Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cut from the same cloth

Sigh. This is beginning to get tiring. We have a school system and county leaders who not only won't work together for the greater good of the people (as in, those who pay their salaries), but seem to have a culture of greed, corruption and entitlement that knows no bounds.

From today's AJC:

Five employees in the DeKalb County CEO’s office and three county commissioners’ assistants got raises, despite other workers receiving a pay cut.

A joint investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News found 956 DeKalb employees got increases in pay last year, but the majority of them were from promotions.

Many of those increases also included new employees who got bumps in pay after completing a six-month probation period, records show.

“There is no across-the-board merit raise or cost of living adjustment because we haven’t had the budget for it,” said Burke Brennan, interim spokesman for the CEO. “All of the people who got raises were at the requests of their supervisors. And there were very few who got straight merit increases.”

Those “very few” include employees who work directly for CEO Burrell Ellis, Commissioner Connie Stokes and Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton. The raises in the CEO’s office totaled about $32,000; Stokes’ office totaled about $20,000 and Sutton’s office totaled about $4,000.

Records obtained by the AJC also show that Ellis changes the scope of work for several of his employees, including promoting one woman from a housing project manager to deputy chief of staff – a job that carried a $31,000 raise.

But other employees – including police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers and road crews – were denied increases. They ended up losing money from unpaid holidays.

Kudos to one person - Elaine Boyer - who did not give her staff increases, said she was shocked to learn about raises, had these words:

“The thing that frosts me is that I felt the leadership was supportive of giving furloughs and unpaid holidays,” she told the AJC. “If we start having a special class of people, it’s going to hurt morale and turn people against each other.”


Anonymous said...

It looks like to me that there is an EEOC complaint here in the making. It looks like people were not paid fairly. It is shameful.

Anonymous said...

Connie Stokes assistant, Tonza Clark, has been using First Class email to disseminate political postings for Connie Stokes. I have been wondering for several years why, and how, she has been able to do this. Anyone have any answers?

Anonymous said...

Tonza Clark does this by ignoring the law that prohibits her conduct. Sound familiar? Just another day in YOUR DeKalb County . . .

Anonymous said...

Is Connie Stokes the one who teaches business ed in DeKalb but was writing bad checks?

Can DeKalb be saved from itself?

Cerebration said...

No, that is Sharon Barnes Sutton - read more on that story at Atlanta Unfiltered -


Connie Stokes campaign is major in debt - to the tune of $70,000 -


Anonymous said...

This is unacceptable. If there isn't enough money to pay full salaries to county employees, there isn't enough money to pay raises for a privileged few. We shouldn't have to put up with this kind of behavior. All I can say is, I will vote accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Why is the school system and county not being looked at for criminal and moral wrong doing? Why are people able to get away with this type of behavior? When is it going to stop?

Anonymous said...

The DA only has so much time. I bet her budget was cut this year, too.

I am surprised and disappointed in Ellis. I thought he was a different, honest kind of guy.

Anonymous said...

Why is the school system and county not being looked at for criminal and moral wrong doing?

While you were asleep or not paying attention, the DeKalb DA did just complete an almost 2 year investigation of the school system and brought charges against Lewis and Pope.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cere

The comment Wiki seems to be broken!

Anonymous said...

RE: Cut From The Same Cloth

What is the ONE thing that all these people (who have created and maintain a culture of greed, corruption, and entitlement -- and, yes, incompetence) have in common?

Be True to Your School said...

@ Anonymous 6:55 AM

No need to be snide. The fact is that 2 years is far too long (for a competent DA) and -- while the DA has been diddling around -- the rest of the thugs that run DCSS and the criminally incompetent board have continued to do just as they please.

Cerebration said...

Well, it looks like our comment widget has taken a time trip back to January. Give me a minute - I'll try to fix it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Burrell Ellis, if you had kept track of him during his time as commissioner, you would not have been surprised and you would not have considered him as “different and honest”. His ego gets in the way of his responsibilities as County Commissioner and ultimately, this may be his undoing.


Anonymous said...

