By John Schaffner

The city of Atlanta has named a new director of the Bureau of Buildings and reassigned a city arborist who had come under fire from a tree advocacy group, according to an e-mail from the city chief operating officer.

In his e-mail to the chairman of The Trees Next Door organization, Shel Schlegman, Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman said Don Rosenthal will be the new director of the bureau and that Arboricultural Manager Ainsley Caldwell would be reassigned.

Aman called Rosenthal “a highly experienced and capable new director” and said he has been charged with improving operations in the arborist division.

Aman also said that the city’s Law Department will complete an investigation of the performance of several employees in the next 45 to 60 days.

“We are extremely encouraged that the city of Atlanta has not only heard our complaints but is taking significant actions to address them,” Schlegman said. “The actions the city is now taking speak very loudly to Aman’s and our new mayoral administration’s intent to protect our tree canopy.”

Schlegman added that Tree Next Door group looks forward “to supporting the new arborist division manager, once named, and the new bureau of buildings director, Don Rosenthal, to help Atlanta be both an economically vibrant city and a ‘city of trees’.”

Aman said that once the Law Department completes its review,  “as we have findings from this we will take additional actions as appropriate.”

“New policies and procedures related to field inspections, reliable reporting practices, timely data entry, and supervisory oversight, are also currently in the developmental stages,” Aman wrote.

“These new standards are based upon core quality assurance principles, i.e., efficient, effective and timely service delivered to internal and external customers. As these are being fully developed we have, of course, emphasized the basics of the process which can and are being implemented immediately.”

John Schaffner

John Schaffner was founding editor of Reporter Newspapers.