Policy council chairmen Dublin Mayor Phil Best, left, and Oglethorpe County Chairman Billy Pittard.
The policy-making bodies of GMA and ACCG met for the first time on Wednesday, Sept. 12 to discuss issues cities and counties have in common and how local leaders can work together to solve problems.
In an all-day session facilitated by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia, the city and county leaders identified common issues such as infrastructure funding, the opioid crisis and economic development.
“City and county officials serve the same people,” said GMA Legislative Policy Council Chairman Phil Best, mayor of Dublin and GMA First Vice President. “It benefits the taxpayers for city and county leaders to work together on as many issues as possible. And where we do have differences, we need to have strong relationships that let us work through those problems with respect and consideration for each other’s viewpoints.”
“ACCG’s work with our partners at the Georgia Municipal Association extends back decades but hosting the first-ever joint meeting between our respective policy councils is something that we believe will provide a significant benefit to counties and cities throughout the state,” said Oglethorpe County Chairman Billy Pittard who serves as Chair of ACCG’s Policy Council. “County and city officials have shared constituencies and face similar challenges when trying to provide services with limited or non-existent resources. Working together on mutual areas of concern will allow us to have a unified voice when lobbying on behalf of those we were elected to serve.”
“The strength of local government is dependent upon the collaborative efforts between all of its leaders and the entities they represent,” said ACCG President and Harris County Chairman Harry Lange. “The collaboration between ACCG and GMA on key policy issues is a true representation of that strength and, ultimately, the solid foundation that supports Georgia’s vibrant communities. I am excited about the future of our two organizations, both with new executive directors, and the benefits the citizens of the cities and counties of Georgia will reap from the cooperative efforts of ACCG and GMA.”
“Too often, the focus is on the issues that divide us,” said GMA Second Vice President Vince Williams, mayor of Union City. “This meeting reminded us of all the things we have in common, and how, by working together, we can accomplish many things for the betterment of Georgia.”
Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to its 521 member cities.
ACCG is a nonprofit instrumentality of Georgia’s county governments. Formed in 1914 with 19 charter county members, today ACCG serves as the consensus building, training and legislative organization for all 159 county governments in the state.