Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin was elected president of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) during the association’s annual meeting in Savannah on June 26. He is the first official from the city of Dallas to serve as president of the association.
Austin is the longest-serving mayor in Dallas history. First elected in 1995, he began his sixth term in office in January 2016. Under Austin’s leadership, Dallas and Paulding County residents have been introduced to several amenities and enhancements including the Dallas Theater, a landmark purchased by the city and rebuilt in 1999 after being destroyed by fire years earlier; streetscape and beautification projects of the city’s Main Street and the Courthouse Square courtyard; the DogWoods Park and a renovated community tennis court. Austin also lead the city’s rebranding efforts.
He has served on the governing board of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District since 2003, and was elected chairman in 2011. In 2010, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Austin to serve as a municipal representative on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. He was reappointed by Gov. Deal in 2014, and was elected Chairman of the GEFA Board in 2015.
In that same year, GMA elected Austin as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA). Austin makes only the third GMA President to simultaneously serve as Chair of the Risk Management and Employee Benefit Services (RMEBS) Board of Trustees. He is also the Chairman of GMA’s Federal Policy Council, and serves on the association’s Board of Directors, Executive Board, Legislative Policy Committee and Property Development Committee.
“Mayor Austin has been active within GMA every chance he gets,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton. “He spearheaded efforts to help GMA identify which services would best assist our membership and cities of all sizes, and is always willing to assist with legislative issues at the State Capitol. I look forward to his continued, spirited leadership in this new role.”
In his acceptance speech
, Austin encouraged city officials to look beyond the parks and recreation aspects of the convention’s theme, “Cities in Play,” to see how it relates to their job as leaders. “As local officials our job is simple, it is to lead,” he said. “Whether we are loud or quiet, high energy or laid back, pragmatic or idealistic, in the weeds or at 30,000 feet, our job is to get our ideas into play. If we’re not doing that, we aren’t leading.”
Austin also charged the convention attendees to embrace, actively engage and nurture the 400-500 new city officials elected every two years; to take more advantage of GMA’s services and to “Continue to work with GMA to promote and protect home rule and local control.”