Seeking comprehensive solutions as big as our problems.  Governmental transparency is a must.  Citizens’ voices count.

 BLUEPRINT II KICKOFF         Nov. 16, 7:00 pm        
                       The NEW South DeKalb Senior Center, 1931 Candler Rd., Decatur, GA 30032

Call for 'Blueprint II' from Commissioner Gannon ....

Almost two years ago, DeKalb County citizens from neighborhoods all across the county came together and began a process to redefine our County government.  We called it a Blueprint to Redefine DeKalb. With last Tuesday’s election and the success of the ethics reform ballot measure, DeKalb can look back on those two years of work and see how much has been accomplished. Together, we have brought about three key reforms.

We are on our way to an Independent Auditor, independent of the CEO and Commission.  The Auditor is empowered to conduct financial and performance audits of all county departments to determine objectively whether county departments use resources economically and effectively, whether the desired results are being achieved, and whether departments have proper operating procedures. Fraud, abuse, and illegal acts can be uncovered and subject to investigation.

We are on our way to Consistent Codified Procurement Policies, requiring sealed bids on all purchases over $50,000 and requiring Commission approval on all expenditures over $100,000. Contracts cannot be subdivided to skirt the rules and there will be legal accountability to follow standard purchasing procedures.

With last Tuesday’s vote we will have a reformed Board of Ethics appointed by groups of concerned citizens instead of the officials they oversee. Members of the new Ethics Board have to undergo an education and employment background check. Jurisdiction includes all county elected and appointed officials, employees and contractors. The Board has the power to subpoena and compel testimony.

So no matter how daunting the task of reform might seem in DeKalb, we have made progress and those reforms will help us moving forward.  

We agree that fundamental reform is still needed.  The urgency has increased given a growing “feeling” that something needs to change and change quickly.

The two-year process of BLUEPRINT I and implementation of reforms that matter offers guidance as committed and engaged citizens look for solutions that address the many challenges that remain. We took time. Consensus emerged slowly. Exploring issues in depth counted. Diverse voices enhanced understanding. You listened to each other.

BLUEPRINT I shows that citizen-driven reform works. As important as those successes are, the challenges have grown and clearly call upon us all to begin this process anew. As we begin, it is worth recalling the broad principles that guided us to this point:

  • Marginal adjustments no longer suffice.  We need comprehensive solutions as big as our problems.
  • No one change suffices.  We need approaches as multi-faceted as our problems.
  • Many levels of government must be involved.  The Board of Commissioners can and must play a key role, but so too must the Board of Education, the DeKalb delegation in the State Legislature, our municipalities, and our business and private sector leaders.  Each must act, do so in concert, and proceed on a jointly agreed timetable.
  • Governmental transparency is a must.  We cannot negotiate changes so fundamental and so diverse behind closed doors.
  • Citizens’ voices count.

We seek reform that lasts.  The array of issues is broad.  Solutions that are as big as our problems demand a deliberative, consensus forming, and fact gathering process.  That is what made BLUEPRINT I work. 

Many are now focused on the Form of Government. Handing off the task to elected officials or a Charter Review Commission charged with proposing legislation for a new form of government assumes answers to questions not yet asked.  Deliberations, consensus and facts matter.  Structural reform is the end goal of the process, not its beginning. 

Is it time to tackle the Form of Government?  Do you agree that we need to delve deeply into the issue? Are you ready to broaden the circle of citizen Blueprint team leaders and build on the strengths of BLUEPRINT I? Then it’s time for BLUEPRINT II. 


KICKOFF Nov. 16, 7:00 pm
The NEW South DeKalb Senior Center
1931 Candler Rd., Decatur, GA 30032

Won’t you join us in this work?  And bring a friend.

 Contact the Blueprint DeKalb
Leadership Team:
Blueprint DeKalb is entirely funded by its Leadership Team.