Atlanta’s City Council has overridden a mayoral veto, moving ahead with a plan to let the state permanently close part of a street between the Georgia Capitol and a legislative office building.
The council voted 10-4 on Monday to override Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ rejection of the ordinance. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports it was the first time the council has overridden a mayor’s veto in more than 10 years.
Council member Michael Bond said he had worked out a deal to let the state close the block of Mitchell Street to enhance security at the Capitol in exchange for sidewalk and safety improvements along a state-owned road on the west side of Atlanta.
But Bottoms rejected the move, saying it was improper for Bond to negotiate on behalf of the city instead of her and that in reality no city-state deal exists.
The first-term mayor reacted angrily to the override, saying she would explore a lawsuit over what she views as Bond’s illegal freelancing.
“I am disappointed in my colleagues on the City Council, who should know the separation of powers outlined in our city’s charter, as well as the appropriate public process related to this matter,” Bottoms said in a statement.
“Council has been duped,” she said. “There is no agreement or articulation from the State outlining any commitment to improving Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway. The Georgia Department of Transportation has been derelict in their duty to repair that road.”
The override comes just months before a city election in which City Council President Felicia Moore plans a challenge to Bottoms. Moore did not vote Monday because the council met the two-thirds majority necessary for the override, and the president only votes to break a tie.
Bond said Bottoms didn’t communicate with him about the issue despite numerous requests.
“The mayor and her staff have stated their positions kind of at the last minute,” Bond told the newspaper.
Before they voted, council members heard from dozens of supporters of the Hollowell Parkway improvements.
The Mitchell Street block is closed during sessions of the General Assembly, in part because there is heavy pedestrian traffic back and forth between the Capitol and the Coverdale Legislative Office Building. But state officials have had a request pending for years that the city give up the block so the street can be permanently closed to enhance security. Traffic has been blocked off since racial injustice protests began in June.