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Thomas Brown opens campaign headquarters

 Jeffrey Mann set to take helm as DeKalb’s interim sheriff  

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L-R: Thomas Brown and Jeffrey Mann

Thomas Brown says he’s moving into full swing with his bid for Congress. He’s hosting a grand opening for his campaign headquarters on Feb. 1, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 3728 Lawrenceville Highway in Tucker.

DeKalb County will get a new interim sheriff in early March when Jeffrey Mann leaves his position as the Sheriff’s Office chief deputy to replace Brown, his long-time boss and mentor. 

The transition will mark the first time in 14 years the DeKalb Sheriff’s Office has had someone other than Brown at the helm.

Brown, who has served as sheriff since 2001 and has been a public servant for 28 years, is resigning to run for the Fourth Congressional District seat now held by Hank Johnson, who was elected to Congress in 2007 and is in his fourth term in office.  Johnson said he will seek re-election. Both candidates are Democrats.   

“We’re very excited about the grand opening. People will be able to pick up yard signs and sign up to volunteer. People are gearing up for a winning campaign,” said Brown. “They are ready for a change in direction and I’m looking forward to being a strong voice in Washington who will not just be waiting for something to happen but making something happen.”

Brown says he is looking forward to the qualifying period for the federal and state races scheduled March 3-7. As soon as Brown qualifies that week, Mann will be sworn in as interim sheriff until a special election is held on May 20. The winner of the special election will finish out Brown’s four-year term, which expires in 2016.

DeKalb Elections Supervisor Maxine Daniels said holding the special election on May 20, when the primaries for federal and state offices also will be held, will save the county money.  

“We won’t have to bear the expense of having the special election on another day,” said Daniels.

Mann says he is well prepared to lead the Sheriff’s Office.  

“For the last 12 years I have been working with Sheriff Brown to restore the professionalism of this office and I have been working with him for over 20 years including when he served as Public Safety Director,” said Mann, who currently oversees the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office, managing 860 employees full-time employees and a yearly budget of more than $78 million.   

Mann is facing six challengers. The race includes former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones, who is touting his experience in running the county and a desire to crack down on crime; former DeKalb Deputy Dale Bernard Collins; DeKalb Police Sgt. Romaldo Tony Hughes; retired Atlanta Police Lt. LaSalle Smith; Atlanta Police Sgt. Melvin Mitchell; and Georgia Piedmont Technical College Police Chief Melody Maddox.     

Brown said he is throwing his support behind Mann, whom he considers well qualified for the position. Mann has worked closely with Brown for more than 15 years, first as Brown’s director of Labor Relations and Legal Affairs, and then in 2004, he was promoted to Chief of Staff. His title was changed to Chief Deputy in 2006 after he completed his mandated training.     

Said Brown: “He has handled all of my administrative matters. He understands the contracting process and the bidding process. He understands good, sound personnel management. He clearly understands the budget. We always pride ourselves in turning money back over to the county every year that we don’t spend back. It’s been under his stewardship of managing that budget that we’ve been able to do that. We haven’t had a hint of scandal in this office in the 14 years I’ve been here and we want to continue that. Jeff Mann understands how this place operates and he will continue that legacy of good government.”   

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