ATLANTA – After a weekend of inaugural festivities, Shirley Franklin, Atlanta's first female mayor, already has begun to get down to business. About 60 city employees hired by her predecessor were told Friday that they no longer have jobs.
Franklin, a city manager under former mayors Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young, was elected last year by campaigning on a message of restoring ethics to the mayor's office. She replaces Bill Campbell, whose administration is the target of a federal corruption probe.
Franklin, 56, said the job cuts mark the beginning of her efforts to restructure the mayor's office and city government.
"We expect to start on Monday with a skeleton crew and go from there," she said.
The fired employees were political appointments made at the discretion of the mayor. Franklin did not identify those told Friday not to come back to work on Monday.
The city budget lists 117 such positions among 8,000 city jobs. Many upper-level city managers have already resigned. Franklin is conducting national searches for candidates for police chief, chief operating officer, finance attorney and city attorney.
Personnel decisions are just some of the many challenges Franklin faces. She will preside over two major public works projects -- the reworking of the city sewage system and construction of a fifth airport runway.
Meanwhile, the city is facing a projected $45 million budget shortfall.
After her inauguration ceremony Monday at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, Franklin will be the only black woman leading a major city.
Franklin will be somewhat unusual simply as a woman chief executive. Only one in five of the nation's mayors are women, and in larger cities the ratio is closer to one in 10.