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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Email to Burrell Ellis

Introduction: It's likely that because I have written a lot about issues surrounding Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. that I wound up on the email list of Burrell Ellis, who recently was voted the next CEO of Dekalb County. Dekalb. Dekalb County is right next door to Fulton County where Atlanta is located. Grady Hospital services both Fulton and Dekalb County. Ellis' predecessor, Vernon Jones, has been, in my opinion, in the middle of much of the corruption that surrounds Grady Hospital. In any case, I recently received this email that I felt obliged to respond to.

Thank you and thanks to all our neighbors for the vote of confidence you me at the polls to serve you as your next DeKalb County CEO. I am humbled by and grateful for the mandate you have bestowed. I will wake up every day and ask, "How can I work for our constituents today?"

I thank you for your votes. I also want to thank you for being an essential part of this campaign to build a New Consensus for a Better DeKalb. That's because so many of you, folks from every part of the county and from every walk of life, did more than vote. As part of the New Politics we see emerging across this country, you, voters who care about your neighborhoods and your kids' schools and the quality of life we all share, have been an active participant in this project. The New Consensus for a Better DeKalb is your work. Here's why I say that.

I am a candidate of the New Politics, and that means that the way I ask for your vote is in fact the way I will work for you in office. And so almost two years ago we began a dialogue. I asked you, by mail, over the internet, and in your neighbors' homes, what are your priorities? I said I needed to hear from you about your priorities so that TOGETHER we can make your priorities DeKalb County's priority.

Dear Mr. Ellis, I want to congratulate you on your victory. Furthermore, I hope you understand that your predecessor, Vernon Jones, has left you with plenty of work to do. I have spoken with many people in the know and they tell me that you aren't merely his stooge or lackey and that you may in fact work hard to try and bring the sort of change that the County you are now in charge of desperately needs. I am not nearly as confident as those I have spoken with. Furthermore, even if initially your intentions are good, Dekalb County has a way of corrupting even those with initial good intentions.

That said, if you are serious about your commitment to work for your constituents, there are several things that you can do right away. First, the Dekalb County Police Department is the center of systemic corruption and has been for decades. This corruption climaxed with the death of Derwin Brown, the incoming sheriff, in 2001. Brown was killed by the then outgoing sheriff Syd Dorsey. Following the tragic death Derwin Brown, nothing more than cosmetic changes were done to the police department. As such, the same vicious corruption that exists that lead to the tragic death of Derwin Brown continues to be part of this department today. Cleaning up that corruption should be your first priority if you are serious about your commitment to your constituents.

Second, Grady Hospital, which serves the poor in your county and Fulton County, continues to be the center of obscene amounts of corruption. As Dekalb County CEO, you are responsible for selecting the members of the board of Grady Hospital. It is my opinion that your predecessor elected members to the board that contributed to the corruption. This corruption was epitomized by the selection of Robert Brown to head the board for several years. Among many dubious moves by Brown was awarding his own architecture firm a multi million dollar project in 2002 while Grady was in the middle of financial upheavel. If you are serious about your commitment to your constituents, you will make sure all future members of the board do not hav the sort of conflict of interest that Brown and others have.

Furthermore, you will demand an immediate investigation into the manner in which former Grady Hospital CEO, Otis Story Jr., was fired. Furthermore, you will demand that an investigation begin into the manner in which Pam Stephenson orchestrated a golden parachute for herself while she was concurrently CEO, head of the board, and a State Senator. As you may know, Grady recently received a golden parachute of its own from the Woodruff Foundation. That means the hospital will be able to function without public funds, FOR NOW. Of course, if they continue in the same corrupt way they have for decades, that money will run out quickly. Then, the hospital will look for another hand out and among the hands will be your county.

Finally, I am of the opinion that a serious investigation needs to be made of your predecessor. Time and again, Vernon Jones used the office as his own personal piggy bank and the systemic corruption he created as a result will continue unless it is investigated. Furthermore, by investigating your predecessor, you will show the voters you aren't merely his lackey. You will show everyone that the political machine that has created the systemic corruption he was an integral part of is one you are NOT.

Mr. Ellis I wish you luck in your new role, and I hope that your actions will match your hopeful rhetoric.


Anonymous said...

I think if you had any evidence that CEO Vernon Jones was corrupt you would have come forward with it during his eight year term. I think you are a coward for saying something and not have any proof. Obviously you have a personal agenda. You might want to start with yourself and investigate what your intentions are. As citizens we need to start really paying attention to those who make accusations but can not support them. I will say it again, what is this man hidden agenda? We must all ask ouselves.

CEO Vernon Jones has done a lot for the citizens of DeKalb County. We appreciate him. We have come a long way since the CEO prior to him. He is a stand up man and we all wish him well.

mike volpe said...

With all due respect, all my evidence is embedded in the link I created for Vernon Jones. That leads to one story full of evidence and then I also wrote another story about him. I didn't discover Vernon Jones until six months ago, however I have overwhleming evidence that he is corrupt. If you don't believe me, click the link and read the story. If you still don't believe me, read the next story at the end of the link.