The legislation comes after a corruption investigation into previous Mayor Kasim Reed’s tenure revealed inappropriate use of city-issued credit cards, also known as purchasing cards or p-cards.
Ordinance 19-O-1004, sponsored by Post 3 at-large Councilman Andre Dickens and co-sponsored by District 8 Councilman J.P. Matzigkeit, who represents part of Buckhead, now codifies those terms in the city code.
“This credit card legislation is another important step towards a more accountable and transparent government,” Dickens said in a news release. “By working with the Mayor’s administration, law department, and finance team, we continue to build the public’s trust in their government.”
The policy is not intended to replace current Georgia statutes but is intended to comply with such state laws and establish more efficient guidelines for elected officials, designated executive officials and employees using such purchasing cards.
“This legislation will bring transparency to the use of taxpayer dollars,” Matzigkeit said in a news release. “To further clarify the new policy, we included specific examples of card usage that not allowed and is not directly related to city business.
Violating the new guidelines may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to felony criminal prosecution.
The following types of purchases and uses are strictly prohibited:
1. Goods or services not directly related to official city business.
2. Data plans, software, or applications for non-city issued devices including but not limited to smartphones, laptop computers, and tablets. However, data plans purchased by the authorized cardholder when traveling on official city business are a permissible use of the business credit card.
3. Memberships at wholesale warehouses and shopping clubs (e.g. Sam’s Club, Costco, Amazon Prime).
4. Cash advances.
5. Gift cards, store value cards, calling cards and similar products.
6. Personal dry-cleaning charges.
7. Entertainment (e.g. in-room movies for city employees traveling on business).
8. Alcoholic beverages or products.
9. Tobacco products.
10. Fuel, mechanical repairs and/or maintenance for personal owned vehicles.
11. Airline tickets for family and friends.
12. Any personal use.
13. Use of the business credit card by anyone other than the authorized cardholder or the authorized cardholder’s designated personnel as approved by the city’s chief financial officer.
Other legislative items approved by the council include:
o A resolution by District 11 Councilwoman Marci Collier Overstreet (Legislative Reference No. 19-R-3014) requiring the identification of all custodians of records and open records coordinators within the city of Atlanta for the purposes of the Georgia Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(b)(1)(B) and O.C.G.A. § 50-18- 71(b)(2) and in accordance with Atlanta City Code Section 3-3(A).
o A resolution (Legislative Reference No. 19-R-3075) by the council’s community development/human services committee authorizing a donation of $200,000 to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition for the Atlanta Streets Alive Project.
o An ordinance (Legislative Reference No. 18-O-1732) by Council Members Andrea L. Boone, Marci Collier Overstreet, Michael Julian Bond and Dustin Hillis renaming Ontario Park to the John Davis Park in honor of a longtime civic leader in the Westview Community. Davis served as president of the Westview Community Organization in 2008 and 2009 and as president of the beautification committee from 2010 through 2017. Davis died April 11, 2017, and he is remembered for leaving an incredible mark on the Westview community.