President Best and his family at the 2019 GMA Annual Convention
Dublin Mayor Phil Best was elected president of GMA during the association’s annual convention in Savannah on Monday, June 24.
Dubbed Georgia’s “Emerald City,” Dublin’s location to interstates and the Port of Savannah, has attracted international companies from Germany, Japan, Denmark, Latvia and Israel, which has added more than 1,500 jobs to the workforce over the last seven years. This development success was spearheaded by Best, Dublin’s longest-serving mayor, who’s served the city for more than 20 years.
The McRae, Georgia native attended Floyd Jr. College in Rome and Dekalb College in Atlanta. After moving back to McRae in 1978 to work in his family’s business, he met the love of his life, Cile. The two wed and raised two sons, Phil Jr. and George.
Best began his political career by serving four years on the McRae City Council. After relocating to Dublin, Best was elected to the Dublin City Council, where he served for six years. He then ran unopposed for mayor.
In his acceptance speech, Best encouraged Georgia city leaders to embody the convention’s theme, “Cities United: Lead to Succeed” and practice humble leadership. He charged convention attendees and city leaders to follow a new path to leadership.
“A path that isn’t loud or brazen or ruthless, but rather one grounded in those attributes that best reflects our humanity, our need for each other, and the uniqueness of our communities,” he said. “Finding solutions to the challenges we face—solutions firmly rooted in the ‘common good’—is what should drive us forward in all that we do.”
He shared four steps necessary in working toward that common good, “Listen to and seek to understand others, admit when we are wrong, actively cultivate and engage the talents of others and cooperate to meet our collective goals,” he said. “We can’t work toward the common good unless we decide to get real, drop the pretense and bring some humility to the table.”
“You see, what we do in our cities isn’t just about our hometowns—as important as that is—it’s really about the health and success of our 243-year-old experiment in democracy,” Best said. “If that doesn’t encourage us to take stock and bring a little humility to the table, I don’t know what will. We’ve been given the privilege of leadership. I encourage you to govern with a spirit of humility.”
Dublin Thrives Under Best’s Leadership
In addition to job creation in the city, Dublin leaders have also focused on secondary education—made evident by their work with Oconee Fall Line Technical College, Georgia Military College’s Dublin extension center and Middle Georgia University.
Under the mayor and city council’s leadership the city of Dublin was named a City of Excellence, a Certified City of Ethics, a Plan First community by the Department of Community Affairs, a GICH community participant and a recipient of the 2017 Live, Work & Play Award presented by GMA and Georgia Trend Magazine.
Professionally Best is a qualifying broker for his sons’ real estate firm, Premier Properties. He also works closely with Garbutt Construction and their business development team.
In addition to identifying and implementing ways to improve his community, Best works to advocate for and serve Georgia’s cities through his past and present positions with GMA. He’s been a member of the association’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, a district nine president, and the chair of the Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Committee. He was also the chair of GMA’s Federal Policy Council, the Legislative Policy Council and the GMEBS Board.
Best has led several entities as director including the Dublin Rotary Club, the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and the Dublin Country Club. His guidance and expertise have earned him the title of the 2018 Elected Official of the Year by the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association. His other leadership roles include a member of the Laurens County Board of Health and Community Mental Health Board for the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority. The Leadership Georgia Graduate was also appointed by Governor Sonny Perdue to the Workforce Development Council and the President’s Advisory Council for Middle Georgia State University.