The city of Atlanta cannot stop the boards of Atlanta's general employees', police and fire pension plans from hiring third-party administrators and independent legal counsel, according to a Fulton County (Ga.) superior court order. Employees and retirees of the three pension funds filed a lawsuit in 2003 seeking to gain control of the system, alleging poor service and theft of some pension assets by city officials. The order, signed by Chief Judge Doris L. Downs, said "the city charter does not provide for any authority or departmental supervision by the city over any of the pension boards."
Atlanta's pension funds had total assets of about $1.33 billion as of March 2003, according to the Money Market Directory.
City Attorney Linda DiSantis said she believes state law mandates that the city has a say in the administration of the plans, and the city will appeal the decision "shortly" with the Georgia Supreme Court. Also, city officials question whether the plaintiffs had proper standing to file the suit, since they were individuals and not part of the pension boards.