News reports of city department heads being fired by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have described the moves as surprising or unexpected. It’s really neither when you understand what this mayor is all about – power, money and greed.
And by the way, rumor has it the bloodletting at City Hall is not over.
I offer this as my opinion and no, I have no hard evidence, no proof. I say it as speculation knowing that if he chooses to respond, he’ll do so with that well-rehearsed squeaky tone and say “prove it”. He covers his tracks too well, he intimidates people too strongly, and he steers too much money to people for someone like me to be able to prove it. There are many who could, and I remain hopeful one day someone will find the strength to speak out against King Kasim, the Great Intimidator. Until then, I can only call it like I see it. So here goes… he’s about…
POWER. Look no further than the case of Craig Richard, the former CEO of Invest Atlanta. He didn’t kiss the ring. He hired a CFO without prior approval from the King, so off went his head. He was technically asked to resign. With Reed it’s all about being on his “team”, staying in line and doing as told. Don’t dare think on your own or make your own decision. Could Miguel Southwell, the former General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson or Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina, both fired on Friday, have committed similar acts of defiance?
These power plays also come at a time when Reed needs to prepare for his next stages in life as he moves deeper into his lame duck years as the spotlight will be stolen by some strong mayoral candidates. Look for the replacements of the recently fired to be people that will help position him for the next office he seeks.
MONEY. As in getting it to the right people. Steering billions of dollars in contracts to those on his team is the forte of this mayor. Make no mistake, its why City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms illegally serves as the head of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. For Reed, he needed someone to make sure “the right people” get the contracts for the redevelopment of Turner Field. The payoff for Bottoms, beyond the large salary, is the mayor’s support and better positioning for city-wide office (she sure sends a lot of fliers to voters outside her district).
GREED. Hell, his name is only one letter short of this word! And we will see it in full force once his term as mayor ends. Why people speculated he would run for US Senate this year was surprising to me since he had revealed his intentions soon after his reelection as mayor in 2013. Reed said he plans to re-enter the practice of law and make some money for a few years. Cha-Ching! That will be pay up time for all these folks he’s enriched over his eight years as Atlanta Mayor. He will either start his own law practice or join a big firm and rake in huge retainers from his “team” of multi-millionaire contractors. A run at statewide office or Congressman Lewis’ seat when it becomes vacant can wait a year or two while the cash rolls in.
So that’s my speculation. And again, I can’t prove it, I just remain hopeful that someday soon, someone who can prove even the tiniest portion of it will find the strength, or be overwhelmed by the guilt and will speak out. Until then, power, money and greed rule Atlanta. November 2017 can’t get here fast enough!!