Common Cause forces resignation of Georgia leader as part of national realignment of interests

By David Pendered

The forced resignation of William Perry, former executive director of Common Cause of Georgia, speaks to the breadth of redirection of the national organization under the leadership of former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich.

William Perry

William Perry

The national Common Cause organization installed in 2014 a president, Miles Rapoport, who has said he intends to work on economic opportunity issues, sustainability and environmental protection.

Reich, President Clinton’s labor secretary, recused himself from the selection process because of his previous relation with Rapoport, according to a report in nationaljournal.com. Reich took over as chairman of Common Cause’s National Governing Board in 2010.

Atlanta attorney Emmet Bondurant could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

Bondurant serves on the Board of Governors of the national organization, and the Board of Directors of the state organization.

Among the prominent lawyers who work at Bondurant’s law firm, Bondurant, Mixon & Elmore, are Jason Carter, a former gubernatorial candidate and state senator, in the capacity of partner; and Robert Ashe, chairman of MARTA’s Board of Directors, in the capacity of associate.

Perry’s focus on government ethics and spending did not comport with the new interests of the national organization.

Rapoport asked Perry to resign and issued the following statement Tuesday morning:

Miles Rapoport

Miles Rapoport

  • “William Perry has led the Georgia chapter of Common Cause for four and a half years.  He has been an effective advocate for government ethics and transparency, and I know he will continue to be so.  Common Cause, both nationally and in Georgia, has a broader policy agenda for an inclusive democracy, and new leadership will help move the chapter in these new directions.”

Perry issued the following statement Tuesday morning:

  • “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work outside the confines of public policy advocacy and fully focus on government watchdog work. Over the past four and a half years, I’ve found exposing public corruption requires a single-minded focus, and it is the work I most want to do. I deeply appreciate the work that Common Cause Georgia does, and will continue to work with them as allies on issues that concern holding our public officials accountable.”

During Perry’s term in office, Perry has bluntly challenged a number of actions by leading elected officials and civic leaders overseeing major public projects. The list includes:

  • Gov. Nathan Deal on a host of issues regarding ethics and governance;
  • House Speaker David Ralston regarding ethics legislation;
  • Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed regarding the procurement process regarding $1.2 billion in concessions contracts at Atlanta’s airport;
  • Atlanta City Hall’s decision to provide up to $200 million in funding for the new Falcons stadium.
Falcons stadium, July 2015

Atlanta’s decision to provide up to $200 million to help pay for construction of the Falcons stadium drew strong rebuke from William Perry, who was forced out as executive director of Common Cause of Georgia by the president of the national Common Cause organization. Credit: newstadium.atlantafalcons.com

Here the full statements released by Common Cause of Georgia and Perry:

From Common Cause Georgia:

Aug. 11, 2015

William Perry Leaving as Head of Common Cause Georgia 

Atlanta, GA – Common Cause Georgia’s Executive Director, William Perry, has resigned the position and will seek to pursue government watchdog work in a new organization.  The decision came as a mutual understanding between Mr. Perry and national Common Cause President Miles Rapoport, who requested Mr. Perry’s resignation, about the future of the Georgia chapter.

Rapoport said:  “William Perry has led the Georgia chapter of Common Cause for four and a half years.  He has been an effective advocate for government ethics and transparency, and I know he will continue to be so.  Common Cause, both nationally and in Georgia, has a broader policy agenda for an inclusive democracy, and new leadership will help move the chapter in these new directions.”

Perry sees this as a great opportunity to continue the work he likes most about his former job.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work outside the confines of public policy advocacy and fully focus on government watchdog work. Over the past four and a half years, I’ve found exposing public corruption requires a single-minded focus, and it is the work I most want to do. I deeply appreciate the work that Common Cause Georgia does, and will continue to work with them as allies on issues that concern holding our public officials accountable.”

Newly elected Common Cause Georgia Board Chair, Clint Murphy of Savannah, said:

“We appreciate William’s service to Common Cause Georgia.  We wish him well, and look forward to working with him on important issues in the future.”

Common Cause, with the assistance of the Georgia advisory board, is beginning the process of selecting a new Executive Director.

From Perry:

Aug. 11, 2015

William Perry Leaving as Head of Common Cause Georgia

Organization and Director reach mutual agreement as organization seeks new leader

Atlanta, GA – Common Cause Georgia’s Executive Director, William Perry, has resigned the position and will seek to pursue government watchdog work in a new organization.  The decision came as a mutual understanding between Mr. Perry and national Common Cause President Miles Rapoport, who requested Mr. Perry’s resignation, about the future of the Georgia chapter.

Rapoport said:  “William Perry has led the Georgia chapter of Common Cause for four and a half years.  He has been an effective advocate for government ethics and transparency, and I know he will continue to be so.  Common Cause, both nationally and in Georgia, has a broader policy agenda for an inclusive democracy, and new leadership will help move the chapter in these new directions.”

Perry sees this as a great opportunity to continue the work he likes most about his former job.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work outside the confines of public policy advocacy and fully focus on government watchdog work. Over the past four and a half years, I’ve found exposing public corruption requires a single-minded focus, and it is the work I most want to do. I deeply appreciate the work that Common Cause Georgia does, and will continue to work with them as allies on issues that concern holding our public officials accountable.”

Newly elected Common Cause Georgia Board Chair, Clint Murphy of Savannah, said:

“We appreciate William’s service to Common Cause Georgia.  We wish him well, and look forward to working with him on important issues in the future.”

Common Cause, with the assistance of the Georgia advisory board, is beginning the process of selecting a new Executive Director.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

6 replies
  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    Common Cause seems serious into whipping its Georgia operation into shape to support Hillary Clinton. Additional whippings will be given to Georgia Democratic politicians who do not get in line and produce results.Report

    Reply
  2. Chuck Burleson says:

    It has been proven in city after city that stadium/arena developments have much, much less positive financial impact than proponents try to sell us. Most of the tax benefit given by cities to induce owners to build new ones goes more to help the owner’s balance sheet than anything else. Meanwhile taxpayers get ripped off and tax money that could be much better utilized is squandered.Report

    Reply
  3. Will Curry says:

    Real nice guy. He shops at my Kroger store. I enjoyed watching him at City Hall and in the media. He certainly shed light on a lot of issues to which I was obvious. Gotta give him a pat on the back and thank him again when I see him.Report

    Reply
  4. Chuck Burleson says:

    Just makes one ask who’s common cause Common Cause of Georgia is looking out for? By dumping Perry, CCoG just looks like another shill for the good ole boys network. Business as usual in Atlanta…Report

    Reply

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