Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Officials Seek City Probe

Mayoral mentor and Assemblyman Jerry Green said Monday the city will ask the state Department of Community Affairs to review municipal departments and will ask the Union County Prosecutor’s office to look into how some contracts were awarded.

Green, also head of the local Democratic City Committee, said it seems some work was done without council or mayoral approval. He could not say exactly how much money or which employees may have been involved. Green said Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has felt “since day one” that the city was mismanaged. The mayor took office Jan. 1.

Officials met all afternoon behind closed doors at City Hall, but made no statement. Hours later, Green made his comments by phone, adding “The days of political and no-show jobs are over.”

Meanwhile, the city faces an unprecedented dilemma on Wednesday (Nov. 1, 2006), when City Administrator and acting Finance Director Carlton McGee will be gone.

McGee took a job as the Atlanta school district’s chief financial officer and his protégé, Tyshammie Cooper, is not going to take the position of director of Administration & Finance after all.

Cooper had been appointed to the post in acting capacity by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs last month. Previously, McGee was acting Administration & Finance director in addition to being city administrator since the March departure of former acting Finance Director Norton Bonaparte. McGee’s dual role exceeded the city’s 90-day limit for acting terms.

Bonaparte had been city administrator under Mayor Albert T. McWilliams. McWilliams failed to gain a third four-year term in 2005.

The loss of McGee today will leave the four-member cabinet of city administrator and three department heads down by half.

In past times where the administrator in charge of day-to-day operations has been absent, the city has hired an interim administrator with municipal experience.

Green said Monday the city may seek an interim administrator. Green said the mayor has a new finance director in mind as well, and a nominee may be announced within days.

With McGee leaving and no finance director in place, the City Council holds its third budget meeting tonight (Oct. 31, 2006) at 6 p.m. in City Hall Library.

--Bernice Paglia


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