LEGISLATION

On February 3, 2020, Atlanta City Council voted unanimously in favor of legislation (19-O-1729) to amend the Atlanta City Charter to create the Office of the Inspector General.  The ordinance established the Office of the Inspector General and set forth, among other things, the funding, access, reporting obligations, and enforcement authority of the office, and the jurisdiction, duties, and responsibilities of each division.

  See Code of Ordinances 

Full Content:

Section 8-101. - The Office of the Inspector General.

  1. Establishment. There is hereby established the Office of the Inspector General of the City of Atlanta. The Office of the Inspector General shall consist of the following divisions:

    1. The Inspector General / Compliance Division;

    2. The Ethics Division; and

    3. The Independent Procurement Review Division.

  2. Purposes. The purposes of this Article shall be to provide for an orderly and fair process for raising and addressing ethical questions; for disciplining those officials and employees and other persons who violate the Standards of Conduct set forth in Chapter 2, Article VII, Division 2 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances; to reasonably ensure that the city and its officials and employees are complying with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, and internal policies and procedures; and to provide and enforce standards of practice related to the performance and financial operation of the city; and for investigating allegations of waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct.

  3. The Office of the Inspector General shall be led by the Inspector General of the City of Atlanta, who shall be responsible for the coordination of the efforts of the divisions of the Office of the Inspector General.

  4. Funding.

    1. The Atlanta City Council shall provide funds necessary for the facilities, equipment, and staffing of the Office of the Inspector General to carry out the responsibilities specified herein and by ordinance.

    2. Funding provided by the Atlanta City Council for the Office of the Inspector General, made pursuant to this section shall include specific funding for each division of the Office of the Inspector General, which shall include specific funding for the Inspector General / Compliance Division, for the City Ethics Division, and for the Independent Procurement Review Division.

    3. For appropriations to each division within the Office of the Inspector General, the respective director of each division shall, within the context of authority over the funds appropriated to the center designated for the division, have authority to draw against and transfer among accounts with such center in conformity with the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances and administrative provisions, with the exception of salaries and benefits accounts. During any fiscal year, appropriations for salaries and benefits shall only be expended as compensation and benefits for employees of the respective divisions within the Office of the Inspector General and are restricted from transfer to any other account. All other expenditures within the center shall be charged against the appropriate expense account in the city's chart of accounts.

  5. Access to records and property.

    1. Except where confidential and/or privileged as recognized by state law, all city officers and employees shall allow the Office of the Inspector General immediate access to any and all public records and property in the custody of the City of Atlanta, including but not limited to books, records, documents, and automated data. All city officers and employees shall also allow the Office of the Inspector General immediate access to personnel, processes (including meetings) and other requested public information, pertaining to the business of the city and within the custody of the City of Atlanta regarding powers, duties, activities, organization, property, financial transactions, contracts, and methods of business, which have been determined by the Office of the Inspector General to be required to conduct an investigation, audit or other official duties. In addition, except where confidential and/or privileged as recognized by state law, such officers and employees shall provide access for the Inspector General to inspect all property, equipment, and facilities within their custody.

    2. In the event any city officer or employee shall fail to allow access to any requested public records and property in the custody of the City of Atlanta as required part (1) of subsection (d) of this section, the Inspector General and the Ethics Officer shall have the power to compel the production of said information by subpoena. If any person duly subpoenaed shall fail to allow access to said public records and property, the Inspector General shall report such failure to any court of record or judge thereof in accordance with applicable law, who may make such order as shall be proper for the production of any such documents and things. The Inspector General may, after due notice and opportunity to be heard pursuant to this Article, punish him or her for failure to comply therewith.

    3. All contracts with outside contractors, vendors and agencies shall include an inspections clause to provide for the Office of the Inspector General's access to all records, and those of their subcontractors, needed to verify compliance with the terms specified in the contract. No member of the Office of the Inspector General shall participate in any activity, decision or meeting that would impair independence.

    4. In addition to as specifically provided in this section, in furtherance of an investigation initiated pursuant to this Article, the Inspector General or the Ethics Officer may issue subpoenas to compel the production of documents and things including for books, records, documents, papers, automated data, and other written instruments. If any person duly subpoenaed shall fail or refuse to produce such documents and things, the Inspector General shall report the failure or refusal to produce the documents and/or things to any court of record or judge thereof in accordance with applicable law, who may make such order as shall be proper for the production of any such documents and things. The Inspector General may, after due notice and opportunity to be heard pursuant to this Article, punish him or her for failure to comply therewith.

