Doraville: Rats abandoning the sinking ship?


Part One:

Gm site development and Doraville are all the city’s Pr department has talked about since 2008. The next Atlantic station, movie studios, Falcons, Braves, casinos and more. Most of it is pr hot air and in some cases out right lies. The city has two full time spin doctors to keep the ilusion lit. Running the show in Doraville is not the Ex mall guard turned mayor, Donna Pittman. Doraville city council hired a city manager to take over the mayors full time position. She was not capable of running the city so professional help was required. The manager’s name is Shawn Gillen. An ex-football player turned politician/ manager.
The Pr machine created by Shawn Gillen would leed the average citizen or news paper reader to believe that something extraordinary was going to be built. The town would see a twenty year, multi billion dollar development build out. This was the story he was pictching to the Dekalb County BOC ( Board of Commissioners) in June. The development team, mayor, city staff, hired pr / salesman and Shawn Gillen were painting this pretty picture to the BOC. The city is trying to convince the County and school board to float a 294 million TAD bond and forgo taxes on new development for 25 years. The county, school board, and the city will have to cover services during the same period without the tax income.
What the newspapers, The BOC, and the people of Doraville did not know, Mr Gillen was looking for another job at the same time. What, the most important development in Georgia, a great time to run a city!! What!! Shawn Gillen, a resident of Johns Creek not Doraville, was applying for the ASSISTANT MANAGERS job in neighboring Brookhaven. Not the city managers job like he currenty holds in Doraville. The ASSISTANT???
The city of doraville has its problems. All small towns in a competitive metro market have problems. The challenge is to manage each towns unique assets for the least amount of money with highest quality results. The opposite has occured during the last four years. The Donna Pittman years. Taxes and pork projects are expanding while services are contracting. Everything bad is blamed on the GM plant closing, not the bad management of the city. The bail out of Doraville businesses and citizens over the last four years is reaching epidemic proportions and the demographics are in free fall.

Purhaps Shawn Gillen knows the rope is running out on his $300,000 budget and the house of cards is coming down.

The president of the city’s Downtown Development Authority and the largest strip mall owner, Jack Halpern, is moving his home office to Sandy Springs. This comes on the heals of selling off his largest shopping mall property ( Chick fil a , Wells fargo , and Mcdonalds) for 22 million. The City Planner, Joe Cooley (- a attorney/planner who worked for the law firm representing Halpern before getting a job as the planner for Doraville ) left Doraville and has taken a planning job with Sandy Springs. Coincidence???

The two leaders on the city council elected not to run again. One selling her house and leaving due to
“the blatant lies and corruption in leadership of Doraville city hall”.

There seems to be a pattern here. The insiders are getting out while chanting the “GM development is great” theme.

See Redact to see Shawn Gillen’s Job Application to Brookhaven. An open records request to the city of Brookhaven netted the application.

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