Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed a five-member commission in preparation of the establishment of the city of Brookhaven, which was approved by voters in July.
Under legislation passed by the General Assembly, upon voter-approval of the city Deal was tasked with creating a five-member panel consisting of a chairman and four others who reside in each council district within the city.
The commission will be responsible for facilitating the provision of community services and facilities, collection of taxes and fees and the negotiation of intergovernmental agreements in preparation of the new city.
Kim Gökçe who serves as technical project manager for AT&T, will represent District 4 on the commission. Gökçe said the commission doesn’t have much to report at the moment because it’s still in the “formative” phases of development.
“As individual commissioners we’re all waiting to get together and start that agenda based on the statute,” Gökçe said. Although the commissioners have yet to meet, Gökçe said their duties are clearly outlined in the statute that calls for the commission’s creation.
“The commission has no budget and no decision-making authority as I understand it, and we’re preparing the way for the decision makers or the elected officials,” Gökçe said.
Previously, Gökçe worked as a manager for the Coca-Cola Company, project manager for BellSouth Telecommunications and BellSouth Business Systems. He has also served as the founding director for the Brookhaven Community Connection and the Cross Keys Foundation.
Gökçe said the statute outlined several duties for the commission, including hosting training seminars for all qualified candidates as to what their roles will be if they’re chosen to lead Brookhaven in some capacity.
The commission is also responsible for producing two reports to present to Brookhaven’s elected leaders–one of possible service providers if the city chooses to outsource any municipal services and another to recommend facilities to house the city staff and police. Additionally, Gökçe said the commission is tasked with identifying candidates to fill appointed city positions such as the city manager, clerk and attorney.
The rest of the commission consists of chairman Ben Vinson, an attorney at McKenna Long & Aldridge and chairman of the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board who previously served as majority caucus counsel in the Georgia House of Representatives.
J.D. Clockadale will represent District 1 and is currently the director of marketing promotions for RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. Clockadale also chairs a private security patrol staffed by off-duty DeKalb County Police officers and is a founding member of Brookhaven Yes and Citizens for North DeKalb.
Todd E. Lantier will represent District 2 and is currently a sales manager for MassMutual Financial Group/Capstone Financial Partners. He is president of the Brookhaven Community Connection and a founding member of the Ashford Park School Education Foundation.
Jed Beardsley will represent District 3. He is a shareholder in the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, and specializes in real estate and tax law. He also serves as president of the board of the Historic Brookhaven Neighborhood Association.
A special election has been scheduled for Nov. 6 to choose a mayor and four city council representatives. Each term lasts until 2015; the last day to register to vote in the election is Oct. 18.
“This is about your neighbors making decisions about your local government services,” Rep. Mike Jacobs said. Jacobs was a vocal proponent in the creation of the city and authored the bill that allowed Brookhaven to incorporate, which passed through the General Assembly earlier this year. The cityhood referendum passed with 54.66 percent voting in favor and 45.35 percent against it.
“Fifty-five percent is a solid majority,” Jacobs said. “However, it’s also clear that there were [residents] opposed to cityhood and the time has come to bring together the proponents and opponents and build something great.”
A list of all qualified candidates for the election is available at the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections website at www.web.co.dekalb.ga.us/Voter/default.html under the “Current Elections” tab. A street guide defining the city council districts is also available on the website.