Ceasar Mitchell’s picks for committee chairs preview Atlanta’s power shifts with an eye to 2017 mayoral election

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell’s picks of chairs to key City Council committees actually spoke volumes about the tone of city politics in 2014 and for the next four years.

Mitchell named the two new members of Council — Mary Norwood and Andre Dickens — as chairs of committees — prestigious posts available to only seven of the 14 members on Council. Mitchell is the presiding officer who votes if there is a tie.

The appointments also included several potential candidates who might run for mayor in 2017. Mitchell has made no secret that he is considering a run for the city’s top office in four years.

“There may be a number of councilmembers who are considering running for mayor who I have put in key Council leadership roles on key committees,” Mitchell said in an interview before disclosing his choices to the entire body.

“For me to shy away from getting them engaged, from having a big tent and from having them involved with other councilmembers would be shortsighted,” Mitchell continued. “Having them isolated would not be in the best interest of our city.”

Among potential mayoral candidates on City Council include Mitchell, Michael Julian Bond, Kwanza Hall, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Norwood.

“What kind of confidence would I have in my leadership as a public servant if I started playing petty political games at the city’s expense?” Mitchell asked rhetorically.

In making his committee appointments, Mitchell said his intent was to fulfill the mandate of Council, which he described as a body that deliberates, debates, seeks public input, makes decisions, provides oversight on the functions and operations of city government.

To councilmembers, Mitchell has told them that he wants a Council “that is independent, transparent, accountable to citizens and willing to provide oversight of city government.”

Mitchell decided to change the chairs of every Council committee this year, and he also changed the composition of committee members.

“I do firmly believe that every couple of years, at a minimum, it’s good to move councilmembers around and give them new leadership opportunities and new experiences to keep it fresh,” he said. “Whenever you change the composition of a committee and its leadership, you change the dynamics of the committee.”

So here are Mitchell’s picks for committee chairs with his comments:

City Utilities:

Chair: Natalyn Mosby Archibong

“She’s been chair before. She has a willingness to ask the right questions.”

Community Development/Human Resources:

Chair: Andre Dickens

“I think this is a committee that will give him an opportunity to have a broad range of intense experiences very early. Given his professional background and his community background, that will be an asset for the city.

Public Safety:

Chair: C.T. Martin

“He’s experienced and he understands the issues and the history that will come before the public safety committee, and he’s a steady hand.”

Zoning:

Chair: Yolanda Adrean

“She certainly has shown her willingness to spend time on Council and she pays close attention to the issues.”

Finance:

Chair: Alex Wan

“He has a strong finance background and he was vice-chair of the committee.”

Committee on Council:

Chair: Mary Norwood

“This will give her a chance to get her feet wet as a committee chair. I believe she has much to offer, and she has shown some interest in the electoral process.”

Transportation:

Chair: Felicia Moore

“She’s been chair of transportation before. I think she is a top-notch Councilperson. She takes her role seriously.”

Interestingly enough, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed actively campaigned against Norwood and Dickens in support of the incumbents — Aaron Watson and Lamar Willis respectively. The mayor also campaigned against Moore in favor of her opponent — Ricardo Mosby.

Asked whether that was a factor in picking Norwood, Dickens and Moore as committee chairs, Mitchell said no. He said his goal was to create a big tent on Council. Mitchell also said this is not the first time he has named freshman councilmembers as chairs of key committees.

In looking ahead, Mitchell said that during 2014, he expects the City of Atlanta to address several critical issues including proposed infrastructure investments, economic development and job creation, community development such as the reuse and redevelopment of Turner Field, employee compensation and benefits, community plans around the new Falcons stadium and a new master plan for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“There are a number of critical issues we will have to face as a city in the next 12 to 36 months,” Mitchell said. “I’m much more focused on successfully grappling with these issues and seizing opportunities that will come our way than I am concerned about creating an antagonistic relationship between City Council and Mayor’s office.”

In addition to the committee appointments, Mitchell gave Councilmember Kwanza Hall the plum assignment to serve on the Advisory Committee on International Relations.

Councilmember C.T. Martin also nominated Mitchell to serve as Council’s representative on the board of the Atlanta Regional Commission. That was approved by a vote of Council, so Mitchell will succeed Lamar Willis on the ARC board.

After Mitchell announced his appointments, City Councilmembers unanimously elected Alex Wan as its President Pro-Tem.

2014  CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS

Finance:
Alex Wan, chair
Yolanda Adrean
Natalyn Mosby Archibong
C.T. Martin
Felicia Moore
Howard Shook
Carla Smith

Public Safety:
C.T. Martin, chair
Yolanda Adrean
Michael Julian Bond
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Kwanza Hall
Mary Norwood
Cleta Winslow

Transportation:
Felicia Moore, chair
Natalyn Mosby Archibong
Andre Dickens
C.T. Martin
Mary Norwood
Carla Smith
Alex Wan

Zoning:
Yolanda Andrean, chair
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Kwanza Hall
Mary Norwood
Howard Shook
Carla Smith
Ivory Lee Young Jr.

City Utilities:
Natalyn Mosby Archibong
Yolanda Adrean
Andre Dickens
Joyce Sheperd
Howard Shook
Alex Wan
Ivory Lee Young Jr.

Committee on Council:
Mary Norwood, chair
Natalyn Mosby Archibong
Michael Julian Bond
C.T. Martin
Felicia Moore
Joyce Sheperd
Cleta Winslow

Community Development/Human Resources:
Andre Dickens, chair
Michael Julian Bond
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Kwanza Hall
Joyce Sheperd
Cleta Winslow
Ivory Lee Young Jr.

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3 comments
Elwin
Elwin

Well just thank God that Mitchell didn't make the self-centered, arrogant, my-way-or-the-highway Keisha Bottoms char of any committee.   Her true colors always come out under pressure like they did last week when she sounded like a cast member of the Housewives of Atlanta with all that yelling and screaming.   Hopefully she will not even think about running for Mayor - or in her case - Dictator.

Burroughston Broch
Burroughston Broch

Keep your allies close and your enemies closer. Just like President Obama making Hillary Clinton his Secretary of State.

Leaving Atlanta
Leaving Atlanta

But only one of Mitchell's picks for chairs has been identified as a mayoral candidate.