June 29, 2015
Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker was sworn in as the 83rd president of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) on June 28.
GMA, which is the only state organization that represents municipal governments in Georgia, is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its members.
The ceremony took place in Savannah, GA during GMA’s annual conference, which used the theme “Creative Impact” to highlight the impact of the arts on Georgia cities.
The mayor took the opportunity during his remarks
to build on the theme by recognizing the creative approaches cities around the state are taking to benefit their respective cities through collaboration.
“This collaborative spirit must be embraced and championed in order for our cities, and our state, to prosper and succeed,” said Bodker.
Among the many cities he pointed to as examples was Johns Creek’s collaborative approach to create a downtown sense of place and identity.
“In Johns Creek, the City is actively working alongside business and economic development organizations and with our residents to develop our own vibrant mixed-use downtown we call The District,” said Bodker. “As envisioned, The District will become an economic engine, and cultural and entertainment center that will sustain our exceptional City for future generations.”
GMA organizers and Bodker also took a moment to pay tribute to the late Mayor Eva Galambos of Sandy Springs, who passed away in April.
It was noted that Mayor Galambos’ creative vision, passion, and drive served as the example for other communities with aspirations to become a city to follow.
“Without her multi-decade effort to create Sandy Springs, it is doubtful that Johns Creek and the other new cities in metro-Atlanta would have been created,” said Bodker. “Without her vision and tenacity, I know that I would not be here today as mayor of Johns Creek, much less as president of GMA.”
As Bodker looked ahead to his one-year term as GMA president he pointed to two specific challenges that he believes Georgia municipalities need to address.
The first challenge is the rise in drug use across the state and the importance of a collective approach to mitigate this growing problem.
“I think all of us in this room understand that there are no insular communities. Drug use has permeated every level of society and it hides among us,” Bodker said. “Our communities have tragically lost lives, both young and old, to addiction and overdoses and we must leverage our experience to aggressively turn the tide on this growing problem.”
The second challenge Bodker noted was creating a better balance between cities and counties on service delivery and local option sales tax issues.
He closed his remarks emphasizing the need for a collective and creative approach to addressing common issues shared by all municipalities.
“I can think of no better way for us to do that - to create those lasting and powerful impacts in our cities and state - than by working together in a spirit of collaboration that respects our differences, uplifts our common purpose and cares more about results than being in control,” Bodker said.