Box 18, Folder 24, Document 25

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Vol. 5 No. 4 Atlanta, Georgia April 1967
PAS SURVEY STUDY LEADS TO REDUCTION The number of city departments
IN CITY DEPARTMENTS, MASSELL REPORTS is being reduced from 22 to 18

as the result of recommendations
made by the Aldermanic Government Study Committee, Vice Mayor Sam Massell,
chairman of that committee, told our full committee meeting April 26, Mr. Massell
pointed out that the committee which he heads had been appointed in April, 1966 to
study the survey of Atlanta's city government made by the Public Administration
Service, the first of many surveys completed under the Community Improvement
Program, now nearing its termination. In addition to Chairman Massell, the
committee includes Alderman Rodney Cook, John Flanigen, Richard Freeman,
Gregory Griggs, Everett Millican and Hugh Pierce, He explained that the committee
had devoted considerable time and thought to studying and discussing the 100 plus page
PAS survey which included more than 100 recommendations whose complete imple-
mentation would cost several hundred million dollars, In addition to the slice in the
number of city departments, other government study committee recommendations
being put into effect include such items as: 1, a resolution to investigate the use of
city owned houses and vehicles; 2,increase the authority of the city purchasing
department; 3, put city parkinz tickets on a computer system (which is expected to
increase revenue by some $300,000 a year); 4, reorganize the police internal security
division; 5, eliminate apartments for city prison personnel; 6, review the business
license system; 7, amend the city charter to revise method of promotions and hirings
in city departments; 8, prepare a report on mechanical changes required to develop
a city department of administration; 9, improve coordination among departments on
annual reports,


department of adminis -
tration, as recommended by the PAS survey, Government Study Committee Chairman
Massell expressed strong endorsement of such action. Said he -- ''The most important
recommendation made by the PAS survey is for the creation of a department of
administration, Our staff has prepared a study of how this could be done. Witha
department of administration in being, this committee of ours would not be needed.
The department of administration could implement the PAS recommendations, It also
could coordinate the administrative functions of the city government, '' As the
discussion with our committee members continued, Mr. Massell made the point that
the city charter was not exact in defining the powers of the mayor and the powers of
the aldermanic board, Said he -- ''Members of the board of aldermen enjoy directing
items of administration that come to their attention, The general situation is that if
the aldermanic committee chairman is a stronger individual than the city department
head, he more or less runs the department and vice versa, Minutes of all department
meetings are open to the public. Sometimes it would be embarrassing if they were
read and disclosed how much time had been spent on minor details, such as the type
of decorations for band stands,"'

PROSPECTS ARE NOT SEEN AS BRIGHT In response to questions from
Massell expressed the opinion
that the creation of a department of administration would not take place soon.
Explained he: ''For the department to be effective, it must have power to act, This
power would have to come from the Board of Aldermen. It does not appear likely
that the Board would relinquish such powers to the new department. So far our full
committee has not recommended creation of a department of administration.


"I think that a department of administration would make for a better city
government, but the feeling is that we now have a good city and a good city government,
Unless a crisis should occur, it is not likely that the board would turn over its powers
to a department of administration. Also, by reducing the number of departments, the
need for coordination also is reduced,"

In further Q & A session, Mr. Massell pointed out that since the mayor has
the power to appoint all committee members and committee chairmen, along with the
power to veto aldermanic action, the present authority of Atlanta's mayor is not so
weak as sometimes portrayed, Asked Mr. Massell -- ''How much power should a
mayor or a board of aldermen have? That is a hard question to answer definitely
because no two cities in the United States have the same powers vested in the mayor
and board of aldermen or council.'"’ In response to a question from Executive
Committeeman Hearle, Mr. Massell expressed the opinion that eventually an adminis-
tration department will be created, as the city's growth demands more time of
aldermen. Noting that the city hall was closed on April 26 (in celebration of Confederate
Memorial Day), commented Mr. Massell-- ''The thought has occurred to me that we
should stop closing city hall on this date when nearly all other city halls are open,"'

ALSO RAISED IN LIVELY DISCUSSION eventually combining with
Fulton County in a metro
government and the potential of adoption of a city manager plan were points also
raised in the lively discussion which followed Mr, Massell's opening remarks. In
reply to a question, Mr. Massell said that we have good people in the city and county
governments and accordingly could make a good combination of the two governments.
Alderman John Flanigen, a member of the government study committee, joined in to
say that he felt that such a merger could not be effected so long as part of Atlanta is
in DeKalb county. He added that he thought eventually there would be some form of
consolidation. With regard to the possible creation of a Department of Administration,
Alderman Flanigen raised the question of how the head of such a department would be
chosen. He pointed out that this was as important as determining where the depart-
ment head's responsibility would lie. In response to a question from AHA Redevelop-
ment Director Les Persells as to the estimated ''several hundred million dollars" cost
to implement the PAS recommendations, Mr. Massell poihted out that the proposed
pension system revisions alone would cost at least $100 million. Asked about the
present status of the Government Study Committee, Mr. Massell smiled and said,
"It has just about zone to sleep. It has no meetings scheduled.'' He explained that it
was still in active existence. Commenting on Mr. Massell's remarks in general,
said our Chairman Robert L, Sommerville -- "I would regard what Mr. Massell has
said as very solid. I am not one of those who believe that we always must have
something entirely new, costing a lot, all neon lighted and chromium plated".

