ATLANTA - In a move to make the city more transparent, Atlanta’s mayor unveiled a new web portal so you can see how city leaders are spending your tax dollars.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the new website, called Open Checkbook, is a significant step in the right direction as the city continues to move through an ongoing federal corruption and bribery case looking into the previous administration at City Hall.
[SPECIAL SECTION: The Atlanta City Hall Corruption Investigation]
“To have this information readily available online -- I don’t know that there is any bigger signal that we can send,” Bottom said in a news conference Tuesday.
Open Checkbook lets anyone see two years of city spending going back to fiscal year 2017, with new data added each quarter. You can also search by the department, the individual vendor or the actual expense.
[TIMELINE: Atlanta City Hall Investigation]
What it won’t show -- at least, not yet -- is individual credit card statements for city-issued purchasing cards for top officials.
A subpoena for all those transactions under Mayor Kasim Reed came just weeks ago after a Channel 2 Action News investigation turned up more than $93,000 in expenses by the mayor’s security detail over Reed’s last three years in office.
As Mayor Bottoms unveiled the new portal, our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com uncovered even more questions about the use of city credit cards under Reed.
Bottoms said her team talked Tuesday morning about changing plans to have the Open Checkbook website include detailed information about purchasing card expenses.
“We will work to make that information more readily available to the public,” Bottoms told Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach.
City Council President Felicia Moore said she has pushed for the website for years and feels it may have prevented some of the mess the city is in now, had it been available.
“We would at least (have) had the opportunity to see it,” Moore said.
She also wants to see a new city compliance officer.
“We need someone who’s going to be able to enforce it. That’s where I’m pushing -- the enforcement and accountability,” Moore told Gehlbach.
Moore said Open Checkbook is a good first step.
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