Reed’s response come after news outlets, including Channel 2 Action News, criticized the spending and what they considered stalling from the mayor’s office in releasing expense reports, which were first sought in early May.
Harvey Newman, professor emeritus at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, said there are benefits to city leaders traveling abroad and to other cities in the United States. Leaders learn best practices from others, can foster trade agreements and act as ambassadors for local corporations, such as Coca-Cola or Delta Air Lines.
But he said a city must be judicious in making sure those involved have a purpose for going.
“I can see both side of this,” he said. “I’m sure we developed great partnerships there. But I would have to question the number of people.”
Reed's office said in a statement that six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa and that the mayor has been trying for two years to woo South Africa leaders to make Atlanta the preferred gateway to the Americas. He's taken a trip to Johannesburg and last year Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille came to Atlanta.
The mayor’s office also pointed out that Atlanta was ranked by FDI Intelligence Magazine as a top world city for foreign direct investment.