Five Questions with Russell Mitchell, District 2 City Council Candidate
Mitchell says transitioning DeKalb County codes to Brookhaven codes will be the most important initial step in the incorporation process.
1. Why are you running for office?
Mitchell: During the cityhood process, I never had intentions of running for City Council in Brookhaven. However, after the success of the incorporation efforts, I began to be approached by many of my neighbors and friends in the community and encouraged to run for office based on my local government experience in finance for a startup city in DeKalb County.
I’m the only one running for Brookhaven office that has local government experience and I can hit the ground running like no other candidate. I understand the issues, challenges, and opportunities a newly incorporated city faces. Aside from serving as the Financial Analyst for Dunwoody during its startup years, I have experience in banking and non-profit, and I currently work in Financial Management for a Fortune 500 company.
I’m passionate about serving my community and setting a good example of public service to my young son, Ryder. Over the past two years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours volunteering as the treasurer for C4ND and as secretary of Brookhaven Yes. In these positions I studied the newly formed local governments in the Atlanta area and more specifically, the potential revenue and expense streams for Brookhaven. In the past, I’ve volunteered with the IRS preparing tax returns for low income families and offered financial counseling. Currently, I help manage a community garden where all produce is given to the food bank and distributed to families in need. I’ve proven I’m not self-serving in any way, I have the dedication to commit to my promises and perform, and that I have the passion to make Brookhaven the best place it can be.
2. What do you think separates you from other contenders?
Mitchell: In addition to the fact that I am the only candidate in any of the Brookhaven positions who has actually worked in local government previously, my experience in public finance for a start-up municipality will prove to be invaluable to the Brookhaven community. I vow to establish a fiscally conservative budget and millage rate that is truly representative of the fiscal demands necessary to initiate the incorporation effort. Having a BS degree in Finance and a MBA also separates me from my contenders in District 2. My education gives me a competitive advantage over my counterparts in the start-up process in that a significant amount of the issues faced by the inaugural City Council will be specific to public finance and sound policy development priorities.
3. With a newly incorporated municipality, is one responsibility more pressing than others?
Mitchell: In light of the complexities of creating a new municipality essentially overnight, it is difficult to highlight one city service over another in terms of its relative importance when each department has critical demands that will be called upon in establishing an effective organizational structure for our local government. Based on the nature of imperativeness in the other start-up municipalities in north Fulton County and in Dunwoody, the importance of transitioning DeKalb County codes to Brookhaven codes will be the most important initial step in the incorporation process.
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