The former city councilwoman was elected by her fellow councilors to fill the post vacated by the city’s inaugural mayor, J. Max Davis, who resigned to run for a seat in the state House of Representatives.
Williams had hardly settled into her new chair before she faced her first political test as mayor. The city attorney resigned after apparently losing the support of some members of the council, and Williams had to convince a deeply divided City Council to approve his replacement.
The new appointment squeaked through, with Williams’ casting the deciding vote.
We asked the new mayor seven questions about her new role. Here are her answers:
Why did you want the job of mayor?
For the same reason I ran for City Council—I want to make sure Brookhaven is the best city it can be. I believe my experience and service have given me the best preparation and understanding of what is required to lead us going forward.
What are your top three priorities as mayor?
I plan to focus on the basics—police, paving, parks, permitting, code enforcement, zoning and keeping taxes low. I will continue to work to ensure that our city remains financially solid and working in the most efficient, ethical and transparent way possible. And third, my goal is to strive to make Brookhaven exceptional—whether that means building world-class parks, finding innovative solutions or becoming a national model for other cities.
Why are those issues your top priorities?
We have to stay focused on the reasons the city was formed and make sure we follow our core values of honesty and ethics. Financial stability and being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money is absolutely essential to being a strong city. And reaching for the exceptional is important to become the national model we strive to be.
Do you think the city’s reputation has suffered during the events surrounding the recent firing of its former communications officer and leading to the resignation this month of the city attorney?
The incidents were both personnel matters that were dealt with quickly, and I believe appropriately. They were errors in judgment that have hurt the image of the city but the council is part of the cleanup, not the cover-up.
How can the city’s reputation be repaired?
Brookhaven is more than just its city government. I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that every day the city runs smoothly, with dedicated staff filling potholes, inspecting buildings, maintaining our parks and keeping our streets safe. My only plan is to do the right thing for the right reasons every day, to work hard to prove that we are a city of ethics, transparency, efficiency and good government. If the people of Brookhaven judge us by our actions, I believe we will win back whatever trust we have lost.
Do you think those events have had a lasting effect on the relationship between the council and city staff?
No. We acted quickly and decisively, sending a clear message that the city has high standards.
Where do you see Brookhaven in a year? In five years?
I see a Brookhaven that has continued to grow and thrive and be the most desirable place in Georgia to live, work and raise a family. A flourishing economy, improved traffic flow, better roads, more walkability, world-class parks, and smart development to manage future growth will keep Brookhaven at the very top of all the “Best of” lists. We have had some early growing pains, but I believe they will only make us wiser and stronger.