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Commissioner Ted Terry Convenes Town Hall to Address Empty Commissioner Seats and Concerns About Representation

District 3 and 7 Board of Commissioners’ seats have been vacant since March 2024 and may remain vacant until January 2025


June 17, 2024

DECATUR, Ga. – Last week, concerned citizens of DeKalb County convened at a town hall meeting organized by Commissioner Ted Terry (D-6) to address the unprecedented lack of representation for residents of Districts 3 and 7 on the Board of Commissioners, a situation that could extend until the new commissioners are elected in a special election in November or until January if a runoff election is necessary. 

The seats have been vacant due to Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and Larry Johnson’s decisions to run for DeKalb County CEO and the Georgia Secretary of State’s decision to delay a special election to fill these vacancies until the November General Election. 

“Our administration, department heads and county commission offices have and will continue to provide exceptional service levels, reflecting our unity and collective resilience as one DeKalb,” said Commissioner Ted Terry (D-6). “We are prepared to ensure every resident feels included, heard and effectively served—both during this transitional period and beyond.”

“Collaborating with commission offices to address difficult issues that have been brought to their attention has always been in place.  This is and will continue to be the process navigating concerns with empathy and efficiency,” said Zach Williams, DeKalb County’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our goal is to address each issue thoughtfully, ensuring that our commitment to ‘one DeKalb’ translates into meaningful actions that resonate with and support every resident.”

District 3 and 7 offices remain staffed and operational despite the absence of sitting commissioners. Amaris Sawyer in District 7 and LaShun Atwater in District 3 remain committed to maintaining seamless service delivery and addressing the needs of the residents throughout this transition period. 

“As we navigate this period without a sitting commissioner, we are fully committed to ensuring that the needs of our community are met with the same dedication and responsiveness they have always expected from us,” said Dr. Kwasi Obeng, Chief of the Board of Commissioners’ Central Staff. “We are actively collaborating with all other commissioners to ensure that all concerns are heard and thoroughly addressed.”

To prevent similar vacancies in the future, an amendment to House Bill 976 has been introduced by State Rep. Saira Draper (D–Atlanta) that would eliminate the 90-day notice requirement for certain elections, allowing for special elections to be called sooner if no referendum questions are on the ballot.

Department heads representing Public Works, Code Compliance, Department of Watershed Management, Roads and Drainage, Sanitation, and SPLOST were also in attendance fielding concerns about SPLOST I and II allocations to projects that impact District 3, blight, pad-splits, potholes, storm water issues and the opening of Intrenchment Creek Park. 


Andrea Magaña, 714-654-8143 (M)

DeKalb County District 6 Contact

Kelly Cato, 404-804-3358 (M)