County Commissioner should read CEO.

Cerebration said...

This is a snippet from the DeKalb Officers blog - before Ellis' COO Sheila Edwards (thankfully) quit - read on as to just how contracts are awarded in DeKalb - over and over again -

Not only has Ms. Edwards displayed acts which may lead one to believe she is psychotic, she has now shown her disdain for police. Who is to say her hatred for the police doesn't influence decisions made by Burrell Ellis?

Obviously she has great influence over him. Her personal intimate relationship with Kevin Ross, Ellis' campaign manager, now employed with Rural Metro Ambulance, surely influenced Burrell's decision to terminate CARE Ambulance to replace them with Rural Metro.


(ps -still working on the widget, but you can continue to leave comments.)

Cerebration said...

For more on the Edwards story, read this article at the AJC -

DeKalb spokeswoman calls CEO shooting ‘murder,' angers local police

Expressing her outrage, DeKalb County’s chief communications officer said New Jersey police “murdered” a Gwinnett County CEO, who was shot and killed by deputies in Newark.

Shelia Edwards, spokeswoman for CEO Burrell Ellis, on Wednesday took issue with the recent death of DeFarra "Dean" Gaymon -- which has not led to any criminal charges yet -- and said she has volunteered to represent the family of the slain man.

“Dean Gaymon was a college classmate and a close personal friend of over 30 years," Edwards wrote to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "His family has been a part of my family since the 80s. We are all traumatized by [his] murder.”

Essex County (N.J.) deputies said they shot and killed Gaymon, CEO of Credit Union of Atlanta, after he allegedly attacked an undercover detective on Friday. Prosecutors said the officer saw Gaymon engaged in a public sex act and that he tried to solicit sex from the officer.

Gaymon’s family, through Edwards, has denied those allegations.

The indicting statement by Edwards -- who often speaks on behalf of DeKalb County police -- had her local officers questioning why she would label the shooting a murder in advance of any criminal charges or grand jury review.

Officers, fearful of losing their jobs because of Edwards’ high position in the government and unwilling to be identified, told the AJC it was a conflict on interest for the communications chief to serve as the family’s spokeswoman.

“Whose side is she on? Does she hate police?” one officer asked. “It’s going to be hard for us to trust that she is objective and can speak about investigations.”

Another DeKalb officer said Edwards now might be inclined to judge local officers who are involved in a police shooting before an investigation is complete.

Jeff Wiggs, DeKalb Fraternal Order of Police president, declined to comment until all the facts of the incident are known.

Edwards insisted there was no conflict of interest and that she was not being paid by the family.

“This matter in no way involves the DeKalb County Police Department, no law enforcement agency of DeKalb County and none in the state of Georgia,” Edwards wrote in an e-mail. “As for calling this a murder, this is a direct quote from the statement from the family. I am quite aware that there has been no official determination at this point.”

Edwards, who makes $138,000, reports directly to the CEO. It was unclear if she received approval from Ellis prior to speaking to media about the Gaymon shooting. Edwards’ personal e-mail address was listed on statements attributed to the family and she has been quoted in media accounts across the country about the shooting. Ellis was unavailable for comment.

Excuse me - Did that read $138,000 a year???!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Edwards quit the other day.

Be True,

In fairness to Gwen Keys, who I didn't vote for, RICO cases are some of the hardest to prove and win. Even after two years, this case is not going to be a walk in the park.

None of my attorney things think this is a sure thing.

Anonymous said...

The chief communications officer for DeKalb County resigned Monday, several days after she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a police officer had “murdered” her friend.

Shelia Edwards, who reported directly to DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, did not give a reason for her resignation, other than she is "contemplating returning to the private sector," according to a letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Her resignation will take effect Friday.

full article here

Anonymous said...

Kevin Ross, Ellis' campaign manager, now employed with Rural Metro Ambulance


If this is true, Burrell Ellis needs to be investigated by the Feds. Ellis dropped the county's ambulance company with little notice after the Lakeside soccer screw-up.

Anonymous said...