    5. Records and property subject to disclosure under this section which state law recognizes as confidential and/or privileged shall be exempt from disclosure to Office of the Inspector General or subpoena issued under this section.

    6. The Office of the Inspector General shall not publicly disclose any information received during an investigation that is considered confidential by any local, state, or federal law or regulation.

    7. Motions to quash subpoenas issued in accordance with this Article shall be heard and decided by the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General in accordance with the hearing procedures set forth in this Article.

  6. Initiating Investigations. The Office of the Inspector General shall have the authority to conduct investigations under the jurisdiction of this Article:

    1. Upon a sworn written complaint by any person in a form prescribed by the Office of the Inspector General;

    2. Upon internal determination, supported by reasonable articulable suspicion, that any matter should be investigated;

    3. Upon request via Resolution by the Atlanta City Council; and

    4. Upon request by the Mayor of the City of Atlanta via administrative order;

    5. Upon request of the Chief Transparency Officer; and

    6. Upon the determination by the City Auditor of the presence of indications of fraud, or abuse or illegal acts are present as a result of an audit conducted in accordance with Section 2-603 of the City of Atlanta Charter;

  7. Coordination of Investigations.

    1. Investigations conducted in accordance with this section shall be conducted by the Inspector General and Ethics Officer in accordance with the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division, the Ethics Division, and the Independent Procurement Review Division, respectively, pursuant to this Article. The Inspector General/Compliance Division shall provide coordination and oversight of investigations that fall within the jurisdiction of either the Compliance or Independent Procurement Review Divisions and the Ethics Division.

    2. The Ethics Officer must provide the Inspector General with prior notice of the initiation of any investigation to be conducted in accordance with this section; and must provide the Inspector General with prior notice of the conclusion of any investigation conducted in accordance with this section.

    3. If, at the initiation of, or during the course of, any investigation conducted by the Compliance Division, the Independent Procurement Review Division, or otherwise under the oversight of the Inspector General pursuant to this section, the Inspector General shall determine there to be a need for the conduct of an audit by the City Auditor in furtherance of the investigation, the Inspector General shall be authorized to request that the City Auditor initiate and conduct such an audit in accordance with the authority of the City Auditor in accordance with Section 2-608 of the Charter.

  8. Issuance of Final Decisions/Reports. At the conclusion of any investigation conducted under the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division, Ethics Division, or the Independent Procurement Review Division, the respective director of the division shall issue a final decision and report. For investigations that fall within the jurisdiction of either the Compliance or Independent Procurement Review Divisions and the Ethics Division, the Inspector General shall issue the final decision and report.

    1. Requirements of decision. As part of the final decision, the appropriate director shall include findings of fact and any law on which the decision is based, separately stated, and the effective date of the decision or order. Findings of fact shall be accompanied by a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings. Copies of the decision or order shall be mailed to all parties of record by the Office of the Inspector General.

    2. Finality of decision. The decision shall be binding, subject to appeal to the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General as provided in this Article. Except as otherwise provided in this Article, only decisions issued by a director at the conclusion of an investigation conducted in accordance with this section shall be subject to appeal to the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General.

  9. Violations.

    1. Any intentional violation of a matter under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General, or the furnishing of false or misleading information to the Office of the Inspector General, or the failure to follow a written ethics opinion rendered by the Ethics Officer, or the failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the Inspector General or the Ethics Officer pursuant to this Article shall subject the violator to any one or more of the following:

      1. Administrative sanction of not more than $1,000.00 assessed by the Office of the Inspector General;

      2. Public reprimand by the Office of the Inspector General; and

      3. Prosecution by the city solicitor in municipal court for a violation of this section, and, upon conviction, to a fine of up to $1,000.00 per violation and up to six months imprisonment, whether the official or employee is elected or appointed, paid or unpaid. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to conflict with state law. An action for violation of this Article or the furnishing of false or misleading information or the failure to comply with a subpoena issued in accordance with this article must be brought within two years after the violation is discovered.

