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Court upholds firing of DeKalb police chief
DeKalb County acted properly in firing police chief Terrell Bolton for insubordination and improper use of county vehicles, a Superior Court judge has ruled.
Even if it hadn’t, Judge Robert J. Castellani ruled Thursday, Bolton took too long to respond to the county’s motion to dismiss his appeal. Bill McKenney withdrew as Bolton’s attorney April 13, a week before the response was due, and his new lawyer did not enter the case until three weeks later, court records show.
CEO Burrell Ellis’ office announced the decision late today, noting: “On behalf of the citizens of DeKalb, the county is pleased with the decision.”
Castellani wrote that hearing officer Phyllis R. Williams had plenty of evidence last summer when she heard Bolton’s case and supported the county’s decision to fire him. In particular, the judge wrote, the hearing officer cited evidence that Bolton had:
- Misused county property, by assigning seven vehicles — including two luxury cars seized from drug dealers — for his own use, and ordered an underling not to record the vehicles in his cost center
- Tried, while on medical leave, to countermand Ellis’ order to terminate one of Bolton’s top civilian aides, and
- Failed to get prior approval before taking comp time. Atlanta Unfiltered reported last year that Bolton took 80 days of comp time in 2007 and 2008, including 56 unauthorized days after the CEO’s office told him it would stop approving the time off.