Burrell Ellis has been reinstated as CEO of DeKalb County after the state Supreme Court overturned his conviction for perjury and extortion saying he did not receive a fair trial.
Ellis’ term ends the end of December when newly-elected DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond set to take over in January, according to ajc.com.
The high court’s opinion was issued Nov. 30.
DeKalb County spokesperson Andrew Cauthen said this afternoon that Ellis has not returned to work. When he does return to work, he will receive back pay.
“A check for $104,380, after taxes and deductions, has been written and is available for Mr. Ellis to pick once he returns to work,” Cauthen said.
DeKalb County Attorney O.V. Brantley told interim CEO Lee May and the Board of Commissioners in a Dec. 9 memo that “the state suspension statute provides that a suspended county official shall be immediately reinstated to office if his conviction is overturned as the result of an appeal.”
County commissioner Nancy Jester of Dunwoody said that because May’s appointment was made via an executive order from Gov. Nathan Deal, the court’s ruling supersedes the order.
“It is my understanding that once the Georgia Supreme Court releases certain documents to the DeKalb Superior Court, that Mr. Ellis will be immediately reinstated. As Mr. May holds the CEO office pursuant to an executive order from the Governor that is dependent on the legal status of Mr. Ellis, that order would be preempted by this verdict,” she said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with whoever is CEO to improve the quality of life through improved service delivery and fiscal responsibility,” Jester said.
Ellis was convicted in July 2015 of perjury and attempting to extort a campaign contribution from a county vendor. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Gov. Deal suspended Ellis from the county CEO position and May took over as interim CEO. Ellis served eight months in jail.