DeKalb CEO Accepts Planning Chief's Apology About 'Monkeys' Comment

Interim planning director, Gary Cornell, said his comment in an e-mail referring to The Colony Apartments on N. Hairston Rd. was not intended to be racially offensive, according to a statement.

DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said in a statement Wednesday that he had accepted the apology of the county's interim planning director, who in an e-mail wrote "these properties are like a barrel full of monkeys," describing on N. Hairston Road.

In the statement, Ellis said "no further action is required at this time."

The CEO said he was informed of Gary Cornell's use of the term about a month ago by the county’s Chief Operating Officer. News outlets such as Channel 2 have reported on Cornel's comment and the reaction to it. The date of the e-mail that appears on Channel 2's website is March 12.

Here is the CEO's statement:

"Approximately one month ago, I was informed by the County’s Chief Operating Officer that Gary Cornell had used the term ‘barrel of monkeys’ in an email. Mr. Cornell has explained that his statement was not intended to be racially offensive and, given that he has no record of racial insensitivity, I believe him.  Nonetheless, he has received counseling regarding terms that have historical negative connotations and the perception by some that his statement could be received in a manner other than what he intended.

Mr. Cornell has apologized to his co-workers, the community and to me, and I have accepted his apology and believe that no further action is required at this time.”


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