When Keisha Lance Bottoms was elected mayor of Atlanta and vowed that it would be a new day, many believed it was just another empty campaign promise.
Last week, Mayor Bottoms made moves to make Atlanta more competitive by unveiling “One Atlanta,” an office devoted to equity, diversity and inclusion. The mayor’s vision is to promote Atlanta as a city for everyone, featuring a diverse and world-class workforce, great infrastructure and excellent services with thriving neighborhoods and businesses.
This is one of several initiatives made by Mayor Bottoms since she won a run-off election over Mary Norwood by less than 800 votes on Dec. 5th.
In April, Mayor Bottoms asked for the resignation of every member of her cabinet, many of whom were holdovers from former Mayor Kasim Reed. The list included everyone from the police chief to the city attorney. This was viewed as the mayor sending a message to residents that her administration would not be business as usual.
Also in April, Mayor Bottoms showed her willingness for financial transparency when she announced “Atlanta Open Checkbook,” an online portal through which citizens can track city spending. This was seen as a move to address Atlanta’s history of ethics violation and corruption. Mayor Bottoms herself recognized that the city leadership needed to restore its credibility.
Among the reported cases, there is an ongoing federal bribery investigation in which former city employee, Mitzi Bickers was indicted. Bottoms has also had her own ethics in question following her support of former Atlanta City Councilman Lamar Willis, who had reportedly committed numerous ethics violations and was disbarred for directing funds from a child of one of his clients into his personal account.
The One Atlanta project is boasting more access to economic development across the city and engaging corporate resources to fund more home-grown businesses.
In its first year, One Atlanta will review and guide the City’s policies and practices impacting eight critical areas:
· Affordable Housing
· Criminal Justice Reform
· Economic Development
· Health Disparities
· LGBTQ Affairs
· Workforce Development
· 2020 Census: ATL Counts
“My administration is committed to working towards a more affordable, resilient and equitable city,” said Mayor Bottoms. “That’s why I’m proud to announce the establishment of the city’s first-ever fully staffed Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Also known as One Atlanta, this office is charged to ensure equitable, open and inclusive practices across all city departments and functions. This office will also shine light on our forgotten communities and build a bridge towards greater inclusiveness across the entire city.”