Kasim Reed’s weekend barbs for Republican Mitt Romney and his venture capital career have landed the Atlanta mayor in a minefield of his own making: if the payroll of his own administration is an accurate indicator, he thinks ex-Bain executives are quite adept at governing.
Reed said on NBC’s Sunday political broadcast he was alarmed by the internal Democratic skirmish over whether or not President Barack Obama should attack his GOP rival’s business career, likening the prospect of campaigning without the volley to fighting “with one hand behind his back.”
“[F]or Democrats to be having a conversation about whether this is fair game,” Reed said in yesterday’s “Meet the Press” roundtable, “is unacceptable.”
But that attack is muddled by Reed’s own deep ties to Bain, from which he hired two top execs to help steer Atlanta city government.
In the days following his election in late 2009, the mayor-elect tapped Peter Aman, then a partner at Bain’s management asset, to serve as the city’s chief operating officer.
“Mr. Aman is currently a Partner at the global business consulting firm Bain & Company, where he has helped transform and turnaround dozens of large and complex multinational media and industrial companies,” Reed said in a 2009 press release in which he announced Aman’s hiring. “Mr. Aman’s deep involvement in the City of Atlanta began in 2002 when he led a pro boon transformation effort by Bain & Company that lasted three years, providing $7 million of donated consulting services.”
His unrecompensed work for Atlanta, Reed said, “revealed what was then a substantial gap in the city’s operating budget and designed a series of corrective actions.” A 2010 release from the mayor’s office announcing Aman would remain in his post until December of the next year similarly hyped the man as a turnaround artist.
And while Aman has since left City Hall, Bain still maintains a presence in Reed’s administration.
Once a player at the Democratic-villified firm, Hans Utz began his tenure in Atlanta government in 2010 as the city’s top code compliance officer but ascended earlier this year to deputy chief operating officer. He remains in the post.
Both Utz and Aman have donated to Georgia democratic causes in recent cycles, contributing $6,200 between 2006 and 2010, according to campaign finance disclosures. One $5,000 contribution by Aman to the Democratic Party of Georgia came just days before Reed announced his appointment.
- James Richardson