Burrell Ellis, DeKalb County CEO

Gov. Nathan Deal has announced he will suspend indicted DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis.

Deal’s office said in a press release the governor has appointed DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May to serve as interim CEO.

Deal said he was following the recommendation of a panel that reviewed whether Ellis should stay in the job despite the indictment accusing him of trying to extort campaign contributions from companies that did business with DeKalb County.

“I agree with the bipartisan panel of elected officials that the allegations against Burrell Ellis directly relate to and adversely affect his ability to carry out his duties as DeKalb CEO,” Deal said in the press release. “I will therefore sign an executive order to suspend him from office until his term ends or until the case against him is adjudicated. The responsibility to suspend and replace elected officials is one that I do not relish, but one I will not shy away from.

“The laws of Georgia give the governor the authority to appoint an interim official, but with my appointment, I will respect the spirit of the local statute which calls for the commission chairman to succeed the CEO should the office come open. I gave this appointment thoughtful consideration and I was looking for a leader who had already won approval from DeKalb voters and knows how the county operates. The new CEO meets these criteria, and I thank him for his willingness to serve.”

Brian Robinson

brobinson@georgia.gov

Stephanie Mayfield

smayfield@georgia.gov

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.