The Latest: Former Atlanta mayor defends bonus awards
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on investigations by Atlanta City Hall into spending by former Mayor Kasim Reed (all times local):
Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is defending his actions in awarding more than $500,000 in bonuses to city staff last year before he left office.
Reed responded Thursday to a report by Atlanta’s city auditor and ethics office saying he lacked legal authority to personally grant the bonuses to 43 staffers. He said in a statement to The Associated Press that the bonuses “were entirely consistent with historical practices at the City of Atlanta.”
Reed also disputed findings that the bonuses violated the gratuities clause of Georgia’s constitution, which prohibits extra payments to public employees without a clear benefit to taxpayers. Reed said that provision “has never been used” to sanction a city or county government over bonuses paid to employees.
A report to Atlanta city officials says former Mayor Kasim Reed had no legal authority to award more than $500,000 in bonuses last year before he left office.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV report the findings resulted from a joint investigation by Atlanta City Hall’s independent auditor and its ethics office.
The report examined more than $869,000 in supplemental payments to city workers. The report says Reed personally gave more than $573,000 in bonuses to 43 staff members, though the city’s legal code gives the mayor no such authority.
The report also said about $67,000 in contest prize money distributed by Reed and an aide at a holiday party “raised ethical concerns.”
A spokesman for Reed, Jeff Dickerson, requested questions in writing and did not immediately reply to an email.