"Why is the school system and county not being looked at for criminal and moral wrong doing? "

DA Gwen Keyes does not prosecute her brothers and sisters unless she is forced too. Remember how the rape case against ex-CEO Vernon Jones dragged on until it disappeared. She is the perfect do nothing accomplice. But nothing will change either in the County or the DCSS. The power has the voting block.

Anonymous said...

And these "corrupt" people just adore Roy "white knight" Barnes.

Makes me feel good about him running the education show.

Anonymous said...

Oh give me a break (Roy Barnes comment). This issue has nothing to do with core democratic (notice the lower case "d")tenets of our government. There is enough injustice and criminality going on that transcends party identification. Just look at Sonny Perdue's sweetheart land tax deals or Nathan Deal's trying to continue his sweetheart auto inspection contract. Keep your eyes on the ball and work in the best interest of the children and employees of DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:04 pm

"And these "corrupt" people just adore Roy "white knight" Barnes.

Makes me feel good about him running the education show."

I know teachers didn't like Roy Barnes because he was high handed and didn't include them in the decision making process. I didn't like him either. But I did like what he did for students.

I was training DCSS teachers when Roy Barnes became governor. He lowered class sizes and told the county superintendents to deal with it. They were not allowed to "fudge" on class sizes - e.g. total the number of students in grades 4 and 5 and divide by 33 leaving some teachers to teach huge multi grade level combination classes.

What a difference it made to students to have such low class sizes! They were able to do so many more hands-on activities, science experiments, receive individual attention from teachers, move around the classroom, etc.

If you want to shrink the bureaucracy in DCSS (or any other county), just lower class sizes without increasing the budget. Superintendents will scream and cry that they can't get children taught without those expensive programs and even more expensive admin and support employees, but they will be forced to "trim the fat" and the bureaucracy will shrink. Sadly, that may be the ONLY way to get superintendents and BOE's to put the money back into the classroom. I don't even want us to get Obama's Race to the Top funds, because I think most of the money will go for admin and support and just give teachers more paperwork (call me cynical).

So before you knock Barnes for education, think about how he stood fast as he lowered class sizes and forced the Georgia school administrations (including DCSS) to shrink admin and support numbers and decrease class sizes.

Unfortunately, Perdue came in and had the idea that local school systems will do just fine making their own rules and regulations. How has that turned out for our students?

Anonymous said...

I have no faith that pope/lewis will ever go to court. What we saw today should tell us that all these people take care of each other and the hard working people stay at the bottom. Lord help us

Cerebration said...

FWIW, I have no idea where exactly the Lewis/Pope case is in the court docket but I found an article about a similar case online. People do get convicted for misusing a government credit card.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Former Perimeter College Student Life Director Pleads Guilty In P-Card Case

Patrice Wright, a former Student Life Director at the Clarkston campus of Perimeter College, pled guilty this morning in DeKalb Superior Court over her misuse of her state-issued purchasing card (P-card). Wright entered a guilty plea to ten counts of theft by taking, and she was sentenced by Judge Robert Castellani to ten years intensive probation and 160 hours of community service. In addition, restitution in the amount of $3,463 was ordered to be repaid to the state.

Part of Wright's duties at Perimeter required her to make certain work-related purchases, including the purchase of gift cards for use by the school. On January 22, 2007, Wright used her P-card to purchase four mall gift certificates with a face value of $500 each which she used to make payments on her car loan. On February 7, 2007, Wright purchased several gift cards with a face value of $340, one of which she appropriated for her own use to reserve a hotel room in Hawaii. In addition, the state investigation discovered that Wright had used her P-card to make personal purchases while on a trip to Disney in September 2006 and while on a trip to Las Vegas in over the New Years holiday in 2006-2007. The total amount of Wright's thefts totaled $3,463.25.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Laura Pfister, and the case was investigated jointly by the State Audit Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Anonymous said...

The Lakeside issue was totally reported wrong in the paper. It took at least 40 minutes for the ambulance to get to Adam's stadium and after it finally got to Adam's stadium the service still was horrible to say the least of the matter.

