Cobb has held to a higher standard out of the mire
June 22, 2013 11:49 PM | 3032 views | 4 4 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What a difference a few miles — and higher community expectations — make.

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted last week on multiple corruption charges, including trying to extort campaign contributions from companies and their employees. He’s also said to have told the county’s head of purchasing to make sure companies got no county business if they failed to respond to his solicitations and had not contributed to his campaign.

Ellis claims he is innocent of the charges, but a jury will decide.

Meanwhile, former DeKalb Schools Superintendent Crawford Lewis is accused of racketeering and former DeKalb Sheriff Sidney Dorsey is serving a life sentence for the murder of his successor, Derwin Brown.

And don’t forget that Gov. Nathan Deal was compelled to remove six of the nine members of the DeKalb school board after an accrediting body put the system on probation in connection with the board’s nepotism, fiscal mismanagement and intimidation.

Over in Gwinnett County the headlines last June involved the sudden resignation of county Commissioner Shirley Lasseter after pleading guilty to taking $36,500 in bribes. She was the third commissioner, including Chairman Charles Bannister, to resign there in just two years as part of an ongoing FBI investigation.

Across the river in Atlanta, 65 educators including former Superintendent Beverly Hall have been indicted as part of an alleged cheating ring aimed at raising test scores. And let’s not forget Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who was sent to prison on tax evasion charges and was later disbarred.

Sadly, residents of many parts of metro Atlanta are becoming accustomed to seeing their elected leaders led away in handcuffs.

Thankfully, Cobb County is not one of those places. Not yet, anyway.

Cobb’s halls of government seem to lack a culture of criminality that is found — and often winked at — in so many other places in metro Atlanta and around the country. For one thing, this newspaper (and at times other media) has had an avid appetite for rooting out and heading off such dealings.

Cobb County’s elected leaders have had their stumbles through the decades, but they in virtually every case have been errors of judgment, not errors of criminality. We suspect most county residents would have very little patience if those errors were of the latter category.

Although the MDJ has been forceful in advocating for and demanding government transparency and honesty, we have merely been reflecting the desires and standards of those who live here — and we’re confident they have no desire to see Cobb follow many of its neighbors into the mire.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
June 26, 2013
As if every politician in Georgia did not demand political contributions from any company wanting to get onto the "hire" list. This whole thing smells real, REAL bad, and not on Ellis' side.

Why would Ellis himself be charged with anything if the contributions are going to his campaign? His campaign would be charged if this were anything other than personal. It would be a crime of a corporation.

Ellis clearly didn't play somebody's game, and that somebody is far more likely to be somebody who who needs to go to jail.

HEy MDJ why don't put your money where your mouth is and let your bite for once in a very long time be something like your yappy dog bark: Let's see all contributions to all Cobb commissioners' campaigns lined up with a list of all companies hired by the Cobb county government. Don't forget to report the dollar values of the contributions and the dollar values of the contracts!!! Otherwise it could look as if plenty of companies were hired without contributing, even though their job was $200 one time. What does it take to get a BIG contract such as building the new court house that can be entirely put out onto the street with a single phone call? It's a miracle A.J.King hasn't driven the local Mexicans to prank calling the court house every day with their throw-away phones bought with stolen credit card numbers!
Pat H
June 23, 2013
Perhaps Gwinnett, DeKalb and Atlanta have District Attorneys who are willing to investigate their governments. Cobb's former DA could not even put Dwight Brown in jail yet and the former Chair is now Attorney General.

The incestuous relationship between the Chamber and Cobb's Commission has surprisingly evaded scrutiny.
Joseph Pond
June 23, 2013
Not yet, anyway...
June 24, 2013
Oh are you referring to your ongoing chicken saga with Birrell?
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