Schedule of Events

January 10, 2013

Download full conference agenda (11 pages, PDF, 424KB)

Friday, January 25

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Pre-Conference Workshop
The Role of City Officials in Education
Georgia Ballroom 4, First Floor
Our local schools and education systems are important components of Georgia’s communities and quality-of-life. They also serve as the foundation of the state’s future economic success. Yet, city officials and others who play a significant role in establishing quality-of-life and economic development priorities have little, if any, direct impact on the schools. Through presentations, breakout discussions and a panel discussion, this session will explore the link between education and economic development and how city officials can impact their schools.
  • Moderator: Beth English, Mayor Pro Tem, Vienna - GMA First Vice President.
  • Presenters: Dr. John Barge, Georgia State School Superintendent; Audrey Hutchinson, Program Director, Education & Afterschool, Institute for Youth, Education and Families, National League of Cities.
  • Panel Facilitator: Otis White, President, Civic Strategies, Inc.
  • Panelists: Dean Alford, Member, Georgia Board of Regents; Clara Axam, CEO and President, Clarifications & Mediation, Inc.; Don Cannon, Former Walnut Grove Mayor and Past President of the Georgia School Boards Association.

Saturday, January 26

7:30 am - 8:30 am
Municipal Training Registration
Capitol Ballroom, First Floor
(continental breakfast provided for training registrants)
8:30 am – 3:30 pm
Municipal Training Institute Courses
(lunch included)
  • Building Hometown Connections: Lobbying 101
    Georgia Ballroom 2, First Floor
  • Changing Community Demographics and Best Practices
    Georgia Ballroom 9, First Floor
  • Clerks’ Certification Course: Public Records Technology/Leadership (elective)
    Georgia Ballroom 13, First Floor
  • Council-Staff Relationships
    Athens Room, Second Floor
  • Downtown Development Authorities
    Georgia Ballroom 7-8, First Floor
  • Environmental Sustainability
    Atlanta Ballroom 1, First Floor
  • Ethics
    Georgia Ballroom 3, First Floor
  • Housing Solutions for Cities: A Key Element to the Economic Development Strategy
    Georgia Ballroom 10, First Floor
  • Human Resources I
    Georgia Ballroom 5, First Floor
  • Law Enforcement Services: Trends and Best Practices (Previously Public Safety)
    Georgia Ballroom 11, First Floor
  • Municipal Finance I
    Georgia Ballroom 4, First Floor
  • Municipal Law
    Savannah Room, Second Floor
  • Open Meetings/Open Records
    Georgia Ballroom 6, First Floor
  • Revitalizing Neighborhoods: Tools for Local Officials
    Georgia Ballroom 12, First Floor
  • Social Media for Local Elected Officials
    Augusta Room, Second Floor
3:45 pm – 5:15 pm
GMA Board of Directors’ Meeting
Capitol Ballroom, First Floor

