According to Creative Loafing Atlanta, Common Cause Georgia is calling for the resignation of Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond for his misuse of city funds. They also have asked for a criminal investigation into the misuse in a letter (copy after break) dated January 19, 2015, to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
Councilman Bond, who was re-elected in November 2013, agreed to a settlement of over $15,000 for violations from the last five years. Bond has stated that the settlement has already been paid.
The violations included such incidents as using city funds for personal trips, paying for his GRE preparation, covering expenses for hosting a Sorority event, and to pay for the Frederick Douglass High School Class of 1984 reunion. He also used his position to obtain DragonCon passes for himself and family members.
Despite the settlement and the uncovering of the violations, Bond has refused to resign from his position. In a letter of apology (copy after break) to the citizens of Atlanta, Bond asks for a chance to redeem himself:
Since beginning my public service vocation, I have never faced such an inquiry until now. For those whose confidence in me may have been shaken by this episode, I sincerely hope they will allow me to work to regain their trust and confidence. I commit to the citizens of Atlanta to never again place my office, my public service, or myself in question.
William Perry, the Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia, does not think the apology is enough, though:
This case has gotten to the point where enough is enough. Bond had the most egregious fine handed down in its existence. It’s time for him to step down in an effort to restore public trust. … He should step down, put his name on the ballot again [next election], and let the people decide.
It is not often that a public official decides to remain in office after these types of violations. In fact, most settlement agreements include a resignation as part of the agreement. Councilman Bonds must face the blowback caused by the broken trust that he personally caused. I think it would better serve the citizens by stepping down and repairing his image and reputation outside of public office, though.
A copy of the Common Cause letter to the DA, Bond’s apology, and the settlement agreement can be found after the break.