Legislative Package Aimed at Greater Transparency in DeKalb Signed by the Governor
ATLANTA (May 13, 2015) | On May 12, 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal signed three bills, House Bill 597, House Bill 598 and House Bill 599, into law that encourage greater transparency in the DeKalb County Government. Sen. Elena Parent (D – Atlanta) was at the Georgia State Capitol for the bill signing ceremony.
“Ensuring our citizens that their elected officials are trustworthy and moral individuals is paramount to the successful operation of the DeKalb County Government,” said Sen. Parent. “These three bills work in conjunction with one another to guarantee public trust is not only earned, but kept. I worked alongside Rep. Holcomb (D – 81) and Sen. Butler (D – Stone Mountain) to pass this legislation and I want to thank them both for their unwavering commitment and support on the issue.”
“These common sense and important reforms will make a positive difference in DeKalb and will improve county government,” said Rep. Holcomb. “I want to especially thank the citizens who were so committed to this effort. They deserve our thanks and appreciation. In addition, I want to commend Sen. Parent for her leadership on these bills in the Senate.”
HB 597 strengthens DeKalb County’s code of ethics by, among many things, establishing the full-time salaried position of an Ethics Officer, increasing the Board of Ethics’ ability to investigate complaints and establishing new language that clearly defines what constitutes conflicts-of-interest.
HB 598 establishes procedures and limitations for purchases made by DeKalb County including requiring formal sealed bids from all purchases exceeding $50,000.00, the County Commission must approve all purchases and contracts exceeding $100,000.00, with the exception of employment contracts, and any vendor requiring more than one contract within one Fiscal Year requires approval by the commission.
HB 599 will allow the DeKalb County government to conduct independent internal audits to provide objective information on the operations of government programs, assist manager in carrying out their responsibilities, and help ensure transparency and accountability to the public. The audits will determine whether government funds are being handled properly and in compliance with current laws and regulations.
Legislators worked with two groups, the Blueprint DeKalb Group and the DeKalb Operation Task Force, to create this legislative package. Citizens of the Blueprint DeKalb Group include Hon. Patricia Killingsworth, Beth Nathan, Robert Glover, Brenda Pace, Dan Wright, Jana Johnson, Gil Turman and Martha Pacini.
Members of the DeKalb Operations Task Force, established by Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May, include John Shelton, Vaughn Irons, Sen. Gloria Butler, Sen. Fran Millar, Sen. Elena Parent, Rep. Billy Mitchell, Rep. Mike Jacobs, DeKalb County School System Board Member Jim McMahan, Commissioner Jeff Rader, Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, Patrick Ejike, Dr. David Sjoquist, Jim Grubiak and Bill Floyd.
All three bills go into effect immediately.
For Immediate Release:
May 13, 2015
For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Director
Brittany Wagner, Communications Specialist