Atlanta mayor issues executive order to establish inspector general over City Hall

In an exclusive interview, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that she just issued an executive order urging the Atlanta City Council to act with all deliberate speed to create a new office of inspector general.

ATLANTA — Atlanta's mayor is taking a major step to restore trust in city government.

In an exclusive interview, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that she just issued an executive order urging the Atlanta City Council “to act with all deliberate speed” to create a new office of inspector general.

While the executive order is largely symbolic, it puts the ball squarely in City Council's court to pass legislation that would change the city charter to create an independent office to root out and prevent corruption.

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“It was clear to you that something more drastic needed to be done, right?” Diamant asked Bottoms.

“I knew that we had already done so much, but it was very clear that we needed to make sure that we had done enough,” Bottoms said.

The order comes after a public trust task force the mayor put together last year recommended the move.

“When you say earning back trust, that’s easier said than done, right?” Diamant asked Bottoms.

“It’s not an easy task, and it’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, you have to have people on your team who think like you,” Bottoms said.

The cloud from a sweeping federal corruption probe of City Hall under former Mayor Kasim Reed has hung over Bottoms’ first two years in office with six guilty pleas so far.

Bottoms told Diamant the inspector general would operate independently, have subpoena powers and could not be fired by any mayor or members of City Council.

“Is it a shame that you’ve got to do all this stuff, or is it just part of the gig at this point?” Diamant asked Bottoms.

“I don’t have pity parties for myself. It is what it is," Bottoms said.

The mayor believes her call for this high-level layer of accountability will reverberate under the Gold Dome and resonate with taxpayers.

“I think as the Legislature comes back in session, it’s more important than ever that we not just say it, but we do it. We are doing better. We will continue to do better. Trust us. It’s important that we continue to have the reputation that Atlanta deserves to have,” Bottoms said.

The mayor’s executive order includes specifics for how the inspector general would function within the city. Ultimately she’ll have to work with City Council to hammer out those details.