Michael Thurmond
Michael Thurmond

Former DeKalb Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond says he plans to run for the post of county CEO.

“We need to restore confidence in DeKalb County government, and I trust my candidacy will be a step forward in uniting and strengthening our county,” Thurmond said in a press release issued Feb. 16.

Thurmond argued his experience with DeKalb’s schools showed he can restore confidence in a government divided politically and with a reputation damaged by scandal. “No doubt we have the skill sets needed to change the direction of the county,” he said in a phone interview Feb. 16.

He said his first goal as CEO would be to “rebuild trust and open lines of communication” with all parts of the community.

Thurmond, who has also served as a state Labor Commissioner and director of the state Department of Children and Family Services,

Thurmond said he wanted to work with all areas of the county to restore faith in DeKalb’s government, which has been rocked by scandals, including the conviction last year of former CEO Burrell Ellis on an attempted extortion charge. Ellis was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Ellis’ successor, Interim CEO Lee May, recently announced he would not seek election to the post.

Some state lawmakers are pushing to eliminate the CEO post. Asked whether he worried that the job might not be there should he win election, Thurmond said current legislation would not do away with the position before 2020.