    2. With regard to violations by employees, in addition to the remedies herein, the Office of the Inspector General may recommend any one or more of the disciplinary actions set forth in section 114-502. Where such employees are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division as set forth in this Article, such recommendations shall be furnished to the appointing authority of the subject employee.

    3. With regard to violations by persons other than officials or employees, in addition to the remedies in this section, the Office of the Inspector General may recommend to the Chief Procurement Officer any one or more of the following:

      1. Suspension of a contractor; and

      2. Disqualification or debarment from contracting or subcontracting with the city.

    4. The value of any gratuity transferred from the City of Atlanta General Fund or received from the General Fund in breach of the provisions of this Article, the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, state law, or federal law, may be recovered from either the receiving official or employee or the person or entity providing the gratuity, for deposit in the City of Atlanta General Fund.

  10. Reporting violations. Any person who witnesses or becomes aware of a violation of this division may complain of that violation as follows:

    1. By communicating with the Inspector General or the Ethics Officer. Where a complaint is communicated anonymously, such complaint shall be made in good faith, and with veracity and sufficient specificity so as to provide salient and investigable facts. The Office of the Inspector General may require the anonymous complaint to be made in a manner and form that is intended only to obtain relevant facts related to the alleged violation under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General, and that is not designed to reveal the identity of the complainant. All written complaints shall contain the following if applicable:

      1. The name and address of the person or persons who file the complaint.

      2. The sworn verification and signature of the complainant.

      3. The name and address of the party or parties against whom the complaint is filed, and if such party is a candidate and the office being sought.

      4. A clear and concise statement of acts upon which the complaint is based along with an allegation that such facts constitute one or more violations of law under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General.

      5. A general reference to the statutory provision(s) of the code within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General, allegedly having been violated.

      6. Any further information which might support the allegations in the complaint including, but not limited to, the following:

        1. The name and address of all other persons who have firsthand knowledge of the facts alleged in the complaint; and

        2. Any documentary evidence that supports the facts alleged in the complaint.

    2. Defective complaint. Upon receipt of a written, non-anonymous complaint which does not conform to the applicable requirements of this section, the Office of the Inspector General shall by letter acknowledge receipt of the complaint and advise complainant of the defect in the complaint and that the complaint may not be considered unless the defect is corrected.

  11. Protection for reporting of violations. Officials and employees are encouraged to report suspected misconduct or ethical violations to the Office of the Inspector General. No official or employee shall use or threaten to use any official authority or influence to discourage, restrain or interfere with any other person for the purpose of preventing such person from acting in good faith to report or otherwise bring to the attention of the Office of the Inspector General information relating to a violation or investigation under this Article. No official or employee shall use or threaten to use any official authority or influence to effect any action as a reprisal against an official or employee who reports, initiates a complaint, or otherwise brings to the attention of the Office of the Inspector General information relating to a violation or investigation under this article.

  12. Upon request of the Inspector General, the city attorney, or any attorney representing the city attorney's office, shall advise the Office of the Inspector General. Upon a finding by the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General of a conflict under Rule 1.7 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct by the city attorney regarding a matter, any attorney who shall be selected by a majority of the Governing Board shall advise the Office of the Inspector General on the matter which the Governing Board found the city attorney to be in conflict.

  13. City political activities, prohibited.

    1. The Inspector General and Ethics Officer shall not engage in city electoral political activities and may not make campaign contributions to candidates in city elections during their terms. A violation of this subsection shall constitute cause for removal of as described in this Article.

    2. No employee of the Office of the Inspector General shall perform work, either in a paid or unpaid capacity, for any candidate for City elected office.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-102. - Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General.

  1. To ensure the independence of the Office of the Inspector General, the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General is hereby established.

  2. The Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall have the powers and duties as provided in this Article.

  3. The position of a member of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall be deemed vacated:

    1. Upon the expiration of his or her term, except that any member of the Governing Board serving an expired term may continue to serve until they are re-appointed or until a successor is appointed;

    2. Upon the death of a member or the disability or incapacity of a member for more than 90 days;

    3. Upon the written resignation of the member, tendered to the Board;

    4. Upon removal of the member for good cause by a majority vote of the Board;

  4. Members shall be prohibited from engaging in city electoral political activities and from making campaign contributions to candidates in city elections during their terms as Board members. Violations of this subsection may be punished by removal from Board membership by a majority vote of the members.

