Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean is one of four council members running unopposed in the Nov. 5 municipal elections, and the only Buckhead representative on the council without opposition.
Adrean said even though she doesn’t have to worry about winning a second term, she doesn’t want to take her re-election for granted.
“I’m like every other council member. I was watching every single day (during qualifying) to see what would develop,” Adrean said. “I was honored that my constituents had enough confidence in me that someone didn’t run against me. That doesn’t mean you’re not accountable to them every single day.”
The District 8 councilwoman appears nearly everywhere, popping in at numerous Buckhead meetings. She described herself as an “Army brat,” and was actually born in Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. She said it was her father who instilled in her a desire to be a public servant.
“Dad talked to me about politics and our country from a very early age,” Adrean said.
Her father is also where she got her knack for telling truths, even when it may not reflect what Buckhead thinks about itself. In April 2012, Adrean attended the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting. It was several months before a vote on a Transportation Sales Tax referendum, which was overwhelmingly defeated. Adrean was in favor of the sales tax.
Many of the Buckhead neighborhood representatives complained about the proposed list of road projects that would’ve been funded if the voters had approved the sales tax. They said there wasn’t enough in it for Buckhead.
“I’d like for you guys to think about the whole city from time to time,” she said, telling the BCN that projects in other parts of the city would lead to economic development. That development would help to distribute the tax burden across the city.
Adrean said during an Oct. 28 interview that she would say the same thing again.
“Though we may not be on the same page on all issues, we can all agree we care passionately about the city,” Adrean said. “ … There are so many things that we agree on that I like to work to that common denominator about what we care about.”
Gordon Certain, secretary of the BCN, said Adrean’s financial background made her an indispensable part of the city council. He said, Adrean has represented her district, “Very well.”
“I don’t think anybody could beat her,” Certain said.
Adrean is an accountant, and said she brought her expertise to the Atlanta City Council. In the past, she worked as CPA with Ernst and Young in Boston. Adrean had not served in public office before, and was recruited for City Council when she was president of the Mount Paran-Northside Citizens Association. She ran for the seat being vacated by then-councilwoman Clair Muller.
“I was appointed chair of finance as a freshman, something that had not been done before,” Adrean said. “I used that leadership position to champion pension reform and financial reform. We receive monthly financial statements. We look at operations, we look at cash flow, we look at the balance sheet and we look at debt analysis. Those things have helped us to make mid-year corrections, if necessary.”
Adrean has two grown daughters. Her husband, Lee, is a CFO at Equifax.
In each community she’s lived in, Adrean has emerged as someone engaged in civic life. It’s part of her “Army brat” training, she says.
“You’re trained to bloom where you’re planted.”