Monthly Archives: January 2015

COVE Report – January 29, 2015

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January 29, 2015

Demand Good Governance Today!

The Georgia legislature is evaluating proposals for changes to DeKalb County that include an independent county auditor, reforms to the ethics committee, and a formal purchasing/procurement policy. These reforms will promote transparency and accountability in the way the county conducts itself. Your emails and calls to state legislators have a significant influence on these decisions!

The Georgia legislature mandates the DeKalb County organizational act, and has the ability to make changes this session that would significant improve chances for better governance. DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May and county commissioners have had a year to develop recommendations, yet as of this week have been unable to provide a unified request to legislators.

It’s time for DeKalb citizens (both in cities and unincorporated) to step forward and demand good governance. We can’t afford to wait yet another year!

Write or call the 22 members of the DeKalb Delegation requesting they take action now. Copy and paste your email to each member individually.

This sample letter recommends key changes based on governance best-practices that could be implemented this year. While another study committee may be required to evaluate the CEO form of government, these most important changes should not be further delayed.

Sample letter:

Subject: DeKalb County Reforms to Achieve Transparency and Accountability

Dear [Representative/Senator ___ ],

My name is ______ and I live in [Victoria Estates near Emory University] in Central DeKalb County.

I am writing to support changes to the DeKalb County organizational act in three areas that will promote transparency and accountability in the way the county conducts itself.

  • Ethics
    • Require that members of the ethics board be selected by outside organizations that will review qualifications to assure that board members hold basic qualifications to serve on this important board.
    • Stipulate that funding for the ethics board be a priority and fixed at a percentage of the county budget (.05%).
  • Internal Audit
    • Mandate that the county establish an independent, objective internal audit capability to be funded at a fixed percentage of the county budget (.1%).
    • Require the formation of an independent oversight committee, the members of which will be selected/vetted by groups such as the Georgia Society of CPAs, the Association of Local Government Auditors or the Institute for Internal Auditors, who will oversee the creation of the annual internal audit plan and reporting of results.
    • Require that the findings of audits be presented to and made available to the public.
  • Procurement/Purchasing
    • Require the county to adopt a formal purchasing/procurement policy.
    • Mandate that the policy follow leading practice in public purchasing/procurement.
    • Require that all county operations/constitutional offices follow the processes outlined procurement policy.

These reforms are crucial steps in restoring the confidence of the DeKalb County citizens in those who are elected to govern, as well as those who are employed by the county.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
Email
Phone

Write to:

GEORGIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – DeKalb Delegation

Stacey Abrams stacey.abrams@house.ga.gov, Karen Bennett karen.bennett@house.ga.gov, Dee Dawkins-Haigler dee.dawkins-haigler@house.ga.gov, Karla Drenner karla.drenner@house.ga.gov, Michele Henson michele.henson@house.ga.gov, Scott Holcomb scott.holcomb@house.ga.gov, Mike Jacobs mike.jacobs@house.ga.gov, Darshun Kendrick darshun.kendrick@house.ga.gov, Rahn Mayo rahn.mayo@house.ga.gov, Billy Mitchell billy.mitchell@house.ga.gov, Howard Mosby@house.ga.gov, Mary Margaret Oliver mary.oliver@house.ga.gov, Tonia Peterson-Anderson mspete16@yahoo.com, Pamela Stephenson pamela.stephenson@house.ga.gov, Tom Taylor tom.taylor@house.ga.gov, Ernest Williams ernest.williams@house.ga.gov

http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx
GEORGIA SENATE – DeKalb Delegation