However, there were complaints all over the county and people calling the ambulance and then having to put their love ones in the car and taking them when the ambulance did not come. The pervious service did not have adequate ambulances to serve the county and the service given when arrived was also poor. This decision was not based on this one incident. However, the media starting to turn up the other incidences starting making it difficult and Ellis had to act before too many of the serious cases were turned up and people realized how bad it really was.

The information given by the county about the time the ambulance got to Adams and the time it was call was wrong. I am sure the county did enough investigation to also know that the ambulance company were not provided the correct information. All Ellis had to do was to find out from the hospital what time the boy arrived officially and he would have known the ambulance company lied to the county. The citizens of Dekalb need an ambulance service that will show up in an emergency. That is what we pay our taxes for. If it happens to a love one and no one shows up then you might better understand what the problem was.

Anonymous said...

It would be proper for CEO Ellis and the commissioners to pay for a month too, and his staff should chip in a month. Keith Barker's salary is outrageous.

August 31, 2010 said...

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 31, 2010.


Anonymous said...

I had hoped Burell would be better. Sure, he hasn't fired anyone for being white or assaulted anyone--the low bar for being better than Vernon--but I'd hoped for more. Of course, when he was our county commissioner, before we had Sharon Barnes-Checkkiter--he couldn't actually find Clarkston on a map, despite it being a big part of his district, judging from his absence from ANY event in the city, but still, I had hopes for better.

Anonymous said...

Federal, State, County City governments are predators! They sneak around, never tell the truth, spend OUR tax dollars like drunken sailors.

When they do get caught doing something unlawful, they deny, deny, deny and call people racist! Look at Rangel and Waters, hand slaps for not paying taxes and not reporting their earnings. I ask, what would happen to any normal citizen if they did this?

What we need are more whistle blowers inside our governments. What we need are honest journalists willing to report the truth! We do not need "so called journalists" writing a story with their own political leanings in their writing. Kristina Torres, of the AJC, did it for years when she was on the DCSS beat. Not sure if she was paid by CLew or what but she never reported what was really going on at DCSS even when she was handed the facts by former BOE members and parents.

All she did was report that the parents and others trying to expose Lewis, were "vociferous and loud!" Plus, Torres handed Lewis all the details, names of the parents and others who were trying to expose the truth.

Finally we have real reporting going on and I was wondering why the AJC still has Torres on their payroll?


Anonymous said...

There are localities where people pay taxes and expect -- and receive -- good services. Look to the City of Decatur as an example. It can be done. Dekalb County is stuck in the past. The politics of race empowers incompetent people who treat politics as a personal piggy bank. The citizens of Dekalb -- above all, south Dekalb -- need to wake up. Will they? Doubtful.

Anonymous said...

For anyone who did not know the trail starts the last of august. Since i have no job due to pope and lewis stealing money from tax-payers,and children.
I intend to be there every day i can get in. Watching pope and lewis is going to be a treat. Maybe we will find out who the lady friend lewis was using the p-card for. Pat enjoy wearing all you designer clothes to court because if things go the way they should orange will be your color, maybe grey. You always looked down on the employees, now we get a chance to watch you coming down that ladder. Remember the saying every dog has his day, well the day is coming. By the way where are all your cronies?, you know the ones you paid the high salaries and they did nothing. You and conita need to be put in the same jail so you can see each other every day and night and lewis.
You took money for children and from hard working people with families and that is a crime that you must pay for.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that it's a sad day in dekalb county! The question that I would most like to ask our administrators(DCSS/BOE) is how could you allow your support staff to suffer like you have and then justify all the cuts by reducing the salaries of thoughs at very bottom. What you and your family eat this week?(MY FAMILY DID'NT). Finally to Mrs.Tyson, great speech, but my stomach is empty,lights are to be cut off, no petro for the car to get to work and last but no least, no help from the employment agengcy for non-certified (DCSS)workers! If there are helpful comments for the pubic at large for 10 month/non-certified/surport staff of (DCSS) please coment with urgency!!!!