Two with ties to suspended CEO relieved of posts
Ken Watts | 4/25/2014, 8:20 p.m.
DeKalb Purchasing Director Kelvin Walton has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of suspended CEO Burrell Ellis’ trial, and an acting director will take his position on April 28.
Walton, named an unindicted co-conspirator in Ellis’ case, was one of two county employees relieved of their posts on April 21 by interim CEO Lee May.
Nina Hall, Ellis’ former secretary who was a special projects manager in DeKalb Watershed Management, also was put on paid leave.
Walton makes $153,000 a year and Hall, $75,000.
May said the two had become a distraction for the county and their presence was hurting its ability to rebuild public trust. He said they were “one big cloud” that just kept him up at night.
“We want to show the public that we are making the tough decisions,” he said.
Hall testified before the special purpose grand jury that indicted Ellis in June 2013 on 14 felony counts of theft by extortion and theft by taking that Walton took money from vendors and funneled it to her while she served on at least 15 selection committees for county projects.
The indictment alleges that Ellis directed Walton to prevent county vendor Power and Energy Inc. from getting additional work from the county and to place a note in their files that they do not return telephone calls.
Ellis was suspended by Gov. Nathan Deal on July 16, 2013. He also is receiving his full annual salary of $150,000.
Ellis is accused of shaking down county vendors for campaign contributions in exchange for county business. He is scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 8.
Scott Callan, president and co-founder of CalStrat Consulting LLC, a Suwanee-based supply management advisory consulting firm, will become acting purchasing director on April 28.
Burke Brennan, the county’s press secretary, said Thursday that contract details were being finalized but that he is expected to make about the same salary as Walton.
Callan’s firm specializes in third-party contract negotiations, advisory services, and training. He is a former Gwinnett County purchasing director and has 14 years of public-sector contracting, procurement and budget experience.
May said Callan is well-qualified to head the department.
“Scott Callan is a consummate professional that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring the highest quality of best practices are maintained in the DeKalb County Purchasing and Contracting Department,” he said.