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Fulton development agency leader to retire; search for successor begins

A picture of a sign showing the logo of the Development Authority of Fulton County

By Maggie Lee

The Development Authority of Fulton County is losing its CEO, as Al Nash says he is retiring after six years in the job.

His announcement comes just after the latest chapter in a rift between DAFC and the city of Atlanta over economic development policy.

“Al has been a tremendous leader during the past six years bolstering economic development, expanding the tax base and bringing quality jobs to Fulton County,” said Robert J. Shaw, DAFC chairman, in a Tuesday press release announcing Nash’s retirement. “We’ve all learned from his vast knowledge and experiences as one of the most respected leaders in the Georgia economic development community.”

By DAFC’s math, in the last 20 months alone, the agency has helped attract new buildings across all of Fulton County that will add some $431 million to the county’s tax take over 10 years, compared to what usually-run-down lots contributed to the public coffers.

Though there’s been friction over one particular tool in one particular jurisdiction. At least twice since 2019, Atlanta officials have asked DAFC to stop approving property tax breaks for new developments in the city. By Atlanta’s thinking, developers are going to develop in areas like Buckhead and the BeltLine anyway, and so DAFC shouldn’t be granting incentives in such places.

But by DAFC’s thinking, it’s Atlanta’s thinking that is wrong-headed, and that even with tax incentives, the city comes out ahead.

“While not always recognized for its accomplishments, DAFC is a catalyst for much-needed infrastructure improvements, more affordable housing, higher quality jobs and additional tax revenue across Fulton County,” Nash said in the Tuesday press release.

The search for a new CEO will start within the next month, and Nash will stay on during that time, according to the DAFC announcement.

“Change in leadership can be challenging,” Shaw wrote. “We are thankful Al will remain with us as we conduct a thorough search and a collaborative transition to ensure the authority’s future success. We are hopeful Al will continue working with the DAFC in an advisory capacity even once fully retired from his CEO duties. He will always be a part of the DAFC family.”

Prior to joining DAFC, Nash was executive director of Progress Partners, a Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce economic development initiative. Nash is a past chairman of the Council for Quality Growth and the Regional Business Coalition. He is also a past member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

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Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

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1 Comment

  1. Donald T Penovi September 30, 2020 8:59 am

    What is the mechanism for determining whether a tax break meets its objective(s)? How do we know that they are in the public interest?Report

    Reply

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