District 1 councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams, District 3 councilman Bates Mattison and District 4 councilman Joe Gebbia all said finding a location for city hall, developing a police force, creating a budget and adopting city code will be among their initial concerns.
The three were elected in the Dec. 4 runoffs. The city’s District 2 councilman, Jim Eyre, was previously elected in the Nov. 6 special election.
Williams said the groundwork laid by the Governor’s Commission on the city of Brookhaven has been essential in getting the city prepared to go online Monday.
“They’ve done a phenomenal job,” Gebbia said. “I think it’s fair to say that the work that was done by the Brookhaven Commission is the best of any new city.”
He said the council’s work in the first six months will likely focus on making sure the new city is operationally sound.
Mattison said the council will work to get systems up and running as soon as possible but that attention to detail is important.
“It’s not just about speed,” he said. “It’s about creating efficiency with the systems that we do turn on.”
Mattison said he wants Brookhaven to have a strong working relationship with DeKalb County when it comes from transferring services the county previously provided over to the city. He hopes to tap into his management background for the betterment of Brookhaven.
“What this city needs is strong financial management skills and strong project management skills,” Mattison said.
Gebbia also intends for his business background to be an asset to the city. Williams said her past experience as a reporter has made her a good listener who knows to get all the facts from all sides of a situation. One concern she heard from her constituents while campaigning was how the city would spend its money, and Williams explained she is dedicated to watching the budget closely.
“Cities get into problems when they don’t spend wisely,” she said.
The councilmembers all agree they foresee no problems working with each other and with newly elected mayor, J. Max Davis, to create a strong leadership for Brookhaven.
“We are all committed to making sure that our decisions are really for the betterment of the city,” Gebbia said.
He added the decisions the inaugural council and mayor make initially will have a significant impact on Brookhaven’s identity as a city for years to come.