ATLANTA - Atlanta city employees are outraged that the city paid more than a half million dollars to a small number of employees working directly with Mayor Kasim Reed.
FOX 5 I-Team broke the story of the bonus payouts last night.
The main complaint seems to be the feeling that a special few were given extraordinary benefit. And, even though Mayor Reed pushed through pay raises last year for most Atlanta employees, union leaders say everyone was stunned to learn of the bonuses the Mayor left behind as he walked out.
"I was numb. I was shocked. I was in a state of unbelief, says Gina Pagnotta-Murphy, head of the Professional Association of City Employees union.
She says she was stunned when she saw the FOX 5 Investigation of a half a million dollars in bonuses or Christmas party contest winnings given to 84 city employees last year.
"We got a whole city of employees who make this city work and not just that little small group," said Pagnotta-Murphy.
FOX 5 uncovered an Instagram page, posted by a city employee, capturing a Christmas luncheon last December, where bonus money and prize winnings were handed out. It was late December, and city workers were celebrating with their boss, Mayor Kasim Reed.
City records obtained by the FOX 5 I-team through an Open Records request show 63 winners won money in contests and drawings ranging from $500 to $3000. Total bonus amount: $68,067.
Pagnotta Murphy, who fights for higher pay and benefits for city employees, says those employees blew up her phone after our report aired.
"They feel cheated, upset, they are angry, said Pagnotta-Murphy.
All seven members of Mayor Reed's executive protection detail also got bonuses as high as $5000 each. Vince Champion is regional director for IBPO. He says plenty of his patrol officers would have loved a Christmas time bonus
"Having to put up with everything. Getting shot at every day. They deserve some bonus too, just as much as those guys protecting any mayor," said Champion.
Mayor Reed also gave another $335,000 in bonuses - from five to fifteen thousand dollars each - to his cabinet members, department heads, and office assistants.
"It's a double slap in the face. It’s too much. Every day it’s something new. How much more can the little people take?"
Mayor Reed responded to our report with a statement from his spokesperson. Mayor Reed touted balanced budgets, no property tax increases, and huge cash reserves. The Mayor says he awarded bonuses to the team members who helped him make it happen.