April 22, 2019 - Atlanta - Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayor. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

Atlanta mayor agrees to fund new office, avoiding fight with council

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in a letter on Tuesday agreed to provide $800,000 to fund a new city office to enforce city codes and other laws, a move that avoided a potential squabble with the City Council.

The council created an independent compliance office in March to investigate allegations of fraud, waste and abuse, and any other violations of city code or laws. The action marked the most sweeping effort to date to address concerns swirling around a federal corruption investigation into City Hall.

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Bottoms last week told council members she hadn’t earmarked any money for the office. The mayor wanted to first hear recommendations from the “Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust,” a group that she had established to “guide the City as we institute a rigorous system for accountability, strengthening public trust in government.”

The lack of funding for the compliance office prompted several council members to say they wouldn’t support the mayor’s budget if it didn’t include money to operate the office.

A proposed resolution recommends that Bottoms allocate $1.4 million for office.

In a letter on Tuesday, Bottoms spoke positively of the initiative.

“This administration is committed to the cornerstones of accountability and transparency,” Bottoms wrote. “We view this expanded organizational unit as the beginning of ensuring that Atlanta deserves the highest level of commitment to basic ethics and look forward to the recommendations of the Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust.”

Council President Felicia Moore, who championed creating the new compliance office, said the $800,000 was a good start.

“I’m glad that this is no longer a source of contention,” Moore said.

Bottoms’ administration is scheduled to present the city’s fiscal 2020 budget to the council on Monday.

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