Job Application: Atlanta City Council - District 1
QUALIFIED TO GOVERN
Q: What do you think is the most important role of the City Council?
A: Council members are elected to make policy decisions, implement ordinances/governance, and provide legislative oversight of the City of Atlanta’s governmental operations and delivery of services. As representatives of the residents of each council district/at-large post, council members represent and advocate for the needs/preferences of their constituents. Also, each council member must advocate in the spirit of compromise, and the best of the City of Atlanta as a whole
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: Implemented Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s (AFRD) strategy and programs for the department’s quantitative and qualitative performance measurement monitoring, analysis, and reporting activities in the delivery of emergency medical services, and fire suppression/firefighting incident emergency response services for the City of Atlanta and Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Developed and implemented the digital system for "real time" performance awareness at every echelon of leadership in the 1100 person department. Responsible for the development and implementation of the department’s strategy to maintain its status as an “Accredited Agency” by the Center for Public Safety Excellence, and Commission on Fire Accreditation International. My efforts resulted in cost savings based on modifications to the AFRD response model that resulted in greater efficiencies, as well as, reduced firefighter exposure to hazards.
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: Served on the City of Sandy Springs Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), 2006 - 2010. As a voting member of the City of Sandy Springs BZA reviewed, investigated, analyzed, and voted on zoning variances. 2) Served on the Atlanta Fulton County Land Bank Authority Board, 2007 - 2010, As an officer on the board, was instrumental in expanding the capacity of the board to efficiently convey properties, contributed to the implementation of the program to bank properties, and established procedures for greater transparency by the organization's former executive director. 3) Served as the Commander, Atlanta Chapter, Military Order of World Wars, 2012-2014. In that role led several community outreach projects focused on veterans.
Q: What does it mean to be an Atlantan/ATLien in 140 characters or less?
A: It means you reside in a city with a rich heritage, dynamic cultural communities, and a city bursting with potential/promise
Q: What is a new slogan for our city that could unite Atlantans and highlight who we are as a people?
A: At the risk of blatant plagiarism, "Atlanta United!"
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: Community input is key in understanding the needs and desires of Atlanta's communities, and how best to address those needs in the city's use of a property. Community input is most effective when it occurs at the initiation of the planning process, on-going at key milestones in the process, and as part of the final approval for the completion of the project.
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 design of the current NPU system is effective. However, the shortfall in the current NPU system rests with the inconsistent coordination between NPU leadership/committees, and the city staff. The city staff must regard the coordination and communication with NPUs as a priority that cannot be compromised.
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: During my tenure as a board member with the Colorado Black Health Collaborative, I was responsible for community mobilization around health issues. In that role I recruited and managed the participation of LGBTQ organizations, faith-based organizations, refugee community organizations, and economically disadvantage persons in need of health resources.
Q: Think of one major Atlanta issue impacting the district you seek to serve and that needs to be tackled 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: Solving Atlanta's public transportation challenges requires a collaborative approach. I would collaborate with existing local, regional, and state transportation entities to coalesce resources in a synergized manner. Additionally, I would engage the resources of academic institutions and the private sector businesses to efficiently leverage technology and intellectual capacities in producing a public transportation system that meets the needs of our growing "world class" city.
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 believe residents deserve and should expect 100% transparency in government. The question is how do you provide transparency? I believe it is a multifaceted strategy that has a few key elements. It begins with ethical behavior at all echelons of leadership in the city, and is followed closely by well-defined laws, ordinances, policies, and procedures, as well as, the legal framework and legitimacy to enforce them. Other key elements include community oversight through advisory groups with the required expertise, and ongoing communication with residents about issues.
Q: Please describe any policies, programs, or ideas you are considering to increase the transparency of city government, particularly in your office.
A: As part of the city's annual budget process there should be an advisory committee of financial experts (i.e. CFOs, financial forensics experts, accountants, auditors, etc.) established to review all contracts that have resulted in the expenditure of more than $750k, or expenditures programmed for the upcoming fiscal year in the amount of $750k or more. The committee would be composed of teams organized by professional expertise (i.e. a CFO, CPA, financial data analyst, etc.).The intent is to bring greater scrutiny to the city's financial practices. The committee would present its findings to city council in an open meeting and publish the results on-line for broad consumption.