  5. Unless otherwise specified, the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall:

    1. Elect a chair by majority vote of the serving members. Each chair will serve a one-year term and shall be eligible to serve as chair in successive years.

    2. Elect a vice-chair to preside in the absence of the chair. The vice-chair will serve a one-year term and shall be eligible to serve as vice-chair in successive years.

    3. The Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall elect a secretary to provide administrative assistance to the Board.

    4. Hold regular meetings at City Hall. Such meetings shall be televised. All meetings of the Board shall be conducted as required by the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

    5. Conduct its business only with a quorum. A majority of the members of the Governing Board of the Inspector General, shall constitute a quorum. The affirmative vote of a majority of the members shall be required for the transaction of business, except as otherwise provided by this Article. In no event shall a decision of the Board be voted upon by fewer than 6 members.

    6. The Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall be free to contract for the services of a competent court reporter to take down statements, testimony and discussions at its meeting or to use in lieu thereof a competent person adept at shorthand reporting and/or mechanical transcribing devices, whichever method is from time to time desired by the Board, such services to be paid for by the city.

  6. The city shall pay all administrative costs, including those specifically stipulated in this Article, pertaining to the operation of the Board.

  7. No member of the Board present at a meeting of a quorum of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall abstain from voting for any reason other than a publicly disclosed conflict of interest.

  8. The Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General may establish its own bylaws. Except as otherwise provided in this Article, or as set forth in duly adopted bylaws, the meetings of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-103. - Functions of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General; appeal hearings.

In addition to the functions described in this Article, the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall:

  1. Hear all appeals that may be filed from any adverse decision issued by the Office of the Inspector General, or a motion to quash a subpoena issued by the Inspector General or the Ethics Officer, pursuant to this Article. Appeals and motions to quash must be filed within 14 days of receipt of the adverse decision or the subpoena. In no way shall the ability to appeal an adverse decision of the Office of the Inspector General issued pursuant to this Article constitute the establishment of a property interest in any employee's employment with the City. Any such property interest shall only be established pursuant to Chapter 114.

  2. Subpoena; authority of Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General.

    1. Issuance, contents, service. Whenever the attendance of any witness may be required before the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General to establish any fact in connection with any hearing which may be lawfully conducted by the Governing Board, the Governing Board is authorized to, by majority vote, issue a subpoena, directed to the witness, requiring the witness to personally be and appear at the time and place of the hearing conducted by the Board and to produce at that time and place any documentary evidence which, in the judgment of the Board, may be required. Such witness shall remain in attendance upon the hearing until excused therefrom. The subpoena shall bear teste in the name of the city, shall be signed by the presiding member of the Board. Service of a hearing subpoena issued by the Board in accordance with this subsection shall be had at least 24 hours before the time such witness is required to attend and to continue the attendance of the witness.

    2. Penalty for violation. If any person so summoned as set out in part (1) of subsection (b) of this section as a witness shall fail, neglect or refuse to attend the hearing or shall fail, neglect or refuse to produce any relevant documentary evidence or shall fail or refuse to take and subscribe to the required oath or affirmation or shall fail to answer any question lawfully propounded or shall fail to continue in attendance until excused by the Board, the person shall be cited to appear before the municipal court and, upon conviction, to a fine of up to $1,000.00 per violation and up to six months imprisonment.

  3. During all hearings before the Board, formal legal rules of evidence shall not be strictly applied. Evidence may be admitted if it is of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. The Board shall follow the Georgia rules of evidence regarding privileges.

  4. Any decisions of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General on an appeal or a motion to quash filed in accordance with this section shall be either to affirm or overturn the decision of the Office of the Inspector General, or either to quash or uphold the subpoena issued by the Inspector General or the Ethics Officer; and shall be issued in writing by the member of the Board presiding over the hearing, shall be issued in writing within 15 days from the close of the evidence. The Board shall use "the preponderance of the evidence" as the standard of proof for all decisions. The decision shall be transmitted to the parties or their representatives. The Board's decision shall be final, and there shall be no right to any additional administrative appeals.

  5. Final decisions of the Board may be appealed via Certiorari to the Superior Court of Fulton County.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-104. - The Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General; appointments; terms.