Gloria Butler gloria.butler@senate.ga.gov, Elena Parent elena.parent@senate.ga.gov, Gail Davenport gail.davenport@senate.ga.gov, Steve Henson stevehenson@mindspring.com, Emanuel Jones emanj@mindspring.com, Fran Millar fran.millar@senate.ga.gov, Ronald Ramsey ronald.ramsey@senate.ga.gov

http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/SenateMembersList.aspx

Georgia Legislative Report

Mosby

Mary Hinkel – President, Mason Mill Civic Association – January 25, 2015

After attending two small group meetings hosted by COVE (Citizens of Victoria Estate) this past week with Representative Howard Mosby (the leader of the DeKalb delegation) and Interim Chief Executive Officer Lee May, my understanding of the current situation is this:

The first meeting of the DeKalb state legislative delegation happens this Monday, Day 5 of the legislative session.
Representatives from several central DeKalb neighborhoods, including Mason Mill and Victoria Estates, will be present to present results from community surveys. In each case, the resounding message is: The majority of residents in these neighborhoods want to remain in unincorporated DeKalb County.

It is anticipated that other speakers will encourage a moratorium on forming new cities and annexing properties until a more reasonable and equitable process can be defined. (See http://dekalbstrong.com for information about this effort and to sign a petition for a moratorium if you support this type of action.) At the COVE meetings, we heard both Rep Mosby and Interim CEO May say they would be supportive of a moratorium.

Also, Lee May will present the recommendations of the DeKalb Operations Task Force. These recommendations, incorporating many of Blueprint DeKalb’s recommendations, are focused on rewriting the County’s Organizational Act and cleaning up and strengthening the County’s approach to Ethics, Procurement, and Internal Auditing.

According to decaturish.com, among the Task Force recommendations are these:
1) Establishing a charter review commission… [click to go to decaturish.com article]

Residents are encouraged to let the local DeKalb delegation know what they think about these recommendations. Email addresses for the delegation are available on the COVE website:
Legislation Email Guide

Interim CEO May will also demonstrate a new financial model created by Georgia Tech that allows the County to better identify the cost of delivering services parcel by parcel, thereby proving a method for computing the financial impact new cities and annexations are having on the County.

Annexation is a local legislative matter. The delegation has sat on previous annexation requests for the past three years because of the proposed formation of new cities, but now existing cities (Decatur, Stone Mountain, Lithonia) are pushing for their annexation requests to be acted upon.

The possible City of Atlanta annexation presents another tricky situation – for the county, the schools and new cityhood efforts like LaVista Hills. So far, no bill has been “dropped” about this annexation possibility. According to Rep. Mosby, only four DeKalb legislators have the ability to drop such legislation: Mary Margaret Oliver, Howard Mosby, Stacey Abrams and Elena Parent. A 50% +1 majority of the house and senate DeKalb delegation would have to agree to this action in order to put the bill on the local calendar for a general assembly vote and then add it to the November ballot for a public vote.

Interim CEO May suggests that we should also watch for any action by the City of Atlanta delegation in this matter. It would be a surprise to have a non-DeKalb delegate drop such a bill, but it is possible.

Any annexation bill has to be dropped before Day 30 of the legislative session. If a bill gets dropped it is reported on the state legislature’s website http://www.legis.ga.gov. Thanks to Pat Killingsworth of COVE for monitoring the site on our behalf. She will notify us if an annexation bill gets dropped and at that time you can contact the bill’s sponsors and other members of the delegations to express your views.

New Cities are a general legislative matter, so as I understand it any bill proposing a new city must come out of a legislative committee. Last year, the House Governmental Affairs Committee reviewed the Tucker and LaVista Hills proposals, and I presume the matter will once again be worked through this committee. Membership in the committee has changed recently to include a new chair (Rep. Ed Rynders from Albany) and Rep. Tom Taylor, a strong local proponent of new cities.

According to Rep. Mosby, LaVista Hills is not having to provide a revised economic feasibility study even though the Northlake commercial area was split between Tucker and LaVista Hills and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Executive Park were annexed by the City of Brookhaven.

§§§§§

No matter what your opinions are about these matters, I encourage you to stay abreast of the legislature’s actions and to monitor the websites of the various organizations and citizens’ movements involved here.

