By Larry Hanson, GMA Executive Director
I believe public officials office and a desire to serve because they have an optimistic outlook on the future—they see an opportunity to make a difference, to make things better and improve the quality of life for those they serve. Much like you, when I think about the future of GMA, I share that same optimistic outlook because we have committed leaders serving as GMA officers and Board of Directors, and hundreds of city officials serving in various ways to make a difference for all 538 cities.
This optimism has led to 87 years of GMA success with prospects for a continued bright future. As you read this, we are breaking ground on a new GMA headquarters building that will double our size and parking so that we can meet the present and future needs of our employees and our member cities. The planning eff ort has been led by dedicated city officials.
Likewise, we have officials on a joint task force with ACCG who are hard at work trying to improve LOST and SDS by reducing points of conflict and improving the dispute resolution process. We are very grateful for their time.
As President Best mentioned in his column, we now have the GeorgiaForward non-profit under the GMA umbrella. This program complements both our 20 Under 40 and Placemaking initiatives and fits perfectly with Georgia Cities Foundation’s economic development programs. In addition, we are welcoming new municipal consultants to our team to better serve our cities and provide you with technical assistance, resources and programs to meet your unique needs. We are doing all this because collectively—as city officials, GMA leaders and GMA staff —we share an optimistic view of the future. Whether big or small, urban or rural, north or south, retail or agricultural, GMA is the entity that brings us together and works to provide the tools, training and resources to help cities grow and prosper.
As we embark on this new year and new decade, I share two observations that encourage a positive outlook as we face challenges and turn them into opportunities. First, great leaders are not defined by the absence of weaknesses, but rather by the presence of clear strengths. Our strength at GMA is the desire and willingness of thousands of city officials to come together with the shared goal of serving others and creating a better quality of life. In doing so, we learn from each other and our experiences. Second, our relationships must always be based on two main principles; we must appreciate our similarities and respect our differences. Let’s all begin this year and decade with optimism and enthusiasm as Cities United.
This article appears in the January/February 2020 edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine