Ga. Severance Package Questioned

DECATUR, Ga. --

Former DeKalb County Chief Communications Officer Shelia Edwards may have quit her job last month, but she isn't done getting paid by the county.

According to DeKalb County documents, CEO Burrell Ellis has approved a severance package that will pay Edwards nearly $46,000. That is more than enough money to hire a new DeKalb County police officer or firefighter.

CBS Atlanta tried asking Ellis the “Tough Questions” about his decision, but he wasn't available. Keith Barker, the county's chief operating officer, tried explaining the CEO’s motives.

“It’s not unusual when there is a negotiated resignation for those individuals to be offered some sort of severance package,” Barker said. “It depends on the circumstances. Every circumstance is different.”

DeKalb County commissioner Lee May said he didn’t agree with the CEO’s decision.

“$46,000 is a lot of money when we have had to cut services to that same degree,” May said. “If someone on my staff quit, I would not pay them anymore after their last day here.”

May said the severance package sends a bad message to taxpayers and county employees. He also said it maybe time to look at restricting the Ellis’ ability to approve future severance packages.

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