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21 applicants seek interim District 5 Commission seat

7/11/2014, 6 a.m.
Candidates for the interim DeKalb District 5 Commission seat include (top row, from left) Markus Butts, Geraldine Champion, Faye Coffield, Tarnisha Dent, Gina Mangham, (bottom row, L-R) Randal Mangham, Melvin Mitchell, Angela Moore, Joscelyn O'Neal and Kathryn Rice.

Twenty-one people have thrown their hats in the ring for the appointment to serve as interim DeKalb District 5 commissioner.

The county did not release the names of the applicants who met the July 3 deadline for consideration to replace Commissioner Lee May, who has been serving as interim CEO since July 16, 2013.

In a press release issued late Thursday, May’s office said that the list of applicants is being reviewed to ensure all candidates meet the minimum qualifications of being at least 21 years of age, a citizen of this state, a resident of the geographic area encompassed by District 5 at the time of application for appointment, and a resident of DeKalb County for at least 12 months prior to appointment.

County press secretary Burke Brennan did not respond to questions about when the list of applicants would be made public, but earlier in the day, he said the appointment was a personnel matter and the names of applicants were not subject to publication.

When CrossRoadsNews reminded him that a commissioner is not an employee of the county, Brennan said he would check with the county Law Department and get back to the newspaper.

He never did.

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Rosalind Newell

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Rahn Mayo

May said a citizen panel of Lisa Allen, a Lithonia resident and community activist; Rosalind Newell, a Stone Mountain resident and attorney; and state Rep. Rahn Mayo will review all qualified applicants and narrow the field to two qualified candidates.

May will recommend one of those candidates to the Board of Commissioners for the appointment.

“I expect to have the panel’s recommendations by the end of the month, then be able to make a nomination to the Board of Commissioners within the first two weeks of August, if not sooner,” May said.

The appointed interim District 5 commissioner will serve the district of 145,000 residents until suspended CEO Burrell Ellis returns to his position or is permanently removed from office.

Gov. Nathan Deal suspended Ellis from office on July 16, 2013, after he was indicted on theft and racketeering charges for allegedly shaking down county vendors for campaign donations.

Ellis’ trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 8.

The Georgia Legislature passed SB 367 on March 20 to provide representation for the district after Deal tapped May, the district’s commissioner, to be interim CEO.

The interim District 5 commissioner shall receive the $38,374-a-year salary paid to elected commissioners.