Tom Tidwell, a former Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods chair, has been appointed to the Development Authority of Fulton County by Commissioner Lee Morris.
Tidwell was confirmed by the Board of Commissioners at a May 15 meeting. On June 1, he will replace Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who held the seat since late 2018 after DeKalb County School District Chief Financial Officer Michael Bell resigned mid-term.
Tidwell chaired the Council of Neighborhoods, an influential coalition of civic associations, from 2013 to 2018, when he stepped down and Mary Norwood took the post. In his last months holding the position, the group brought officials to discuss the downtown Atlanta’s Gulch redevelopment. Tidwell criticized the controversial public financing of that deal during those meetings, saying the funds could have been better spent elsewhere.
Tidwell said he is interested in learning more about how the Development Authority works and making sure its action align with its mission.
“I agree with the legislative purpose behind creating development authorities, and I agree with Fulton County’s mission, primarily aimed at promoting economic development,” Tidwell said in a written statement. “However, I think we need to make sure that projects approved by the Authority are consistent with those goals.”
Morris said he has known Tidwell for years and made the appointment because Tidwell has been a “very active, informed and involved citizen.”
“He’s going to ask the questions that need to be asked,” Morris said.
The Development Authority covers all of Fulton County, including cities and unincorporated areas. It provides incentives to companies to build, renovate, expand or relocate to the county.
Tidwell, a West Paces/Northside neighborhood resident, also unsuccessfully ran for an Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education seat in 2013.