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

Clayton County restaurant inspection scores

Clayton County • 3 Dollar Café, 1189 Southlake Circle, Morrow. 80/B • A Town Wings, 6632 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro. 82/B • Georgia Potato Factory, 10459 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro. 100/A • International House of Pancakes, 1474 Southlake Plaza Drive, Morrow. 82/B • Rocky’s, 8113 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro. 90/A
Gwinnett County restaurant inspection scores

Gwinnett County • Abu Grill Mediterranean Bistro, 5050 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross. 100/A • Asian Chao, 3333 Buford Drive, Buford. 72/C • Chipotle, 1650 Scenic Highway, Snellville. 92/A • My Friend’s Place, 6601 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. 91/A • Waraku Japanese Restaurant, 3131 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Suwanee. 81/B
Forsyth County restaurant inspection scores

Forsyth County • Branchwater, 5820 S. Vickery St., Cumming. 87/B • Mr. Swiss, 230 Elm St., Cumming. 91/A • Summit’s Wayside Tavern, 525 Lake Center Parkway, Cumming. 96/A • Taco Macho, 2320 Canton Highway, Cumming. 91/A • Waffle House, 599 Atlanta Road, Cumming. 100/A
Gridlock Guy: How employers are already enforcing hands-free rules

The July 1st Hands-Free Georgia Act is right around the bend, and while most of the general public is trying to grasp compliance in their own vehicles, companies that manage fleets have been holding a higher standard for quite a while. First, commercial truck drivers have had very similar hands-free restrictions to what Georgians will soon experience...
Cobb County restaurant inspection scores

Cobb County • L’Thai West, 4500 W. Village Place, Smyrna. 96/A • Macland Wings and More, 4181 Marietta St., Powder Springs. 97/A • Maru Sushi, 4454 S. Cobb Drive, Smyrna. 97/A • Rancho El Molcajete, 499 Veterans Memorial Highway, Mableton. 78/C • Smitty’s Lockdown BBQ, 2900 Canton Road, Marietta. 95/A
More Stories