Black Atlanta City councilwomen call out white council president for removing them from leadership

President Doug Shipman said his appointees were selected “with both the short and long term in mind.”

President Doug Shipman of the Atlanta City Council has caused a political uproar after removing two Black women from leadership positions.

The two members, Andrea Boone and Marci Collier Overstreet, spoke to FOX 5 about Shipman’s decision to put “Black women in a backseat.”

Session of Government / blurred businessmen talking / AdobeStock
Session of Government / blurred businessmen talking / AdobeStock

Shipman, who is white, told the outlet that the move was not done out of spite as he intends to rotate the chairman seats “to give members different experiences,” he said.

Atlanta residents abide by the laws shaped by council committees. In the past four decades, at least one Black woman was chair of a council panel, president of council or mayor of the city. According to Boone and Overstreet, Shipman disrupted this legacy when he failed to appoint Black women to chair any of the council’s seven committees.

Boone and Overstreet noted their opposition to his decision in an opinion piece that they penned for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“It is inexcusable, unexplainable and unacceptable what Shipman has done,” the two wrote, calling Shipman “politically tone deaf.”

“We could have pointed out President Shipman’s egregious error behind closed doors,” Boone and Overstreet added, as reported by The AJC. “But this issue has long-term implications, and it must be exposed.”

Shipman explained in an email to The AJC that his appointees were selected “with both the short and long term in mind.”

“Balancing representation, preferences and experiences doesn’t allow for every member to get all of their preferred appointments every year,” he wrote. “My job is to help the institution of Council succeed and to serve the whole membership and our City.”

Speaking to FOX 5, Shipman disagreed with the notion that he has “disenfranchised Black women.”

He also shared his plans to appoint several women of color to positions outside of the council committees, according to FOX 5.

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