Atlanta City Hall Atlanta City Hall (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

Lawyers make up more than half of a 13-member task force, charged with reviewing the city of Atlanta’s ethics, transparency and compliance policies and procedures, that is set to hold its first meeting Tuesday night.

Leah Ward Sears, the former state Supreme Court chief justice who is now a partner at Smith Gambrell & Russell, chairs the group. The other seven task force members who are lawyers are:

  • Derek M. Alphran, described in a city press release as a “Recognized Member of Academia” but who is also a professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and a lawyer with Hilliard Starkey Law;
  • O.V. Brantley, a retired Fulton County and DeKalb County government attorney;
  • Linda K. DiSantis, a retired former city attorney;
  • William S. Duffy Jr., a retired federal judge now with JAMS alternative dispute resolution service;
  • Lawton Jordan of Williams Teusink, also described a city resident;
  • Michael Sterling, a former prosecutor who was an adviser to then-Mayor Kasim Reed; and
  • Joe. D. Whitley of Baker Donelson, a former federal prosecutor and general counsel to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The task force was chosen by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms—who also is a lawyer—and members of the city council. ”They want our view” on these matters, said Sears. She said the group is mandated to hold at least four public meetings and is expected finish its business by September.

The first meeting will be facilitated by Rose Gill Hearn of Bloomberg Associates, a municipal government consulting service founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Hearn is a former prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The other members of the panel, according to the city press release, are:

  • Mary Anne F. Gaunt, vice chair, and city resident;
  • Robert M. Franklin Jr., professor in moral leadership at Emory University;
  • Donald T. Penovi, city resident;
  • former state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, R-Atlanta; and
  • Paul Zucca, city resident.