Cityhood and Annexation Meeting

leadership DekalbJoin Leadership DeKalb and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce for a presentation on the facts of the proposed cities and annexation in the county.

WHEN:
Tuesday, February 24
7:30 – 9:30 a.m.

LOCATION:
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Conference Center
495 North Indian Creek Drive
Clarkston, GA 30021

COST:
$20 – Leadership DeKalb & DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Members
$30 – Nonmembers & Guests

Click here to register.

More information coming soon.

Grand Opening Central DeKalb Senior Center At Mason Mill Park

PLEASE JOIN US TO CUT THE RIBBON
GRAND OPENING

CENTRAL DEKALB SENIOR CENTER AT MASON MILL PARK
1340 McConnell Drive
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2015
11:00 AM-12:00 PM

COVE Report – January 18, 2015

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Two Opportunities to Discuss Cityhood, Annexations & the County with Your Elected Officials! – Brought to you by COVE

Howard Mosby, Chair of the DeKalb Legislative Delegation

MosbyHoward175Thursday, January 22, 6:30 pm
Location: Home of Peter Sederberg & Jan Love, 873 Castle Falls Drive

As the chair of the legislative delegation, Rep. Mosby can provide us with insight on what to expect during the upcoming legislative session and how to make our voices heard. This meeting is for Victoria Estates residents and COVE guests.

Lee May, Interim CEO, DeKalb County

May 2Saturday, January 24, 12:30 pm
Location: Home of Pat & Scott Killingsworth, 1364 Rainier Falls Drive

As the interim CEO of DeKalb County, ICEO May will be presenting the county’s legislative agenda to the delegation on Monday, January 26. This is a chance to hear about it first-hand and discuss the agenda directly with the person creating it. ICEO May can also answer questions about county reform, improvement plans and challenges. This meeting is for Victoria Estates residents and COVE guests.

General Assembly will decide DeKalb issues | AJC Latest News

State lawmakers will likely give DeKalb County a good deal of their attention during this year’s leg…
http://news.blog.ajc.com/2015/01/12/general-assembly-will-decide-dekalb-issues/

Interim CEO May to Central DeKalb area: Unincorporated DeKalb County still a viable option

DeKalb County, GA, January 16, 2015 – by Trey Benton – Applause broke early out as Interim DeKalb County CEO Lee May… click for more    Click for video of meeting

Together in Atlanta

“Together In Atlanta is an effort by parents and residents from the neighborhoods near Emory University and within the Druid Hills High School attendance zone, seeking to achieve annexation into the City of Atlanta, with the public schools within the annexed area becoming part of Atlanta Public Schools and other preferred local governmental infrastructure, such as neighborhood planning units (NPUs), significantly improved law enforcement-to-resident ratios, leading-edge parks and greenspace, and substantially higher per-pupil funding (resulting in higher teacher salaries) due to Atlanta’s much stronger and more diverse tax base.” Together in Atlanta

DeKalb Strong

A newly formed organization is promoting a moratorium on new cities in DeKalb County.

“Worried about the chaotic process of forming new cities and annexation properties in DeKalb? Even though the map lines continue to shift and change, some proponents of new cities are still pushing for a vote as soon as possible, maybe even as early as this May.
Meanwhile, the effect that these new cities will have on taxes, schools, and quality of life are still unknown. Such serious and long-lasting decisions require far more study and thought!
We have formed an organization, DeKalb Strong, to fight against the new cities and annexations as they are constituted in 2015. If municipalization of the county is inevitable, the process should be reasonable, comprehensive, equitable, and feature involvement of affected citizenry: the current process is none of these.
There are many ways that you can help us! “
DeKalb Strong

Comparison of Remaining in Unincorporated DeKalb vs. Joining the City of Atlanta

The article features a comparison of tax burdens, services, schools, governance. Click here

Another comparison by DeKalb Strong Click here

Blueprint DeKalb

Blueprint DeKalb continues to work for reform to DeKalb county government through bills to be introduced in the 2015 legislative session. To sign onto the recommendations go to Blueprint DeKalb.  Also, be sure to thank Victoria Estates residents Martha Pacini and Pat Killingsworth for their many hours of effort on these recommendations!

