Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Two CEO candidates clash over public safety at meeting

By Jennifer Ffrench Parker/Cross Roads news
Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 5:38 PM CDT

CEO candidates Burrell Ellis and Stan Watson have very different approaches to tackling public safety.

Ellis, a DeKalb County commissioner, wants to study the problem of police attrition in a year, and Watson, a 10-year state representative, wants to fix the problem within the first 100 days of his administration - if he is elected.
Both approaches collided when the two faced off at June 16 East Lake Community Forum at which they were the only invited CEO candidates.

The spirited exchange proved to be the evening's high point, after two other CEO candidates, Joe Bembry and Steen Miles, were prevented from joining the panel. The fifth candidate, Ann Kimbrough, did not attend but had representatives at the meeting.

Ellis and Watson were responding to a question about what they will do to put more officers on the street, stop the exodus of officers and to pay for them.

Ellis pointed out that as a county commissioner he has provided funding every time a police chief asked for it.

This year, he said, Police Chief Terrell Bolton asked for 200 more offices over the next four years but that CEO Vernon Jones' budget amounted to a net loss of 27 officers.

"I voted to restore that loss and then to add 127 new officers to the force," he said. "We didn't quite get to 200 but we did get a long ways to where we need to be."

Ellis said that DeKalb police officers make good starting salaries but start to lose out at the Master Officer level, which is about three years after. He said that they had implemented step increases to help mitigate the problem. To address the attrition problem, he said he has "proposed a study in a year" in his Burrell Ellis Public Safety and Great Government Efficiency Plan and that he will pay for more police officers by cutting waste in county government.

At his turn with the mike, Watson came out jabbing.

"Study what?" he said, to applause from the audience. "We tired of studying public safety in DeKalb County. All you got to do is to talk to your officers and not listen to studies."

Watson said he would look at the organization to see how police officers are being transferred around the county and who is actually running the department.

"We need to see if the chief is really in charge of the day-to-day operations," he said.


Notcar1 said...

Watson hit the nail on the head!

"Study what....."

Hmmmm..... I think Mr. Watson has already TALKED to his officers.

Ellis has been around long enough to know about the problems and the issues. Does he REALLY need another year to STUDY the issue?

Is Ellis really running for CEO without a plan to solve the problems facing Dekalb? I'd call that gross incompetance.

How many officers will leave while he is STUDYING the issues?

How many more citizens will be murdered while he is STUDYING the issues?

The time for study is long past. Mr. Ellis needs to get off his duff and make some decisions.

How can he expect to become the CEO if he can't step up to the plate and take a swing?

Is he afraid that he might be held accountable for his decisions?

I hear a politician exercising a little CYA. If if doesn't work out, we'll hear something like this..... It's not my fault. I commissioned a study.

Anonymous said...

Police officers aren't leaving just because of the pay...I left that crap hole because of the way the department, mainly supervisors, treated you worst than they expected you to treat perps on the street...When your trying to raise and care for a family you can't afford to be unjustifiably suspended and have your recorded tarnished by trumped up departmental discipline...

Anonymous said...

Amen. The pay is only a portion of the problem.

I'm so tired of hearing the "powers that be" pointing fingers, placing blame, studying this and that.

We need some one to DO something. How about some action, people?

Ann said...

Ann was not invited. So as you can see Burrell and Stan were invited. That is odd... Ann Kimbrough is planning on recruiting and retaining the brightest and best public safety personnel. She cares about the police force... Yes she has been apart of the Vernon Administration, but she is a woman of her own... She is not another Vernon Jones... As for Stan and Burrell they really could care less about DeKalb they just want the title...