Job Application: Mayor of Atlanta
Michael T. Sterling
QUALIFIED TO GOVERN
Q: What do you think is the most important role of the mayor?
A: The safety and secutiry of every person in the City of Atlanta.
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: As an Assistant United States Attorney, in coordination with diverse investigatory agencies, I prosecuted cases related to child pornography and child exploitation, financial fraud, illegal narcotics trafficking, and public corruption. At a time when mitigating corruption for the public good, protecting our citizens from illegal activities, and working with diverse groups for the common good are key to leading Atlanta, my unique experience as an AUSA is something I am most proud to have.
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.
A: I have served as a mentor in multiple different organizations for youth in our City, including through my fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi), my college (Morehouse), my law school (Texas Southern), and through my various work experiences. I mentored youth and had the opportunity to provide guidance on professional and personal development. I am a member of Lead Atlanta, Class of 2013. As a Lead Atlanta alum, I have had the opportunity to interact with an extraordinary and diverse populace of City leaders. That opportunity has provided me with unique perspectives from individuals with extremely diverse backgrounds that work in all areas of private, public and civic life in our City. I have had the opportunity to participate in a leadership dialogue/book club with public school teachers in our City. I served as a leader/moderator for discussion on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
Q: What does it mean to be an Atlantan/ATLien in 140 characters or less?
A: You understand the unique histroy of Atlanta and want to serve as a good steward in building on its legacy.
Q: What is a new slogan for our city that could unite Atlantans and highlight who we are as a people?
A city as good as its promise.
DEMONSTRATES PEOPLE-CENTERED APPROACHES
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: An active role, including, but not limiting to making carefully vetted proposals through neighborhood, community and local business associations; having designee(s) on any RFP process (where legally appropriate); establishing democratically agreed upon pre-conditions w/ accountability metrics for any new development(s); and more where legally appropriate.
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: Participation has waned in our NPU system for many years. In some instances, its due to politicization of people and issues within various NPUs, in some cases its dues to in-fighting, and in other cases, neighbors simply don't believe the decisions they make at the NPU system have any teeth when the recommendations go to City Hall. At the same time, we have seen participation grow in a number of community and neighborhood associations. I would like to consider restructuring the NPU system to empower neighborhood associations and community organizations that are receiving more participation and are more representative of the community's wants and desires.
PROACTIVE & RELENTLESS RELATIONSHIP-BUILDER
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: Leading the charge to create the City of Atlanta's first Office of Film and Entertainment. I had to coordinate with industry executives, location managers, union leaders, production and film representatives, and neighborhood leaders. Everyone wanted something different. Through a thoughtful and collaborative approach that provided everyone with the opportunity to give thoughtful and meaningful input into the process, and everyone able to see their contributions reflected in the legislation that was ultimately introduced, we were able to create a Film and Entertainment office that had once alluded the City for many administrations. That office has helped the City continue to grow.
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: I think that a good example here would be infrastructure and transportation. I would meet with every local Mayor, county commissioners, respective transportation authority executives and board members, state representatives/senators, federal representatives, and private expert interests. We would like at past developed plans, current plans that are in the works - the past successes and the past shortcomings, and based on input we received from the respective authorities, we would put together a plan where everyone could see their ideas and input reflected or a rationed justification for why a particular project/input would not be feasible. It would all be focused on giving everyone an opportunity to play a role in solving a complex challenge that every local, state and federal official in our region cares about - improving our infrastructure and reducing our traffic.
STRONG INTEREST IN TRANSPARENCY
Q: What level of openness and transparency should the citizens of Atlanta expect from city government under your leadership?
A: I am the only candidate in the race that I know of who has actually made a transparency pledge and has developed a 5-point plan to mitigate corruption in government that includes increased transparency.
Q: Please describe any policies, programs, or ideas you are considering to increase the transparency of city government.
A: 1. Require anyone who lobbies the Mayor’s Office, city council, and/or city agencies to register as a city lobbyist and require them to regularly file lobbying activity reports with the City of Atlanta Board of Ethics. 2. Put all of the Executive Office checkbook spending online and in an easily searchable format for the public. 3. Use technology to build real time alliances and exchanges between government, citizens, businesses, civic groups and the media increasing accessibility and transparency.