Bates Mattison
Bates Mattison

The Brookhaven Innovation Academy will no longer pay Interim Executive Director Bates Mattison a fundraising commission following ethics questions about his other job as a Brookhaven city councilman.

In a Nov. 23 press release belatedly announcing Mattison’s already widely known hiring, BIA said that its board and Mattison “acted swiftly to ensure that both contributors to BIA and Mr. Bates [Mattison’s] constituents have full confidence in his respective roles as the BIA Interim Executive Director and Brookhaven City Councilman by removing the commission based part of his fee structure…”

That decision was made at a special Nov. 19 BIA board meeting, the press release said. That was three days after Brookhaven Mayor Rebecca Chase Williams called for a legal review of the ethics of Mattison holding a paid job at the new public charter school that he and the rest of the City Council helped to create.

The legal review’s results are expected this week. It is being conducted by the Marietta law firm Bentley, Bentley & Bentley, according to city spokeswoman Ann Marie Quill.

Mattison previously said he believes there are no ethical conflicts between his two jobs and that BIA had considered the situation during the hiring process.

The BIA press release indicated the school recently took other “affirmative steps,” including creating, at Mattison’s request, an executive compensation committee to review “best practices.” Among its findings, according to the press release, were that the ethics policy of the Association of Fundraising Professionals “discourages against percentage-based compensation based on contributions raised.”

Mattison previously said his compensation package originally included a 10 percent commission on funds raised above a threshold of $45,000.

Mattison’s job title was previously described as “executive director,” without the “interim,” on the BIA’s website and other school materials. Asked if anything has changed, BIA board chair Jennifer Self Langley said Mattison’s hiring has always been considered “interim” because it is a one-year contract, after which the board will review the need for the position at the new school.

The press release includes Langley’s thoughts on why Mattison was right for the BIA job.

“As a Board, we felt there was no one we could find more engaged in getting BIA off to a great start,” Langley says in the press release. “Bates was instrumental in obtaining the charter, and fully understands the scope of work needed in order to fulfill the goal of the Board to open the school in the fall of 2016. Furthermore, his experience as one of the initial City Council members to open the city of Brookhaven in recent years provides excellent insight into the fundamental work and processes needed to build an organization from the ground up.”

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.