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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Attempting To Improve Transparency

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, pictured in January, recently announced two positions to help increase government transparency. 
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, pictured in January, recently announced two positions to help increase government transparency. 
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms wants to create two positions to help increase government transparency.

Bottoms introduced two ordinances to Atlanta’s City Council Monday to create a Transparency Officer and Chief Integrity Officer.

The Transparency Officer would serve a five-year term and be appointed by the mayor. The officer would ensure the city complies with open records laws. The GBI is investigating possible open record violations during Kasim Reed’s time in office.

David Shock, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said Bottoms appears to be taking the right steps to re-establish trust with the public.

“It’s a good response,” Shock said. “You know, I think it helps promote public trust in city government if you can actually see tangible results.”

The Chief Integrity Officer would look at how city money is spent and contracts are awarded.

Matt Kelly, editor of Radical Compliance, a website that looks at corporate and government ethics issues, said the public might not see changes right away.

“This is really a preventative sort of role and so it can be somewhat hard to quantify the benefits,” Kelly said.

He said creating this kind of job is par for the course after a big scandal and more than likely city officials will see the most obvious changes.

A near two-year long federal bribery investigation continues at Atlanta City Hall. Federal prosecutors also issued subpoenas for spending records for Reed and some of his staff members.