By Larry Hanson, GMA Executive Director
I’ve always admired the city officials that I’ve been privileged to work with during my career. I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand the dedication and sacrifices mayors and councilmembers make to serve their city and their constituents. Public service is rewarding, but its challenges require a unique skillset to have the patience, stamina, determination and vision to be successful.
What I consistently see in my role at GMA—no matter the city’s size or location—is elected officials who genuinely want to make their city a better place. I look at our training programs and admire the time and commitment you give to learn from experts and from your counterparts, with the goal of taking ideas back to your city to solve problems or plant dreams. I see the time you give to serve well beyond your duties on your city council or commission.
GMA offers many opportunities to serve, whether on the board of directors, on a policy council or an advisory board. We always want to honor your investment with opportunities that allow you to serve in an area you’re passionate about, which is why we recently announced more service opportunities through GMA’s new nonprofit Georgia Cities Solutions (GCS) and the Children and Youth Advisory Council.
The mission of GCS is to help our cities address issues that prevent them from reaching their full potential including workforce development, poverty and literacy. The Children and Youth Advisory Council will help us share resources and identify solutions to serve this valuable demographic. Along with our Municipal Workforce Development Advisory Council, these organized efforts will feed ideas and propose solutions to the GCS board for implementation.
Please consider these opportunities for you to serve and provide input. While not one person alone has the answer to every problem, the collective wisdom we bring helps us take many valuable ideas and formulate promising plans. We all benefit when we approach our challenges with a diverse team of talented city officials who share the common goal of making their cities better.
I know your public service comes at great sacrifice. It takes time away from your business and your family, and even from your city elected duties. But your time and your service to GMA is critically important to the success of our efforts to help cities. I marvel at the work product that comes from our various committees and boards. I see selfless dedication, a willingness to listen to others, an open mindedness to new ideas and a commitment to serve for the greater good of all cities.
Public service is a public trust. And I commend all city officials from all 538 GMA member cities for your service to your city, to GMA and for the trust you foster among your citizens by giving of yourself so freely. Together we will continue to make a difference in our cities, communities and state as Cities United.
This article is part of GMA's Viewpoints catalog, a grouping of opinion pieces from the GMA magazine, speeches and other editorials. Click here to view the digital version of the latest edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine.