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 firefighters take much longer than they should to respond to emergencies, measured against national standards, and the delays are getting worse. Training, more dispatchers and a 911 audit to ferret out the cause of extraordinary delays — not necessarily more firefighters — may be the best solution, city auditor Leslie Ward says.
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.
Atlanta’s Office of Code Compliance manipulated inspection data to inflate the agency’s caseload and vastly overstate its performance, city auditors say. Its files were such a mess that workers often couldn’t even find paperwork for a particular case. Auditors said the office staff was told to record inspection dates even if no inspection had occurred. For one month, the faulty data made it appear the average inspection was conducted 14 days after the complaint came in; auditors calculated it really took nearly six months.
Hundreds of customers had their water service cut off earlier this year because the city of Atlanta mishandled retroactive billing for a rate hike, according to a new city audit. Moreover, an estimated one in five customers were not told before their water was turned off, as required by city code, the audit found. Water commissioner Robert Hunter disputed the findings.