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This excerpt from DeKalb County’s Organizational Act addresses the county’s requirement to fill posts or vacancies in any public office or as a member of any public authority, board, commission, or other body or agency.

 

Our recent experience with the Board of Ethics appointment process and the interest DeKalb citizens showed in applying for that board led us to question how other County boards are being appointed and how citizens are being educated about and engaged with County government through these boards. What we have found so far indicates little public attention is being paid to these boards by either County officials or DeKalb citizens. Right now we have more questions than answers about how these boards are appointed and how they function. While we move forward with our research on this topic, we encourage you to review the overview of County boards that we have created.

Disclaimer: Information on vacancies and expired terms contained in the overview came from an official DeKalb County Government website. The County maintains this site and is responsible for any updates as membership and terms of service. DCAC makes no claims as to the accuracy of board/commission data for vacancies or expired terms.

If you are interested in serving on any of the boards, we encourage you to follow the instructions below to access the board’s information and to apply. We would also advise sending a copy of the application with a letter of interest to your commissioner.This overview of County boards outlines the boards that exist, who currently is assigned to serves on those boards, and the number of vacancies or expired terms. If you are interested in serving on any of the boards, we encourage you to follow the instructions below to access the board’s information and to apply. We would also advise sending a copy of the application with a letter of interest to your commissioner.

Click link below:

https://dekalbcountyga.granicus.com/boards/w/968f9572ef2211df

Step 1: Boards and Commissions names – Listed alphabetically Þ  Select name of desired boards and commissions.

Step 2: Access specific information for selected board(s) –

Click: Board Tab for description/purpose of boards/commissions, current vacancies, expired terms

Click: Member Roster Tab – lists membership names, appointing authorities, terms of appointment

Click: APPLY in right top of screen to submit an electronic application to serve on a desired board or commission

Press Release_Five Groups Endorse Ethics Referendum
Vote Yes _November 2020

 [Name of neighbor, friend, contact] 

On the DeKalb County ballot there will be a referendum to adopt changes which revise the Board of Ethics for the county.  DeKalb Citizens Advocacy Council, the group that opposed the previous referendum, supports this one.  You can find an in-depth explanation of the major changes and the reasons for support at this link:

https://mailchi.mp/d4f548b0d768/dcac-newsletter

As you have probably heard by now, revisions to the county’s Ethics Act were passed by the General Assembly and voters will have a chance to approve or disapprove of them in November.

Considering last year’s problematic revisions and those suggested by some legislators this year before the General Assembly’s recess due to the pandemic, we are relieved by the legislation that was passed. The many revisions which threatened the independence of the Board of Ethics and would have dramatically weakened its authority, policies and procedures were not included in the final bill.

In addition to actively working to encourage voters to pass the Ethics Act revision bill in November, we will be monitoring how the House and Senate delegations fulfill their appointment responsibilities. It is important that they make a public call for nominations and use a vetting process resulting in a board of diverse, qualified, and independent citizens from throughout the county.

Board Appointments

3 members will be appointed by the House legislative delegation
3 members will be appointed by the Senate legislative delegation
1 member will be appointed by the Tax Commissioner
2 Alternate Members will be appointed by the Clerk of Superior Court

You may be wondering why judges were not included in the appointment process.  It turns out that a 1995 opinion issued by the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) stated that judges should not  make appointments to or serve on Board of Ethics due to possible future conflicts if any of these matters were to result in litigation.  Ed Williams of Concerned Citizens for Effective Government uncovered this opinion (Opinion 222) and brought it to our attention.

Ethics Administrator

To respond to the unsubstantiated “judge-jury-executioner” criticism of how the Ethics Officer handled and investigated complaints, a new position was added to the staff of the ethics office.  An Ethics Administrator will receive and review complaints, notify the subjects of complaints that a complaint has been filed, and report the complaints to the Board for decision-making about further investigation by the Ethics Officer. The Ethics Administrator will be selected by the Board of Ethics and serve at the pleasure of the Board.  The Ethics Officer, at the direction of the Board, will continue to do preliminary investigations to determine jurisdiction and probable cause, in addition to pursuing previously mandated duties, including educating and training county employees and officials, advising officials and employees regarding disclosure statements, urging compliance with the code of ethics, and monitoring and acting upon information obtained from the “ethics hotline.”

Addition to Proscribed Conduct re Receipt of Gifts

The legislators added a new subsection that states no employee of the Purchasing and Contracting Department shall accept any gift of value from anyone who has had or may be anticipated to have any business with or before the department.  This was already in effect, but it will now be added to the code.

Recusal

An addition was made to the section dealing with Disclosure of Interests in which officials or employees with a potential conflict of interest in a matter shall recuse themselves from participating or taking any official acts or actions in any manner of the county affected by that individual’s conflict of interest. This, too, has been policy, but will now be in the code.

DeKalb-Ethics Board Issue Highlights Importance of Voter Education