Robert Welsh, a budget manager at the State Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, is making his first run for office. He’s raised more than $11,000 in cash and in-kind donations.
Oct. 7, 2013 — The Georgia Supreme Court today unanimously ordered disbarment of Atlanta City Council member H. Lamar Willis for taking $30,000 from a client and failing to repay it. Willis’s actions, the high court said, demonstrate his “extreme disregard of his duty to safeguard the property of a client, which undermines the public trust.”
An Atlanta city councilman who tangled with the city’s ethics officer last year wants to place that job under the council’s control. Lamar Willis‘ proposal calls for the Board of Ethics to give the council three names to consider, rather than just one, to fill a vacancy pending since September. Ethics advocates fear the plan would politicize the appointment process and jeopardize the board’s independence. Former ethics officer Ginny Looney won settlements against Willis and five other council members since 2008
. Willis said his proposal has nothing to do with his $3,500 ethics fine nor his complaint that the board’s case against him was “piling on” and not even “remotely necessary.”
Atlanta City Council member Cleta Winslow just paid an ethics fine for spending $5,420 of taxpayers’ money to boost her 2009 re-election campaign. But taxpayers also picked up the tab for nearly $29,000 more in spending that promoted Winslow’s name in the final weeks before last year’s voting. The payments blurred the line drawn by the city’s Ethics Code to separate city-sponsored events and campaign activities. Winslow collected reimbursements from her city expense account for jazz musicians, a disc jockey, an inflatable bouncer, a popcorn machine and other equipment, plus $8,000 worth of barbecue and side dishes. Click here for my full story on ajc.com. Click here for supporting documents for this story.
Longtime Atlanta City Council member Cleta Winslow will pay a $1,500 fine and $5,420 restitution for using city funds to print campaign literature and pay campaign workers to hand it out, under terms of a consent order OK’d Thursday. The order has no effect on the outcome of the November 2009 election. Winslow squeaked by to win a fifth term, avoiding a runoff by about 120 votes.
Police should take action against 24 officers for improperly detaining dozens of patrons at the Atlanta Eagle gay bar in a 2009 raid, a citizen oversight panel said tonight. Recommendations for discipline should wait while investigators determine officers’ levels of blame, the Atlanta Citizen Review Board decided. But several members agreed when board chair Joy Morrissey said the maximum possible penalty — a three-day suspension — would not be enough. “Amen,” one member added.
Twice a year, members of the Cobb County ethics board meet to deal with housekeeping matters. Then they go home. For a time last year, DeKalb’s ethics board couldn’t even muster a quorum. And in Fulton, a state legislator contends the ethics board cannot impose fines or sanctions because its members were appointed improperly. Bottom line: Local ethics boards get no respect.
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.
Two candidates — Gloria Bromell-Tinubu of Atlanta and Delvis Dutton of Glennville — qualified for open seats in the Georgia Legislature last week with no Democratic or Republican opposition. If their races don’t draw a write-in or independent candidate, they’re in.
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.
An Atlanta City Council committee today subpoenaed 18 police officers to talk to citizen overseers looking into the department’s Sept. 10 raid on the Atlanta Eagle gay bar. Members of the Citizen Review Board had said they could no longer do their jobs effectively if they could not get police cooperation. “If these subpoenas are not issued, that means we’re done,” vice chairman Seth Kirschenbaum told the committee. “Our business is over.”
On the eve of the 2001 Atlanta mayoral election, candidate Robb Pitts’ campaign bounced a $45,000 check. Several campaign officials made loans to cover the check in amounts far exceeding limits on political contributions. Pitts, now a Fulton County commissioner, may be about to settle ethics charges stemming from the loans. But will he have to pay back the money?