By John Schaffner

The Atlanta City Council adopted a plan July 21 that would require department heads to submit written justification and gain council approval before city jobs are abolished, employee salaries are adjusted or positions are reclassified.

Claiming they were caught off-guard by major policy and organizational changes in the 2009 budget, council members moved to regain oversight.

The ordinance was approved by a vote of 14-1. It was sponsored by Felicia A. Moore and co-sponsored by Howard Shook, Mary Norwood, Jim Maddox, Joyce M. Sheperd, Ceasar Mitchell, H. Lamar Willis, C.T. Martin, Clair Muller, Natalyn Archibong and Kwanza Hall. The lone dissenting vote was cast by Councilwoman Anne Fauver.

“We must be good stewards of city resources both financially and operationally,” Moore said. “Therefore, in today’s economic climate and as we look to streamline city government without negatively impacting essential services, this council feels that it is appropriate for us to regain our oversight over personnel matters rather than decrease it.”

The vote returns the city government to its previous personnel procedure.

The restoration of the council’s oversight began with the elimination of the city’s compensation committee.