To the editor:
I appreciate your newspaper’s continued vigilance of the city of Atlanta’s operations.
As you know, I am a candidate for mayor. One of the reasons I made this decision is that I have not seen in our city government the transparency and accountability I feel are needed. The administration has not established and maintained the proper financial and accounting controls to give me confidence that I am receiving complete and informative financial data.
The council will receive an audit of the Water and Sewer Fund this spring, which as you remember was instigated by the council last summer. This external audit should give us the information we need to make the appropriate decisions about our city’s financial condition and prognosis.
There are two issues that have been of concern: the use of commercial paper and the cash pool. I have questioned those practices on numerous occasions — first with our former chief financial officer, second with our internal auditor and third with our current chief financial officer.
I and several of my colleagues have raised concerns about the use of commercial paper for long-term projects, and we were assured that this was the prudent and correct course of action for the short-term projects in the Clean Water Atlanta program. Your readers may recall an exchange between Justin Wiedeman and Clair Muller in your publication in August.
As a member of the Atlanta City Council, I had no knowledge that a Memorandum of Understanding was executed on Dec. 23, 2008, or on Jan. 23, 2009, and do not have those documents in my possession. I have asked the Law Department to render the city’s official opinion as to whether legislation was required before the execution of those documents. It is the administration’s position that they are considered an “internal agreement” between the administration and the Department of Watershed Management and that the appropriate course of action now is to request that they be approved by the City Council. (The council was due to discuss them at its meeting Feb. 16.)
A Norwood administration will not operate like this. Change is needed. Change can be good. Change is what it will take to make our city work for us again.