New Dist. 8 City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean discusses her month of preparation during a Christmas Eve interview in her home in northwest Buckhead.December has been a month of whirlwind activities for new Dist. 8 council member Yolanda Adrean.
There have been meetings with the mayor-elect, orientations on city procedures, calendars and rules, and discussions with former and incoming council presidents.
“There is a lot going on,” Adrean said during an interview at her northwest Buckhead home, which interrupted her wrapping of gifts on Christmas Eve.
One key meeting was with council President-elect Ceasar Mitchell during which Adrean, a retired public accountant, made a request to be on the Finance/Administration Committee. That committee deals with the city budget and five-year financial plan.
However, she understands there probably is a zero chance she will end up on that committee, because it’s unlikely two members from the same area of the city will be on the same committee. The Finance Committee is chaired by Buckhead’s Dist. 7 council member Howard Shook. Adrean, who will take office Jan. 4, said she talks with Shook often because of their common interest in the city’s finances
Adrean also told new Council President Mitchell, who will make the committee assignments for the coming year, that she would be interested in being on the Public Safety and Community Development/Human Resources committees. The committee assignments will be announced by Mitchell Jan. 4, inauguration day for the new mayor and council.
Asked about her goals for her first year in office, Adrean said, “Obviously, I want to get my hands on that Five-Year Plan and help mold that. There are some tools in place that weren’t in place before. I think there is more work to be done on that Five-Year Plan. I would like to see the details behind it [its forecasts and proposals],” she added.
Her second goal involves finding a solution to the city’s pensions issue. “I understand [Mayor-elect] Kasim [Reed] is getting a new task force together. I am hoping he will put people who are experts in pension matters on that task force,” Adrean said.
“There are too many important decisions to be made. We have to get it right,” she said. “I don’t think we can go back to the taxpayers” for another tax increase.
“Reed said he had his ‘yikes moment’ after the runoff,” Adrean said. “I don’t know where he had been. All of us understood very clearly the city has no money, the state has no money. Obama is printing it, but the taxpayer bears that anyway.”
Adrean explained that Dist. 9 City Councilwoman Felicia Moore organized a meet-and-greet over dinner with Reed, outgoing Mayor Shirley Franklin and the outgoing and incoming members of council. “Reed sat with us for about 45 minutes. He didn’t say a lot, just listened.”
Adrean said she has gotten no sense of how the new mayor is viewing Buckhead, where he got very few votes in either the Nov. 4 general election or Dec. 1 runoff. “I hear more from Lisa [former council president and mayor candidate Lisa Borders] than I do from him,” she explained.
She said Borders is not saying a lot about “what the mayor is up to, but she is determined that this transition be smooth and orderly”
Asked if she thinks Borders will be part of the new administration, Adrean said, “I have been wondering, because every time Kasim is at the podium, so is she. I don’t know, but, clearly, she is interested in helping the city and being an advisor of some sort.”
Adrean said she drew the office of former Dist. 6 Councilwoman Anne Fauvre for her City Hall workspace. She said she has met for hours with outgoing Dist. 8 Councilwoman Clair Muller, who resigned after 20 years on council to run unsuccessfully for council president.
“Clair has 20 years of things to weed through,” Adrean explained. “When she started on council it was all paper-based and big notebooks. She has a phenomenal amount of files.”
A couple of things the new council member said she would like to get done in a couple of years are: Completion of the Northside Drive Corridor, which has been languishing for more than 10 years, but has plans and funding; and finding a solution for the Collier Road congestion, “which has been studied to death.”
With a tone of frustration, Adrean said, “I am just crazy about how long it takes to get things done.”