One of the perks of having a leadership role in city government is the opportunity to attend the annual convention of the Georgia Municipal Association being held this weekend in Savannah.
Although the getaway sounds like fun, Gainesville Mayor Danny Dunagan is quick to call it “a working weekend.”
“We got all types of forums, seminars and classes to attend,” Dunagan said.
According to the official GMA program, Saturday’s schedule includes the daylong Municipal Training Institute. Topics covered include understanding and complying with environmental regulations, how to effectively brand your city, the opportunities and challenges of an aging population, small town redevelopment and new, emerging technology for cities.
Dunagan said he’s skipping the classes this year because of his GMA leadership responsibilities. He is finishing his term as president of the association’s 2nd District, but said he’s been asked to continue chairing the Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee.
The 2nd District includes cities in 13 Northeast Georgia counties — Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, White, Lumpkin, Banks, Towns, Rabun, Union, Habersham, Stephens, Franklin and Hart.
As a committee policy chair, Dunagan will remain a member of the GMA board of directors.
Dunagan said he’s responsible for scheduling speakers and moderating a committee program on Georgia’s “water wars” with Florida and Alabama. The mayor said speakers will address the latest issues related to regional water disputes, water quality and aging infrastructure.
As a policy chairman, Dunagan also serves on the GMA Legislative Policy Council on state and federal issues.
All council members will attend the convention, except Sam Couvillon, who had a scheduling conflict, Dunagan said.
“Everyone attending will be taking the classes Saturday,” the mayor said.
City Manager Bryan Lackey also will attend and make a presentation on Gainesville’s housing initiative, which includes a plan to address blighted properties in residential areas by providing incentives for property owners to demolish properties that are not economically feasible to bring up to code.
Approximately 1,500 elected officials have registered for the GMA event at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, according to spokeswoman Amy Henderson. There are some 3,200 elected officials in Georgia, she said.
The convention wraps up Tuesday.