The following is from a June 5 post by state Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven) at his Web site,, regarding Sembler’s effort to get a 20-year tax abatement for Town Brookhaven.

I want to clarify that I do not blame Sembler for looking after its business interests.

I do, however, believe that Gene “$18K” Walker should be made to understand the intractable conflict of interest between his dual service as chairman of the DeKalb Development Authority and as a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education.

The public should call or e-mail every other member of the Board of Education and ask them to insist that Dr. Walker allow them to vote on the Sembler tax abatement.

Word is spreading that CEO Burrell Ellis may insist that the Board of Commissioners be given the right to vote on the proposal. He could make this happen because he appoints the members of the Development Authority.

Shouldn’t the Board of Education have that same right? After all, the school system could stand to lose more property tax revenues than the county if these tax abatements go forward.

Both the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners should have the right to vote on the Sembler proposal. If Dr. Walker disagrees with that, then he should have to answer to his colleagues on the Board of Education for his refusal to let them vote. He has sufficient power and influence over the affairs of the Development Authority to hold up the tax abatement until the Board of Education weighs in.

You can make that happen. Please contact the members of the Board of Education and ask them to ask Dr. Walker to let them vote. Those members are Tom Bowen, chairman; Zepora Roberts, vice chairwoman; Jim Redovian, Dist. 1; Don McChesney, Dist. 2; Sarah Copelin-Wood, Dist. 3; Paul Womack, Dist. 4; Jay Cunningham, Dist. 5; Pamela Speaks, Dist. 8. Contact information is available at

Mike Jacobs