Political Corruption Creates Open Seat

There is an empty seat in city hall. The Chief of Procurement Officer Adam Smith was relieved of his duties effective immediately Tuesday afternoon. No worries for Smith, he can devote more of his time as the chairman of Atlanta’s Board of Ethics.

In released FBI reports, a pattern developed in the city’s budget. Two Atlanta city contractors split payments. Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr and Charles P Richards Jr, both plead guilty to paying bribes to an unnamed person to secure city contracts under the belief one or more Atlanta officials will be receiving the funds. Together, they spent more than a million in bribes which is nothing compared to winning millions in a city contract.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office seized Smith’s city-owned phone and computer after he was relieved of his duties. Smith signature was on documents involving Mitchell and Richards assistance during Atlanta’s winter storm and other city emergencies. Smith was responsible for purchasing matters, the city’s water and sewer projects along with the expansion and concession projects at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. With his credentials, you would have figured he was more than capable of fulfilling the position.

Smith belongs to the Alpha Rho Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc at Morehouse College; however, he currently serves as a member of the Eta Lambda Chapter. Smith is also a member of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing and the American Purchasing Society, Inc. He is a Certified Professional Public Officer and Certified Professional Public Buyer.

Though Smith tainted his decorated HBCU and fraternity reputation, it is great to see Atlanta University Center students and alumni continue their school’s legacy in civic engagement and political awareness. Two students are campaigning to win seats on South Fulton and Stonecrest city council. Clark Atlanta alumnus and grad student Johnny Surry platform focus on crime prevention, as well as economic development and community involvement. The young Kappa has been an active voice on campus and in the community

Traveling across Atlanta Student Movement and a few extra steps down the promenade, you will enter the gates of Spelman College. Spelmanite Mary-Patricia Hector is becoming another AUC trailblazer. Hector recently became the youngest woman to be eligible for an elected office in Georgia. Many raised questions about her age. But, due to a new city charter, the college sophomore was only required to be of voting age. Hector stands on the platform for progress in Stonecrest.

Smith has no charges filed against him, but this may change due to Mitchells and Richards cooperation with the authorities. Credentials with a name are always a pleasure to see; however, credentials do not insinuate integrity or honesty – especially in the world of politics. Hopefully, we see a future city council without corruption, and maybe, these two AUC students can earn their seats in the city council.