A new year brings a new milestone for the city of Fairburn as its first African-American female mayor took office Jan. 8.
“I am proud and humbled to serve in this capacity for all the people of Fairburn,” Mayor Elizabeth Carr-Hurst said. “Most importantly, I am an inclusive mayor for everyone.”
Carr-Hurst, a former mayor pro tem, said she gave up her term on city council – which expires in 2019 and will be filled later this year – and ran for higher office to move the city forward.
“After being on city council the past 10 years, I saw visions for the city that had not been materialized,” she said. “I wanted to use my expertise and knowledge to make those visions a reality.”
Carr-Hurst has earned high-level certifications from the National League of Cities, on whose board she serves, and the Georgia Municipal Association
While she ran unopposed in the 2017 election after then-Mayor Mario Avery declined to run again, Carr-Hurst campaigned actively.
Her platform was business growth, beautification, infrastructure rebuilding and effective operations.
Carr-Hurst said the latter is already in place with customer service training for employees.
Clean and beautiful businesses can compete for a new award.
Business growth and infrastructure are on track, Carr-Hurst said, with existing economic development staff, $13.7 million in transportation special purpose local option sales taxes and a recent land donation.
It adds up to enhancing the qualities that drew the Montgomery, Alabama native to Fairburn in 2004 after more than 30 years in the Atlanta area.
“I like the hometown feeling,” Carr-Hurst said. “It’s not too big.”
Another Fairburn fan is new City Administrator Donna M. Gayden.
In December, she filled a spot left vacant by Tom Barber in July 2016 and held down in the interim by Fire Chief Stephen Hood.
Gayden said she could tell the city holds true to its motto, Situated to Succeed.
“It is a thriving city with opportunity for massive growth,” the Chicago-area native said. “The future for this city is bright.”
As city administrator, Gayden is responsible for Fairburn’s day-to-day operations, with oversight of laws, contracts, budgets and personnel.
Employee training and community needs assessment were her first priority, she said, while economic development is the next.
Gayden earned degrees in tax law, accountancy and communications from Chicago-area higher education establishments John Marshall School of Law, Governors State University and Columbia College, respectively.
Her half-dozen certifications in finance and leadership include the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.