The Atlanta Beltline’s board on Wednesday adopted a strict new expense policy after reports about inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars led to the ouster of the head of the program.
The board unanimously approved an eight-page policy that prohibits Beltline employees from charging taxpayers for alcohol, laundry costs, in-room meals at hotels, parking citations and a range of other expenses.
It comes after Beltline director Brian Leary was forced out of the agency in August after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation revealed Beltline staffers charged taxpayers for wedding gifts, a parking ticket and other items that frustrated supporters and infuriated watchdog groups.
The Beltline, an ambitious project aiming to redevelop 22-miles of rail lines circling the city into trails and transit, is now being led by Lisa Gordon, the agency’s chief operating officer. The board plans to work with a national consulting firm to search for a permanent director.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the new expense policies are aimed at instilling public confidence in the project, which opens a key eastside leg of its trail on Monday.
“I’m more excited than ever,” said Reed. “Every important issue that we have been working through for the last 60 days has been well-managed.”
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