The Development Authority of Fulton County’s board chair has announced his resignation from his controversial dual role as the DAFC’s interim executive director, calling it “a political and a public distraction.”
Michel “Marty” Turpeau says he will leave the executive director position at the scandal-plagued DAFC by Aug. 31 and expects a permanent replacement to be hired before then. Turpeau would remain in the board chair position. His announcement comes shortly before his scheduled July 14 appearance at a meeting of the county Board of Commissioners, where DAFC reform legislation is on the agenda.
Commissioner Lee Morris, who filed the reform legislation, last week called Turpeau’s dual role as board chair and executive director “wrong” and a conflict of interest.
The DAFC’s major power is to grant tax abatements to real estate projects by issuing tax-exempt bonds and collecting fees from the deals. The DAFC is in the midst of a scandal over hundreds of thousands of dollars in per diem payments made to some of the volunteer board members for work as basic as signing documents, which forced former chairman Bob Shaw to leave the board.
Turpeau became chair in November 2020 and has put the DAFC into a self-reform mode on such policies as per-diem payments. Former executive director or “CEO” Al Nash retired late last year. Turpeau has said an initial search failed to fill the job, so he took it over temporarily.
“It is now apparent that serving as both chairman and interim executive director has become both a political and a public distraction from moving the DAFC forward,” Turpeau said in a written statement issued July 12. “Therefore, I have informed our board that I will only serve in the interim executive director position through August 31. Our accelerated timeline to select an interim executive director begins this week and we expect to have a full board vote based on the top three candidates at our monthly board meeting well before August 31.”
Turpeau said he has not received per diem payments for his work in the executive director position.
“I look forward to being able to concentrate solely on serving as the chairman of our board and working with our stakeholders to ensure economic opportunities are available to all of the communities we serve in Fulton County,” he said.
Also on the BOC’s July 14 agenda is the nomination of Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker to serve on the DAFC board. Bodker has pledged to work as a reformer.