. . . To Restore Accountability and Fiscal Integrity
Injunction to End Undermining of Leadership Also Filed
Atlanta, GA – The recently elected leadership of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) won a key victory yesterday [Monday] in its quest for transparency and accountability, when the Superior Court of Fulton County ordered the release of documents needed to conduct a forensic audit and put the organization on a sound financial footing. The new leaders look to achieve a second victory by challenging an unfounded attempt to invalidate their recent election.
The Atlanta court ordered financial and other NCBM records turned over to a Special Task Force appointed by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who was elected president of NCBM in May. The ruling paves the way for the task force to oversee an audit of the organization's legal, operational and financial status following reports that the organization lost its tax-exempt status, failed to file its tax returns and has left a trail of debt.
"We are pleased the judge has granted our request for the records," said Mayor Johnson. "This allows the new NCBM leadership to take the necessary actions to restore and sustain the legacy of this organization, which is needed as much today as when it was established 39 years ago. We will begin immediately to carry out the forensic audit to get a complete picture of the challenges we face."
Following the unanimous election on May 30, the newly elected officers immediately convened the Board of Directors, who approved the Special Task Force and audit. The next week Mayor Johnson and other newly elected officers encountered resistance from the current executive director and a small group of board members opposed to the audit. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher ruled that Vanessa Williams and Mayor Robert Bowser, the named defendants in the case, did not act in "good faith" when they withheld the records; and he also ordered them to pay the new leaders' attorney's fees.
On July 16, NCBM's Special Task Force took a second major step in strengthening the organization by filing an injunction to stop efforts to invalidate the May 30 election. The court filing was necessary to ensure that further actions that would destabilize the organization cease.
"Unfortunately, some people are fearful of change," said Mayor Johnson. "But our efforts to bring transparency and accountability are not intended to point fingers or assign blame. They are intended to identify the organization's problems so that we can begin to fix them. Only by addressing those problems can we preserve this organization for the benefit of current and future mayors and their constituents."
[The National Conference of Black Mayors was founded in 1974 as a private, non-political, non-partisan, non-profit organization that represents African American mayors nationwide. Representing 650 mayors today, NCBM advocates for and impacts more than 48 million people. The organization's mission is to enhance the executive management capacity of its members for the purpose of governing viable municipalities. As such, NCBM provides technical and management assistance to its members as well as serves as a clearing house for information pertinent for municipal development.]