  1. The Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General shall consist of nine members, all of whom shall be known for their personal integrity. Nominees shall either be residents of the city, shall be employed within the city, or shall maintain business interests within the city. It is further urged that the members of the Board shall reflect the diversity of the city with regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, marital status, parental status, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, age and disability. At all times, at least three members shall be attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia.

  2. Appointments to the Board shall be made by the mayor and city council, the governing authority of the City of Atlanta. Nominations may be made by the following organizations:

    1. The Atlanta Bar Association may nominate one member, chosen from the attorney members of the association;

    2. The Gate City Bar Association may nominate one member, chosen from the attorney members of the association;

    3. The Atlanta Business League may nominate one member, chosen from the organizations that are members of the league, which member shall not be an attorney;

    4. The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce may nominate one member from the organizations that are members of the chamber, which member shall not be an attorney;

    5. The Atlanta-Fulton County League of Women Voters may nominate one member, which member shall not be an attorney;

    6. The Atlanta Planning Advisory Board may nominate one member, which member shall not be an attorney nor an officer of a neighborhood planning unit;

    7. The seven major universities/colleges within the city (Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Emory University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College) may collectively nominate one member;

    8. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners may nominate one member, chosen from the members of the association;

    9. The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants may nominate one member, chosen from the members of the society, which member shall not be an attorney.

  3. The members shall each serve for terms of three years. The members shall elect a chairperson from among the members, yearly.

  4. Appointees shall be subject to an education and employment background check, a criminal history check, and a check for past violations under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General. Appointees shall execute all releases necessary for the department of personnel and human resources and the department of police to accomplish the same. If the appointee is determined to have committed a felony, the nomination shall be withdrawn.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-105. - Inspector General of the City of Atlanta.

  1. Appointment; term; removal. There shall be an Inspector General of the City of Atlanta who shall be appointed for a term of five years by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General, subject to confirmation by a majority of the council and approval by the mayor. The removal of the Inspector General before the expiration of the designated term shall be for cause by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Governing Board.

  2. Qualifications. The Inspector General of the City of Atlanta shall, within eighteen months of the approval of their appointment, be an active member of the State Bar of Georgia in good standing and shall have at least ten years of experience in the active practice of law and at least five years of investigatory experience.

  3. In addition to leading the Office of the Inspector General, the Inspector General of the City of Atlanta shall:

    1. Serve as the director of the Inspector General/Compliance Division of the Office of the Inspector General; and shall, in accordance with this Article, be responsible for the administration and direction of the affairs and operations of the Inspector General/Compliance Division, and shall exercise general management and control thereof; and

    2. Serve as the director of the Independent Procurement Review Division of the Office of the Inspector General; and shall, in accordance with this Article, be responsible for the administration and direction of the affairs and operations of the Independent Procurement Review Division, and shall exercise general management and control thereof; and

    3. Be responsible for maintaining records of the Office of the Inspector General.

  4. The Inspector General of the City of Atlanta, as the head of the Office of the Inspector General, shall:

    1. Be deemed to be the appointing authority within the context of Chapter 114 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, regarding actions concerning any of the deputies, assistants, employees and personnel assigned to the Inspector General / Compliance Division; and

    2. Be deemed to be the appoint authority within the context of Chapter 114 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, regarding actions concerning any of the deputies, assistance, employees and personnel assigned to the Independent Procurement Review Division.

  5. Pursuant to Chapter 114 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances and within the budget approval process and established personnel policies for all departments, neither the members of the council, the president of the council, nor the mayor shall in any manner attempt to influence or dictate the appointment or removal of any such officer or employee whom the Inspector General, or Ethics Officer are empowered to appoint.

  6. The Inspector General the Ethics Officer, and any deputies, assistants, employees and personnel of the Office of the Inspector General shall be members of the unclassified service of the City and shall not engage in the private practice of law.

  7. The Inspector General shall be responsible to the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-106. - Compliance Division.

