AJC: Watch Dog Group - Altanta Lacks Transparency
The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionThe city of Atlanta got an “F” for spending transparency in a study of the 30 largest American cities by a Georgia watchdog group.
The report card by the Georgia Public Interest Research Group Education Fund reviewed Atlanta’s progress toward “comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility” — and found it lacking.
The city must make more information available with a click of the mouse so that voters can hold elected leaders accountable and ensure tax dollars are spent wisely, according to the report.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Kasim Reed said city officials will review the report’s recommendations and pursue them where possible. The spokeswoman, Sonji Jacobs Dade, said the city has significantly enhanced residents’ access to information in the last three years.
The 57-page report follows a year in which lack of trust in government was cited for tanking a metro-wide transportation sales tax referendum - although it passed in Atlanta. A breakdown of trust also underpins voters’ demands for tougher ethics rules at the state Capitol and residents’ resistance to using public money to partially fund a new Atlanta Falcons stadium. Transparency also became an issue in a contentious round of airport concessions contract awards.
“The city provides very little information beyond what is provided in the city’s standard budget documents,” said Laura Murray, advocate for the research group. “Atlanta should prioritize transparency efforts in order to catch up with the advancing standards” of local governance.