On May 2, 2011, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed proposed a budget of $545 million for the 2012 fiscal year. It represented a $15 million cut from the previous year's budget, necessary because of an $18 million spending gap. Included in the proposed budget was a 3% pay cut for all city employees making over $80,000/year, affecting about 300 personnel.
In July 2010, an audit report was released by the Department of Justice, concerning the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG), including a 2009 Recovery Act grant, awarded by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), to the city of Atlanta, Georgia. According to the audit, the city received more than $9 million from these grants since 2006, over half of which came from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The audit revealed that the city of Atlanta did not have sufficiently trained staff to manage the grants, that the city incorrectly reported the number of jobs created, and the city charged nearly $200,000 in unsupported costs. The $200,000 was for conflict resolution classes conducted by Southern Christian Leadership Conference, but the audit claimed there was inadequate documentation for 61 percent of the money, including over $1,000 spent reimbursing the SCLC executive director for gasoline costs.
Atlanta is governed by a mayor and the Atlanta City Council. The city council consists of 15 representatives—one from each of the city's 12 districts and three at-large positions (a district system superseded the ward system in 1954). City council elections in Atlanta are nonpartisan and staggered, and each term is four years.
|Mayor||Kasim Reed||$147,000||2010||Kasim Reed on Twitter|
|City Council President||Ceasar C. Mitchell||unknown||2001||Ceasar Mitchell on Twitter|
|Councilmember Dist. 1||Carla Smith]||unknown||2001||Carla Smith Dist. 1 Website|
|Councilmember Dist. 2||Kwanza Hall||unknown||2005||Kwanza Hall on Twitter|
|Councilmember Dist. 3||Ivory Lee Young, Jr.||unknown||2001||Ivory Lee Young, Jr on Facebook|
|Councilmember Dist. 4||Cleta Winslow||unknown||1994||Cleta Winslow Dist. 4 website|
|Councilmember Dist. 5||Natalyn Mosby Archibong||unknown||2001||Natalyn Archibong Dist. 5 website|
|Councilmember Dist. 6||Alex Wan||unknown||2009||Alex Wan on Twitter|
|Councilmember Dist. 7||Howard Shook||unknown||2001||Howard Shook Dist. 7 website|
|Councilmember Dist. 8||Yolanda Adrean||unknown||2009||Yolanda Adrean on Facebook|
|Councilmember Dist. 9||Felicia Moore||unknown||1997||Felicia Moore Dist. 9 website|
|Councilmember Dist. 10||C.T. Martin||unknown||1990||C.T. Martin Dist. 10 website|
|Councilmember Dist. 11||Keisha Bottoms||unknown||2009||Keisha Bottoms Dist. 11 website|
|Councilmember Dist. 12||Joyce Sheperd||unknown||2004||Joyce Shepard on Twitter|
|Councilmember Post 1 At-Large||Michael Julian Bond||unknown||2009||Michael Bond Post 1 website|
|Councilmember Post 2 At-Large||Aaron Watson||unknown||2009||Aaron Watson on Facebook|
|Councilmember Post 3 At-Large||H. Lamar Willis||unknown||2001||H. Lamar Willis Post 3 website|
|General Manager||Department of Aviation||Louis E. Miller||unknown||2010|
|Interim Deputy General Manager||Department of Aviation||Robert Kennedy||unknown||2010|
|Chief information officer||Department of Aviation||Lance Lyttle||unknown||unknown|
|Assistant general manager (interim)||Department of Aviation, Airport Operations||Balram Bheodari||unknown||unknown|
|Assistant general manager||Department of Aviation, Planning & Development||Jim Drinkard||unknown||unknown|
|Assistant General Manager||Department of Aviation, Commercial Development||Arnaldo Ruiz||unknown||unknown|
|Assistant General Manager||Department of Aviation, Chief Financial Officer||Milton M. Castillo||unknown||unknown|
|Director||Department of Aviation, Office of Public Affairs||Myrna White||unknown||unknown|
|Director of Administrative/Legislative Services||Department of Corrections, Admin Svcs.||Patricia Smith||unknown||unknown|
|Assistant Chief||Department of Corrections, Detention Division||Diane Jones||unknown||unknown|
|Client Service Manager||Department of Corrections, Inmate Programs & Services||Camille Smith, ACSW, LCSW||unknown||unknown|
|Director of Nursing Services||Department of Corrections, Inmate Medical Services||Genevieve Offoha, RN, BSN, MPA||unknown||unknown|
|Director||Department of Finance, Administrative & Legislative Services||Margaret Crenshaw||unknown||unknown|
|Interim Budget Chief||Department of Finance, Office of Budget & Fiscal Policy||Carol King||unknown||unknown|
|Controller||Department of Finance||Thomas Gregg Richardson||unknown||unknown|
|Treasurer||Department of Finance||Vacant||-||-|
|Director||Department of Finance, Office of Grant Services||Lee Hannah||unknown||unknown|
|Revenue Chief||Department of Finance, Office of Revenue||Gary Donaldson||unknown||unknown|
See also: Georgia state government salary
See also: Georgia public pensions
City of Atlanta pension benefits are available under two distinct plans, Defined Benefits and Defined Contribution. The Department of Human Resources’ Pension Division is the liaison between employees/retirees, and the third party pension administrators responsible for managing these plans.