Sunday, January 27

7:00 am - 7:45 am
Devotional Service
Capitol Ballroom, First Floor
7:45 am – 8:45 am
Orientation for First-Time Attendees (continental breakfast served)
Grand Ballroom, Third Floor
All newly elected officials and other first-time attendees are invited to attend this session to learn about GMA programs and services and how to get involved in Association activities.
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Concurrent Sessions
  • Asserting Your City's Global Competitiveness
    Georgia Ballroom 4-6, First Floor
    Cities are the economic engine of the state and play a vital role in growing jobs in the state. Yet, unemployment in Georgia has hovered around nine percent for the past year in a competitive environment that is increasingly globalized. This session is for city officials and staff committed to creating jobs and asserting their cities’ competitiveness on a global scale. Case studies of Georgia cities that have succeeded in this effort will be examined. Attendees will also have an opportunity to gain new ideas on building a globally competitive economic development strategy.
    Moderator: Trevor Williams, Editor, GlobalAtlanta
    Presenters: Jason Chernock, Project Manager, Community Innovation Services, Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute; Jonathan LaFevers, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Cordele Intermodal Services; Kwanza Hall, Councilmember, Atlanta.
  • Engaging Changing Populations
    Georgia Ballroom 7-9, First Floor
    By 2015, Georgia’s population is expected to get more diverse, younger—and older. Nearly 14 percent of Georgia’s population will be age 65 and older, one in three Georgians will be under 20 years of age and half of this age group will likely be Hispanic, African American or other minorities. What do these figures mean for citizen engagement now and in the future? In this session, hear from city officials who have successfully engaged their diverse populations and get tips on how to ensure all constituencies have the opportunity to share their voices with your city government.
    Moderator: Chris Floore, Director of Public Affairs, Macon.
    Presenters: Beverly Blake, Knight Foundation Program Director, Macon; Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO); Amanda Deaton, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer of Budget and Strategic Planning, Macon; Linda Blechinger, Mayor, Auburn.
  • The Georgia Municipal Employees Benefit System (GMEBS) Retirement System – Providing Strength and Stability in a Chaotic Environment
    Georgia Ballroom 10-12, First Floor
    In the Beginning – From whence came retirement plans? How can knowing the past prepare us to tackle the present and future?
    Decisions, Decisions – Recession, competition, budgets, services, pressure from every side, what is a local government to do? Where does a retirement plan fit in the modern world? Is there a wise solution to “pension reform?”
    The GMEBS Retirement System, Now and in the Future – A look at the present and forecasting the future; including a summary of the upcoming Governmental Accounting Standards Board changes.
    Moderator: John Bennett, City Manager, Rome; Chairman, GMEBS Board of Trustees.
    Presenter: Rocky Joyner, FCA, ASA, MAAA, EA, Vice-President and Actuary, The Segal Company
10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Policy Committee Meetings
  • Community Development
    Chair: Ruth Bruner, Councilmember, Gainesville
    Capitol Ballroom North, First Floor
    The development of Town Park in downtown Madison not only allowed the city to recapture greenspace, but also resulted in the start-up of new businesses creating 150 new jobs and a 202% increase of the tax base. Come learn how Madison is leveraging state tools and creative partnerships to encourage redevelopment opportunities. Like Madison, downtowns across the state are the heart of a community, the pulse of the economy, a barometer of our quality of life and an integral part of the Georgia brand. Providing tax incentives for developers and property owners to invest in our downtowns makes good business sense. Committee members will be briefed on how the proposed Georgia Downtown Renaissance Act does just that. As for existing incentive programs, the Department of Community Affairs will be on hand to provide an update from its Community Development and Finance Group. Finally, included in the Community Development policies is a position that advocates fully funding a robust system of care for behavioral health and developmental disabilities. The Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities will provide information on key services that are available.
    Presenters: Monica Callahan, Planning Director, Madison; Commissioner Frank Berry, Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities; Paul Radford, Deputy Executive Director, Georgia Municipal Association; Brian Williamson, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community Affairs.
  • Municipal Government
    Chair: Kenneth Usry, Mayor, Thomson
    Capitol Ballroom South, First Floor
    Equitable division of the cost of providing countywide services and avoiding double taxation for municipal residents for city services are contentious but critical decisions for local elected officials. Preparation and data collection prior to initiating such discussions are key to equitable distribution of costs. State Representative Andy Welch has successfully represented cities in service delivery negotiations and he will share his advice on how to prepare for tax equity discussions. Consolidation of city and county governments has been discussed across the state. This is a discussion that should not be entered into lightly. Ted Baggett of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government will provide information to frame your discussion on a local level.
    Presenters: Representative Andy Welch; Ted Baggett, Director of Local Government Services, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia.
  • Transportation
    Chair: Dick Morrow, Commissioner, Griffin
    Capitol Ballroom Center, First Floor