  1. Jurisdiction. The Inspector General, as the director of the Compliance Division, shall have the non-exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and take appropriate action regarding:

    1. The performance and financial operation of all departments, offices, boards, activities and agencies of the city as referred by the City Auditor upon determination that perceived deficiencies discovered during the City Auditor's official duties indicate the presence of waste, fraud, and or abuse;

    2. Matters under the purview of Independent Procurement Review Division upon determination by the Inspector General that perceived deficiencies discovered during such review indicate the presence of waste, fraud or abuse;

    3. Allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse by departments, offices, boards, activities and agencies of the city which the Inspector General determines independently to be appropriate supported by reasonable articulable suspicion, or properly referred, as outlined in this section; and

    4. Allegations of violations of Chapter 2, Article X; of Chapter 3; or Chapter 114 of the City Code of Ordinances against the following classes of officials and employees:

      1. Elected officials;

      2. Employees appointed or hired directly by an elected official;

      3. Members of any city boards, authorities, commissions, etc. having city representation, whether created or appointed to by the city, and any employees thereof; and

      4. Hearing officers.

  2. Duties and Responsibilities. The duties of the Inspector General as the director of the Compliance Division shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Educating and training employees and officials in matters under the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division as approved by the Atlanta City Council pursuant to this Article;

    2. Investigating allegations against and recommending specific disciplinary, punitive, or other adverse action, authorized by this division or chapter 114 of the City Code of Ordinances, to be taken against the classes of officials and employees specified in part (4) of subsection (a) of this section, and in accordance with this section;

    3. Forwarding allegations, reports, and factual determinations regarding violations of laws, rules, regulations, and internal policies related to matters under the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division to the disciplinary/appointing authority of any officials or employees not specified in part (4) of subsection (a) section, for action in accordance with chapter 114 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances;

    4. Conducting investigations into matters under the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division referred by the Ethics Officer, the Mayor, the Atlanta City Council, and the City Auditor made in accordance with this Article;

    5. Managing the complaint intake system; and monitoring, evaluating and acting upon information obtained therefrom which shall include, but shall not be limited to a city telephone number for the receipt of information about violations of matters under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General, or by an employee of the city pursuant to section 3-508 of the City Charter. Each complaint, as of the time it is reported, whether by telephone or otherwise, shall be deemed to be a separate pending investigation of a complaint against a public officer or employee as provided by the Georgia Open Records Act;

    6. Urging compliance with laws, rules, regulations, and internal policies related to matters under the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division by investigating any failure to comply or any issues, including the furnishing of false or misleading information;

    7. Notifying the subject of a report of the completion of an investigation into any alleged violation of a law, rule, regulation, or internal policy related to matters under the jurisdiction of the Compliance Division.

    8. Reporting, as appropriate, suspected criminal violations of a law, rule, regulation, or internal policy related to a matter under the Compliance Division to the local, state or federal law enforcement agency with proper jurisdiction; and

    9. Issuing reports which provide recommended standards of practice to the applicable departments, offices, and boards of city government following a determination by the City Auditor of deficiencies;

    10. Filing with the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General, the Mayor, and the Council each January a written report describing the activities of the Compliance Division in carrying out its goals.

  3. Training. The Inspector General as director of the Compliance Division shall include in an annual report filed with the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General, the mayor, and the council each January in accordance with this section, a determination of area(s) of greatest concern on which the Inspector General proposes to conduct training during the calendar year of the report for approval by the council.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-107. - Independent Procurement Review Division.

  1. Jurisdiction. The Inspector General, as the director of the Independent Procurement Review Division, shall manage the function of Independent Procurement Review. The Review shall not opine regarding the procurement process but shall provide an Independent Procurement Review Report to the council that the contract file is complete or shall note areas of perceived deficiencies.

  2. Duties and Responsibilities. The duties of the Inspector General as the director of the Independent Procurement Review Division shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Performing independent reviews on solicitations of any value including retroactive procurements and emergency procurements; and

    2. Observing all stages of the procurement process as provided in this Charter and the code.

  3. The Inspector General and the Independent Procurement Review Division shall be provided all documents and resources by the chief procurement officer, or their designee, needed to complete any independent review.

  4. The Inspector General, as the director of the Independent Procurement Review Division shall provide notice to Council of any extensions or cancellations of solicitations or discretionary reviews that they conduct.

  5. Review of Contracts with an Aggregate Value of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) or greater.

    1. For solicitations with an aggregate value of $1,000,000.00 or greater seeking council authorization pursuant to sections 2-1188, 2-1189, 2-1191, 2-1191.1, or 2-1193 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, the Independent Procurement Review Division shall review all procurement records, as provided in section 2-1108 of the City of Atlanta Code, and conduct a conflict verification of each proponent responding to solicitations.

