The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved legislation Monday finalizing the creation of the Office of Inspector General (Legislative Reference No. 19-O-1729). The legislation was introduced by District 6 Councilmember Jennifer Ide and co-sponsored by District 7 Councilmember Howard Shook and District 11 Councilmember Marci Collier Overstreet.

“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 Council President Felicia Moore. “I also commend our constituents for sharing their feedback on this matter and demonstrating the patience necessary for the legislative process to take its course. When stakeholders get involved, a stronger end-result is yielded.”

“The Council’s work on this issue has been exemplary and I applaud their spirit of collaboration,” she added. “The Council members working directly with the administration, along with their remaining colleagues, sent a strong unified message that they are committed to government that is transparent and accountable.”

The ordinance establishes the roles and responsibilities of the office, creates a structure of governance, and requires the provision of funds necessary for facilities, equipment, and staffing. As part of the legislation, three divisions of the City’s government would fall under the Inspector General – ethics, independent procurement review, and compliance.

“I called for the creation of the Inspector General to ensure we have the strongest safeguards possible to prevent corruption in City Hall,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who issued an executive order earlier this year calling for the creation of the Office of Inspector General, pursuant to the final official recommendation made by the Mayor’s Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust. “I am appreciative of the partnership and work done by the Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust and Council to help restore trust in our City government.”

Last February, Bottoms introduced legislation to create the City of Atlanta Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust, charged with evaluating the efficacy of the City’s legislative and administrative policies and procedures related to ethics, transparency, and compliance.

In October 2019, the Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust, led by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, issued its final recommendations—the chief among those being the creation of the Office of Inspector General.

Since taking office, Bottoms has instituted a number of ethics reforms, including the launch of Open Checkbook, sweeping credit card and bonus reform policies, and the appointment of the City’s first-ever Chief Transparency Officer.

“Keeping our city government operating with integrity means being able to report misconduct and know that it will be thoroughly investigated,” Overstreet said. “In establishing this office, we’re putting the framework in place to make sure we’re rooting out any waste and misconduct.”

Said Ide, “This is a constructive, positive step for the city. 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.”

The Atlanta City Council approved legislation for the creation of an Office of Inspector General. (City of Atlanta)

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