary responsibilities are to adopt an annual budget and to levy a tax rate and service charge structure sufficient to balance the budget; to rule on requests to rezone property; and to adopt and amend the County Code.[15]

In January 2010, DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton came under scrutiny when it was discovered that several warrants had been issued for her arrest, following a series of bad checks.[16] Commissioner Sutton is serving a four-year term, having first been elected in 2008.

Title Name Salary Time with County Party Affiliation Other
Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis unknown First elected 2008 Democrat
District 1 Elaine Boyer unknown First elected 1996 Republican
District 2 Jeff Rader unknown First elected 2006 Democrat
District 3 Larry Johnson unknown First elected 2002 Democrat
District 4 Sharon Barnes Sutton unknown First elected 2008 Democrat
District 5 Lee May unknown First elected 2008 Democrat
Super District 6 Kathie Gannon unknown First elected 2004 Democrat
Super District 7 Stan Watson unknown First elected 2010 Democrat

Administrative Officials

Title Name Salary
BOC Chief of Staff Morris Williams unknown
Clerk to the CEO & BOC Barbara Sanders unknown
BOC Office Coordinator Terry Sanders unknown
BOC Receptionist Melanie Gresham-Smith unknown
Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Staff Vacant unknown
Director of Policy Research Jay Vinicki unknown
Policy Analyst T.J. Sigler unknown
Policy Analyst Vacant unknown


See also: Georgia government salaries

DeKalb County officials came under fire in 2010 for administrative staff pay raises, specifically in the CEO Office.[17] The highest reported salary hike was for CEO Burrell Ellis' receptionist, who received a 34% pay raise.


See also: Georgia public pensions

The DeKalb County Finance Department administers the pension plan for all county employees. All permanent officers, employees and deputies who perform any service for the benefit of DeKalb County for which they are paid a salary, including part-time employees and elected officials are required to participate in the DeKalb County Pension Plan.[18] Pension Board members include current employees, commissioners and pensioners. The board is composed of nine members, arranged thus:

Voting Members: Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County, two members elected by the Board of Commissioners, two members elected to a four-year term by the active participants in the plan, one member elected to a four-year term by the retired participants of the plan, and one member, appointed by the above six members

Non-Voting Members: Director of Finance, DeKalb County and Director of Merit System, DeKalb County

DeKalb County Pension Plan online

In 2010, several employees aged 50 and older were offered retirement buyouts, funded by the pension fund. 844 employees reportedly took the buyout.[19]

Emergency personnel

The DeKalb County Police Department was enacted by the General Assembly on August 17, 1914. Since the department's inception, there have been a total of 19 Police Chiefs that have paved the way for its success. The DeKalb County Police Department currently operates out of five area precincts. Within those six precincts are approximately 1,112 sworn police officers and 498 support staff employees.

Department Name Salary
Chief of Police Chief W. O'Brien unknown
Support Services Bureau Assistant Chief D. Holmes unknown
Field Operations Bureau Assistant Chief M. Yarbrough unknown
Special Operations Division Assistant Chief L. Gassner unknown
Criminal Investigations Division Assistant Chief A. Lane-Woodard unknown


See also: Georgia government sector lobbying

DeKalb County participates in the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). The ACCG engages in lobbying the Georgia state legislature.[20]. The ACCG is a member of the National Association of Counties, a national government sector lobbying organization.

According to, DeKalb County spent $20,000 on a lobbying contract with mCapitol Management in 2011. reports that DeKalb County lobbied the federal government on the following issues in 2011: federal appropriations, grants and municipality projects.[21]


The millage (property tax) rate is established by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in June. Tax rate information is available through the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner.

Total millage rates for 2010 by city in DeKalb County:

Entity General Opns Hospitals County Bonds Fire Special Svcs Unic Bonds County Total School Opns State City Millage CID Millage TOTAL
Unicorp 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 3.50 1.37 16.86 22.98 0.25 0.00 n/a 40.09
Avondale 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 2.12 0.00 14.11 22.98 0.25 11.00 n/a 48.34
Chamblee 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 0.86 0.00 12.85 22.98 0.25 7.95 n/a 44.03
Clarkston 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 1.79 0.00 13.78 22.98 0.25 11.313 n/a 48.323
Doraville 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 1.20 0.00 13.19 22.98 0.25 8.00 n/a 44.42
Dunwoody 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 0.00 1.37 13.36 22.98 0.25 2.74 n/a 39.33
Lithonia 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 1.86 0.00 13.85 22.98 0.25 13.178 n/a 50.258
Atlanta 8.00 0.96 0.57 0.00 0.00 0.00 9.53 0.00 0.25 34.634 n/a 44.414
Pine Lake 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 2.12 0.00 14.11 22.98 0.25 17.10 n/a 54.44
Stone Mountain 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 1.59 0.00 13.58 22.98 0.25 10.00 n/a 46.81
Decatur 8.00 0.96 0.57 0.00 1.13 0.00 10.66 0.00 0.25 32.935 n/a 43.845
Lenox PK 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 3.50 1.37 16.86 22.98 0.25 0.00 0.00 40.09
Perim CID S2 Dunwoody 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 0.00 1.37 13.36 22.98 0.25 2.74 4.00 43.33
Perim CID S3 UNINC 8.00 0.96 0.57 2.46 3.50 1.37 16.86 22.98 0.25 0.00 4.00 44.09

External links