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Atlanta Tribune

EDITORIAL: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Introduces Sweeping Transparency Reforms in Legislative Package

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms took another critical step in leading Atlanta to becoming one of the most transparent cities in the country, introducing a legislative package to the City Council that would amend the City Code to create a new Transparency Officer, restrict usage of City-issued credits cards, and establishing procedures for the registration of persons engaged in lobbying the City of Atlanta.

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Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms took another critical step in leading Atlanta to becoming one of the most transparent cities in the country, introducing a legislative package to the City Council that would amend the City Code to create a new Transparency Officer, restrict usage of City-issued credits cards, and establishing procedures for the registration of persons engaged in lobbying the City of Atlanta.

“Restoring the public’s trust in their government has been my goal since taking office,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “These sweeping reforms and innovations are yet another step towards repairing and restoring he confidence in our city government.”

An overview of the proposed changes are as follows:

Transparency
The Transparency Officer will be responsible for the City’s complete and thorough compliance with the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA).

Open Records Requests (ORR) will be submitted through a new website specifically designed to help manage ORR’s, alongside traditional methods.

Department heads and other designated officials will act as ORR custodians, reporting directly to the Transparency Officer. The Mayor and the City Council will also be able to designate ORR coordinators to work with the Transparency Officer and his/her staff.

Employee violations of the GORA would be subject to immediate disciplinary action, including and up to termination. In addition, if applicable, certain violations of the Transparency Codes could be referred for criminal prosecution. And any employee who properly reports violations of the GORA shall be protected by the Georgia Whistleblower Act.

Quarterly reports will be generated to help the public track the City’s overall compliance. Mandatory training will also be provided to City employees to make sure they have the instructional tools needed to successfully process open records requests.

Credit Cards
The newly introduced resolution authorizes the Chief Financial Officer to designate a Program Administrator to monitor credit card purchases and ensure compliance.

Strict limitations on credit card issuance and usage will be set. No personal purchases will be authorized. Cardholder statements will be posted online each month and misuse of any City-issued credit card may result in disciplinary action, including and up to employment termination.

Lobbyists
The Administration introduced legislation to require people who are paid to lobby City Government to be registered with the Municipal Clerk and to disclose their clients, gifts, and political contributions. The legislation directs the Municipal Clerk to establish an online portal that will allow these disclosure and activity reports to be easily searchable and accessible to the public. Similar to the State of Georgia, lobbyists will be required to wear a badge that identifies them as a registered lobbyist.

The new ordinance would become effective immediately upon their adoption by the Atlanta City Council and approval by the Mayor.

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Tribune.

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Atlanta Tribune

On Our Radar: Leadership Conferences in Atlanta

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — According to a 2017 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 93% managers need training on coaching employees. Consequently, many surveyed said they felt ill-equipped to lead their peers because they were never properly trained. Studies suggest that when an employee is being led by someone who lacks efficient leadership skills, productivity in the workplace decreases and the likelihood that an employee will leave the company increases.

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Photo by: Christina Morillo | Pexels.com

By Kadejah Brathwaite, Editorial Intern

Fine-tuned leadership skills in the workplace are what separate the good from the great in business.

According to a 2017 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 93% managers need training on coaching employees. Consequently, many surveyed said they felt ill-equipped to lead their peers because they were never properly trained. Studies suggest that when an employee is being led by someone who lacks efficient leadership skills, productivity in the workplace decreases and the likelihood that an employee will leave the company increases.

Perhaps you are in this same boat and want to develop better administrative skills to boost your business. Atlanta will host some leadership summits that you should attend.

Boost Leadership with Ian Cron

Best-selling author of “The Road Back to You,” Ian Cron, will discuss the usefulness of the Enneagram personality test and how it can help professionals learn about themselves and their development as leaders. This free function will take place at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel and Convention Center on July 17, 2019.