    2. Following the review conducted in accordance with this subsection, an Independent Procurement Review Report shall be issued which shall include the tracking of procurement procedures, based on known risks, from the inception of the solicitation to the end.

    3. The Independent Procurement Review Report shall be included with all authorizing legislation recommending the awarding of a contract for all contracts seeking council authorization. The council shall not approve legislation for contracts as described in this subsection without first having received the complete Independent Procurement Review Report.

    4. No contract subject to this section shall be awarded unless the review process set forth herein have been fully completed.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-108. - City Ethics Officer.

  1. Appointment; qualifications; term; removal. There is hereby created the City Ethics Officer and the Ethics Division of the Office of the Inspector General.

    1. The Ethics Officer must be an active member of the State Bar of Georgia or admitted to the bar in another jurisdiction with eligibility to the State Bar of Georgia through reciprocity or passage of the Georgia bar examination and be in good standing with five years' experience in the practice of law. If the Ethics Officer is not an active member of the State Bar of Georgia on the date of hire, they shall seek and obtain admission within eighteen months of hire date.

    2. The Ethics Officer shall be appointed by a vote of two-thirds of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General for a period of five (5) years, subject to confirmation by a majority of the council and approval by the mayor. Removal of the Ethics Officer from office before the expiration of the designated term shall be for cause on a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General.

    3. The Ethics Officer shall not be subject to appointment or removal by the Inspector General and shall only be appointed or removed by the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General as provided in this section.

  2. The Ethics Officer, as the director of the Ethics Division of the Office of the Inspector General shall be responsible for the administration and direction of the affairs and operations of the Ethics Division of the Office of the Inspector General; shall exercise general management and control of the Ethics Division of the Office of the Inspector General; and shall be deemed to be the appointing authority within the context of Chapter 114 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances regarding actions concerning any of the deputies, assistants, employees and personnel assigned to the Ethics Division of the Office of the Inspector General.

  3. The Ethics Officer shall be responsible to the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)

Section 8-109. - Ethics Division.

  1. The Ethics Officer, as the director of the Ethics Division of the Office of the Inspector General shall be charged with the following duties and responsibilities:

    1. Educating and training all city officials and employees to have an awareness and understanding of the mandate for and enforcement of ethical conduct and advising of the provisions of the code of ethics of the city;

    2. Advising officials and employees regarding disclosure statements and reviewing same to ensure full and complete financial reporting;

    3. Urging compliance with the code of ethics by investigating any failure to comply or investigating any related issues, including the furnishing of false or misleading information;

    4. Monitoring, evaluating and acting upon information obtained from the complaint intake system, or by an employee of the city pursuant to section 3-508 of the City Charter. Each complaint, as of the time it is reported, whether by telephone or otherwise, shall be deemed to be a separate pending investigation of a complaint against a public officer or employee as provided by the Georgia Open Records Act;

    5. Notifying the subject of a report of the completion of an investigation into any alleged violation of the ethics code.

    6. Promptly reporting, as appropriate, suspected criminal violations or suspected non-ethics related violations under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General to the Inspector General; and

    7. Filing with the Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General, the mayor and the council each January a written report describing the activities of the Ethics Division in carrying out the goals of the division and the code of ethics and reporting on the ethical health of the city.

  2. The Ethics Officer shall render an ethics advisory opinion based upon a real or hypothetical set of circumstances, when requested in writing or verbally by anyone who is an official or employee of the city or a member of a board, council, committee or commission who is personally involved in a matter requiring interpretation of the ethics code. Any person requesting an opinion in accordance with this section who has made a full and complete disclosure of all relevant facts shall be entitled to rely on the opinion or finding of the Ethics Officer as a guide to the conduct of such person in the person's relations to and with the city. Compliance with a written opinion or finding of the Ethics Officer shall serve in mitigation in any proceedings against such person for violation of this division. Advisory opinions based upon current law shall be posted on the City's website.

  3. The Ethics Division shall have the authority to prescribe rules and regulations pursuant to this division to administer the financial disclosure process and to issue opinions under this division. The Ethics Division shall prescribe appropriate financial disclosure forms, instructions and methods of disclosure as required to comply with the requirements of disclosure of income and financial interests found at section 2-814.

Ord. No. 2020-09(19-O-1729) , § 1, 2-6-20)