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Panel on DeKalb CEO recommends suspension
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IN BRIEF: The three-member panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to decide on whether DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis should be suspended from office decided unanimously today to suspend Ellis, who is under indictment for felony charges of alleged extortion. Rockdale County Commission Chairman and CEO Richard Oden, along with Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeffrey Turner, both Democrats, and Attorney General Sam Olens. who is Republican, were on the panel.

The panel heard testimony today from Ellis and his lawyers. 

Ellis is accused of trying to remove contractors who had not contributed to his campaign from consideration for DeKalb County contracts and using lists of DeKalb County vendors to contact them for campaign contributions. He faces four counts of criminal attempt to commit theft by extortion, two counts of conspiracy in restraint of free and open competition, two counts of criminal attempt to commit false statements and writings, three counts of theft by taking, one count of conspiracy to defraud, and three counts of coercion of other employee to give anything of value for political purposes.

In the report to the Governor, the panel wrote "After a review of the indictment and hearing from interested parties, the Commission finds that the indictment charging W. Burrell Ellis, Jr. with the above-listed violations does relate to and does adversely affect the administration of the office of CEO of DeKalb County, and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby."

The final decision now falls to Gov. Deal, who reportedly will make a decision by the end of the week.