Atlanta Regional Commission Survey

The Atlanta Regional Commission is asking how the region should address a future of rapid change and innovation. Your survey answers will help inform Regional Plan policy and how to respond to upcoming trends in technology. Click here

Write!

Express your views to the following individuals concerning Victoria Estates’ future. Current proposals for Victoria Estates are to remain unincorporated/moratorium on cityhood or annexation by the city of Atlanta.

DeKalb Delegation

GEORGIA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx
Stacey Abrams stacey.abrams@house.ga.gov, Karen Bennett karen.bennett@house.ga.gov, Dee Dawkins-Haigler dee.dawkins-haigler@house.ga.gov, Karla Drenner karla.drenner@house.ga.gov, Michele Henson michele.henson@house.ga.gov, Scott Holcomb scott.holcomb@house.ga.gov, Mike Jacobs mike.jacobs@house.ga.gov, Darshun Kendrick darshun.kendrick@house.ga.gov, Rahn Mayo rahn.mayo@house.ga.gov, Billy Mitchell billy.mitchell@house.ga.gov, Howard Mosby@house.ga.gov, Mary Margret Oliver mary.oliver@house.ga.gov, Tonia Peterson-Anderson mspete16@yahoo.com, Pamela Stephenson pamela.stephenson@house.ga.gov, Tom Taylor tom.taylor@house.ga.gov, Ernest Williams ernest.williams@house.ga.gov
GEORGIA SENATE
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/en-US/SenateMembersList.aspx
Gloria Butler gloria.butler@senate.ga.gov, Elena Parent elena.parent@senate.ga.gov, Gail Davenport gail.davenport@senate.ga.gov, Steve Henson stevehenson@mindspring.com, Emanuel Jones emanj@mindspring.com, Fran Millar fran.millar@senate.ga.gov, Ronald Ramsey ronald.ramsey@senate.ga.gov

Cityhood – House Governmental Affairs Committee

Chair Amy Carter (amy.carter@house.ga.gov), Vice Chair Buzz Brockway (buzz.brockway@house.ga.gov), Tyrone Brooks (tyrone.brooks@house.ga.gov), Barry Fleming (barry.fleming@house.ga.gov), Hugh Floyd (hughfloyd@mindspring.com), Mark Hamilton (mark.hamilton@house.ga.gov), Dustin Hightower (dustin.hightower@house.ga.gov), Kidd Culver (“Rusty”) (rusty.kidd@house.ga.gov), John Meadows (john.meadows@house.ga.gov), Alisha Morgan (alisha@alishamorgan.com), Howard Mosby (howard.mosby@house.ga.gov) DeKalb Delegation, Larry O’Neal (larry.oneal@house.ga.gov), Mary Margaret Oliver (mmo@mmolaw.com) DeKalb Delegation, Alan Powell (alanpowell23@hotmail.com), Jay Powell (jay.powell@house.ga.gov), Bruce Williamson (bruce.williamson@house.ga.gov)

Intragovernmental Coordination Committee – Deals with Annexation Efforts

Chair: Jan Tankersley jan.tankersley@house.ga.gov, Vice Chair: Jon Carson john.carson@house.ga.gov, Kevin Tanner kevin.tanner@house.ga.gov, Kimberly Alexander kimberly.alexander@house.ga.gov, Tonya Anderson tonya.anderson@house.ga.gov DeKalb Delegation, Simone Bell simone.bell@house.ga.gov, Patty Bentle patty.bentley@house.ga.gov, Bruce Broadrick bruce.broadrick@house.ga.gov, Brooks Coleman brooks.coleman@house.ga.gov, Demetrius Douglas demetrius.douglas@house.ga.gov, Ed Rynders erynders@bellsouth.net, Chuck Sims chuck.sims@house.ga.gov, Pam Stevenson pam.stephenson@house.ga.gov Dekalb Delegation, Brian Strickland brian.strickland@house.ga.gov

