Former Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis has returned to politics as the new chief of staff for DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester.
Davis took the job after Jester fired her former chief of staff, Jeff Breedlove, when he was arrested Oct. 24 and charged with making a false report to police and confessed to police to being a drug abuser.
“I had no inkling this was an issue in his past,” Jester said of Breedlove. “I wish him well. We all want him and his family to have healing. Addiction and mental illness are diseases … and I hope he gets the treatment he needs.”
Jester said Davis’ experience and relationships with residents and officials throughout DeKalb County District 1, including Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Chamblee, make him an ideal fit for the job in her office.
“I’m thrilled he has decided to come out of retirement to do this,” Jester said. “I know Mike Davis and I know he cares about District 1.”
Davis resigned his job in business development for the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber to take the chief of staff post for Jester. He said he received a text message from her asking him if he wanted to work for her and District 1.
“I think I can make a big difference. Nancy needed me and I believe I can help her a lot. Besides, my golf game wasn’t getting any better,” Davis said.
Davis, who was elected as the mayor of Dunwoody in 2011 and then lost his re-election bid last year to current Mayor Denis Shortal, said he believes his real strengths are his relationships with the cities and their staffs and residents. He said his past work in economic development, including as Dunwoody’s mayor, gives him an advantage in his new job.
As mayor, Davis played a role in attracting Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters and a State Farm regional headquarters to the Perimeter Center.
“My main effort as mayor was economic development, encouraging companies to relocate to the metro areas … my main goal [as Jester’s chief of staff] will be to take that expertise and spread it across the county,” he said.
Jester said Davis would also work to maintain relationships between the county and the cities in District 1 to ensure the county is providing the services the cities require.
“He has a unique set of skills and knows what is in the best interest of District 1 and in maintaining those relationships,” she said. “He understood that role as mayor.”
While Jester said she is excited about Davis joining her staff, she also praised Breedlove’s work for her during his nearly two-year tenure.
She cited his work in eliminating blight in the county, including the notorious Brannon Hill condominium complex off Memorial Drive, known for its burned out units and trashed property. The county sued for the right to clean up the private property earlier this year.
She also praised him for organizing a recent water billing town hall in which hundreds of DeKalb residents showed up to voice their complaints over bills sometimes totaling in the thousands of dollars.
“Before that town hall, the administration was not acknowledging this was an issue,” Jester said.
She also said Breedlove ensured her office spent much less than its annual budget and a recent audit of her office shows no funds were misspent.
“We only spent 37.7 percent of our budget in 2015 … and in 2016 we spent less than 50 percent of my budget, and will return that money to the county,” she said.
She also asked for people to have sympathy for Breedlove and his family, but said she and Davis will move forward in working to serve District 1.
“I dealt with the issue swiftly, I immediately took action and within a week I started with new staff and brought on Mike Davis,” she said.
“[Breedlove] did a lot of good things for a lot of people, but we are going to continue to move forward, to continue our agenda, and we are not going to be stopped by the tragedy of this one person,” she said.