The Citizens’ Advocate provides residents and business owners with an identifiable point of contact within the City of Atlanta to help them resolve problems that have failed to be addressed through traditional channels in various departments.
In April 2011, Mayor Kasim Reed hired the city’s first citizens’ advocate, inviting former veteran investigative reporter Stephanie Ramage to “work tirelessly on behalf of our residents and business owners and help make the city address problems in a manner that leads to better, faster and more efficient service.”
The citizens’ advocate identifies problems on behalf of citizens and delivers an honest assessment of the City’s handling of the situation. She takes citizens’ concerns to the involved parties --- from front line workers up to department heads. She investigates the city’s response, assesses its effectiveness and timeliness, determines exactly where breakdowns in communication or service are occurring, and makes recommendations for resolution to the appropriate city leaders. Such solutions may involve minor adjustments to city practices or quick-fixes to individual situations, or they may include developing new policies, procedures, personnel, or legislation.
This webpage will be periodically updated with reports and items of interest for the community. Mayor Reed has asked the citizens’ advocate to focus on issues of water and sewer services, code enforcement, blight, licensing processes, and a variety of other matters across the spectrum of city government. However, any citizen may contact the citizens’ advocate with questions, complaints or concerns regarding city services and policies.
The establishment of the Office of the Citizen Advocate is part of Mayor Reed’s goal to improve service in Atlanta and help keep government accountable. Many cities, ranging in size from New York to Jacksonville, Fla., employ a person who serves as a citizen advocate, public advocate or ombudsman.