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Oden named to panel to decide if DeKalb CEO can still serve
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Rockdale County Commission Chairman and CEO Richard Oden was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal today to a three-member panel that will determine whether DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis can continue to operate as the top executive of that county while under indictment for felony charges related to alleged extortion for campaign contributions.

Oden and Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeffrey Turner, along with Attorney General Sam Olens, who was the former Commission Chairman of Cobb County, will determine whether the indictment against Ellis relates to and adversely affects his ability to perform his official duties. The law requires Olens to be the third member on the review panel.

Oden and Turner are Democrats and Olens is a Republican. Ellis is a Democrat.

Oden declined through a spokesperson to comment on the appointment.

Under the executive order, the panel has 14 days to study the case and issue a recommendation to the governor. If the panel determines that Ellis should remain in office, that decision is final. If the panel determines Ellis should be removed, the governor will be able to have the final say.

Ellis would reportedly continue to receive pay, a $150,000 annual salary, if he were suspended.