Consensus Needs To Be Built Across New City Of Brookhaven
J. Max Davis, Brookhaven mayoral candidate, answers Five Questions From Patch.
1. In this day and age of intense scrutiny, and especially considering the recent, hotly contested debate and vote over Brookhaven municipalization, why are you running for mayor?
Davis: I am running to be Brookhaven’s first Mayor because I know we can significantly improve our community if we utilize our charter in the best and most efficient way possible.
As a small businessman I understand what it means to make a payroll and how controlling costs is fundamental to a successful enterprise. The charter specifically allows our city to control costs through the local outsourcing of many city services. The Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven is in the process of setting up this open bidding system and it will be implemented and run by the City Manager. Competitive bidding has worked with great success in places like Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.
Over the past 12 months I have been engaged in due diligence by studying the mechanics and the process of open and transparent competitive bidding. I have been meeting with city staff in other municipalities and with dozens of individuals and companies who may potentially bid to compete with one another for the opportunity to provide our taxpayers with the highest customer service at the lowest possible price.
For the last year my opponent, Ms. Murray, has been engaged in actively opposing the competitive bidding process. Her efforts were directed at keeping the sometimes corrupt and largely inefficient system which DeKalb County utilizes in place. She has even taken to criticizing and denigrating citizens and companies who support my campaign and the competitive bidding process. Citizens and businesses alike know that I support this newer and much more efficient way of service delivery. These folks support candidates who believe in allowing the opportunity to openly compete for service delivery to helm Brookhaven’s first administration.
2. What do you think separates your candidacy from the other contenders?
Davis: I am the only candidate for Mayor who, from start to finish, believed in and worked for this wonderful opportunity we now have. Sandy Murray was a paid consultant and a vocal activist for anti-city groups and believes DeKalb County should be in charge of every aspect of our local government. Mr. Danese initially supported city hood but then turned against the charter when improved city council maps were drawn. These lines were adjusted after input from Brookhaven citizens living in what are now districts 2 and 3.
In contrast to the other candidates, my energy and passion is completely focused on realizing the potential our new city offers. I ask the voters to allow me the chance to show them how together we can improve our daily lives. We can do this through community-based policing, more sidewalks and crosswalks along our busier roads to connect neighborhoods to neighborhoods, and neighborhoods to world class parks. These few exciting things are just a hint of what we can really do with citizen-directed local control.
3. With a newly incorporated municipality, is one responsibility (i.e., police, zoning, etc.) more pressing than some of the others?
Davis: Of course our first task will be to adopt a city code at Midnight Dec. 17th, but we need to get fast at work continuing the ground work started with Brookhaven Yes and now being conducted by the Governor’s Commission. Finding a top tier City Manager is paramount. He/she will direct the day to day operations of the city, including selecting our first Police Chief and managing and forming the open bid process. These duties will be subject to approval by the City Council.
For the past year and a half I have been studying other local police departments and meeting with city managers and staff about departmental organization, technology advances, personnel, and equipment purchasing. They have generously shared the lessons they have learned and some of the mistakes to avoid. The body of knowledge they have shared with me will benefit our city in having a mayor at the helm who has been living and breathing city startup for the past 2 years.
4. Moving forward, what do you envision Brookhaven's relationship with DeKalb County to be?
Davis: Dekalb County is where I was born and raised and I love it here. I want a better relationship built upon mutual cooperation. I will work to improve the relationship the county has with the citizens of Brookhaven.
Despite my differences with the CEO on our right to self determination, I have good relationships with Commissioners, Boyer, Rader, and Gannon. I have met with some of them post incorporation and they are eager to help make our city work. We are all still residents of this county. My experience as a courtroom attorney helps me understand that putting past differences aside is crucial to successful business. I see no challenges that can’t be addressed in a professional, courteous manner that will only benefit both the city and the county.
5. Candidates make promises when running for public office all the time. Can you make just one promise that, with absolute certainty, you will keep?
Davis: As Mayor, I will listen to all voices and thoughtfully consider all ideas offered by our citizens. I will constantly strive to build consensus across Brookhaven as we build our city and improve our community. Part of this commitment means I will be accessible to our residents who can always call me on my cell phone at 404-386-5629.