Meet John A. Ernst, Jr.

“I love Brookhaven, its culture, its energy. No other city in the state is as  vibrant and full of possibilities as Brookhaven. We’ve built an incredible community, a great quality of life, and our city has a bright future.”

“I’ve lived in Brookhaven for almost my entire life, and we’re happy to be raising our family here.”


John A. Ernst, Jr. grew up in the Hampton Hall neighborhood of Brookhaven – where his parents still live. He attended Montgomery Elementary, played baseball at Murphey Candler, and earned his Eagle Scout Award at Troop 21.

John is a lifelong member of Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church. He is married to attorney, Monica Vining, and has two children, Jack (9) and Evan (7). The Ernst family currently resides in Lynwood Park, after living for six years in Ashford Park, with their two Great Danes, Apollo and Finn, and cat OJ.


John received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at Emory University. After college, he served as assistant to Georgia Governor Roy Barnes. John then continued his education and received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University Of Georgia School Of Law.

During his tenure in law school, he served as a prosecutor in the Athens-Clarke County District Attorney’s office under the third-year practice act and was a summer clerk for the Honorable John J. Ellington, Georgia Court of Appeals.

After law school, he served as the Attorney of the Majority Caucus in the Georgia House of Representatives during the 2004 Legislative Session.


John opened his law practice in 2005. At the Ernst Legal Group, he specializes in real estate transactions, bankruptcy litigation, and personal injury cases. He is licensed to practice before all Georgia Trial Courts, the Georgia Supreme Court and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the American Bar Association, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice.

John was honored with Daily Report’s “On the Rise” Award in 2015, given to Georgia lawyers under the age of 40 who are making a difference in the community and will continue to do so in the future.


John served as Chairman of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics from 2013 to 2015, where he successfully filled lingering board vacancies, hired investigators, and increased the board’s annual budget nearly ten-fold to handle a sharp increase in ethics complaints. Under John’s leadership, the Ethics Board convicted a public official of an ethics violation for the first time in more than 15 years.

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7 days ago

Mayor John Ernst

Continue to follow CDC guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19 when utilizing our great parks or doing business at City Hall. Stay safe. ... See MoreSee Less

7 days ago

Mayor John Ernst

Great update and information from my neighbor to the North from yesterday’s GMA statewide call.Testing! Testing! Testing!

This update (from the last week or so of calls I am on) is going to focus primarily on Covid-19 testing. And I am going to lead with the most important thing.

If you seek Covid-19 testing – to get the fastest results, your best option is through one of the Department of Public Health’s testing sites. Again, use the GA Department of Public Health testing sites to avoid an even longer wait for results. In DeKalb, call (404) 294-3700, ext. Option 1 to make an appointment.

Anyone in Georgia can now be tested – you don’t need to be symptomatic or think you have been exposed.

There is a testing site in Dunwoody, at Kingswood Church, so simply call (404) 294-3700, ext. Option 1 and make the appointment.

You may be thinking “I have my own physician or the local urgent care has tests available.” According to the meetings I am attending, the private commercial labs have over-committed and have failed to deliver on their promises.

Georgia is rapidly building their lab capacity, going from being able to process 50 tests a day at the beginning of this, to 1000 a day today and by the end of this week or the beginning of next week 2,500 a day. Getting timely results is still a huge problem, and Georgia continues to work on this.

Now, you may be asking, “Lynn, what about the Abbot rapid testing that is available.” According to Dr. Toomey and others, the test has been disappointing. Too many false negatives. The problem may be that the test was not designed for the specimens to travel. Abbot is working on this.

Finally, you may be wondering about anti-body testing. These tests are not designed to detect current infections. Dr. Toomey (GA Department of Health Director) said that she would not advise going out to get one of the commercially available antibody tests yet. There are too many false positives and false negatives. She advises waiting until the testing is available. (If you were visited by a CDC worker and participated you may have your results by the end of next week. They will come from the GA or DeKalb Health Department.)

In terms of hospital capacity, Georgia officials report that things continue to improve. There are about 900 ventilators in use, with nearly 2,000 more available. For the first time in weeks, there are fewer than 1000 Covid-19 confirmed patients in GA hospitals. ICU bed use seems to be stable at about 70%. The local hospitals report a lower Covid-19 patient census.

The cumulative number of cases in Dunwoody continues to creep up, but without testing data I can’t really tell you much more than that. But I can remind you to please continue to social distance, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face.

I am wearing masks when I am inside public places and outside around other people. I am not wearing a mask when I am outside and can social distance.

And a final reminder, if you want or need a coronavirus test, call Dekalb Public Health to schedule (404) 294-3700, ext. Option 1.

If you have any questions or concerns, drop them in the comments or email me at
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Brookhaven, Georgia, Mayor John Ernst says he’s “very concerned” about Gov. Kemp’s announcement that some businesses can reopen this week.

“You don't want to come out too early to then go back in or make people fearful,” he says.