A DeKalb County citizen is challenging Lee May for holding down positions as DeKalb County’s interim CEO and the Board of Commission’s District 5 seat.
DeBaun & Associates filed the complaint with the DeKalb County Board of Ethics on behalf of a DeKalb citizen, Rhea Johnson.
The Board of Ethics initially dismissed the complaint at its Feb. 5 meeting, saying it didn’t have the authority to make a decision on the matter, but the board ended up tabling the issue on advice from its attorney. Johnson said he and his attorney plan to resubmit the complaint and provide additional information to the board.
“It is not acrimonious. We just don’t believe that he (May) is acting in an ethical manner by trying to occupy two seats at the same time,” said Johnson.
May said he has not seen the complaint, but found it disappointing that someone would file an ethics complaint for serving in a role that he was asked to do.
Said May: “The situation that I’m in is unprecedented. Neither the state nor the county has ever dealt with this before. The governor appointed me to the position of interim CEO. I was thrust in the position. I didn’t set out to be interim CEO.”
Gov. Nathan Deal appointed May last year as interim CEO while suspending Burrell Ellis, who is embroiled in a court case facing corruption charges.
May said Georgia’s Attorney General has been asked to weigh in on the matter and he is waiting for that opinion.
There has been mounting pressure to fill May’s seat on the Board of Commissioners by some constituents who say they are not being represented since May was appointed interim CEO.
The seven-member board must have four votes to pass legislation and other measures.
May maintains that constituents in his district, are being represented and their concerns are being addressed.
“I can still vote to break a tie and as interim CEO, I can also veto anything I think is detrimental,” said May, who has not had to intervene so far.
May also said that constituents still have access to him and his staff.
“As interim CEO, I am in an even better authority to address their concerns,” said May.
Johnson said he believes May is operating on his own. Johnson is challenging the fact that May has appointed an employee to serve both, the Board of Commissioners, and the Administrative branch.
“It is unclear if the CEO has such authority but such action certainly raises ethics questions for such acts,” Johnson stated in the complaint.