In just a few short weeks, Brookhaven will officially open for business as Georgia’s newest city. In the meantime, volunteers are hard at work trying to organize everything from a police department to a plan for parks maintenance to navigating the transition from DeKalb County services to city ones.
With no City Council and no City Hall, most of this ad hoc work has been conducted by volunteer committees in a small home that has come to be called the “White House.”
There may not be an oval office like the White House in the nation’s capital, but the folding chairs and conference tables in the Brookhaven White House offer a place where a lot of important government business is being conducted.
“It just happens to be a white house,” said Jed Beardsley, who represents District 2 on the Governor’s Commission on Brookhaven. “I tried calling it the Caldwell house, but ‘White House’ took on a life of its own. We’re not trying to make any reference to a palatial residence.”
In fact, Beardsley said the Brookhaven White House bears a striking resemblance to the “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Ga.
“When I think of the term ‘Little White House,’ I think of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s recuperative vacation home,” Beardsley said. “That’s kind of more the analogy than the White House in Washington. Plus, it’s got the Georgia connection.”
Because the commission has no budget, the White House was donated for the group to use until December, when the city of Brookhaven officially opens for business.
The commission’s little white house has been a community effort, with the space itself donated, as well as a sign, money to pay utilities and the elbow grease to clean the house and get it ready for meetings.
“It’s B.Y.O. toilet paper and soda,” Beardsley joked. “We could use a refrigerator if someone wants to donate one.”