DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned a senior DeKalb County official advertised he was available to work for private clients but the hours listed were the same ones he works for the county.
Channel 2 Investigative reporter Richard Belcher learned that a county commissioner's complaint ended the practice.
For years, his bosses apparently didn't notice that Marcus Kellum had one job paid by taxpayers and another by private clients, despite their hours directly overlapping.
"Code enforcement is the first line of defense, if you will, for the quality of life,” Kellum said in a DeKalb County video while he was head of the office, before he was promoted to a more senior job.
Unknown to top county officials, Kellum was running his own consulting business, which he advertised on the internet.
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The issue came up in a County Commission meeting.
“So I checked out the website and sure enough, there it was,” DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon told Belcher.
Gannon asked the county ethics officer to determine if Kellum's outside work created a conflict of interest. Was he consulting for companies that dealt with DeKalb’s code enforcement office?
Gannon noticed that Kellum's website advertised that his consulting hours were the same as his work hours for DeKalb. Plus, there were photographs of her and other county officials on the site.
“Which would give the impression that we were all supportive of this side job,” Gannon said.
When county ethics officer Stacey Kalberman discovered that Kellum's outside job hours were exactly the same as his county job hours, she said she thought it was more of a management issue than an ethics issue -- but definitely an issue.
Kellum's boss, DeKalb County Chief Operating Officer Zach Williams, told Channel 2 he's satisfied the conflict of interest issue has been resolved, and Kellum took down his website advertising his company.
But Gannon still worries.
“We apparently do not have an administrative policy written whereby the CEO says that my department heads do not work other jobs,” Gannon told Belcher.
Kalberman told Belcher that Kellum's past paid work did not conflict with his county work, but he is now required to fill out a conflict-of-interest declaration each time he does outside work.
Kellum sent a statement to Belcher that essentially confirms what Kalberman said. He didn't mention the overlapping work hours.
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