Five months into his term, with the help of Aman, Reed initiated pension cutbacks for new city hires, despite union protests. And last week, under significant pressure from Reed, the city council unanimously passed a substantial overhaul of Atlanta’s pension program for city workers. The new program requires all municipal employees, including firefighters and police officers, to take a 5 percent cut in pay beginning this year. The extra money goes toward their pensions. Along with other changes to the pension program, the mayor’s office said the reform will save the city $270 million over the next 10 years.
Lake said he didn’t think the mayor had yet charted a path to his next office but was convinced Reed knows “that if he does a good job as mayor of the city of Atlanta, it might open up opportunities for him elsewhere. And I think, so far, so good, if that’s his strategy.”
Tharon Johnson, a Democratic consultant who managed Reed’s mayoral campaign and served as a senior adviser to the mayor in his first year in office, put it a different way: “The sky is the limit for him.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.