Brookhaven, GA, June 2, 2015 – The Post Reports – Brookhaven Mayor J Max Davis penned the following letter to the Citizens of Brookhaven as he begins his pursuit for State Office.
You may recall, Mayor Davis announced last week that he will be pursuing a position in the Georgia Legislature in the House of Representatives, representing District 80 that covers parts of Chamblee, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven.
From Mayor Davis:
Dear residents and friends,
It has been my distinct honor to serve as your Mayor. It is with appreciation, excitement and a bit of sadness that I inform you that I will be resigning my position to pursue another opportunity in public service to our community. My term was due to expire this year, but I want you to know that I have thoroughly enjoyed my work in getting our city started. Starting up Brookhaven was no small task. I want to thank our hardworking city manager and dedicated staff, our volunteer boards and committees and our elected council for their tireless efforts in delivering to the Brookhaven taxpayers the best in a new, local government.
When I think back to what we faced as a new city 2½ years ago and compare it to where we are today, I am extremely proud and filled with a sense of accomplishment. We started up a world-class police department in record time. My first meeting with our prospective Police Chief, Gary Yandura, showed me that this calm, competent and highly intelligent individual was up to this monumental task. At the time I knew what my full expectations were, but I can assure you they have been exceeded. We started up a police department in record time, 3½ months. Our officers are highly visible, professional and responsive. The Brookhaven Police Department has gained a stellar reputation in the Southeast.
We took over and purchased our parks from the county just 18 months ago. I know you will agree that the difference in that short time is stunning. From rotting pool pumps, run-down bathrooms, neglected landscaping and general disrepair we have transformed our parks. This ongoing evolution could only have happened with the help of a great staff and through no small effort of our park passionate citizenry. We have set the standard for what our parks will be and they will only become more beautiful and usable.
The condition of the roads and sidewalks our city inherited was literally jarring. We now have a regular maintenance and paving program. This has allowed us to pave more roads and build more sidewalks in two years than had been done in the prior decade under the county. We took over a neglected storm water system with a zero fund balance and have built a maintenance program that now has well over $1 million to cover present and future repair and construction of our critically important storm water system.
Perhaps the greatest worry we had early on was whether or not we could pay for all that needed to be done. Through careful budgeting and lean operations, our city is flourishing financially. So much so that we were able to cut city property taxes twice and still put aside a reserve of more than $4 million.
We have our own 911 system that has dramatically cut response times. We have our own Fire Marshal making sure our new businesses are safe and can rely upon consistent and efficient permitting. We have made traffic improvements, and more are in the pipeline. Permitting for home renovation and construction has dramatically improved. We have festivals and food trucks. Even Google chose Brookhaven for major investment.
There is so much more I could say about the wonderful things our city has accomplished. However, I want you to know that all of this was made possible by you, the Brookhaven taxpayer. I have seen our community come together using its voice, one that had often been ignored and unheard prior to cityhood.
Through the hundreds of citizens that I have met on “Mondays with the Mayor” and “Walks with the Mayor,” I have confirmed what I already knew – we have the most intelligent, passionate and engaged citizenry in the metro area. The dozen town halls we have hosted have shown that our citizenry has high expectations. Your ideas, questions and, yes, criticisms, have made me a better Mayor and a better man.
Thank you for allowing me to be your first Mayor.
J. Max Davis
The House District 80 seat was recently vacated by Rep Mike Jacobs. For those of you who don’t know, Jacobs has been appointed by Governor Deal as State Court Judge of DeKalb County and is scheduled to be sworn to the bench on June 4th.
To fill Jacobs’ seat, the Governor has called for a Special Election to be held on July 14th. So far, Republican Catherine Bernard and Democrat Taylor Bennett have also announced their candidacies for the open seat.
A fourth candidate, Republican Loren Collins, qualified for the race on the first day of qualifying.
In order for Mayor Davis to run for State Representative, he must resign as Mayor at the point in which he qualifies to be in the race. Until that time, he can still serve as Mayor. And, if Davis changes his mind and decides to not run before he qualifies, he can stay on as Mayor and serve out his term.
If Davis does go through with qualifying and resign as Mayor, Brookhaven’s Council members would appoint his replacement because he has less than twelve months left in his term.
Residents who have lived in the City of Brookhaven for at least one year are eligible, and could be appointed to replace Davis — including sitting Council members. Sources close to the City say it is most likely the Mayor’s replacement will be one of the two Council members currently up for reelection in November, Bates Mattison of District 3 or Rebecca Chase-Williams of District 1.
Once the “Mayoral replacement candidate” is chosen, a majority Council vote is required to “confirm” the candidate as Mayor. This “new Mayor” will serve out the remainder of Davis’ term which ends December 31st. Then, in the November General Election, the next Mayor will be elected by the citizen’s of Brookhaven.
In order to win the seat for House District 80, the successful candidate must receive at least 50% plus 1 vote. If no candidate receives 50% plus 1 vote, then the top two vote getters will go head to head in a run off. If Davis does not pull enough votes to make the potential run off, it is possible he would have time to qualify and run again for Mayor of Brookhaven in November.
If the “Mayoral replacement” is a sitting Council member, they will appoint a replacement to fill their vacated Council seat, and a majority Council vote is required to “confirm” the Council District replacement. The newly appointed Council person will serve out the remainder of the term, which also ends December 31st. Both District 1 and District 3 council seats are up for election in November.
It is also possible none of the sitting Council members will move into the “Mayoral replacement” slot – which is key in avoiding a City Council game of musical chairs.
And lastly, although unlikely, District 2 Councilman John Park or District 4 Councilman Joe Gebbia could also be appointed for to the “Mayoral replacement” role which would cause a Special Election at a later date.
Unconfirmed reports are that District One Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams will be appointed to the position of Mayor to serve out Davis’ term and Linley Jones, a District One resident, Attorney and past President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA), will be appointed to serve out the remainder of Councilwoman Williams’ term.
Brookhaven’s Mayor, District One and District Three City Council seats will be on the ballot in November.