Commissioner Larry Johnson presented a comprehensive plan to increase the pay of our brave sworn public safety officers.
However, in a political move to misrepresent the facts and to undermine the intelligence of the people of DeKalb, Commissioner Burrell Ellis, in his attempt to gain notoriety and popularity, has betrayed the people of our county and has continually shown his neglect for the people's priorities - public safety and county services.
In previous weeks, we all went to various meetings and assemblies to hear from our constituents about adopting a plan that keeps you and your family safe, increasing the pay of our officers and maintaining our county services each and every day. In an overwhelming response, the residents of this county expressed tremendous support for Commissioner Johnson's public safety plan.
However, that day, Commissioner Ellis led a team of three other commissioners - Commissioners Rader, Boyer and Gannon - to adopt a plan that would drastically cut county services across the board and further reduce the county's budget. Under Commissioner Ellis' plan, several county departments would now be expected to maintain county services with these additional cuts. As your commissioners, we will not stand for a compromise of your services.
Services such as roads and drainage, senior services, libraries and parks and recreations would severely be reduced under Commissioner Ellis' plan. These proposed cuts would further delay the progress in districts across the county, especially South DeKalb, where road paving, infrastructure improvements, senior services and recreational programs for our youth have been nonexistent, ignored and unfunded in times past.
Additionally, his plan does not account for the county's existing financial debt obligation and our financial commitment towards supporting such regional institutions as Grady Hospital and MARTA. For us and our constituents, these services matter to our well-being and quality of life. Taking all this into consideration, we, as your elected officials, cannot "rob Peter to pay Paul." It is irresponsible and neglectful.
We voted against adopting Commissioner Ellis' tainted and unsubstantiated plan as he and the other commissioners failed to adopt the views of DeKalb's residents. Political grandstanding and positioning on Commissioner Ellis' behalf has left our brave officers and public safety personnel without the raises they need and deserve.
Please call your commissioners and express your thoughts and encourage them to support Commissioner Johnson's public safety plan that truly keeps the people of DeKalb County first.
Submitted by Commissioners Larry Johnson (District 3), Lee May (District 5) and Connie Stokes (District 7).