Rumblings at Atlanta City Hall over choices for leadership positions

There are rumblings at Atlanta City Hall about leadership positions.

New committee chairs were selected and no African-American women were selected.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston spoke with council members about why this has become an issue for city leaders.

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“We were really, really shocked that the diversity piece was missing,” council member Andrea Boone said.

Boone is one of the senior members on the council, but doesn’t have a leadership role for 2023.

Council president Doug Shipman, who decides the chairman positions, didn’t select Boone, Keisha Waites or Marci Overstreet to be committee chairs.

Black women make up at 51% of Atlanta’s population.

“Black women should always be represented, especially if we have a seat at the table,” Overstreet said. “And we actually do.”


There are seven committees that decide issues like public safety, finance, and transportation, and what issues move forward for approval.

Liliana Bakhtiari, who is Persian, chairs the committee on council.

Boone sits on the committee and was chair, but was rotated from that leadership role.

Overstreet and Boone took out a half page ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution with the headline, “Nearly four decades of Black female leadership ends abruptly under Atlanta city council president Doug Shipman.”

“And that can’t be tolerated in the cradle of the civil rights movement,” Boone said.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, members of the public came forth and spoke about how the power of the Black woman vote could be ignored.

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Huddleston spoke with council president Shipman, and Tuesday morning he said in a text message, “Given the concerns raised within the council and across the community, I am making a change in the committee chair assignments for 2023. Committee member Overstreet will continue serving as chair of the zoning committee.”

“This is so much bigger than peeling one of us off from the other. This is about Black women, this is about the city, this is about the health, equality and vitality of Atlanta, Georgia,” Boone said.

Council president Shipman did not explain to Channel 2 Action News why he removed the women from those positions, but the council president often rotates the chairs of those committees.