As residents’ trust in the city of Atlanta has eroded amid a federal corruption scandal tied to previous Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration, its current mayor is taking steps to stem the tide.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued an executive order to amend the city’s charter to create the office of inspector general, following the final official recommendation made by her task force for the promotion of public trust.
“The inspector general will serve as an independent set of eyes, ears and teeth to root out misconduct and waste in a manner that is completely separate from any political influence,” Bottoms said in a news release regarding the need for that new position.
In October, the task force, led by retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, gave its final recommendations, focusing on the fact the office of inspector general must have: broad jurisdiction to seek out fraud, waste, abuse, corruption and misconduct and have the authority to initiate its own investigations; a fixed term of appointment and removal only for cause; budgetary protection; direct subpoena power and the ability to keep investigations confidential and to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
“The task force believes that the creation of an independent inspector general’s office is the best way to ensure that integrity as well as to restore trust in Atlanta city government,” Sears said in the release.
In her executive order, Bottoms said the position must contain the following elements:
♦ that the office be independent from the mayor and the Atlanta City Council
♦ that the office shall be governed by an independent board with the authority to conduct administrative appeals and to appoint and remove inspector general, the city auditor and the city ethics officer, rather than by an administrative investigatory board
♦ that the office shall have broad jurisdiction to seek out fraud, waste, abuse, corruption and misconduct
♦ that the office shall have budgetary protection
♦ that the office shall contain the functions and operations of the current independent compliance officer, the city auditor and the city ethics office while preserving the independence of the appointment of the city auditor and city ethics officer
♦ that the position of the inspector general shall be appointed by a fixed term of appointment with removal only for cause
♦ that it is preferred that the inspector general be an attorney
♦ that the inspector general shall have direct subpoena power
♦ that the inspector general shall have authority over the administration, management and direction of the affairs and operations of the office of the inspector general including the authority to appoint and remove all of any of the personnel assigned to such office except for the city auditor and city ethics officer, which should remain independently appointed.
To view the executive order, visit bit.ly/2ToYZFe.