So how's the job been going?
Ford: All is going very well. The city of Chamblee has outstanding directors and staff. Quite frankly that has made my transition into the city manager position a relatively easy one.
Also, the interim city manager was Police Chief Marc Johnson and his extensive knowledge and diligent commitment to the success of the city has been key to a seamless transition and my ability to effectively manage the city’s resources.
How did the inaugural Celebrate Chamblee Festival turn out this year?
Ford: It was a great event. We had participation from several organizations that had never participated in any previous city-sponsored event. We had systemic representation of people and organizations throughout the city from food to music to art. To that end, one of my goals was certainly achieved.
If it passes, how will the annexation vote impact the city of Chamblee itself?
Ford: If the annexation vote passes, it will obviously increase our size both geographically and by population. We have already begun a needs assessment of resources at the department level. When the assessments are complete, staff will present these findings to our mayor and council.
The ultimate goal is to maintain and, where effectively possible, improve the level of services throughout the city. This certainly includes what may be the proposed annexed area.
I believe this proposed annexation provides us a unique opportunity to review city services from a contemporary standpoint and from a strategic perspective. In other words, asking the questions, ‘Where are we now from a service delivery standpoint and where would we like to be if the city grows?’ It is a very interesting and exciting process.
If annexation does not pass, how does the city move forward from then?
Ford: If the annexation does not pass, we continue to make sure we offer the highest level of customer and municipal services possible. Chamblee is a great city and I don’t see the outcome of an annexation vote, whether for or against, changing that.
What are some of the city's major pressing issues moving into 2013 and beyond?
Ford: This year with citizen input the city completed a comprehensive plan update and the mayor and council facilitated a retreat. I believe those two components provide us with a basic format of things the citizens of Chamblee would like to see focused on.
These lists are reasonably comprehensive and include a range of issues like continued commitment to facilitate a live, work, play character in Chamblee; continuing the Green Community process; through economic development, working to attract businesses that are compatible with what the citizens would like to see in this area; continued commitment to foster a safe community, and many others.
Therefore, I think our pressing issue for 2013 is to deal with whatever issues that avail themselves, but to make sure we keep working through the road map that has already been developed by the city.