DeKalb CEO recognized as administrator of the year for pandemic leadership

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond was recently recognized by a national organization for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators (ASPA), which has the mission of advancing excellence in public service through programs and networking, according to the organization’s website, has recognized Thurmond as the public administrator of the year for 2022.

ASPA is a 10,000-member national organization that provides professional services to those who study the implementation of government policy, public administration and programs of civil society, stated a news release.

“CEO Thurmond’s leadership during the pandemic and stewardship of DeKalb County resources is beyond reproach,” said Dr. Otilla Iancu, president of ASPA’s Georgia chapter.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Thurmond and other county officials have encouraged mask-wearing, increased vaccination rates, secured rent and mortgage assistance and offered food and supplies to those in need through campaigns and programs such as Get Vaxxed DeKalb and the Tenant-Landlord Assistance Coalition.

According to officials, during the COVID-19 pandemic DeKalb County government:

• Administered approximately 10,000 COVID-19 vaccinations during county events. Each person receiving a vaccination received a $100 prepaid debit card.
• Achieved nearly 67 percent of DeKalb County government employees being fully vaccinated, exceeding county, state and national rates. As a part of the Get Vaxxed campaign, the county provided information and $300 incentives to DeKalb County government employees who provided documentation that they had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 
• Distributed more than 36,000 COVID-19 home tests to residents and employees.
• Partnered with MARTA to wrap MARTA buses with the DeKalb Get Vaxxed logo.
• Secured popular spokespersons to share the messaging, including actor/comedian Chris Tucker, gospel singer Dottie Peoples and NBA legends Dikembe Mutombo and Dominique Wilkins.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the Georgia chapter of ASPA,” said Thurmond. “However, this prestigious honor must be shared with the board of commissioners and the 6,000 dedicated county employees who answered the call to serve during one of the most challenging periods in the history of our county. Teamwork and commitment are the keys to our success.”
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