Job Application: Mayor of Atlanta

Candidate Name:
Mary Norwood


Q: What do you think is the most important role of the mayor?

A: 1. A Mayor who will assume the reins of government in the midst of an FBI investigation into contract bid rigging, the single most important job, from Day One, will be to restore the citizens’ faith and trust in city government. Until we check the corruption at City Hall, all else falls by the wayside.
2. The raison de existence for government is to protect the public – this includes public safety and the health and welfare of all Atlantans.
3. Administrative responsibilities deal with the implementation of the policies and procedures established by the governing body.

Q: Please describe, in sufficient detail, one professional accomplishment or contribution of which you are most proud. These examples should illustrate skills and capabilities you think apply to governing the City of Atlanta.

A: see other question responses

Q: Please list or describe no more than 3 current and past activities you participated in as a private citizen (not an elected official) in which you have acquired skills and perspectives that will make you a stronger mayor. Include your role in the activity and the year(s) in which you were involved.

  1. Owner: Norwood Communications, LLC
    President: 1998 – 2011
    Owner: OneCall Systems: 1992 - 1997
  2. President: Rounsaville & Associates Media Brokers
  3. President: National Association of Media Brokers
  4. Executive Vice President: Rounsaville Enterprises - Chief Operating Officer for seven radio stations
  • Mayor’s Task Force on Race and Diversity 2000 - 2001
  • Founder: Nancy Creek Sewer Tunnel Project 2000 - 2001
  • Co-founder: Tuxedo Park Urban Land Trust 1999
  • Greater Atlanta Chamber Transportation Council 1996 - 1999
    • Livable Regions Chair
  • Atlanta Regional Commission Vision 2020 1994 - 1996
  • Atlanta Code Enforcement Task Force 1996 - 1998
  • Atlanta Clean City Commission - Chairman 1996 - 1997
  • Buckhead Urban Land Institute Project 1995 - 1996
  • Buckhead Blueprints 1993 - 1994
  • Neighborhood Economic Development Task Force 1992
  • Frazer Center: Cator Woolford Gardens Restoration 1991


Q: What does it mean to be an Atlantan/ATLien in 140 characters or less?

A: Atlantans are proud to live in a city that welcomes a diverse population of people from across the country and the globe. We take pleasure in our more than 350 sunny days a year and the opportunities if affords us to enjoy an outdoors lifestyle enjoying the ambiance of the Beltline, friends at a sidewalk restaurant in July or November, walking your dog in our many city parks or
biking the trail along the Chattahoochee. Atlanta offers the promise of a bright future for anyone who wants to take advantage of the myriad cultural, educational, social and business opportunities so close at hand in a city as fast or slow paced as you want it to be.

Q: What is a new slogan for our city that could unite Atlantans and highlight who we are as a people?

A: The Big A – We have it all, but with a southern accent!


Q: The City of Atlanta currently owns several hundred surplus properties that could be redeveloped. In deciding what to do with these properties, what is the role of community input and when should it take place?

A: Surplus property is the people’s property! Citizens should have input into its use, re-use and/or sale. A Norwood Administration will require community input on any city-owned property that might be rehabilitated or redeveloped. Neighborhoods are directly impacted by such redevelopment. It is absolutely essential to have community input, either through town hall conducted by the city’s Department of Planning and Development or hearings conducted by the Atlanta City Council.

Q: The NPU system was envisioned as a place for communities to engage with development in their neighborhoods. How would your administration support the existing NPU system or seek to change it?

A: The Neighborhood Planning Unit System (NPU) was adopted by the city of Atlanta in 1974 to allow citizens input into the long-range Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) as it relates to the expressed needs of their community. It serves as a conduit for city government to distribute information concerning the activities of the city. Both of these functions are extremely important to the planning process.

Though citizen input is extremely important, the authorizing NPU legislation does not mandate the city follow the specific recommendations of an NPU. The City reserves the right to accept, modify or reject all NPU recommendations. A developer, builder, contractor or individual homeowner is currently required to appear before the NPU one time. A hallmark of a Norwood Administration will be efficiency in government and it would be open to discussions on how to improve the permitting process as it relates to any reforms to the NPU process.

It is important that impacted neighborhoods, developers and environmentalist come together to provide workable solutions to the City. This is where a joint task force on permitting reforms would be appropriate. Possible reforms could potentially include the following:
  1. MEETINGS: An NPU must hold at least one meeting a month;
  2. PUBLIC INFORMATION DISSEMINATION: Working with the city Planning and Development Department each NPU must maintain an up-to- date website where meeting agendas, by-laws, minutes and other relevant documents and NPU documents will be posted by the NPU.
    • PUBLIC NOTIFICATION: Work with the city Planning and Development Department NPU residents must be given timely notice of up-coming meetings and agenda items.
    •  MEETING AGENDA: Meeting minutes must be posted within one week following a meeting with a record of how Board members votes on agenda items
    • DEVELOPMENT CHANGES/UPDATES: Developers, builders, contractors or individual homeowners should be required to keep the NPU apprised of any project changes.
  3. MEMBERSHIP: NPU membership rolls should be updated on an annual basis to accurately tract members who are qualified to vote.
  4. STAFFING: As needed the city will add additional personnel to assist NPUs in accomplishing the above


Q: Give an example of a time when you had to collaborate with many people and/or organizations, especially those who may not hold the same views as you do.

A: One example of where I had to build coalitions and to really listen to people with opposing viewpoints was my experience in working to oppose the construction of a sewer tunnel under Buckhead all the way down to Southwest Atlanta (Cascade Heights Area) known as the Utoy Creek Sewer Tunnel. This leadership experience taught me that neighborhoods with a mutual love of our City could overcome many differences. People with different backgrounds can work effectively together to make our voices heard at City Hall.

Q: Using an example of one major Atlanta issue you would tackle with a collaborative approach, how would you build relationships across the city and region with other governments, private enterprises, or organizations to effect change in our city?

A: Addressing the issue of property taxes is going take a collaborative effort between the City of Atlanta, APS, Fulton County Government, the Fulton County School Board, other municipalities.

Additionally, this is going to require working with the Georgia General Assembly and the governor to come up a reasonable plan whereby city and county governments have the funds to operate and provide basic services, yet we do not experience dramatic, yearly increases in property taxes which threaten working families and seniors on a fixed income. Other County governments will also want a say in how property taxes are structured. This is going to require developing working relationships with Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, and Gwinnett Counties to come up with a solution that is workable for all. One way we could approach this, is through providing leadership at the Atlanta Regional Commission. The ARC could assist in getting the regional cooperation necessary to successfully resolve such a hot button issue.


Q: What level of openness and transparency should the citizens of Atlanta expect from city government under your leadership?

A: My first action at city hall will be to order a complete forensic audit by an outside accounting firm of all city accounts and contracts. I am committed to total transparency in or aspects of Atlanta city government and it is therefore in keeping with this pledge that the results of these audits will be posted at the city’s website. I further promise to post the complete annual city budget, all requests for bids, all city contracts and all city council resolutions and ordinances will be posted as an easily accessible website. I want Atlantans to hold me accountable and the first step is to provide total transparency so everyone can know what their government is doing in their behalf.

Q: Please describe any policies, programs, or ideas you are considering to increase the transparency of city government.

A: I will work with city council to create an Office of Inspector general to function independent of the mayor’s office, all city departments and city council. The individual appointed to this position will not be subject to dismissal other than for misconduct in office. Establishing an inspector general as just described will go a long way towards preventing a recurrence of the FBI searches and arrests, and investigations by the U.S. Attorney that have been occurring under the present administration at city hall.