National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Atlanta’s Open Checkbook: a tool for transparency

Following a federal bribery probe investigating former Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration’s muddy financial dealings, the City of Atlanta announced a new transparency tool called Atlanta’s Open Checkbook.

The Open Checkbook shows the City of Atlanta’s expenditure of more than $2 billion between 2017 and 2018.

“Rather than waiting for the public to ask or waiting for the media to ask, we are now making it available to you,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, announcing the arrival of Atlanta’s Open Checkbook on Sept. 4.
Bottoms announced Atlanta’s Open Checkbook as the federal corruption investigation at City Hall intensified.

A City of Atlanta press release stated that a newly created Transparency Officer will ensure the city actively meets the requirements of the Georgia Open Records Act in addition to utilizing a mandatory training program pertaining to open records requests.

“There is no city in the state of Georgia that has been more aggressive in the space of ethics and transparency than Atlanta,” said Bottoms. “This ordinance will set the new standard for best practices in municipal government.”

Recently, Bottoms’ former Deputy Chief of Staff Katrina Taylor Parks, who also worked under Kasim Reed’s administration, pleaded guilty in federal court for accepting a bribe.

Bottoms suggested Atlanta’s Open Checkbook was announced before the federal bribery probe.

“This is something that was talked about very early in the administration,” Bottoms said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). (Read more…)