Mayor Reed Knocks Bain on NBC, Hired Bain Workers, Used Bain Tactics (UPDATE 1)

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(APN) ATLANTA — Mayor Kasim Reed, as part of his apparent ambitions to join the Administration of President Barack Obama, appeared on NBC’s national television program, Meet the Press, as a surrogate for the Obama Campaign.

During his visit, he made it a point to go after former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for President, for Romney’s previous work at Bain & Company.  Reed did so after Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, New Jersey, previously appeared on the program, but had questioned whether it was the best strategy for Obama to go after Bain.

However, despite his criticism of Bain, Atlanta Progressive News can reveal that Kasim Reed has utilized both Bain employees and policy approaches during his two and a half year tenure as Mayor of Atlanta.

“I don’t have a problem at all,” with Obama criticizing Romney over Bain, Reed said during his appearance on Meet the Press.

“Actually I’ve been amazed by it [the question of whether such criticism is appropriate].  The fact is, we know about Bain Capital because of Sen. Ted Kennedy.  Ted Kennedy was locked in a race, 48 to 46 against Mitt Romney in 1994, on his first foray into politics,” Reed said.

“Ted Kennedy ended up beating the bark off him 58 to 42, and the centerpiece of his assault was Bain,” Reed said.

“It [Bain] has been used by Mitt Romney’s own competitors in Gubernatorial races, it’s been used in the [Presidential] Republican Primary, so for Democrats to be having a conversation about whether this is fair game is really unacceptable,” Reed said.

However, Reed neither disclosed nor explained why, if he thought Bain Capital was so horrible, he hired two high-level employees–former Chief Operating Officer (COO) Peter Aman and current Deputy Chief Operating Officer Hans Utz–immediately after the two had been working at Bain.

Aman, a Partner at Bain & Company, took a two-year leave of absence from Bain, in order to work as COO, which is essentially a Deputy Mayor position, under Mayor Reed, from the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2011.

When Reed announced his intention to hire Aman, shortly after being elected in November 2009, he spoke positively about Aman and Bain in a public post on his Facebook page.

“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.  He has also held several leadership roles in Bain’s Atlanta office, including those in the areas of recruiting, staff allocation and professional development, facilities and information technology operation, risk management and professional standards,” Reed wrote at the time.

“Mr. Aman’s deep involvement in the City of Atlanta began in 2002 when he led a pro bono transformation effort by Bain & Company that lasted for three years, providing $7 million of donated consulting services.  The work by Mr. Aman and the Bain team revealed what was then a substantial gap in the city’s operating budget and designed a series of corrective actions, including the development of a comprehensive turnaround plan, a benchmarking of city cost and employment levels versus other comparable cities, the creation of an economic development plan, and a deeper understanding of tax and fee affordability of the city,” Reed wrote.

Bain also highlights Aman’s work for the City of Atlanta on its website.

“Consultants at any level can be granted an extended leave of absence when an opportunity arises for an individual to take on a major project outside of Bain,” Bain’s website says.

“In 2011, for instance, partner Peter Amman [sic] was winding up a two-year stint as chief operating officer for the city of Atlanta—a position overseeing most of the city government.  Aman brought Bain’s emphasis on results to Atlanta; in a relatively short time his teams achieved such goals as dramatically improving EMS response times, increasing the reliability of garbage pickup and adding police officers and firefighters, all while cutting overall expenses by some $16 million.”

Reed also hired Hans Utz, a former consultant at Bain, to work first as a contractor for the Office of Code Enforcement, and then, in January 2012, as Deputy COO.

In addition, last year, Reed pushed a Bain-style pension reform proposal which included a hard freeze on pension benefits for current employees, so that only accrued benefits were left in place, during the pension compromise debate of 2011.

Freezing pension benefits is just one of the things that Bain typically does when it takes over a company.

“When my Administration worked to enact pension reform, we succeeded with a unanimous vote from the Atlanta City Council after negotiations that included the city’s unions,” Reed said in an email to his campaign supporters on June 02, highlighting his upcoming appearance on NBC.

However, the only reason Reed’s original Bain-style proposal did not pass is because six Councilmembers–Kwanza Hall (District 2), Natalyn Archibong (District 5), Felicia Moore (District 9), CT Martin (District 10), Joyce Sheperd (District 12), Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large)–
refused to go along with the proposal, denying Reed the two-thirds vote which would have been needed to pass his proposal.

The compromise legislation, which did pass unanimously, was the result of legislation introduced by Councilwoman Moore, in consultation with some of the affected labor unions.

(END/2012)

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated in one paragraph that Aman had worked at “Bain & Capital.”  This had been a typo, and has been corrected to reflect Bain & Company.  All other references to the company’s name were correct.

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