Woolard claims Aman downplayed Atlanta City Hall role about contracts


Former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard blasted a rival for mayor as not being straight with voters about his role in supervising city purchasing when he worked as a top deputy for Mayor Kasim Reed.

In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Woolard said former Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman has downplayed his role in contracting when he was with the city, and said Aman is either trying to mislead voters or doesn’t understand the role of the city’s executive branch.

Aman has said city code prevents the COO from being involved in selecting city vendors, and he has put ethics and a track record of firing city workers caught abusing taxpayers at the forefront of his campaign.

VIDEO: Cathy Woolard during the Sept. 28 Emory debate

City contracting and the ongoing federal bribery investigation reemerged as key issues in the mayor’s race in recent weeks when the city’s former top purchasing officer, Adam Smith, pleaded guilty to taking more than $30,000 in bribes from 2015 to January 2017.

Two contractors, meanwhile, were sentenced this month to prison for their roles in a conspiracy to pay more than $1 million in bribes to as-yet-unknown officials from 2010 to August 2015.

The offices of another city vendor, the PRAD Group, were raided by federal agents in September, forcing City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms to return more than $25,000 in donations she received from people connected to that company.

Aman served as COO under Reed in 2010 and 2011.

“The COO does not have a role in the vendor selection process, period,” a spokeswoman for Aman said Thursday. “The COO does not influence or grant contracts.”

Woolard did not accuse Aman of any wrongdoing.

But Woolard said the city charter allows the executive branch to determine how bids are evaluated and Aman as COO had the executive authority to change how departments, such as procurement, are run.

Woolard made a similar argument Sunday in debate televised by WSB-TV.

“He either misunderstands the role of the COO and the mayor in the operations of the city, or he is not describing accurately to the voters what he could have done while he was there,” Woolard said.

Woolard also lamented that the City Council has failed to take up the issue of procurement reform as a check on the executive branch.

Aman has said in debates and forums that he will put a “maniacal” focus on ethics, and that he would personally train the city’s employees in ethics as mayor.

All of the candidates in the crowded field that includes eight serious contenders have proposed a number of reforms to purchasing if elected.

A Channel 2 Action News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Landmark Communications poll earlier this month had Councilwoman Mary Norwood leading a field of candidates, with Bottoms and Aman rounding out a top three.

Woolard was in fourth place in that poll.

Early voting has started and the election is Nov. 7. A runoff is likely with the top two finishers squaring off in December.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter J. Scott Trubey keeps you updated on the latest news about economic development and commercial real estate in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.

Why the Atlanta mayor’s race is worth knowing

The next mayor will impact all of metro Atlanta, and the economy of the Southeast. In our series Election 2017, we examine how a lack of affordable housing means fewer new companies – and new jobs – moving here. 

Visit Politically Georgia at http://www.myajc.com/georgia-politics/



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

A Thanksgiving Day chat with Andrew Young, on the state of the Atlanta mayor’s race
A Thanksgiving Day chat with Andrew Young, on the state of the Atlanta mayor’s race

Atlanta mayoral candidates Mary Norwood (right) and Keisha Lance Bottoms at the Atlanta Press Club debate last week. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM Chatsworth, Ga. — The turkey had just gone into the oven when word arrived that Andrew Young, the former U.N. ambassador and mayor, was worried about the state of the current...
‘It’s so rewarding’: volunteers serve over 7,000 meals to Atlanta needy
‘It’s so rewarding’: volunteers serve over 7,000 meals to Atlanta needy

On Thanksgiving, Gladys and Cleave Smith chose to sing, not despair. The couple became homeless last week after they couldn’t scrape up money for the hotel room where they’ve been living since June. But they held hands and sang as they left a free holiday meal shared with thousands of other needy Atlantans at the Georgia World Congress...
Dunwoody police search for missing, ‘disoriented’ woman
Dunwoody police search for missing, ‘disoriented’ woman

Dunwoody police are asking the public for help this Thanksgiving to find a woman who was reported missing after she didn’t show up at her daughter’s house in Peachtree Corners.  Velma Harrison, 79, left her Dunwoody home Wednesday to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her daughter and grandson.  Harrison never arrived. Instead...
Clerk shoots, wounds armed robbery suspect in Douglasville
Clerk shoots, wounds armed robbery suspect in Douglasville

A gas station clerk shot and wounded a man attempting an armed robbery, Douglasville Police said. The incident occurred at the Chevron station at 6590 Bankhead Hwy. in Douglasville Wednesday night just before 9:30 p.m. A man armed with a gun attempted to hold up the station but the clerk pulled his own weapon and shot the suspect once, police said...
Thanksgiving Day shooting in DeKalb County; 1 man dead
Thanksgiving Day shooting in DeKalb County; 1 man dead

Thanksgiving in Atlanta began with a fatal shooting at a DeKalb County Chevron station. DeKalb County Police said a 32-year-old man was shot and killed inside the gas station at 2691 Bouldercrest Rd. at about 1 a.m. Thursday after an argument with his assailant that began outside. Family members identified the victim as Andricus Harris. Harris stopped...
More Stories