Tonight I want to take the opportunity to look back on the past 23 years…during that time it has been my privilege and distinct pleasure to serve as your Mayor. Our journey together has been both interesting and productive. Serving as Mayor opened a new world for me, filled with terms such as city code, conditional use, grant application, occupation tax, and obstruction of justice, not to mention acronyms such as CDBG, GDOT, ISTEA, and SPLOST to name a few. I have found the role of Mayor to be intellectually stimulating and purposeful…local government is the setting in which a public servant can effect a direct impact on the daily lives of stakeholders. During my years as Mayor, I have been afforded the opportunity to meet, interact, and work cooperatively with dynamic and purpose-driven people through the state of Georgia.***
First, I would like to thank my family for their forbearance in understanding my commitment to the City and to my career in general, as well as my workaholic nature when dedicated to a task. ***Paying tribute to those who have played an integral role in my terms of office must begin with our City Clerk in 1996, Katherine Smith. She possessed a wealth of knowledge which she freely shared with me and supported me through those first few months as I acclimated to my new role. Katherine’s sweet spirit made my first few years as Mayor not only more effective, but loads of fun as well. *** I give great appreciation to the Citizens of Jonesboro. Your support of me through the years has inspired me to work harder to make our City more beautiful, safer, and progressive, ever seeking the best for Jonesboro. *** A glance back at all the councilmembers with whom I have served must be acknowledged…their actions brought us to the point at which we are positioned today. ***Our current council members have been called upon to make some difficult decisions in moving the city forward, but they have never wavered in their unselfish commitment to making life better for everyone in Jonesboro. I salute the council members sitting on the podium with me tonight and thank them for our work together. **** To present and former employees of the City, thank you for your dedication to Jonesboro and for making my years as Mayor more pleasurable. I can think of so many past and present co-workers who stand out in my mind, but suffice to say that you are the motor that keeps Jonesboro rolling. **** I would be remiss if I did not thank our City Manager, Ricky L. Clark, Jr. He and I have worked shoulder to shoulder for the past seven years. bringing so many of my dreams for the City to reality, especially the Broad Street project, our City Green, and our soon-to-be-completed City Center. Those are the readily visible changes, but the day-to-day services and streamlining of operations have been accomplished as well. Thank you, Mr. Clark.
My vision for the City in 1995 as I campaigned the first time were fairly simple: To make our City more beautiful, improve services, and build a police department to enhance safety in the City. I desperately wanted to see our Victorian courthouse downtown uncovered and restored, and the unsightly overhead power lines placed underground that blighted both Main Street and McDonough Streets. Through diligent work, imagination, grant funding, LOST funding, and some blood, sweat and tears, those items have been accomplished. And we achieved those tasks while maintaining a balanced budget and at the same time accumulating a fund balance of almost $7,000,000.
Today is the 8,255th day that I have served as Mayor, and almost 10,000 days since my initial oath in 1996. That is over 31% of my total life thus far. The City of Jonesboro has been a positive force in my life: thank you for the work, the opportunity, the chance to be creative to feel a sense of accomplishment, not to mentions the tears and the laughter along the way.
Effective Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at close of business, I will resign as Mayor of Jonesboro, Georgia. I do this with a heavy heart and mixed feelings, but a surety that it is the best decision for my loved ones and for me, as I relocate to be nearer to my son and his family.
I leave you with two bits of wisdom that have strengthened me during these past few weeks:
- First, from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over…Smile because it happened.”
- And from the Great Soul, Mahatma Gandhi: “There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.”
Goodnight, City of Jonesboro, from your biggest fan.