LaVista Hills Alliance joins chorus calling for DeKalb CEO’s resignation

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 3, 2015

The LaVista Hill Alliance, a group pushing for new cities in DeKalb County, have joined their anti-cityhood foes in calling for the resignation of DeKalb County CEO Lee May.

Both organizations concur with the findings in a report released by former attorney general Mike Bowers that accused May of borrowing money from a subordinate, Morris Williams, in violation of the county organizational act. It also says May tried to hinder and shut-down Bowers’ investigation after hiring him to help root out corruption in county government.

May called the report “laughable,” according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

DeKalb Strong, which is leading the opposition to cityhood, released its statement calling for May to resign on Oct. 2. The LaVista Hills Alliance issued it statement on Saturday, Oct. 3.

“There is no doubt those who run DeKalb County  – starting at the top with Interim CEO Lee May – have a blatant disregard for other people’s money,” Mary Kay Woodworth, chair of the LaVista Hills Alliance, said in a press release. “We are demanding that May step down for the good of our citizens and ask the other commissioners named in the report to consider the same.”

LaVista Hills is on the ballot Nov. 3.  If approved by voters, LaVista Hills would have a population of more than 65,000 people. It would be bordered on the north and west sides by I-85 and bisected by I-285.

Here is the full press release from the LaVista Hills Alliance:

LaVista Hills Alliance Calls for Resignation of DeKalb CEO

ATLANTA (Oct. 3, 2015) — LaVista Hills Alliance, a grassroots advocacy group, called for the resignation of DeKalb County acting CEO Lee May today in light of a scathing report issued this week by the former Attorney General Mike Bowers that alleges blatant disregard for the expenditure of taxpayer funds

“There is no doubt those who run DeKalb County — starting at the top with Interim CEO Lee May — have a blatant disregard for other people’s money,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, chairman of the LaVista Hills Alliance. “We are demanding that May step down for the good of our citizens and ask the other commissioners named in the report to consider the same.”

Bowers’ report suggested May broke the law in borrowing funds from a county employee and the county doled out more than $500,000 in questionable expenses including spa services and a movie while May was on a trip to Hawaii.  Bowers wrote: “While the CEO has the duty to enforce … the budget of each department, there is no evidence that he has done so. This lack of control is the origin of much of the fraud, waste and abuse we found.”

Four other commissioners were found to have questionable expenses ranging from floral services to gift cards, legal bills and charitable donations expensed to the county, according to the Bowers report.

“This report confirms why our citizens have had enough and want local control with a new city,” Woodworth said.  “With local control we will be able to hold our city council members more accountable than officials who don’t live in our community and obviously don’t care about our needs. DeKalb County government needs a complete overhaul, and legislative reform measures alone cannot fix the culture of corruption that is permeates this institution.”

Citizens in the LaVista Hills footprint will vote on Nov. 3 for incorporation of the community. Its borders would extend from the Embry Hills area to the north, south along Interstate 285 to include Northlake Mall then down U.S. 29 to North Druid Hills Road and the North DeKalb Mall area west to Briarcliff Road then north on Briarcliff to Interstate 85. It would include Mercer University and the Toco Hills shopping center.

Citizen interest in incorporation has been escalating as turnout at the last two community forums held by the LaVista Hills Alliance has been strong with standing room only crowds.

“People work hard for their money and they expect adequate police protection, paved roads and other services; they do not tolerate elected officials and government employees using their tax dollars at their personal discretion,” Woodworth said.

A study released by analysts at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government found the proposed city was financially feasible with current revenues and could be formed without a tax increase.

LaVista Hills Alliance is organizing and coordinating volunteers to support passage of the incorporation referendum on Nov. 3. It is recruiting neighborhood volunteers and leaders to serve as advocates within their own subdivisions and local neighborhoods.

LaVista Hills Alliance is a political action committee. Contributions to it are not tax-deductible. To volunteer, contribute or find out more go to

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  • HB

    Dan, the FB group “Reform Dekalb” called for May to resign Oct. 1, before anyone else.

    I just discovered this site when doing a search for Dekalb. I see a number of names we all recognize from these forums, at least one commissioner, and what appears to be a well spoken and connected group of concerned citizens forming action. They were the first to put out a resignation petition.

    • Haven’t heard of this group before. Thanks for letting me know

  • Note @DekalbStrng only called for May to resign after @DeKalbWeak (FB) basically threw down the gauntlet and challenges them to actually do something anything! “Prove cities are not needed” “I bet it won’t do squat!”

  • Cities Are Bad

    Lavista hills is a little late to the table on this one. Dekalb strong has had the reins on the county for quite some time. No need to fear this though. No one is going to resign. No one will be arrested. The only jobs lost will be IF the cities are created. Vote no against the cities because they are bad. Vote yes to keep and make Dekalb strong again!

  • Save Tucker

    If the CEO was appointed, not elected, then doesn’t that mean the person who appointed him could simply appoint someone else? Not sure if asking him to resign is going to do much good. That’s basically calling on him to admit to wrong doing which he has already denied.

  • Vote YES LaVista Hills!

    I’m not sure, but since May was a sitting commissioner and next in line for the CEO position, the Guv announcing him upon Ellis’s arrest may have been more a formality. If that’s the case, removing him won’t be so easy. The official the Guv actually appointed straight-out was Thurmond as DSS superintendent when his predecessor went to jail. Look for May to continue denying like Ellis did – and kept pulling down that fat salary the whole time under indictment.

    • Get your facts right, please. Thurmond’s predecessor was Cheryl Atkinson who did not go to jail. She was given a golden parachute and simply disappeared amid a sea of controversy. She left town, negotiated via her lawyer and eventually resigned with full pay including unpaid PTO hours. Also, May was not “next in line” for anything. The CEO is still an elected position in DeKalb. Deal appointed May to Interim CEO while Ellis was being tried. Deal pulled May out of his elected district and left them stranded with no one. May resigned that seat eventually and an election was held to replace him. Now he’s still in the Interim job, appointed by the same person who has the power to give him the boot. The people will have their say when they can actually vote for CEO again. Which is ….. ???? when, exactly?

      • Vote YES LaVista Hills!

        Sorry, I was referring to Crawford Lewis and forgot about the period in between and the lady that got tossed out by the school board.
        And speaking of that board ,

        Whew! More of DeKalb’s fruit basket turnover due to criminal activity. And because May was chairman of the county commission at the time Ellis was indicted, he was next in line in the county governance structure. May’s district was left without a commissioner because he refused to resign when he took the new job and let them elect a replacement. He held onto both positions – nobody has ever said whether or not he received a paycheck for both or not. After about two years, the people in district #5 demanded he resign so they could elect representation.

        I’m pretty sure we finally get to vote for a new CEO in 2016.

        • Save Tucker!

          Thanks for the info. Did not consider the fact that he had been the chairman, so your comment now make sense.

  • factivist

    It is beyond me how anybody who lives in DeKalb and knows anything at all about DeKalb government’s culture of corruption and mismanagement could possibly be opposed to exercising our right to incorporate into cities. In today’s situation and all that has come before, it’s hard to figure out how anybody can call themselves “DeKalb Strong” with a straight face.

    • jo

      Brookhaven..City Council & City Atty conspire to hide allegation of sexual harassment by former mayor, an unsustainable city vendor and employee attrition rate, a police attrition rate approaching 15%, an exploding crime rate to rival south metro, refusal by council to roll back tax rate which results in a tax increase, relaxed zoning that has led to an expedited loss of tree canopy, rampant variances, increased density, city screwing up zoning and then suing its own ZBA, total incompetence by issuing permits for work in Fulton County, spending tax payer money out of their discretionary funds for a song about Brookhaven, a pigeon costume, that photographer incident and the completely stupid cherry bud festival that was ten of thousands in the red and half the tree are now dead……. AND WE SHOULD CREATE MORE OF THIS ?

      • HB

        Or, instead, we emulate the successful cities like Decatur. You anti city folks are riddled with fear of change and fear of the unknown, and that is understandable. But your crucial mistake is the paralyzing pessimism and your sense of helplessness. It’s up to us to PICK good leaders. We pick a crummy one? In a small city, where our votes count, we install a better one. Like Decatur has done. You bring up a bad scenario, I will counter with good ones.

        People, there is no reason to fear giving ourselves more say over our own community matters, controlling some of our own tax funds, and electing our own neighborhood-based representatives to help do it.

        Would you really let someone not living in your household make decisions for your home?

        • Like the cities that no longer have elections because no one runs for the city council against the incumbent any longer? How do votes count there?

        • jo

          In a county where our votes count too! Bower’s report stated, “Until reform-minded public officials, who have the courage to demand that change occur are elected, this dysfunction will continue”. Translated it is simple; we must put forth good candidates and then vote for them. The report’s conclusion says nothing about replicating or layering government as a solution. Burying our heads in the sand and assuming the creation of a new city some how solves this problem is not addressing the problem.

          • HB

            Black and white thinking in a situation that is decidedly gray. Cities don’t solve the whole problem, but are a PRO-ACTIVE step towards custom solutions for all the unique local areas within the county. It can (and should) go hand in hand with retroactive county fixes. Your position is akin to saying there’s no need to put gas in the car, as it’s really the faulty transmission that is failing to make the car go.

            Remember, Stonecrest and Tucker are splitting off, as is Druid. **Even the county** says that 100% incorporation is a given. If you think the county is smarter and more effective than your city will be, then why not acquiesce to their understanding that we will all be in a city soon, whether you like it or not? If not LVH, it WILL be Atlanta, Brookhaven or Tucker, depending on where you live.

            The simple truth is Dekalb is too overgrown and its one size fits all approach has resulted in bloat, graft and inefficiency.

          • jo

            There is NO given anything! Atlanta, like there is no bloat, graft and inefficiency there ? See Brookhaven for inefficiency-how many vendors have quit?, graft-like the mayor hiring his father in law or bloat-like two 911 centers and a police chief, asst chief, and 4 police majors for a city of 12 square miles. They have more chief than indians up there. Repair the base to make it solid then do the add ons like a city.

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