May said he is now looking at everything with a new lens and at times like this two groups suffer – the citizens and the county employees.
“I have been on the board of commissioners for seven years,” May said.
“So I know a lot of the issues, but the other reality is I am in a new position now and I have a new lens to see some of the barriers which you all have to face day to day.”
May answered questions from more than 15 employees in the 90-minute meeting. Several employees raised their hands to ask May how he plans to be held accountable and how he expects to raise morale among the employees.
“We have to do some tangible things to build morale,” May said. “Times like this do not help and what we need to do is build and rebuild a new trust. Morale is not just about money. We have to look at the entire work environment and the opportunity for promotions and more leadership opportunities.”
May said he did want employees to speak with him about solutions and problems they have, but made no mention of accountability.
Employees expressed their concern about the loss of revenue due to more incorporations within the county. Salaries and a lack of accessibility to promotions were also mentioned as an employee concern.
Several employees mentioned the recent 3 percent pay raise employees making $37,700 and under received. Also, several employees making more than $37,700 asked if they would receive a pay raise. They all wanted to know if the CEO was willing to work to give them livable wage.
The topic of the 2014 budget was tied into these concerns since the commissioners will be planning the budget in the coming months.
May said he wanted to bridge the gap between the commissioners and the CEO and he said the tension between the two groups was present before he started on the board seven years ago.
DeKalb County District 1 Commissioner Elaine Boyer said there is uncertainty about how long May will serve as interim CEO.
She also said this provides the county with the opportunity for the relationship between the board of commissioners and the CEO’s office to move in a better direction than constant strife between the two.
“We have a fresh start for a moment,” Boyer said. “Having a fresh start gives people hope and now we have the opportunity to implement the ideas that Lee, the other commissioners and I have wanted to do.”
This was the second meeting May held with county employees. He is the youngest person to serve on the DeKalb County Commission.