Feb. 6, 2015 — Before Kelvin Cochran condoned his own anti-gay slurs, he condemned a much milder one made by an Atlanta firefighter under his command.
“We cannot tolerate this type of behavior from our members,” Cochran wrote in an August 2012 email about a firefighter’s use of the term “fags” in a Facebook comment. As fire chief, Cochran later suspended the firefighter for 30 days without pay.
Mayor Kasim Reed fired Cochran last month for unauthorized publication of a book that compared homosexuality to pederasty and bestiality. He’s filed an EEOC complaint alleging his firing violated his right to freedom of religion.
Feb. 8, 2013 — Another consequence, perhaps unintended, lurks in an ethics bill moving through the Legislature. Enforcement of some aspects of campaign finance law, under a bill sponsored by House Speaker David Ralston, would shift to city clerks and county election superintendents. They would be expected to collect late fees from local candidates, recall committees and the like — a task now assigned to the state ethics commission. The question is: How diligently will local election officials rat out incumbents who are, in many cases, their bosses?
Taylor, a political consultant, has stayed busy running other candidate’s campaigns, but he’s cut a few corners in running his own. Five times since 2008, Taylor failed to disclose his personal or campaign finances, neglecting to report receipt of at least $11,225 in campaign contributions as a consequence. “There’s really no excuse for not having filed my disclosures that are missing,” Taylor said. “I just haven’t gotten it done.” Taylor also fell behind on his state income taxes, incurring liens totaling $3,161 for 2008 and 2009.
Fired Atlanta arborist Tom Coffin settled his whistleblower suit against City Hall on Tuesday, just before his case was scheduled to go to trial, his lawyers say. Under the deal, the city admits no blame and Coffin gets his pension back and $165,000 in damages and fees, lawyers Gerry Weber and Brian Spears announced today. The City Council still must approve the settlement.
Countless Atlantans volunteered for Kasim Reed last fall, helping a second-place candidate win the top job in city government. But, in a tight nonpartisan race, partisan campaigning may have been the critical ingredient that vaulted him past Mary Norwood. The Georgia Democratic Party spent at least $165,000 to attack her and contribute to an unprecedented 8 percent jump […]
A citizen oversight panel could learn today whether it may compel Atlanta police officers to appear to answer investigators’ questions. The Atlanta Citizen Review Board, at the instigation of member Rod Edmond, may file suit to force officers to cooperate if it does not get subpoena power. Maybe even if it does. UPDATE: On a 13-1 vote, the City Council today granted the board subpoena power and require the police chief to discipline officers who won’t cooperate with it.
Atlanta’s chief operating officer, Peter Aman, must disqualify himself from discussing city business involving Delta Air Lines or any other client of his consulting firm, the city’s Board of Ethics said tonight. But, the board said, he’s fine if he wants to talk to Delta about budget issues or other matters that affect all tenants at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Citizen overseers have called on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to ensure that police officers are disciplined if they keep refusing to answer investigators’ questions. But for a start, members of the Citizen Review Board said, Reed could return their calls.
On New Year’s Eve, Mayor-elect Kasim Reed could celebrate knowing his campaign fund, even after spending $2.5 million to win the job, had a six-figure bank balance. Much of it came from lawyers, contractors and consultants with money on their minds. Their support underscores the inherent tension in soliciting political donations from people looking to do a little business once their candidates take office. “You’re asking people to be awfully gullible to believe all those contributions are being made out of civic interest and public pride,” said Atlanta attorney Emmet Bondurant.
Since 2001, Georgia has asked local political candidates who raise $10,000 or more to disclose the details — who gave it to you, how much, how you spent it — by “electronic means.” So what exactly does that mean? It definitely does not mean making it easy for the public to find them. Check out my Ethics Watch column for this week in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Kasim Reed hasn’t even been sworn in as Atlanta’s next mayor, but one of his key supporters has already been promoted. Scott Kreher, the police sergeant who was on desk duty four months ago for talking about wanting to tenderize the mayor’s head with a baseball bat, is now a lieutenant. Kreher runs the Atlanta police union, which endorsed Reed two weeks before he won a Dec. 1 runoff election.