Building Better Organizations One Individual at a Time

This one-day seminar is created for new managers who need guidance and tips on how to make a smooth transition from a successful team member to a successful manager. Attendees will discuss ways to give constructive criticism to their peers and how to effectively add value to their teams. The event will be at Cobb Galleria on July 25, 2019, and tickets can be purchased here.

Management and Leadership Skills for First-Time Supervisors and Managers

Attend this workshop on July 30-31, 2019 and learn the ropes on successful leadership techniques. This highly interactive event will provide feedback on how to build supervisory skills through self-assessment tools, checklists and a Leadership Style Analysis. Register here.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune.

Kadejah Brathwaite

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Atlanta Tribune

GABWA Earns Top Honors from State Bar of Georgia

THE ATLANTA TRIBUNE — The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys was honored with the prestigious President’s Cup, as well as the Award of Merit and Best Website Award for voluntary bar associations with 251 to 500 members, which were presented June 7 during the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia.

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PHOTO: GABWA President Liz Brown (L) and Past President Rita M. Treadwell accept the President’s Cup from 2018-19 State Bar of Georgia President Kenneth B. Hodges III. (Photo by Sarah Coole/State Bar of Georgia)
By The Atlanta Tribune

The Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys was honored with the prestigious President’s Cup, as well as the Award of Merit and Best Website Award for voluntary bar associations with 251 to 500 members, which were presented June 7 during the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia.

The President’s Cup is a traveling award that is presented annually to the voluntary bar association with the best overall program.

The Awards of Merit are presented to voluntary bar associations for their dedication to improving relations among local lawyers and devoting significant hours to serving their communities.

The Best Website Awards are presented to local and voluntary bar associations with websites that exemplify excellence in usefulness, ease of use, content and design in meeting the needs of the website’s targeted audience.

In order to encourage and support local and voluntary bars and their service programs, to promote activities which relate to the improvement of the administration of justice, the objectives of the State Bar of Georgia, and the image of lawyers, the State Bar annually sponsors an awards program which recognizes excellence in local and voluntary bar associations. Administered by the Local and Voluntary Bars Committee, awards are presented to winners at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune

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Atlanta Tribune

Former Atlanta Schools Chair to Oversee Community Development for Housing-Education Nonprofit

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — Atlanta-based nonprofit Star-C Communities, which bills itself as an education model with an affordable housing solution, has named former Atlanta Board of Education Chair Courtney English as its first Director of Community Development.

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Courtney English
By The Atlanta Tribune

Atlanta-based nonprofit Star-C Communities, which bills itself as an education model with an affordable housing solution, has named former Atlanta Board of Education Chair Courtney English as its first Director of Community Development.

“As we continue to strengthen our model and expand into additional apartment communities in Atlanta, the time is right to have an experienced professional spearheading our outreach to education organizations, community partners, funders and others interested in the nexus of education and housing,” says Audrea Rease, executive director of Star-C, which focuses on health and wellness programming and onsite afterschool enrichment. “Courtney has the experience, vision and energy to lead that charge, and we are excited to have him on board.”

English has long championed the idea that community needs must be addressed for students to thrive. While Chair of Atlanta’s School Board, the District launched partnerships to open four additional school-based health clinics. Recognizing that Atlanta’s school system, one of the largest landowners in the City, also had a mobility rate that topped 20 percent, he appointed the Atlanta Public Schools Affordable Housing Task Force to transform vacant school buildings into affordable housing units.

“The conversation around improving education must include housing, healthcare and ensuring that the basic needs of students and their families are met. Star-C is on the cutting edge of that work and is well-positioned to become a national model” English says. “I am both humbled and excited to help share what we have accomplished thus far, strengthen and grow this model and learn from and collaborate with others.”

In addition to his eight-year tenure on the Board of Education, English has worked for an education technology company, served as assistant director of Project Identity at Morehouse College, and taught 7th grade social studies at the B.E.S.T. Academy through Teach for America. He hold’s a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Morehouse and a master’s degree in Organization Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University.

