Mayor rejects claims by rec authority executive director over firing, ‘political slush fund’

By David Pendered

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration said Monday evening it’s a “complete fabrication” by the head of an influential city-backed sports authority that he sought to oust her. For her part, the executive director says she was fired for refusing to run a “political slush fund.” The point/counter-point was delivered on the eve of the mayoral run-off election.

The full situation isn’t likely to be resolved Monday night or even Tuesday morning.

This means the clouds of controversy will continue through runoff election day on Tuesday, when Mary Norwood faces off against Reed’s favored candidate, Keisha Lance Bottoms. It’s another of those power plays by that have been central to this campaign.

For starters, it’s not even clear that Terry Wand has been ousted from her role as executive director of the Atlanta/Fulton County Recreation Authority. Nor is there an indication she’s been ousted from the authority.

Wand indicates she’s been ousted, but her statement is focused on the notion of another mayoral appointee to the board – not her own removal from the board.

Given that Wand’s statement appeared in a previous story on SaportaReport.com, the comment from the Reed administration is presented in the primary location here:

  • “This story is a complete fabrication by Ms. Wand.  Ms. Wand has not been removed from her position as Executive Director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, and there has not been a single conversation with her about her removal or replacement. Ms. Wand’s allegations are shocking and completely untrue.  Since her appointment in June, Ms. Wand has never raised any concerns about the day-to-day management of the Authority.  We are disappointed that she would make these false claims.”

Here’s how the situation is described by K Whitner, chairman of the recreation authority’s board:

  • “I am shocked to learn of this story. Ms. Wand has in no way been pushed out of her position with the Recreation Authority. We just had a special called meeting Friday, Dec. 1, led by Ms. Wand, and there was no concern or expectation that Ms. Wand would not be continuing in her role. She has said nothing to me otherwise. In fact, I have been in active negotiations with her and her lawyer on the final terms of her employment agreement that included a 2 year term beginning Nov. 1st.”

Here’s how Wand portrayed the situation in a paper that appeared previouly on SaportaReport.com.

The Reed administration did ask the Atlanta City Council to confirm his nomination of Mia M. Roberts to the recreation authority.

The paper did not specify the opening to which Roberts was being recommended. The city has six appointees to the rec authority, according to the amended state law that created the entity. The Atlanta representatives are not readily apparent, though the county’s representatives are readily identified.

The one council committee voted to “file” that paper. “Filed” sometimes means that the paper has been discarded. But sometimes folks who were nominated in papers that were filed seem to end up on the groups to which they were named.

For its part, the council’s Committee on Council was to consider the “filed” paper Monday regarding Reed’s nomination of Roberts. The committee didn’t meet.

 

 

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.

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