Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Issues Executive Order to Create Office of Inspector General
Thursday, January 16th, 2020
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an Executive Order calling for the Charter of the City of Atlanta to be amended for the creation of the Office of Inspector General, pursuant to the final official recommendation made by the Mayor’s Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust.
“What we heard from the Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust’s final recommendation was the need for the Office of Inspector General,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The Inspector General will serve as an independent set of eyes, ears and teeth to root out misconduct and waste in a manner that is completely separate from any political influence.”
In October of 2019, the Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust, led by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, issued its final recommendations—the chief among those being the creation of the Office of Inspector General that “must have”:
Broad jurisdiction to seek out fraud, waste, abuse, corruption, and misconduct and have the authority to initiate its own investigations;
A fixed term of appointment and removal only for cause;
Direct subpoena power; and
The ability to keep investigations confidential and to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.
Upon issuing the final recommendation, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears said, “The Task Force believes that the creation of an independent Inspector General’s Office is the best way to ensure that integrity as well as to restore trust in Atlanta City government.”
In her Executive Order to create that office, Mayor Bottoms said the position must contain the following elements:
That the Office be independent from the Mayor and the Atlanta City Council;
That the Office shall be governed by an independent board with the authority to conduct administrative appeals and to appoint and remove Inspector General, the City Auditor, and the City Ethics Officer, rather than by an administrative investigatory board;
That the Office shall have broad jurisdiction to seek out fraud, waste, abuse, corruption, and misconduct;
That the Office shall have budgetary protection;
That the Office shall contain the functions and operations of the current Independent Compliance Officer, the City Auditor and the City Ethics Office while preserving the independence of the appointment of the City Auditor and City Ethics Officer;
That the position of the Inspector General shall be appointed by a fixed term of appointment with removal only for cause;
That it is preferred that the Inspector General be an attorney;
That the Inspector General shall have direct subpoena power; and
That the Inspector General shall have authority over the administration, management and direction of the affairs and operations of the Office of the Inspector General including the authority to appoint and remove all of any of the personnel assigned to such office except for the City Auditor and City Ethics Officer, which should remain independently appointed.
The creation of the Office of Inspector General is latest move by the Bottoms Administration to enhance and expand transparency and accountability in City government. Previously, the Administration launched Open Checkbook, ushered in sweeping credit card reform policies, expanded oversight of the awarding of performance bonuses for City of Atlanta personnel and appointed the City’s first ever Chief Transparency Officer.