GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton received the Georgia Key Citizen Award during the association’s annual meeting in Savannah on June 26. This award is GMA’s highest form of recognition.
The Georgia Key Citizen Award has been presented to all former GMA executive directors and several Georgia governors, state legislators and other distinguished leaders.
“Lamar, on behalf of the entire GMA membership, we appreciate you and the service you have provided not only to GMA and our cities, but to our state and nation for more than fifty years,” said GMA President and Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, during the award presentation. “You have been a true inspiration to all of us.”
After Norton’s service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, he had a long career with Georgia Power. Here he worked his way up from lineman to director of community relations. Norton joined GMA in 2002 as director of Governmental Relations where he worked to pass laws ranging from a Municipal Option Sales Tax in the city of Atlanta to advocating for municipal governments to have a role in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referenda. He became the association’s executive director in 2012.
Under Norton’s leadership, GMA’s membership increased to its highest total in 2016—to 521 member cities. GMA was named one of Metro-Atlanta’s top 100 places to work three years in a row by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
In a video tribute, National League of Cities Executive Director Clarence Anthony commended Norton for his years of service. “When I first met you, you were in the private sector and you had such a passion for the public sector, and that’s why you have made a difference in the lives of people,” he said.
For the past five consecutive years, the Georgia Trend Magazine has recognized Norton as one of the "100 Most Influential Georgians." In March, the Georgia House of Representatives adopted a resolution commending and congratulating Norton on the occasion of his announced retirement. He will retire on July 31.
“My time with GMA has been remarkable as the membership has been unbelievably engaged and supportive and the wonderful staff at GMA has been amazing,” said Norton. “I feel GMA will only get stronger over the next few decades as the cities continue to change and to grow.”