Brookhaven Needs 'Good Working Relationship' With DeKalb County
District 3 city council candidate Deborah Anthony 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 city council?
Anthony: Part of the reason I am running for the District 3 City Council position IS the hotly contested debate and vote.
When I reviewed the Carl Vinson Institute feasibility study, studied the bill that created our City charter, and researched the process under which the City was incorporated, I became concerned with the minimal requirements allowing a small group of people to sit down with a map, draw city boundaries, obtain a study, and push legislation through by the use of the offices of the sponsoring legislators to vilify opposition to the city. The longer process followed by other cities allowed for greater input from stakeholders, and a greater consensus for the city.
With the City vote behind us and the two‑week deadline for qualification looming, I decided to run for the Council position in one of the three out of four districts that failed to approve the referendum for the City.
Having lived in actual Brookhaven for over 17 happy years (that’s 17 actual years, not the 45 dog-years some city candidates for city office claim), I have a lot invested in this community, and believe in the diverse nature of the city with a common goal – achieving the best quality of life in Atlanta.
I was raised to stand behind my principles, and work hard to make the best out of any challenging situation. I was also raised to achieve goals by positive collaboration instead of tearing down the opposition. For all of those reasons, I am running for the District 3 council seat.
2. What do you think separates your candidacy from the other contenders?
Anthony: Because my nearly 30‑year professional background as a transactional attorney has given me a strong knowledge of how the city government will operate, I have the ability to begin work as soon as I am sworn in to review the laws and contracts necessary to form the basis for our city.
Because I am not a politician, I am not beholden to any political agenda or campaign contributor trying to do business with the City. My campaign supporters ask only that I use common sense, operate with transparency, and work hard to the best of my ability.
3. With a newly incorporated municipality, is one responsibility (i.e., police, zoning, etc.) more pressing than some of the others?
Anthony: Our primary responsibility as a newly incorporated city is to put day‑to‑day operations in place as quickly as possible, and provide an effective means of communicating how city operations will affect all citizens, businesses, property owner, and other community stakeholders.
Hiring of the City Manager is of utmost importance in order to get the city off to the right start, and we are fortunate that the Governor’s Commission is working on this task.
Ideally, the next major hire would be the police chief so that we can truly assess what is needed to provide adequate protection in all areas of the City. With the hiring of the City Manager and police chief, we can establish a good working budget that will give us a better idea of when other services can be brought online. The CVI study included, in addition to policy, roads, zoning, parks, and code enforcement. At least three of these five core city services must be operational within two years of incorporation in order to maintain the city charter.
Our next priority will be to establish a working plan for setting up the additional services with a minimum of three online within two years.
4. Moving forward, what do you envision Brookhaven's relationship with DeKalb County to be?
Anthony: If by “envision” we are talking about what to aspire to, I want to see a good working relationship that benefits both DeKalb County and the City. Since the County will continue to provide important services and handle our tax assessments, a contentious relationship with the County will prove expensive and time‑consuming.
We should work with our commissioners and the CEO to transition and provide services in a manner that benefits us both as citizens of Brookhaven and citizens of DeKalb County.
In addition, we should work with our legislative representatives to create a smoother path to transition of services between cities and counties.
Finally, we should put some time and energy into discussing the public policy implications of the DeKalb form of government as it now stands and possible alternatives, and into how to improve our public schools in DeKalb County.
If “envision” means what do I predict, well, that depends on the leadership of the new city. If we elect a council and mayor that plan on taking every opportunity to disparage County officials, then I see a tough road ahead.
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?
Anthony: I promise to treat other city officials and the public with kindness and respect, and to maintain perspective, including a sense of humor.