Each year, the Michael H.T. Lynch Scholarship is awarded to one NLC member to attend the NLC University Leadership Summit. We are thrilled to congratulate to the 2017 recipient, Mayor Patricia Garrett of Decatur, Georgia. Mayor Garrett was selected from a competitive group of essays and applications submitted by leaders from across the country.
Prior to being elected, Mayor Garrett served as a councilmember on the Decatur City Commission for eight years. Now in her second year of service, Mayor Garrett exemplifies community involvement centered around sensible ideas. Building a community around sensible practices reflects the values demonstrated by the political career and aspirations of Councilmember Michael Lynch of Kirkwood, Missouri, for whom the scholarship is named.
Mayor Garrett moved to the Decatur area 16 years ago and immediately became involved in her local community. She served as an officer in her neighborhood association, participated in the ‘litter patrol’ team and Neighborhood Watch programs, and served in leadership roles with the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project, which engages more than 1000 volunteers to make seniors’ homes safer, warmer and more energy efficient.
In addition to working with a variety of stakeholder groups and volunteers, Mayor Garrett also served the youth of her community as the liaison between a local elementary school and the Decatur City Commission. The school’s first graders were challenged to research and make recommendations to the commission on how to become more equitable, inclusive and compassionate.
Mayor Garrett expanded her worked to build inclusive communities through her involvement in an outreach program entitled, ‘Civic Conversations,’ sponsored by the Georgia Municipal Association. The city used storefront open houses to take conversations out to neighborhood groups and schools, soliciting input from a variety of stakeholders during the strategic planning process. Through the Decatur City Commission’s efforts, the city engaged more than 800 citizens who spent over 1300 hours in developing the city’s ‘Better Together Community Action Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Engagement.’
In the words of Linda Harris, chief of civic engagement, education and communication for the city of Decatur, “Mayor Patti Garrett was a strong advocate for our community-wide Better Together Initiative that resulted in our Community Action Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Engagement in 2015. Now that we are in the implementation stage, it is critical that leadership for this initiative come from all levels of the organization, particularly the elected officials.”
Mayor Garrett also serves her community through the following organizations:
- Community Resource Committee, Atlanta Regional Commission, 2017-present
- Member, Policy Advisory Committee, DeKalb Municipal Association, 2016-present
- Member, Advisory Council, New American Pathways Refugee Resettlement organization, 2014-present
- Preceptor and Mentor, Georgia State Coordinated Nutrition Program, 2008-16
- Trustee, Decatur First United Methodist Church, 2005-008
- Member, Personnel Committee, Kirkwood United Church of Christ, 2012-present
Congratulations, Mayor Garrett! We look forward to seeing you at the 2017 NLC University Summit, October 2-5, 2017 in San Diego, California.
For more information on NLC University, the Michael H.T. Lynch Scholarship and the annual NLC University Leadership Summit, please visit our website.