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When a Plan Comes Together

June 26, 2017  |  Dorothy Hubbard, GMA President

The following is Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard's prepared remarks after being sworn in as GMA President during GMA's 2017 Annual Convention.

Dorothy Hubbard
Thank you very much.
I am both honored and humbled by this opportunity to be your president.
I would like to personally thank Boyd Austin for the outstanding job he did this past year as GMA president. Boyd dedicated himself to GMA and set a high bar for me to follow.
And I’m looking forward to working with the other GMA officers this year:

  • Auburn Mayor Linda Blechinger;
  • Dublin Mayor Phil Best; and
  • Union City Mayor Vince Williams.
What a great team of talented and dedicated public servants to work with!
I’d would also like to thank the GMA staff, led by our executive director, Lamar Norton, for the outstanding support I’ve received as a GMA officer and when I chaired the training board.
Before I go any further, I’d like for us to look around the room.
Go ahead, take a look, what do you see?
I see an amazing assortment and diversity of city government leadership and talent.
I see both female and male leaders.
I see leaders from North Georgia and South Georgia, and from everywhere in between.
I see leaders from our metro areas to our most rural towns.
I see up-and-coming leaders and I see those that have both wisdom and scars earned from decades of service.
I see leaders that are of different races, religions, and political ideology.
But most importantly, I see people that take the stewardship of their hometowns seriously.
It’s encouraging to see us all gathered here today, bound together in fellowship and purpose through this partnership we call GMA.
As leaders and members of GMA, we need to understand that as we look ahead a few months and into next year, “change” will be the operative word.
We’ll hear it in regards to the race for Governor and Lt. Governor as two new leaders will be elected to those positions.
We’ll hear it as GMA moves forward in its search for a new executive director to step in after Lamar Norton retires at the end of July.
And we’ll experience change in our hometowns as this year’s city elections will bring with it new elected leadership to our cities.
If recent history is any indication, we’ll have between 400 and 500 new city elected officials attending next year’s Newly Elected Officials Training.
That’s a lot of change!
Regardless of the changes that will affect our communities, state, and our association over the coming months, the fundamental work of GMA will remain the same.
And that is to effectively advocate on behalf of, and provide services to, Georgia’s cities and towns.
That simple, yet powerful, foundation has allowed us to successfully address important issues over the past 84 years.
And it will allow us to confidently face the challenges in our future.
Now, if there’s one thing you’ve learned about me over the past few years it’s that I Love It When a Plan Comes Together!
To see a plan move from an idea to implementation requires, I believe, a pledge of ongoing and committed leadership by those of us granted the privilege of leading.
I believe that successful leadership requires many things:
  • the ability to craft a vision;
  • the need to collaborate and work with other individuals and groups;
  • the ability to coach and inspire others;
  • the ability to listen; and
  • a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone.
Effective, transformational leadership needs one more element, something more bottom-line and tangible, to be successful, and that is the ability to actually deliver on the vision that has been articulated.
From where I sit and the way I see things, that requires a commitment to planning.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Let me repeat that … If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
The success we have in our cities and in GMA does not happen without a commitment to working through the details needed to attain our goals and aspirations.
So, today, let me assure you that the elected leadership and staff of GMA believes in something more than the “ideal” of developing a plan.
We believe that a well thought-out and implemented course of action is required for us to deliver on any goal we set for ourselves.
Let me give you just a few examples of how GMA is doing that.
GMA staff has begun working on implementing an initiative that will highlight with candidates for state office the issues important to cities during the 2018 election cycle.
The recommendations of the Municipal Workforce Development Taskforce have laid the initial groundwork for GMA to begin to develop the necessary resources to assist cities as they tackle their workforce issues.
GMA’s training program has made, and continues to make, significant changes to its structure and offerings. These changes came about because the Municipal Training Board, GMA staff, and the staff of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, worked through the details to ensure that our program remains the best municipal training program in the country.
GMA’s Member Service Advisory Council continues to respond to the needs of Georgia’s cities. Plans are being developed to implement programs and services to build IT and financial management capacity in our cities.
GMA is working with various partners on the implementation of a Placemaking Collaborative to assist cities in creating great places to live.
And through planning and a recognition of the value of partnerships, GMA is committing to work with the Great Promise Partnership to help communities meet their future workforce development needs.
These are just a few of the examples I could share with you of the work that your association is doing to meet the challenges of the future.
Now, I’d like to share with you two things I’d like to focus on during my time as GMA president.
First, as you may know, I’m a big believer in training.
My time as chair of the Municipal Training Board reinforced to me how important training and leadership development is for us as individuals, our cities, and for GMA.
I have a special interest in our younger elected city officials.
As president, I plan to explore and develop a leadership initiative that cultivates this important group of officials. My goal is that this initiative will:
  • provide ongoing encouragement to them in their desire to perform public service;
  • help them gain confidence in tackling the issues they and their cities will face in the coming years; and
  • clearly demonstrate to them that we value them and applaud their efforts to provide meaningful service to their community.
Second, as I alluded to earlier, next year we’re likely to have between 400 and 500 city officials attending our Newly Elected Officials Training. This is a great opportunity for them to learn some important things about being a city official and GMA, and to begin to build a network of other officials from around the state.
But I don’t want to wait three or four months for them to be touched by GMA.
My desire is for GMA staff and seasoned city officials to reach out to this year’s crop of newly elected officials before they even take office.
I believe this proactive approach will help them start out on the right foot in their public service career and will provide an early, positive engagement with GMA.
Have you ever read GMA’s mission statement? It says that GMA’s mission “is to anticipate and influence the forces shaping Georgia’s cities.”
That’s a pretty significant statement.
For us … as it says … to anticipate and influence these forces, we must:
  • be willing to learn what challenges are on the horizon;
  • be open to new ideas on how to address those challenges;
  • be ready to set in place the needed plans to achieve our goals; and
  • be ready to assume the mantle of leadership to deliver the vision of our future.
And then, when it is all said and done and we’ve achieved our goals, we can collectively say I Love It When a Plan Comes Together!
I’m looking forward to that day.
Thank you and God bless.
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