Feeling charitable? Call City Hall

With Atlanta struggling to figure out how to avoid drowning in the tide of red ink caused by the Campbell administration, one City Council member has come up with a novel idea.

Clair Muller knows that Atlanta has virtually no way to make up the growing deficit — now climbing above $45 million. Yet since Sept. 11, the city is asking police to work 12-hour shifts, meaning that massive amounts of overtime are being booked. (It shouldn't be any surprise that the salary-bloated police political brass, reflecting the general self-serving attitude of the Bill Campbell regime, floated the balloon that they, too, should get overtime.)

To pay the police overtime, Muller proposed a resolution that law enforcement salaries become a charity. The council approved the plan to establish a trust fund that will be used to pay police overtime.

In essence, citizens are being asked to kick in cash to the cop shop, Atlanta's new charity.

Police officers also have told CL that the city has suggested deferring payments to the cops' pension fund because of the budget disaster.

Muller convinced the council to create another city charity — this one to build and maintain small parks and plazas. Muller is one of the more stable and respectable members of the council, and her suggestions are — sad to say — a comment on the state of the city.

They also highlight larger problems. Quality of life issues — such as parks — should be high on the list of governmental priorities, not an afterthought. More serious, Atlanta needs as many as 400 police positions filled to ensure safe streets. How many good potential applicants are going to apply knowing their paycheck may depend on the charitable goodwill of citizens?

Maybe the next step will be to hold weekly telethons so the city can make payroll.??

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