Candidate Q&A – Melissa Manrow, City Commission post 1A
In an effort to help voters prepare for the Nov. 7 elections, Decaturish sent questions to candidates for the Decatur City Commission Post 1A, which is being vacated by Fred Boykin. Early voting begins Oct. 16. To see the City Commission district maps, click here. Decaturish will also be hosting a candidates forum at the Decatur branch of the DeKalb County Public Library on Sept. 25. For more information about that event, click here.
1) Why are you running for the Decatur City Commission seat?
Decatur is a richer community because of the diversity of housing, business, economic status, race and family type that we’ve embodied for many years. I am running to champion that diversity. We are stronger when a variety of faces and experiences have a place in the conversation and in planning for our future.
2) What makes you a better candidate than your opponents?
My years of experience: as a Decatur resident for over 15 years, I have been closely involved in the growth and careful planning that have made the city of Decatur such a great place to live. I have served on the Decatur Planning Commission since 2010, on the Decatur Infill Task Force in 2005, and on the Decatur Heights Neighborhood Association executive committee from 2004-2008. I am also a graduate of Leadership DeKalb, class of 2002, and have worked in county government since 2001. In addition to my service as a not-for-profit board member, I am an attorney, with a law degree from the University of Georgia. My experience working with the city and county have provided years of preparation for this seat on the commission. I require no on-the-job training, and will get right to work keeping this city great, and making it even greater.
3) What do you think is Decatur’s greatest strength?
Our sense of community, which springs from our citizens’ involvement. Decatur has been very intentional in its hard work and careful planning for the future. As a city, we must continue to nurture and welcome involvement and input from our citizens. Our best ideas don’t necessarily come from the top, but from the collaboration of our residents who are committed to improving the quality of our city.
4) What do you think is Decatur’s biggest challenge?
As Decatur continues to grow, with new residents attracted by both the quality of life and an excellent school system, we are experiencing great increases in housing prices. The city’s leadership needs to foster access to housing choices for “all ages and stages,” as well as holding on to our sense of community.
5) How would you address what you feel is Decatur’s biggest challenge?
I plan to examine best practices for housing affordability and accessibility, then engage the community in a discussion of the best fit for our town. I believe that together we will keep making Decatur greater.
6) What are the top two or three things you plan to focus on during your term as a commissioner?
§ Fostering access to housing for “all ages and stages.” At every stage of life, where we live is the foundation for our health, education, safety and economic well-being. Our home town should have a variety of housing options that are affordable to all members of our diverse community.
§ Encouraging strong succession planning among Decatur’s senior staff. The City of Decatur has a City Manager form of government, and several of the senior management team (most with more than 25 years of experience) are considering their possible retirement within the next three years.
§ Supporting the Decatur Police Department in its strategic planning process, as it continues its careful self-examination of best practices, balancing the demands of community relations and engagement, transparency, and careful fiscal oversight.
7) If elected, do you promise to conduct yourself in an ethical and transparent manner?
Yes! In fact, I’ve taken the Pro-Truth Pledge, which I believe all current and aspiring elected officials should take. https://www.protruthpledge.org/