An “Inappropriate Relationship” In DeKalb Cost County $100,000

Amazingly it was only half his salary.

DeKalb County’s CEO fired his second in command Thursday after learning that the official had had an improper relationship with a water department secretary.

As part of his termination, Chief Operating Officer Keith Barker will be paid $100,000 — half of his annual salary — making him the second member of CEO Burrell Ellis’ Cabinet to leave within weeks with a sizable severance package.

Based on a tip, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained e-mails, text messages, photographs, cards and phone records documenting his nine-month relationship with Dana TraBue, an administrative assistant in the Watershed Management Department. Following this and other media inquiries, Barker was terminated.


  1. Progressive Dem says:

    Apparently the COO had a written contract guaranteeing him half his salary if he was dismissed before the contract ended – even if he is fired for cause. I guess he could have committed bank a felony, stolen county funds or taken a kick back and still received a severance. Unbelieveable. Who is the County Attorney who approved such a contract?

    • Progressive Dem says:

      Sadly, the elected CEO is a lawyer from a big Atlanta firm.

      Worst part is every DeKalb County police officer and emergency responder that works this Monday (Labor Day) will not be paid. The county has wiped out holiday pay for all employees. A $100K would have paid quite a few public safety for their service on Monday.

  2. NoTeabagging says:

    CEO Ellis resembles Vernon Jones more and more. He keeps pushing for projects such as the GM Redevelopment and Convention Center to reward business associates. His internal handling of employees and close friends shows a pattern of favoritism. Maybe he is in a race with Kasim Reed to become the next Bill Campbell?

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