    In 2012, the top transportation story in Georgia was the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) and regional transportation tax vote. After the dust settled, only three out of 12 regions in the state voted to approve the tax. Whether or not your region will impose the regional 1% transportation sales tax, all cities and the state must continue to focus on how we will meet our ongoing transportation infrastructure needs. The big unanswered question is, “What revenue alternatives should be explored to help our state and local governments build and maintain a transportation network?” No single solution will work – a combination of federal, state, and flexible local funding sources will be required to meet ongoing transportation needs. During this session, members of the GMA Transportation Policy Committee will discuss topics including state transportation priorities and initiatives for 2013; the implications for Georgia’s cities of MAP-21, the recently-authorized federal transportation program; and examples of transportation funding initiatives in other states, including the success rate for state and local revenue alternatives.
    Presenters: Keith Golden, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Transportation; Jason Jordan, Director, Center for Transportation Excellence; Leslie Wollack, Program Director, Center for Federal Relations, Infrastructure & Sustainability, National League of Cities.
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Luncheon: “Recognizing Action, Realizing Achievement”
  • Speaker
    Ted Ellis, Mayor, Bluffton, Indiana – Immediate Past President, National League of Cities
  • Preview of February 2013 Issue of Georgia Trend
    Neely Young, Editor in Chief and Publisher, Georgia Trend
  • Georgia Cities Week
    Keith Brady, Mayor, Newnan-GMA Second Vice President
  • Recognition of Certified Cities of Ethics
    Mike Bodker, Mayor, Johns Creek-GMA Third Vice President
  • Training Certificates Presentation
    Dorothy Hubbard, Mayor, Albany; Chair, Municipal Training Board, Stacy Jones, Associate Director, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia
    (Individual photos of Training Certificate Recipients will be taken on stage following the luncheon). 
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Policy Committee Meetings
  • Environment and Natural Resources
    Chair: Ralph Moore, Mayor, Union City
    Capitol Ballroom North, First Floor
    Caring for Georgia’s rich natural resources is a shared responsibility. At this meeting participants will take part in a discussion among local and state officials on critical issues, including Regional Water Council Funding/ Purpose/Sustainability; Hazardous Waste Trust Fund Reauthorization; Inert Landfills; Flint River Drought Protection Act; and Land Application Sites.
    Presenters: Senator Ross Tolleson, Chair, Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee; Representative Lynn Smith, Chair, House Natural Resources and Environment Committee; Russ Pennington, Georgia Environmental Protection Division; Boyd Austin, Mayor, Dallas; Chair, Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District.
  • Public Safety
    Chair: Gene Tomberlin, Mayor, Abbeville
    Capitol Ballroom South, First Floor
    Over the past few years changes have been made to Georgia’s criminal justice laws, 911 laws, motorized cart laws, and various other areas of the law affecting public safety. Law enforcement, particularly local police departments and county sheriff offices, are the front line to ensure Georgia remains a safe place to live, work, play and travel. A roundtable of state legislators and law enforcement officials will discuss a wide range of topics which are on the forefront of the minds of the Georgia General Assembly and of law enforcement.
    Presenters: Senator John Albers, Vice Chair, Senate Public Safety Committee; Representative Bill Hitchens, Former Commissioner, Department of Public Safety; J. Terry Norris, Executive Director, Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.
  • Revenue & Finance
    Chair: John Stumbo, Mayor, Fort Valley
    Capitol Ballroom Center, First Floor
    Cities need diverse revenue sources in order to make necessary investments in infrastructure and provide the level of services requested by citizens. The timeless adage, “you get what you pay for” still applies despite the recent recessionary economy. Yet, in an age in politics where the word “tax” is used as a four-letter invective, how do city leaders engage their public and policymakers under the Gold Dome or at our nation’s capital? Among the topics which will be discussed are recent local option sales tax (LOST) renegotiations, the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Act aimed at providing a tax incentive to jump-start private investments in downtowns across the state, and various other pending tax policy issues at the local, state and national level.
    Presenters: Representative David Knight, Chair, Special Committee on Small Business Development & Job Creation; Representative Alan Peake, Majority Caucus Secretary/Treasurer; Billy Peppers, Office of Downtown Development, Department of Community Affairs; Michael Brown, Brown Pelican Consulting, LLC' Leslie Wollack, Program Director, Center for Federal Relations, Infrastructure & Sustainability, National League of Cities.
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Legislative Policy Council Meeting
Savannah Room, Second Floor
At this meeting, the LPC will receive reports from the six policy committee meetings held earlier in the day and consider any recommended changes to GMA’s 2013 Legislative Policies.

Monday, January 28

7:00 am - 11:00 am
7:30 am – 9:30 am
Legislative Networking Breakfast - “Capitol Connection”
Grand Ballroom, 2nd Floor
  • Perspectives on the 2013 Legislative Session: Honorable Nathan Deal, Governor; Honorable Casey Cagle, Lieutenant Governor; Honorable David Ralston, Speaker of the House.
  • Speaker: Raymond H. “Ray” LaHood, Secretary, United States Department of Transportation.
10:00 am – 11:30 am
District Caucuses
  • District One and Two
    Georgia Ballroom 2, First Floor
  • District Three
    Georgia Ballroom 3, First Floor
  • Districts Four, Six and Eight
    Georgia Ballroom Four, First Floor
  • Districts Five and Seven
    Georgia Ballroom 5, First Floor
  • Districts Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve
    Georgia Ballroom 6-8, First Floor
Following the district caucuses, attendees are encouraged to visit their legislators at the State Capitol and take them to lunch.

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
DCA Main Street/Better Hometown Awards Luncheon (by invitation only)
Capitol Ballroom, First Floor

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Defined Contribution/Deferred Compensation Board of Trustees Meeting
Georgia Ballroom 10, First Floor