Ward II Albany City Commissioner Ivey Hines says his record in office shows that he’s gotten things done to benefit the community, and that’s why he deserves a full four-year term in office. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)
ALBANY — As he campaigns to reclaim the Ward II Albany City Commission seat he’s held for the past two years after winning a hotly contested special election to complete the term vacated by now-Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany Information Technology Specialist Ivey Hines says he’s offering a simple enough message.
“I get stuff done,” he says.
Immediately after he makes the bold statement, Hines presents his evidence: Working with Georgia Legal Services before accepting the IT position at the Marine base, a position he’s held now for 30 years; pastor of Thunder Temple Missionary Baptist Church, where he’s also served as youth minister; writing a mentoring program that’s now used throughout the Dougherty County School System; charter president of the Blacks in Government organization; completion of a citywide recreation plan; chairing a 28-member Missionary Baptist association.
“Experience is important,” Hines says. “That’s why I’m encouraging the people of Ward II to compare my record with my opponents’ records. What I’ve done as a member of the City Commission is take action. I do things.”
Hines will face the dual challenge of first-time candidates Bobby Coleman, a medical transportation specialist, and Demetrious Love, the director of marketing at Albany State University, in the Nov. 5 municipal election. The ordained minister said he’s used his two years in office to prove himself.
“I’ve lived in this district all my life, and I’ve always had trouble rationalizing how someone can move into a district just to run for office,” Hines said. “That’s why it’s important for the voters of Ward II to see the records of the candidates. Once they do, I think they’ll see a sharp contrast.”
Hines said his record includes some significant work on the commission during his two-year tenure.
“(Serving a shorter-than-usual term), I knew I had to jump right into it when I won the election,” he said. “I had to figure things out quick. I think I did that. I’ve had an impact working on critical issues like our budget, meeting the needs of our public safety personnel and pushing to create a comprehensive strategic plan that will take us through the next five years and beyond.”
Hines’ ongoing efforts to create a workable strategic plan is one of the current issues being taken up by the commission.
“We have a city manager who does a good job of managing the city’s business,” Hines said. “What we have to realize as members of the commission is that we have been elected as leaders. I tell people our job is to determine tomorrow’s yesterday today. To do that, we need a plan. And to have a workable plan, we need a buy-in from everyone. We can’t make it work without the city, the (Dougherty) County Commission, the school board, our colleges, the business community, the religious institutions, and people young, old, black, white, Hispanic … they all have to come to the table.
“To do that, we have to have a process in place that includes everyone. Perhaps we can create a steering group where all segments are represented. Then when decisions are made, the whole community will know what’s going on. They’ll see and be a part of the process.”
Hines, who brings services weekly at Thunder Temple Baptist and works a full-time job at MCLB-Albany as well as serving on the commission, said he’s never been one to take the easy way out.
“When I first came out of high school, I wanted so badly to be in the military,” he said. “Because of my vision (Hines is now blind from a degenerative disease), I couldn’t do that. That’s why working at the base is so rewarding to me. I look at my service on the commission as a continuation of what I’ve always done. It’s an opportunity to have an impact on the entire city.”
Hines said he is concerned that the city’s strategic plan include a viable economic development strategy that will allow city leaders to broaden Albany’s tax base.
“You improve your tax base by bringing new employees into your community,” he said. “The employees come where there are jobs. That’s where our ‘Deal-Closing Fund’ (which utilizes some $30 million in utility credits as incentives for new business location or expansion of existing businesses) has the potential to be a powerful tool. Because we have this money available, it’s brought the state to the table. Where we wouldn’t have been considered as a viable business location by state economic developers in the past, this fund makes us a legitimate option.
“Frankly, I think it’s just a matter of time before we make a significant economic announcement. Our folks are going to keep talking about our assets, and sooner or later we’re going to stumble onto just the right situation. We’ve started to create that kind of chatter all over the state. Businesses are starting to realize that Georgia’s not just about Atlanta.”
Hines said he wants to be a part of city government so that he can play a role in making Albany the kind of place where families want to settle.
“My daughter is doing fine up in North Carolina, and I’m really proud of her,” he said. “But she lives too far away from her daddy. We’ve got to utilize our institutions of higher education to teach the skills needed to have a viable work force. Work force development and economic development go hand-in-hand. We’ve got to get our young people involved in programs that allow them to build careers, not just jobs.
“I’ve heard other candidates campaign about how they plan to ‘bring jobs’ to our community. Jobs are certainly important to the kind of future we want to create in Albany, but we need to remember a very important fact: The City Commission — our city government — does not ‘create jobs.’ Businesses create jobs.”
Hines smiles as a visitor considers the seeming contradictory statement.
“We as members of the city government want to do everything we can to facilitate job growth in our community,” he says. “But we can’t create jobs. What we can do is create an environment that is conducive to job growth. We can create opportunities that let businesses know we will all be working together for the same goal: economic prosperity. That’s a situation where we all win.”