Atlanta Ethics investigation of Westmoreland’s Former Aide, Wayne Martin (UPDATE 1)
Image of Wayne Martin and Councilwoman Marci Overstreet (District 11) posted to Overstreet’s official Facebook page; reposted here pursuant to Fair Use doctrine.
(APN) ATLANTA — The Ethics Office of the City of Atlanta is currently investigating a complaint received regarding an alleged conflict of interest involving Wayne Martin, former Chief of Staff to Atlanta City Council Matt Westmoreland (Post 2-at-large).
Wayne Martin served as Chief of Staff for Councilman Westmoreland from the beginning of his first term on Council in 2018, until approximately June 2019, when he went to work for Comcast Cable as Senior Manager for External Affairs.
As previously reported by Atlanta Progressive News, Comcast Cable came up for a new, seven-year billion dollar Franchise Agreement with the City of Atlanta, which passed the Council despite numerous problems.
Wayne Martin addressed the Atlanta City Council’s City Utilities Committee during the debate on the Comcast Franchise Agreement more than once; and, at minimum, leveraged his personal relationships and understanding of Council process and culture to cause the City Council to unanimously adopt the Agreement.
On November 26, 2019, shortly after Mr. Martin testified to the City Utilities Committee, the City’s Integrity Line logged anonymous complaint IL-1100274.
APN obtained a copy of the complaint through an open records request to Amanda Noble, the City Auditor, on January 06, 2020.
“Wayne Martin, former City of Atlanta (Atlanta City Council, Post 2 At Large) appeared before the City Utilities Committee on 11/26/19 to represent his current employer, Comcast,” the complaint states.
“He has not been seperated [sic] from the City for more than a year. This is a violation Sec. 2-810. – Representation after separation from employment, Part A,” the complaint states.
In addition to appearing before the Committee, Martin also lobbied Councilmembers individually during the Comcast Cable Franchise Agreement legislative debate.
The City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances, Part II, Chapter 2, Sec. 2-810, “Representation after separation of employment,” states:
“No person who has served as an… employee shall, for a period of one year after separation from such… employment, appear before any agency or receive compensation for any services rendered on behalf of any person, business or association in relation to any case, proceeding, or application with respect to which such former… employee was directly concerned or in which such… employee personally participated during the period of such… employee’s… employment or which was under such… employee’s active consideration or with respect to which knowledge or information was made available to such… employee during the period of such… employee’s… employment.”
In other words, if in Martin’s work for Mr. Westmoreland, he became privy to “knowledge or information” about Comcast, Franchise Agreements, or any other aspect of the Comcast debate, it would be a violation.
Today, Investigator Larry Mason in the Ethics Office confirmed that the Ethics Office did receive the complaint and that it is currently under investigation.
Reached by APN, Martin referred any questions about the complaint to Comcast Cable.
Consistent with our general policy towards unresponsive corporations, because Comcast Cable still has not responded to the questions APN sent about the Franchise Agreement three months ago, we declined to use valuable time sending them more questions.
Prior to working for Atlanta City Councilman Westmoreland, Martin previously served as Executive Administrator for the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education, where he worked with Westmoreland, who at the time was the District 3 Board Member.
Martin also served as the Director of External Affairs for the Atlanta Housing Authority.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2020)
UPDATE 1 and CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Wayne Martin served as Vice President of External Affairs for the Atlanta Housing Authority. In fact, he did not serve in that role; he served instead as Director of External Affairs. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information.