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Election Government - Local News

SPOTLIGHT Q and A with Mableton District 6 candidate


Debora Herndon

What do you think are the 3 most pressing concerns for residents in the new city of Mableton?

The pressing concerns for residents vary depending on the district. For one district it may be trash removal, zoning, and code enforcement. For another district, it can be increased taxes, remaining unincorporated, and zoning.  For others, perhaps it’s low-income housing, crime reduction, and revitalization. The needs of Mableton residents are not one-size-fits-all. Ultimately, the challenge will be to figure out what concerns will the new city be able to effectively address within the available budget.

What are your goals and objectives as an elected official for the new city of Mableton?

. My primary goal is to work within the city of Mableton’s city-lite model and create a foundation where city services are provided with excellence and within budget. I believe that doing so can be a way to build public confidence and attract more people to the city as residents. As the city of Mableton continues to grow, there will be opportunities to tackle the larger issues of housing, attracting businesses, and revitalizing, which would fall under my long-term goals. 

How would you describe your management/leadership style?

I would describe my leadership style as a combination of democratic and transformational. Democratic because I believe that there should be input from everyone in the decision-making process, thereby allowing for collaboration and participation by council members, the mayor, and the citizens. Transformational because I feel that there should also be room in leadership to allow individuals to be innovative and think outside of the box when it comes to tackling problems. Sometimes the traditional way of doing things isn’t the answer, and new ideas need to be brought forward that can be a more effective solution. 

What actions will you take to ensure that high quality and effective communication occurs throughout the city of Mableton?

My approach to communication throughout the city of Mableton is three-pronged.  First, my priority is open and transparent communication with my constituents. My plan is to make information available through email and on my website so that constituents can be informed of any legislative decisions being made. Second, I will openly share ideas and work in tandem with my fellow city council members and the mayor so that we can create legislation that benefits the city of Mableton and its citizens.  Third, I will work collaboratively with Cobb County as they continue to handle the majority of our city services, hoping to develop relationships that will foster seamlessness in the transition of services.

As Mayor or member of the city council, how will you provide effective communication with other members of the governing body?

Effective communication is about telling the truth, being unambiguous, listening, checking to make sure there is an understanding, being open-minded, and being respectful towards other people’s opinions even if you don’t agree with them. It is my goal to incorporate all of these characteristics when interacting and communicating with other members of the governing body.

What are your plans to ensure that the new city of Mableton has the budget appropriation to meet the needs of the residents?

I believe in economic prudence and sound financial policies. Just like millions of American households do every day, a city has to make difficult decisions on how to spend the money in its budget without resorting to borrowing or increasing taxes. The feasibility study identified sources of revenue that will come into the city and projected a surplus. I plan on working with the city to ensure that it makes fiscally responsible decisions. As such, there will be more than enough revenue to meet the needs of the residents.

What do you plan to accomplish in your first 30 days? In your first 90 days?

In the first 30 days, I plan on working with the mayor and other council members to fill positions that are integral to the success of Mableton.  A city attorney will be hired and if the council feels there is a need, a consultant to help guide us through the process of establishing the city. In the first 90 days, I will work with the council to hire a city manager. There will also be negotiations and hiring of vendors and individuals that will assist in providing the city services outlined in the feasibility study. The first 90 days will set the foundation for the city and all of this work will be a collaborative effort with the other council members and the mayor. 

What is your position on de-annexation?

Cityhood should not be forced on people who do not want it. I feel that areas, where the vote was overwhelmingly against becoming a part of Mableton, should be allowed to de-annex, as is their right under the law.

Describe an ethical dilemma you’ve faced. How did you resolve it?

I worked at a law firm years ago where I handled the filing paperwork for companies that were preparing for initial public offerings.  This information was very valuable since knowing what companies would be filing IPOs beforehand could provide a huge financial benefit to the holder of that information. Someone close to me, who was having significant financial problems at the time, asked me if I would be willing to give them the information so they could make trades and improve their finances. While I was aware of how dire their situation was, I couldn’t bring myself to do something like that. I had been entrusted with information that was not mine to give away. I told the person that I would not do it.  I also decided not to tell anyone else about what my job entailed so I would never be put in that position again.

What are your plans for redevelopment for the new city of Mableton?

I would plan for stricter code enforcement of commercial and residential properties so that violators will be forced to improve their properties or face consequences. The possibility of fines would provide the necessary motivation for property owners to repair dilapidated buildings, and clean up overgrown lots, and other deficiencies that have become an eyesore in the community. Combining code enforcement with choosing projects, through zoning, that positively add to the aesthetics and functionality of the community would provide the one-two punch needed to jumpstart redevelopment in Mableton. 


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