Fayetteville Mayor Kenneth Steele said it was a matter of a natural progression. A long-time board member of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), Steele was sworn in Monday in Savannah as the organization’s new president.
Steele, who was first elected in 1994 and is the first Fayetteville official to serve as president of the association, has served as on the GMA Board of Directors for several years and has also served as chair of the Municipal Government Policy Committee, said GMA spokesperson Amy Henderson.
He has also been involved in a number of study committees and task forces and has served as chairman of GMA’s Legislative Policy Council, Henderson said.
Speaking before the GMA membership in Savannah, Steele noted the opportunities for cities to create stronger, better partnerships with other leaders, according to Henderson.
“Next year we will have a new governor. The leadership in the House is still new and finding its way. And there will be a fair amount of turnover in the Senate after this year’s election,” Steele said. “With these recent and upcoming changes in state leadership, the opportunity is sitting right there before us to move beyond the hurts and slights and frustrations of the past.”
Affiliated with GMA for years and then as a board member, Steele said the ascent to president is a kind of natural progression within the organization’s board membership. It is one that begins with 3rd vice president and progresses each year over a four-year period to president, he said.
“I’ve been very active with GMA for a number of years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my association with these great people,” Steele said Friday. “And I’ve enjoyed meeting many of the mayors and councils from around the state.”
Steele was quick to add that serving as president of the organization lets Fayetteville become better known around the state. And, for any city, being a part of the organization also provides insights into areas that can help a put a municipality on the fast-track to knowledge.
“We see communities around the state that have met challenges and you see what they’ve gone through and how they dealt with it,” he said.
Steele said that during his term as president the organization will work cooperatively with the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) and with the Georgia State School Board.
GMA currently serves 510 member cities.