In candidate-on-candidate questioning, Atlanta attorney Jesse Spikes had one of the sharpest jabs at Mary Norwood of the entire evening.
“You’ve been on the council now for eight years. And never once in all those eight years has anyone asked you to lead a single council committee,” he noted. “Isn’t that a damning indictment of your leadership abilities by those people who work with you?”
“I realized that the committee system at council – the chairman has no power. The chairman has no ability to withhold legislation from reaching the floor. I am so interested in the multiplicity of issues across the state, that I spent my eight years working for specific results in communities.”
Norwood and Reed also exchanged pleasantries. Reed asked Norwood about her expenditures — some of which, he said, were reimbursements for money that went to her robo-call company.
Reed accused her of violating city procurement rules. Norwood responded by waving the report from the city ethics commission that said “all of my expenditures were absolutely correct, all of my expenditures were absolutely above board.”
“As far as my telephone company, my company had been a vendor for the city since the mid-90s. When I got to City Hall, the mayor used my company,” Norwood said.
In return, Norwood asked Reed, “Do you think cronyism is a major problem at City Hall?”
Not as much as it has been since Shirley Franklin’s been in office, Reed replied. Reed tried to turn the question back on Norwood. In 2002, Franklin proposed and City Council passed an ethics package that cut out some of the funny business, Reed said.
Norwood voted for that, he declared. But then, in 2006, Norwood voted to weaken the same package. “In fact, you voted to weaken the provisions regarding tickets to council members,” he said.
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