During its first meeting back from recess Monday, Aug. 18, the Atlanta City Council overrode Mayor Shirley Franklin’s veto of legislation that restores council oversight of city personnel matters such as promotions, firings and raises. The council overrode the veto by a vote of 13-l.

The measure, which the council initially approved July 21 and the mayor vetoed July 29, requires city department heads to submit written justification and gain City Council approval before city positions are abolished, employee salaries are adjusted or jobs are reclassified.

With the veto override, the city of Atlanta returns to its previous personnel procedure. Council members said they were caught off guard by major policy and organizational changes within the city government in the 2009 budget. As a result, the City Council moved to regain its oversight authority over personnel matters.

In another blow to Franklin, the City Council approved the funding and reopening of Fire Station No. 7, calling it crucial to the preservation of life and property in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

The administration shuttered the firehouse July 14 as part of the implementation of cuts for the 2009 budget. The mayor cut an additional $7 million beyond the $14.5 million (2.5 percent) requested by the council. In doing so, the administration eliminated 165 positions, including 72 filled, and ordered a $4.7 million cut to the Fire Department, which included the closing of Station No. 7.

The substitute legislation the council approved Aug. 18 on a 13-1 vote authorizes the mayor to transfer approximately $1.12 million from various consulting, supply, travel and other nonpersonnel accounts to reopen the fire station. Those accounts, which have been specifically identified within the General Fund, are valued at more than $85 million across the board.