Preparation is Key to Serving Our Cities

May 15, 2017

By Lamar Norton, GMA Executive Director

This article appeared in the May 2017 issue of the Georgia's Cities newspaper.
Lamar Norton
Each day we come to work and assume that at the end of the day all things will be fine and ready for the next day. Occasionally, though, something out of the ordinary will occur and we are thrown into a cycle of emergency or confusion! A fire, an unexpected weather event or human error that shuts down the operation for a period of time are just a few of the situations that can occur and throw a city into crisis. When this happens we all hope that the preparation and planning are successful and we can continue business as usual.
However, when I speak with those city officials who have been through an emergency or crisis of any significant magnitude they tell me that even the best laid plans can go awry, or they have discovered that all the pos­sible issues had not been addressed. With the spring storm season upon us, I hope we have plans in place and employees that are prepared to handle these situations. It is also very timely to look at your insurance policies and make sure your city has sufficient coverage and your contact information is up to date.
When we see some of the devastation that our cities have been through over the past few years I am reminded why the association was allowed to create insurance pools in the first place. Private insurance companies are often unwilling to take on the risk that comes with insuring cities. Each year our insurance programs take a look at our cities and how they have been able to keep their operation functioning at a good pace and how they handled every possible hazard that presented itself. With all the potential troubles cities face every day in operations and unforeseen inci­dents, it really does take every city employee and elected official working together to be successful and handle crisis.
Each year as we celebrate Georgia Cities Week it provides the best time to recognize the players and the assets of your community. Be very proud of your city and work hard to make it even better.
Cities are amazing and fascinating to me due to the many complex issues and situations they encounter every day.
As I think about the life I have been blessed with, I find my interest in cities as one of the bright spots. Recently I notified the Board of Directors of my pending retirement at the end of July and as that date gets closer I am reminded of the many people who have worked so hard to make this organization great.
Please be an involved member and serve your city with hon­esty and integrity. I am humbled and honored to have been a part of GMA the past 15 years and it has been a remarkable experi­ence. I close this chapter of my life with a sincere “thank you” for the opportunity of a lifetime.

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