Reed Says Job-Training Agency Needs Radical Change

first_img ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Party Related Stories Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility For Whom The Bell Rings Share Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed responded Tuesday to a recent news report showing rampant waste and abuse at the city’s Workforce Development Agency.He acknowledged the need for “radical change.”“Given the slate of challenges that we were dealing with over the last four years, reforming that organization was not a priority and we thought it was being reasonably well-run. We learned that it was not and we’re going to change,” said Reed, speaking in midtown Atlanta.A weekend report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution [registration required] claims hundreds of thousands of federal dollars meant for job-training may have been misused between 2010 and 2012.Some City Council members are now calling for more accountability.Reed said he’s open to suggestions, including one from a councilman that would allow the city’s legislative body to appoint some of the agency’s board. But he also stressed his administration has been working to address issues for over a year.“The one thing that is pretty amazing about the reporting that was done over the weekend was that it didn’t acknowledge that we had already started addressing a series of issues from our own internal audit. We hired a best-in-class firm that leads in the country in job-training and job-readiness programs. They’re in the middle of preparing their report.”  Reed said that firm’s report should be on his desk within 45 days.The internal audit, which can be found here, was completed in January 2013. It highlighted several problem areas and ultimately recommended discontinuing the agency. Reed’s chief operating officer at the time, Duriya Farooqui, called that recommendation “perplexing” and went on to refute many details in the audit. Farooqui’s full response can be found here. In any event, Reed defended his administration’s response and emphasized the alleged waste concerned federal tax dollars.“None of that represents the taxpayers’ money for the city of Atlanta and when we were informed of the problem we started responding immediately. We didn’t wait.” The U.S. Labor Department is investigating the alleged waste. Add to My List In My Listlast_img read more