In 2010, a report by the Pension Review Panel created by newly-elected Mayor Kasim Reed in Atlanta stated that the city's unfunded pension liability had grown 21 percent per year since 2001, and the pension funds had dropped from 83 to 53 percent funded. The annual pension contribution rose 13 per cent every year over the past ten years and is projected to continue to grow. By law, the City of Atlanta is required to pay these costs and it cannot be deferred.
In March 2011, Mayor Kasim Reed set forth two proposals for the council to consider for pension reform. The first part of the proposal would commit Atlanta to pay off its debt over the next 30 years, a significant change from current practive. Reed told the council that, in essence, the city currently pays only interest on its unfunded pension liability, while the principal continues to grow.
Mayor Reed outlined two different options for the council to consider.
- Option 1 - All employees would be moved to a defined contribution plan (similar to a 401K in the private sector) in which employees contribute 6 percent of their salary and the City of Atlanta contributes 6 percent. This option reduces the city’s annual required contribution to the pension fund by between $27 and $31 million in the first 5 years. City employees above a certain pay grade – including Mayor Reed, Cabinet members and almost 1,000 other employees – have been in such a plan since 2001.
- Option 2 - All employees would have the individual choice to enter into the federal Social Security system. The City of Atlanta would match up to 8 percent of employee contributions for those who opt into Social Security or up to 12 percent for those who opt out. This second option reduces the city’s annual required contribution by between $12 and $18 million in the first 5 years.
Pension reform remains a hot topic for the Atlanta city council in the FY2012 budget debate. Mayor Kasim Reed requested that the council have a plan for pension reform by June 30, 2011. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on May 26, 2011 that 20 cents of every dollar in the city’s budget goes toward pension payments. The city has a $1.7 billion unfunded pension liability. Mayor Reed told the AJC, "“Allowing the city’s unfunded pension liability, already a staggering $1.7 billion dollars, to grow while critical city services and more than 2,000 employees have been laid off is unconscionable and an abdication of fiduciary duty."
Atlanta faces an unfunded pension liability of $1.5 billion at last estimate. In 2011, the city announced changes that increased worker contributions to their retirement accounts and, for new police and firefighters, a hybrid retirement plan that merges a traditional pension with a 401(k)-style plan. The plan is intended to save more than $500 million over 30 years.
See also: Georgia government sector lobbying
According to OpenSecrets.org, the city of Atlanta spent $80,000 on lobbying in 2010. They contracted with the firm Holland and Taylor. The issues the city lobbied the federal government on were: aviation policy and funding.
Transparency & public records
There are 1,094 active and former employees and city elected officials in Atlanta who are required to file the 2010 City Financial Disclosure Statement. Persons file every year that they are employed by the city and the year after they leave their city job. These forms are not available to the public on the city website.
In 2010, the total property tax levy for the city of Atlanta was $264.3 million, according to the budget report for 2011. The city direct sales tax rate (Municipal Option Sales and Use Tax) is 1.00%, adopted in 2004 (the total sales tax rate within the city limits of Atlanta is 8.00%, due to the inclusion of county sales taxes in Fulton County.
|Transparency grading process|
- Main article: Evaluation of Georgia city websites
- Zoning information and building permits are available.
- Information on bids and proposals are available
- Agendas, but there are no minutes for the city council meetings.
- The Mayor and city council officials contact information and detailed biographies are posted online.
- Budget reports are available.
- Lobbying information and ethics is not noted
- There is no checkbook register available
- There is no information on local taxes
- No information on how citizens can request public records
- There are no audits available
- City of Atlanta official site
- Atlanta Community Profile
- Atlanta Georgia Detailed Profile
- Atlanta Census facts
- Atlanta information
- AJC, May 2, 2011, "Atlanta mayor proposes cuts, layoffs in 2012 spending budget"
- Copy of July 2010 DOJ Audit, WSBTV Atlanta
- WSB-TV, February 22, 2011, "Audit: Atlanta Mismanaged Stimulus Funds"
- AJC, May 2, 2011, "Atlanta mayor proposes cuts, layoffs in 2012 spending budget"
- Pension Review Panel Meets to Discuss Options for Atlanta’s Pension Plan
- Mayor Kasim Reed Presents Pension Reform Options for the City of Atlanta
- AJC, May 26, 2011, "Glare of Atlanta pension fight gets hotter"
- Associated Press, Atlanta to San Diego: 7 cities' pension problems, Jan. 2, 2013
- 2010 Required filers/city employees
- zoning information
- Building Permits
- RFPs and Proposals
- Mayor and City Council information
- Budget Reports
State of Georgia
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | State Superintendent of Schools | Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Natural Resources | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Public Service Commission |