Atlanta will have an Office of the Inspector General to independently prevent and root out corruption following a unanimous City Council approval on Feb. 3.
The creation of the office comes in the wake of a City Hall procurement corruption scandal involving the administration of former Mayor Kasim Reed. A reform task force established last year by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms recommended the Inspector General’s Office and the council pushed for its rapid creation.
The new office will unite the ethics, procurement contract review and regulatory compliance branches of city government. The office will have subpoena powers for city records. There is no immediate timeline for establishing the office, with funding still to be allocated.
“I called for the creation of the Inspector General to ensure we have the strongest safeguards possible to prevent corruption in City Hall,” said Bottoms in a press release.
“Creating an adequately structured Office of Inspector General is one of many steps on the road to cultural reform and the restoration of public confidence,” said City Council President Felicia Moore in a press release.
“This is a constructive, positive step for the city,” said City Councilmember Jennifer Ide of the Buckhead-area District 6, who introduced the proposal on the council. “Finalizing this legislation was a careful and collaborative process and I’m grateful for the support from my colleagues in creating this position to root out waste, fraud and corruption in city government.”
“Creating the Office of Inspector General moves our city in a positive direction to ensure we’re operating with integrity and transparency,” said Councilmember Howard Shook of Buckhead’s District 7. “This position will be a true asset to the city, and I applaud my fellow council members for getting behind this initiative.”
Councilmember J.P. Matzigkeit of Buckhead’s District 8 praised the vote in his constituent newsletter, saying the legislation was his highest priority for the year. “If we cannot guarantee trustworthy government, why are we here?” he wrote.
The legislation creates a position of inspector general. It also establishes a nine-member governing board, members of which may be nominated from certain professional organizations, powerful business groups and higher education institutions, including: the Atlanta Bar Association; the Gate City Bar Association; the Atlanta Business League; the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; the Atlanta-Fulton County League of Women Voters; the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board; the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners; the Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants; and seven colleges and universities acting collectively, including Georgia State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Emory University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College.