It’s hard to believe that my year as GMA President is coming to an end. It has been an honor to serve you, not just as president of GMA, but over the previous three years as a GMA vice president. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with a number of outstanding city and elected officials from across the state these past four years, and the key takeaway for me is that they are working hard to make their communities a better place to live. It’s been both an invigorating and humbling experience.
As important, I’ve had the privilege to see just how talented, passionate and dedicated a team we have here at GMA. When you serve as an officer, you get a much closer look into the daily operations. I can say without reservation that we are truly blessed to have each and every person on our staff. Thank you.
Some of you may know that my wife Lisa gave birth to our beautiful daughter in May. As those of you who have children know, the arrival of a new child gets you thinking about the type of world they’ll experience and our role in shaping that world. Once we sit and stew about this for a while, possibly harkening back to the “good old days” when things were (we believe) better, we’ll come to the conclusion that for the vast majority of us, the bulk of the influence we wield is limited to our homes and in our local communities. And that’s okay; in fact, it’s what’s needed.
In a recent piece for the New York Times, op-ed columnist David Brooks writes: “What’s the right level to pursue social repair? The nation may be too large. The individual is too small. The community is the right level …”
Brooks is right. It is in our neighborhoods, the places we call home, where we can make the greatest headway in creating a safe world for ourselves and our neighbors. Whether you’re thinking about the world as a parent or grandparent, or if you’re putting on your city official hat, the key is for us to navigate the here and now in such a way as to create a path for long-term sustainability in the future.
In Johns Creek we intend to meet our vision of long-term sustainability by implementing six goals: create an efficient transportation network that facilitates ease of movement throughout the city; ensure a complete recreation and parks system that aligns with the goals and needs of our community; implement a holistic economic development plan that addresses infrastructure, workforce, community, and land development needs; develop an innovative and cost effective approach to exceptional service delivery through a focus on government efficiency; support and invest in public safety; and preserve our residential character and enhance our sense of community.
These are things that are important to our residents and I suspect that for many of you, your aspirations are similar to ours in John Creek. The challenge then is figuring out how we attain the goals we have given ourselves. The answer is easy, though the implementation is much more difficult to achieve: we must be willing to engage with our communities in a collaborative spirit that is grounded in a belief of the common good, not from the perspective of our own self-interest.
To transform our neighborhoods and communities, it is up to us as city officials to live and act and conduct our politics in a way that honors collaboration and the common good. And from what I’ve seen and experienced these last ten years, Georgia’s city officials are up to the task. I challenged you to protect the “city brand” and as I ride off into the sunset of my time as your GMA President, I declare that you have risen to the challenge and are collectively showing the world why cities are where it all happens!
Thank you again for the honor to serve as your president and know that I will continue to be here if I can serve you in any way.