Group names DeKalb CEO ‘public administrator of the year’

(L-R) Dekalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, Dekalb CEO Michael Thurmond and Dekalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson attend a press conference in Decatur announcing a $284 million water infrastructure finance and innovation act loan to Dekalb County on Thursday, May 19, 2022. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

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(L-R) Dekalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, Dekalb CEO Michael Thurmond and Dekalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson attend a press conference in Decatur announcing a $284 million water infrastructure finance and innovation act loan to Dekalb County on Thursday, May 19, 2022. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond was named “public administrator of the year” by the Georgia chapter of the American Society of Public Administrators.

A press release he was so honored due to “his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and stewardship of the county during its governance crisis.”

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the Georgia chapter of ASPA,” Thurmond said. “However, this prestigious honor must be shared with the Board of Commissioners and the 6,000 dedicated county employees who answered the call to serve during one of the most challenging periods in the history of our county. Teamwork and commitment are the keys to our success.”

Thurmond’s tenure as DeKalb’s chief executive began in 2017.

Wednesday’s news release touted Thurmond turning a multimillion-dollar county deficit into a $145 million “rainy day fund”; his leadership during the county’s extensive water billing and water meter crises; the county’s implementation of SPLOST and EHOST property tax relief programs; and his negotiation of a modified sewer consent decree, among other things.

Pandemic-related initiatives that were highlighted include distributing fresh food to more than 80,000 families; vaccination programs; and allocating almost $50 million in financial assistance to renters and landlords.

“CEO Thurmond’s leadership during the pandemic and stewardship of DeKalb County resources is beyond reproach,” Dr. Otilla Iancu, president of ASPA Georgia, said in the news release.