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DeKalb Government Furniture Flip Costs Taxpayers Thousands | News

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DeKalb Government Furniture Flip Costs Taxpayers Thousands
News, Politics
DeKalb Government Furniture Flip Costs Taxpayers Thousands

DEKALB COUNTY, GA -- State representative Stan Watson will become a DeKalb County commissioner in a couple of weeks. He'll replace Connie Stokes. When Stokes leaves, county officials say she'll take her county office furniture with her. And Watson will get new, nearly-identical taxpayer-funded furniture.

The money is the eye-opener.  Stokes is paying DeKalb county $1,300 for her four-year old furniture.

The county is spending $12,000 to replace it for Watson.

Morris Williams, the Board chief of staff, says the incoming and outgoing furniture are virtually identical, "except one is four years older than the other.

Watson has also been alloted $5,000 to maintain a transition office prior to his swearing-in.  The expenditure of taxpayer money for Watson's transition really isn't that unusual.  Burrell Ellis spent $150,000 in county money to go from CEO-elect to CEO.  That included moving the entire CEO office to another building three blocks away.

As for new furniture? "Those are things that just happen in government," Williams said. Asked if it makes sense, he answered, "I don't think it's a matter of making sense.  I think it's a matter of precedent."  He notes that the county bought the new furniture without consulting Watson.

Williams says legendary DeKalb CEO Manuel Maloof started the precedent by purchasing at a discount, his county furniture and car. The government replaced it. Williams says Superior Court judge Robert Castellani is also purchasing his county furniture. His replacement Courtney Johnson will also get a new replacement furniture.

"Well, I don't think it's that expensive," Williams said, noting that DeKalb's annual budget exceeds a half billion dollars.

"I just think we have to look at every penny," countered Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who will serve with Watson.

In an age when the county has furloughed police and other employees -- and proposing tax increases -- she says the new furniture is excessive.

"$12,000 to $13,000 doesn't seem like a lot of money. But in the cumulative, everyday, a little bit here, a little bit there, it's money we could be saving," Gannon said.























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