|Biography of DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis
In 2009, Burrell Ellis became the 4th Chief Executive Officer of DeKalb County, the third largest county in Georgia and one of the most diverse and progressive counties in the Southeast. Since taking office, CEO Ellis has applied an innovative and responsive approach toward right-sizing and restructuring government, empowering neighborhoods and reducing overall spending by more than $130 million. At the same time, he appointed a citizen-driven Revenue Enhancement Commission to identify non-tax revenue sources. The fiscal measures applied by CEO Ellis have restored the county’s bond rating and increased budgetary reserves from $9 million to $30 million in less than one year.
One of his first major initiatives was the establishment of the Office of Neighborhood Empowerment, where he sought to bring government closer to the people by offering training, resources and support directly to communities. ONE DeKalb, as it is commonly known, has saved the county millions of dollars through volunteerism and created an environment of accountability between government and the citizens it serves.
In 2011, CEO Ellis began an ambitious campaign to comprehensively address key constituent issues. Through his ONE DeKalb initiative, CEO Ellis proactively partnered with federal, state, private, and non-profit sector leaders to develop innovative solutions to complex, modern-day problems. This vision has led to the creation of a local jobs stimulus program estimated to produce 4,700 good paying jobs from a $1.4 billion water and sewer capital improvement program, development of housing programs to mitigate the impact of the foreclosure crisis, sweeping improvements to code compliance, and prioritization of excellent customer service.
CEO Ellis serves in various leadership positions at the regional and national level. He is an officer on the Atlanta Regional Commission, President of County Executives of America, and a member of the executive committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia. Locally, he is a member of Nu Mu Lambda Chapter (DeKalb County, GA) of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men of DeKalb County and St. Philip AME Church.
CEO Ellis has been recognized by numerous organizations and periodicals for his executive leadership, including the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, the DeKalb County Veterans Affairs Advisory Board, Georgia Trend Magazine, and the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Prior to becoming DeKalb County’s Chief Executive Officer, Burrell had a distinguished career as a DeKalb County Commissioner while serving as the Commission’s Presiding Officer for five consecutive terms. CEO Ellis is a former partner at the national law firm of EpsteinBeckerGreen and adjunct law professor at Georgia State University. He and his wife, Philippa, live in Stone Mountain and are the proud parents of two school-age children.