DeKalb County’s interim CEO gathered a group of north DeKalb residents and public officials to debate whether the county should get rid of his job.

Interim CEO Lee May said the Nov. 21 discussion was the first of several planned across the county to debate whether the county should rethink its CEO form of government.

“Whether it’s to change or not to change, we have to open this dialogue,” said May, who has publicly said he thinks the county should change its form of government and eliminate the CEO post. May hold a seat on the DeKalb County Commission before his appointment to replace suspended CEO Burrell Ellis, who faces trial on corruption charges.

“There’s no perfect system,” Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) said during a break from the discussions. “Most people think of the Cobb or Gwinnett model, but they’ve had their problems, too.”

More than 80 people, including state lawmakers and city council members from both Brookhaven and Dunwoody, took part in small group discussions at Dunwoody High School on Nov. 21 about whether the county’s form of government should change and, if so, what it should be.

Brookhaven City Councilman Jim Eyre welcomed the discussion. “I think [May] has a conviction that something needs to happen,” Eyre said. “He’s clearly not just jumping into it. He’s trying to find the best route and involving as many as he can.”

Several people questioned whether the role of the county should change as cities such as Dunwoody and Brookhaven are created to deliver services formerly provided by the county government.

“What people really want is better outcomes,” May told the group. “You want a better government. You want a government that is responsive to your needs. Whether you are on the side of change or the side of staying the same, people want better outcomes.”

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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.