NEIGHBORHOOD V.ISH FOR URBAN RENEWAL In the designation of future
NOW REGARDED ESSENTIAL, COOK EXPLAINS urban renewal projects, the

desire of the neighborhood for
such treatment will be ziven primary consideration, Rodney Cook, chairman of the
aldermanic planning and uevelopment committee told our full committee meeting
April 26.

'This is a change of policy", he explained, ‘In the past we have undertaken
urban renewal as a physical tool. Now we feel that the people in a neighborhood
must desire and ask for urban renewal. In the past there has been a major problem
in that people have not been included in the planning. We have started to change
this in the Bedford-Pine project. West End has gone all the way in this respect.
Now in Vine City and other areas, we are in the process of setting up meetings and
discussion groups. If the neighborhoods want urban renewal, they must ask for it
and then participate with the city in planning the projects."

was host for two urban renewal

tours. On April 13, more than 60 members of the Federal Executive Board were our
guests, On April 20, the Georgia State College Women's Club combined with Dr,
Robert E. Garren's Urban Complex class to fill a bus. Mrs. Margret Ross, Jim
Henley and Tom Kresbach of AHA served as guides with Director Howland.


MERGING OF TWO PROJECTS VIEWED The biggest problem in all
AS WAY TO PROVIDE TEMPORARY HOUSING urban renewal projects is the
relocation of the people already
living in these areas, Alderman Cook reported to our full committee as he explained
that Vine City and East Atlanta are being considered as next in line. ''The rehousing
of people should be in the same area that is being cleared", he continued, ''therefore,
temporary housing must be provided before demolition takes place. This can serve
until permanent housing can be constructed later. With that in mind, the thinking now
is that the Buttermilk Bottoms and Bedford-Pine projects should be combined to provide
snple space for temporary housing. Another possibility is to have vacancies in public
housing adjacent to urban renewal projects,'' Mr, Cook also mentioned the redevelop-
ment of a project by stages as a method to allow for temporary relocation of displaced
persons. He also stressed the importance of greater utilization of public housing

MORE MARKETABILITY EVIDENCE SEEN In talking of Atlanta's future
AS VITAL TO DECISION ON PROJECTS program, Mr. Cook emphasized
the importance of having ade-
quate evidence on marketability of the land to be cleared for any project. Also in mind,
he said, is the thought of sale of land prior to its acquisition for clearance. He pointed
out, by way of illustrating the need for land marketability evidence, that four excellent
proposals for Rockdale were now being studied. Returning to projects in execution,
Mr. Cook explained that Lee Street School is presenting a problem in West End. The
location of the present school is in the middle of the proposed shopping center as set
out in the redevelopment plan. Since the present school cannot be demolished until a
replacement is built, a delay of a year or more is indicated. A possible solution is to
begin developing the section of the shopping center farthest away from the school site
and proceed by stages. Mr. Cook also stressed the point that increasing weight is
being placed on good design in the criteria for redevelopment. Speaking of the area
for which Atlanta is seeking a model neighborhood planning grant, Mr. Cook asked
that our committee give thought to how housing code enforcement could be best handled
during the interim period.

NEW ASST, REGIONAL UR ADMINISTRATOR An honor guest at our full

IS HONOR GUEST AT APRIL 26 MEETING committee meeting was John T.
Edmunds,who takes office May 7

as assistant regional administrator for renewal assistance in the Atlanta HUD head-

quarters, A native of Hopkinsville, Ky., and a graduate of Vanderbilt University

and Yale Law School, Mr. Edmunds has been serving as acting assistant regional

administrator since the retirement of R. Bruce Wedge December 31, 1966, For the

previous ll years he has been in the regional office and has become thoroughly familiar

with urban renewal in his role as a chief attorney on urban renewal matters,

OUR COMMITTEE PARTICIPATES At the request of Lester H.
Authority redevelopment
director, our committee took an active part in surveying the four proposals submitted
for the redevelopment of Rockdale urban renewal project. Chairman Sommerville
appointed a special subcommittee, consisting of T. M. Alexander, Sr., Chairman,
A, B, Padgett and Mrs, Grace Hamilton to study the written proposals and to listen
to the verbal presentations by the would-be developers at two four-hour hearings
April ll and 13. Chairman Sommerville and Director Howland also attended the
hearings. Our subcommittee then made its comments for the recommendations which
are now under final consideration.


Massell addressed our
committee, the Atlanta Journal had a lead editorial on his remarks. Said it in part:
"Sam Massell, the fireball vice-mayor who seems to be everywhere at once, has
spoken up about the Government Study Committee of the aldermanic board, Mr.
Massell says the committee 'has just about gone to sleep'. Somebody should nudge
the committee awake. The aldermen may be sleepy, but the problems of running the
city of Atlanta are as awake as a bright new day."


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