ATLANTA REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS NOT INCLUDED ON DEKALB DELEGATION LIST

House of Representatives: Simone Bell (simonebell2012@gmail.com), Roger Bruce (rbruce5347@aol.com), LaDawn Jones (ladawnbjones@gmail.com), Sheila Jones (sheila.jones@house.ga.gov), Margaret Kaiser (margaret.kaiser@house.ga.gov), Mable Thomas (ablemabledistrict56@gmail.com), Keisha Waites (keisha.waites@house.ga.gov), Joe Wilkinson (joe@joewilkinson.org)

Senate: Vincent Fort (vincent.fort@senate.ga.gov), Hunter Hill Hunter.Hill@senate.ga.gov ), Donzella James (donzella.james@senate.ga.gov), Nan Orrock (nan.orrock@senate.ga.gov), Horacena Tate(horacena.tate@senate.ga.gov

Legislation Email Guide

COVE Report – January 7, 2015

martha
2015 is going to be an interesting year. For those who do not know, Victoria Estates is included in the Atlanta annexation map. In addition, Lavista Hills is working to firm up its Southern boundary in preparation for conducting its Carl Vinson feasibility study. And, several nearby neighborhoods are grappling with potential annexation by the City of Brookhaven. Victoria Estates residents are best served by staying informed about all of the city hood and annexation issues and making their opinions known to their legislators.
Martha

Atlanta Annexation Meeting – Tonight, January 7, 7:30 pm

For those who missed the recent presentations by the Together in Atlanta group and Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan, you will have other opportunities to meet with them and hear from them. The Merry Hills Homeowners Association is planning a meeting for this Wednesday, January 7 at 7:30 PM at the Young Israel of Toco Hills Synagogue (2056 Lavista Rd. at the intersection of Lavista and Houston Mill). At this meeting, Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan, together with Matt Lewis of Together in Atlanta, will be speaking.
http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=3f74d191f592c3200df81e5a0&id=e1901031f7&e=0ea667762a

Druid Hills Schools – Cityhood Initiatives Meeting – Thursday, January 8, 6:30 pm

The Druid Hills PTSA has put together a meeting on how cityhood initiatives could affect Druid Hills High School and all five feeder elementary schools–Avondale, McClendon, Briar Vista, Fernbank and Laurel Ridge–for Thursday, January 8 in the Uhry Theatre from 6:30 to 8 PM. They are pursuing a wide range of speakers to address all aspects of this topic, and they will be posting the speakers on the Druid Hills PTA website as soon as they are confirmed.

LaVista Hills Organizers – Sunday, January 11, 7:30 PM

Young Israel of Toco Hills, Lavista Road, Atlanta, GA
We have been invited by the Merry Hills Civic Association to attend a meeting on Sunday, 1/11, at 7:30 with the organizers of the new city of LaVista Hills. Even though Victoria Estates is not currently within the LaVista Hills map, it is still important to stay informed on the development of this new city. As we discovered last year, maps can change quickly.

DeKalb Government Operations Task Force makes recommendations for Reform

by The Brookhaven Post
DEKALB COUNTY, GA, January 2, 2014 – by Staff Reports – The DeKalb Government Operations Task Force met for the final time on December 19 and made a series of recommendations regarding the future of DeKalb County. Meeting since June, The Operations Task Force was established by an Executive Order by Interim CEO Lee May to explore and study (1) […]
Read more of this post

Kudos to Martha Pacini, Pat Killingsworth, and others who have dedicated hundreds of hours of personal time to BlueprintDeKalb. Some of their recommendations concerning real reform of DeKalb Government may be considered by the legislature for approval this year!