“Courtney has been a friend to Star-C and we’re excited to add him to the team, focusing on refining strategy, polishing policy, cultivating myriad alliances and  evolving our education framework,” says Marjy Stagmeier, a founder of Star-C, and a partner in TriStar Real Estate, a commercial real estate investment and asset management firm. She also Chairs Star-C’s board.

English’s many accolades include being named one of Atlanta Magazine’s “Next in line to lead the region” in 2015, a “New History Maker” by the Atlanta Tribune (2016), an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen” by the Georgia Secretary of State (2019), a speaker at various national conferences and has served as a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Emory University and Spelman College.

Now in its 4th year, Star-C is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that operates an education model with an affordable housing solution. Star-C’s pilot program, at Willow Branch Apartments in Clarkston, has propelled Indian Creek Elementary, formerly one of the lowest performing schools in Georgia, to a status of “Platinum Performer” by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement in Georgia for three years.  Star-C now operates its wraparound services at three other metro affordable housing communities near high-need elementary schools. Star-C also partners with other entities to ensure resident needs are met in its communities including Morehouse Medical, Oakhurst Medical Centers and Georgia Power.

This article originally appeared in Atlanta Tribune

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Atlanta Tribune

The Lap of Luxury: The Chatwal, New York

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — The idea of a weekend in New York never stops being exciting. Brimming with culture, trend and spectacle — what draws us to the greatest city in the world is an experience that is familiar and yet somehow new each time. And when the accommodations you choose are prime, everything else is a bonus. Enter: The Chatwal, New York. 

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By Katrice L. Mines

The idea of a weekend in New York never stops being exciting. Brimming with culture, trend and spectacle — what draws us to the greatest city in the world is an experience that is familiar and yet somehow new each time. And when the accommodations you choose are prime, everything else is a bonus. Enter: The Chatwal, New York.

The Chatwal, New York

The Chatwal, New York

In the heart of Manhattan, conveniently located on 44th Street, The Chatwal is steps from entertainment, dining, shopping and Broadway theaters. This grand landmark hotel built in 1905 by Stanford White was restored and renewed by master architect Thierry Despont, re-launching in 2010. Nuanced luxury is the key to its charm as no part of your stay —from the first greeting to the last farewell — is left to chance.
The Chatwal is a boutique hotel with just 76 keys, of which 29 are themed suites with a total of 14 terraces: the highest concentrations of terraces for any hotel of that size in Manhattan. Since it resides in a landmark institution, constructions couldn’t alter the façade —  and thus had to proceed with building upwards and towards the back of the building — resulting in naturally carved terraces that add a flare of extra space and connection to the city. In-room, an apt introduction and arguably the jewel of each space is the ultra glamorous bathroom — bathed floor to ceiling in mirrors. Inside, Despont designed custom furniture inspired by the historic Louis Vuitton travel trunks.
Every piece of furniture, from the desks to the wardrobes to the maxi bars, is reminiscent of the trunk; while the walls are covered in featherweight, light tan suede — an accent that will make you rethink what you’re doing with your own decor at home. Clean and streamlined, the chic masculine feel and earthy tones flow from the rooms to the shared spaces. The bars, both in the lobby and on the mezzanine floor, are a true celebration of Art Deco with Empire State Building — shaped light fixtures cascading onto the bar counter.
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is the visionary behind a well-considered menu of Modern American cuisine at The Lambs Club within the hotel. Open for all three meals, the 90-seat restaurant has a luxe Empire Deco ambiance with walls that could tell a thousand tales. If you’re headed to a production, The Lambs Club is where your evening should begin with Pre and Post-Theater dining, including a three-course menu and the promise to get you to your show on time for just $54.
If you’re in town with no theater plans, you’re ideally situated one block from Times Square and less than a mile from attractions like the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and The Modern Museum of Art.
It really doesn’t get much better. 
This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune. 
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Atlanta Tribune

Women of Excellence Spotlight: LaKeysha “Dr. Key” Hallmon, Founder and CEO of The Village Market

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — Since 2016, LaKeysha “Dr. Key” Hallmon, the founder and CEO of The Village Market, has been a transformational leader and speaker by bringing national exposure to black-owned businesses.

