Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
SAVANNAH -- Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Georgia Municipal Training Institute at the Georgia Municipal Association's 80th annual convention here last week.
To qualify for the award, a city official must complete a minimum of 120 units of credit, including nine required courses, and the Robert E. Knox Municipal Leadership Institute, which consists of a series of more than 40 six-unit courses.
"I can tell anyone who thinks participation in events like the GMA convention is just a paid vacation that they couldn't be more wrong," Hubbard said. "It was work, from early in the morning throughout the day. We had classes from 8:30 (a.m.) to 3:30 (p.m.), and when the discussions were good, we only took a break for lunch. There was information sent ahead for some of the classes, and I was thinking, 'I didn't bargain for homework.'
"But I've found that these classes give officials an opportunity to learn things that will help make their cities better. Like one of the classes this year was on health care issues. From that class I'll be able to come back to Albany and say, 'Are we doing these things we're required to do? Do our employees have all the information they need?' It's time well-spent."
Hubbard said one of the sessions at a past GMA meeting led directly to the Albany City Commission passing recent legislation to increase the hotel/motel tax in the city, a move that will bring almost $200,000 a year in new revenue to the city.
"I found out about the hotel/motel tax legislation (which allowed cities in the state to increase the tax rate on hotel and motel stays by 1 percent) that the Legislature had passed a couple of years before," the mayor said. "I had (City Attorney) Nathan Davis look into it, and we passed that legislation earlier this year.
"Those are the kinds of things that can really benefit the city."
Hubbard holds a number of key positions within the GMA hierarchy, which made her already busy schedule at the convention even busier. She serves on the GMA Budget Committee, is a member of the organization's board of directors, was the GMA vice president and now is the president for District 10, served on the HUB Cities Mayor's Initiative and chaired the organization's Municipal Training Board.
"Trust me, there was no time to shop or do any of the other things I might have wanted to do," Hubbard laughed. "But all of the work is important to the city. It can make a difference in our future."
"(Receiving the Certificate of Excellence) is an outstanding achievement," GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton said. "We commend Mayor Hubbard for this accomplishment and for the dedication she's shown in using this valuable resource to become a more effective city official."
Based in Atlanta, the Georgia Municipal Association is a voluntary, nonprofit organization that provides legislatibe advocacy, research, training, employee benefit and technical consulting services to its 500 member cities.