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Ellis: ‘There’s a dark cloud that remains over DeKalb County’

Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones interviewed suspended county CEO Burrell Ellis during a recent radio show on WAOK. File Photo

DeKalb County is under a dark cloud.

That’s what suspended DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis said during an interview with former CEO Vernon Jones Dec. 20 on radio station WAOK. Jones was a guest host for what he called a “historic” meeting of “one CEO to the other.”

Ellis was suspended from office in June 2013 by Gov. Nathan Deal after being indicted on corruption charges.

“We’re looking forward to full vindication,” Ellis said during the live radio show. “I look forward to the day of returning to the office that they elected me to serve. I want to finish the job…that God called me to and that the people entrusted in me.

“But there’s a dark cloud that remains over DeKalb County until that day when I return to office,” Ellis said. “We need to go ahead and remove that cloud and I’m looking forward to that.”

Ellis said holding public office is a trust with constituents.

“I would never violate their trust,” he said. “It’s a sacred trust. It’s something I was taught by my parents. It’s something that my wife and I believe in and are passing on to our children.

“People who know me know that I would never do anything wrong,” Ellis said. “And I haven’t done anything wrong in this instance.”

In addition to Ellis’ legal woes, Jones and Ellis discussed various county issues, including cityhood and the proposal to change the county’s form of government.

Ellis said he is not opposed to the creation of new cities but is “against what amounts to a resegregation and a separation of a community that is known for its diversity.”

“We’re not against people having an extra layer of government if they want to have a layer of government and services brought closer to them,” Ellis said. “But this is about the syphoning of resources away from county government.

“Why is that important?” he asked. “Because county government still has to run the court system. County government still has to run the libraries. County government still has to run the elections and make sure that those are fair. County government still has to [monitor] public health and the public hospitals and to run the sheriff’s office and deliver community services and, quite frankly, deliver the bulk of the infrastructure—sidewalks, and our water and sewer systems—that we depend on.”

Jones said the cityhood movement is becoming divisive.

“There are good people in this county who are being separated by those who are playing on their fears and they are dividing us,” Jones said. “[With] the creation of these new cities, you’re literally seeing government being bleached. They’re literally creating White cities, putting White communities against south DeKalb.

“They’re syphoning off resources,” he said. “It’s now gotten to the point where you want to do independent school systems for each of these cities. It’s like it’s resegregation all over again.”

Ellis said he is concerned about some of the talk about changing the form of government.

“My vision for DeKalb County was that the people’s priority would be the priority of their local government,” he said. “The people’s priority is not to change the government.

“DeKalb County has separation of powers,” Ellis said. “One should ask him or herself if separation of powers and checks and balances are good enough for our federal government, the greatest democracy known to humankind, if it’s good enough for our state government, if it’s good enough for cities all across America and one out of four–most metropolitan counties—in the United States of America, why would separation of powers not be good for DeKalb County?

“Where would checks and balances be if we got rid of the executive branch of government?” he asked.

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9 Comments

  1. Herman Lorenz says:

    If someone had told me this was on the Onion, I would have believed them. I can’t believe that a serious newspaper would report as a serious article one indicted crook interviewing another indicted crook. Remarkably, they both claim innocence.

    Next week, perhaps you can have Anthony Weiner interviewing Lindsey Lohan about personal restraint and mature behavior.

  2. Iva Ben Hadd says:

    Yep ! = TIME FOR THE ” RACE CARD ” ! = Where better than WACKO Radio ?

  3. Keith Hanks says:

    Briarcliff has logical borders that run along 285 drawn in a way that leave no residents behind. It will be a diverse city that merges several communities in unincorporated DeKalb and takes takes the best ideas of Democrats and Republicans. Most money from Briarcliff goes back to the county, including for schools, which remains county-run. Briarcliff can be a good partner to the county. It is outright insulting to hear terms like “dark cloud,” “government being bleached,” and “resegregation.” Maybe this wasn’t intended for Briarcliff, but such a generalization is insulting and should be retracted. Burrell Ellis is part of the driver of so many cityhood movements. Ellis had years to implement an independent auditor to the county. He didn’t. Turns out he might have been a corrupt guy. I’m not willing to spend the next 10-20 years hoping DeKalb County finds a way to get it right.

  4. Tim DeBardelaben says:

    I am white. I am not sure about all the cities trying to be formed in my county. What nobody wants to say is can you blame people for wanting to do something different when CEO of county is under indictment for racketeering and the former school superintendent is convicted with the COO of the DCSS. Also look at BOE when it turned down Druid Hills Charter cluster. Who had to be physically removed from meeting? The only true diversity in Dekalb is in central Dekalb

  5. Turk McKinnon says:

    Come on guys. Lets please face reality. The simple truth here is that a great number of Dekalbs residents are unhappy with the quality of government that they are, and have been, receiving for two decades. Our school board has to be removed by the govenor…..our County CEO is under indictment…our roads are embarrassing…well, you get my drift. We do not need to wait for our current government officials to try and correct these shortcomings, they haven’t proven that they are not qualified…now is the time for those unhappy county residents to vote for the changes that they want…procrastination is not the answer, change is. Lets not hide behind “the race card”, lets face “truth and reality”.

  6. William Olsen says:

    These two power hungry, profiteering scumbags will say or do anything to attempt to clear their names and tarnished reputations. How said for Ellis to drag his children into his corrupt mess? How sad for those of us in Dekalb to endure their racists garbage when there are groups that are trying hard to make Dekalb a better place again with schools that we all (black, white, Latino, Asian) can be proud of? When will the prosecutors finally follow the grand jury’s recommendation and indict Jones and his crooked cohorts.

  7. James Victim says:

    And the DA is a criminal

  8. Linwood says:

    Thanks for the brand new approach on this content. A really good piece
    of writing.

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  1. […] backlash in comments here and on other sites after a Dec. 20 WAOK radio interview in which former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones interviewed suspended CEO Burrell Ellis, who is under indictment on c… Both decried the cityhood movement as divisive and said it amounts to “resegregation” […]

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