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Women of Excellence Spotlight: LaKeysha “Dr. Key” Hallmon, Founder and CEO of The Village Market (Photo by: @Carolleerose | @blackbalancepod)

By The Atlanta Tribune

Since 2016, LaKeysha “Dr. Key” Hallmon, the founder and CEO of The Village Market, has been a transformational leader and speaker by bringing national exposure to black-owned businesses.

A native of Batesville, Miss., she has developed an economical vehicle that empowers the Black community through cooperative economics. She has been featured in Forbes and Rolling Out Magazine and has been a guest speaker for the Steve Harvey Foundation, the keynote speaker for the Fall graduating class at Clark Atlanta University and the keynote speaker for the Boys and Girls Club of NW Mississippi. Walker’s Legacy has honored Hallmon as well.

In 2017, she was inducted into the 40 under 40 Society at her undergraduate alma mater, Tougaloo College. Hallmon is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Join us in celebrating her on April 25th at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Tickets: https://bit.ly/2P5Tmr0 #WOEATL19

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune

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Atlanta Tribune

Tuskegee Appoints Johnson as New External Affairs VP, General Counsel

ATLANTA TRIBUNE — Seasoned trial lawyer Charles S. Johnson brings his expertise in the areas of health law, higher education law, dispute resolution and public policy to Tuskegee University as its new vice president for external affairs and general counsel.

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Charles S. Johnson

By The Atlanta Tribune

Seasoned trial lawyer Charles S. Johnson brings his expertise in the areas of health law, higher education law, dispute resolution and public policy to Tuskegee University as its new vice president for external affairs and general counsel.

In this capacity, Johnson serves as a member of the President’s Cabinet and provides legal advice and related services to the university leadership. In addition, he represents the university in collaboration with the Office of Advancement and Development in matters relating to legislative and governmental relations.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Mr. Johnson’s caliber guiding the university’s legal affairs,” says President Lily D. McNair. “His professional acumen will benefit us in a wide range of matters governing university operations, academics, fiscal affairs and external partnerships.”

His legal career spanning nearly 50 years has included leadership positions in several Atlanta-based law firms — the most recent of those being Holland & Knight, where he served partner for a decade. Following his graduation from Boston College Law School, he began his legal career as an antitrust lawyer, which included serving as a principal Georgia antitrust counsel for a major automobile manufacturer and as coordinating antitrust counsel for a national insurance rating organization.

Eventually, his litigation practice expanded to include matters involving health policy, education policy, tax law, employment law, securities, civil RICO and qui tam law, eminent domain, zoning, and commercial disputes. He currently serves as a member of the Commercial Dispute Resolution Panel for the American Arbitration Association.

His public policy practice has included counseling, regulatory and legislative advocacy and litigation. His efforts in these areas have made it possible to vigorously enforce the federal Fair Housing Act, and they have also made it possible for the courts to consider quality of education when fashioning a remedy for school segregation.

Johnson has served in leadership capacities for a variety of professional and trade organizations. This includes chairing the ABA Committee on Insurance Regulation, the Atlanta Judicial Commission and the Board of Trustees of Leadership Atlanta. He served as president of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Gate City Bar Association, as vice president of the National Bar Association, as a member of the Board of the Atlanta Bar Association, and as a trustee for his alma mater, Bard College.

He has been named as one of Ten Outstanding Young People in Atlanta and one of the Best Lawyers in America. Atlanta Magazine has recognized him as one of Atlanta’s “Powers to Be” and one of Georgia’s Super Lawyers, and the King Center has honored him with its Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Justice Award. He has been inducted into the halls of fame for both the National Bar Association and the Gate City Bar Association. He also served as the most recent Board chair of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia Inc. He is a recipient of the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement from the State Bar of Georgia Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession, and the Zenith Award for Political Action from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Tribune. 

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