A long-time South DeKalb community activist, George Turner, has been nominated to fill DeKalb County’s District 5 seat on the Board of Commissioners. The nomination, announced Aug. 11 by Interim CEO Lee May, must be approved by the board before Turner officially takes on the position. As the appointed interim commissioner for District 5, Turner will represent about 140,000 residents.
May stepped down from the District 5 post last year to accept Gov. Nathan Deal’s appointment as DeKalb’s Interim CEO after Burrell Ellis was suspended and indicted on racketeering charges.
“I can’t speak to the appointment in detail because nothing is final, but I am excited and just the possibility of me representing this District is a huge honor,” said Turner, who serves as president of the South Lithonia Neighborhood Coalition. “I’ve been ripping and running everywhere since that announcement. I may not answer the calls right away, but I appreciate all the calls, Facebook messages and positive support.”
Turner is a board member of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, where he lives, and has also served as the president of the DeKalb County Commission District 5 Community Council. He is a former general superintendent of MARTA.
May says the nomination was a tough decision because the two finalists his three-member appointed citizen panel presented to him have more than two decades as community activists and volunteers.
“Let me say first that this was not an easy pick by any means. Both, Mr. Turner and Kathryn Rice’s, were very impressive,” said May. “I truly trusted the citizen panel and their recommendations of Turner and Kathryn Rice, who is president of Building Quality Communities, from a slate of 20 applicants for the job. After interviewing both candidates, I believe I made the right decision.”
DeKalb County Commissioners voted on Aug. 12 to wait two weeks before deciding whether Turner should become the temporary commissioner for District 5.
May says he was impressed by Turner’s experience with budgets and annexations.
“Mr. Turner has experience supervising operations and budgets while at MARTA. He constantly deals with annexation possibilities with his roles in neighborhood associations,” said May.
May said it was important to make an appointment to temporarily fill the District 5 seat while he serves as interim CEO.
“This seat has been left vacant way to long and District 5 residents deserve someone to address their issues directly,” said May.
Commissioner Larry Johnson, who serves as presiding officer of the board, says the board will use the time between now and the next commissioners’ meeting to meet with Turner and discuss the position with him.
“I want all the commissioners, including myself, to use this time to meet with Mr. Turner. I wouldn’t say an interview as much as it will be independent discussions between Mr. Turner and my fellow commissioners,” said Johnson who represents DeKalb County’s District 3.
May and other officials are expecting the board to make a decision on Turner’s nomination by the next commissioners meeting on Aug. 26, 10 a.m. in the Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur.
View CEO Lee May’s YouTube video announcement on Turner’s appointment here