In Their Own Words: Meet District 3’s Sherman E. McDonald
City of South Fulton residents are set to vote for their first mayor and city council, with early voting starting on Feb. 27. We reached out to the candidates with 10 questions to learn more about them and let residents hear from them “in their own words.” (All responses were sent to us electronically and have not been edited or altered in any way.)
Q1: Please provide your name and confirm if you have you ever run for office in the past (if so, for what seat) OR held public office in the past.
A1. Sherman E. McDonald. I have been a past, I have served as president of two Homeowners Associations. (Northland Gardeners Subdivision — Southfield, MI, 2000–2004), and Ashley Meadows Subdivision — Covington, GA, 2010–2014).
Q2: In what ways have you contributed to the City of South Fulton through community involvement or other initiatives/efforts prior to announcing your candidacy?
A2. I have been a member of the Homeowners Association of Pittman Park Subdivision for three years. I served as a member of the Advisory Committee for two years. In approximately 2012–2014, I was also an active member of the Georgia State University’s Military Veterans Association.
Q3: What is the most pressing issue you believe the City of South Fulton is facing and what will you do to address it?
A3. Develop a sound financial budget that will provide for all essential services, such as safety and security, for all residents. The financial budget is an important factor as to how the City will administrate its financial income, so that they do not burden the next generation with debt. This can only be achieved with open transparency of all the indebtedness of the city. The City must be committed to the safety of its citizens, by supporting law enforcement and ensuring that adequate policies and procedures are enforced and all citizens are treated equally. The City of South Fulton’s court system must provide equal and just enforcement of the law as to all citizens, regardless of race, creed, gender or color. The above three issues are the most pressing issues in establishing our city government.
Q4: What experience and training do you have that makes you uniquely qualified to hold office in the new city?
A4. Thirty plus years as a member of the United States Air Force has provided me with management and supervisory experience; tested under stressful conditions, two combat tours in Vietnam and Desert Storm. Further, I have managed million-dollar defense contracts for the Department of Defense, while working for the Defense Logistics Agency. As a supervisor of the M1A1 Tank Program, I managed turret stabilization and fire control systems. As a civilian, I have been an International Standard Organizations (ISO) Quality and Environmental Systems’ expert. I have worked as a Corporate Vice President of Quality and Customer Satisfaction for GSE and Advanced Industrial Technologies, a division of United Dominion Industries. In that position, I was responsible for five companies’ quality programs and all managerial responsibilities I also have had international experience, working in Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic (Chrysler), Brazil (Ford Motor Co.), Mexico (Mercedes Benz) and Canada (Chrysler and Ford), as an automotive quality management expert. All budgets were brought in timely. I managed a $1.5 million dollar budgets for Advance Industrial Technologies.
Q5: In your opinion, how can the City of South Fulton spur economic development?
A5. The City of South Fulton must be willing to commit to innovative ideas, which will allow firms or businesses to thrive together by having live, work, play integrated communities, within small physical locales, reducing traffic and creating close knit communities. Creating jobs and increasing the economy should be the City of South Fulton’s utmost priority. The City must be willing to work with local universities, such as Georgia State University, which has the ability to provide input from real estate developers, investors and financial professionals. Further, acquiring federal grants to lure new businesses to create jobs within the City of South Fulton.
Q6: What measures would you champion in order to combat crime and keep residents safe?
A6. The City of South Fulton has a projected financial budget of approximately, $17,901,272. (Based on the 2010 census, taken from the Fiscal Research Center’s Report on the City of South Fulton: Potential Revenues and Expenditures, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, January 2014). Public Safety should be considered a top priority as we transition from an unincorporated area to a city. The community and the police department need to work together. My research determined that residents and businesses are particularly concerned with gas station safety, shootings, car-jackings and B&E.
- Propose doing a survey of District 3 to determine what crimes have been happening in the area;
- Propose hiring a liaison between the community and the police department to discern patterns of crime in District 3 so that underlining issues can be addressed effectively;
- Since the police will have less of an area to patrol, propose having more of a police presence in the community to help deter crime; and/or
- Propose incorporating a crime prevention program within the police department that would recruit residents to volunteer to be trained to patrol, report suspicious activity and provide a uniformed presence in areas where police presence is less pronounced. (do research for grants that allow for such training);
- If you want to touch on what’s been going on with police shootings, the Anti-Defamation League has created the Anti-Bias Training for Law Enforcement Professionals program, that will help increase awareness of attitudes and behaviors to help police officers appreciate different cultures.
Q7: Do you think there’s a likelihood that the city will need additional tax increases in the future?
A7. There is always a possibility that a need for increased revenue may arise in the future. To simply state that the additional revenue must be derived from a tax increase, shows that there was no planning or budgeting for future needs. We must first examine our spending to evaluate what may be eliminated or reduced to avoid the need to increase taxes. The ultimate goal, should be increase revenue through growth, to that end, the taxes may remain the same.
Q8: What is the greatest challenge that you think the new city will face and what would you do if elected to combat it?
A8. The greatest challenge of a new city is the ability to work with neighboring cities and/or communities. While new policies and procedures are being developed for the City of South Fulton, there will be external pressures to follow the footsteps of other pre-existing cities. The City of South Fulton should foster innovative ideas that create economic growth and cooperation that will benefit the City of South Fulton as well as neighboring cities. The City of South Fulton must draw upon the input of the Mayor, City Council and other public officials as to addressing questions that concern the rise and fall of the economy and how to attract and retain residents of all ages and avoid becoming obsolete.
Q9: 59% of voters cast their ballots in support of cityhood, 41% opposed and there are a number of residents who did not vote at all. A. Do you think as an elected official you have a responsibility to cultivate a sense of unity and create bridges among communities that are still at odds following the election? If so, how would you propose doing that?
A9. I believe that elected officials have the responsibility to cultivate and create a sense of unity on any major issue that has a divisive effect upon the community. Even with transparency of the issues, there will always be some division among the constituents. Corruption, dishonesty and greed must be eliminated to maintain transparency. Honesty and truth are the best unifiers to cultivate a sense of unity.
Q10: Have you been endorsed by any elected officials (past or present), political or faith leaders, associations or organizations?
A10. Presently, I do not have any endorsements.
For more information about Sherman E. McDonald, visit www.facebook.com/councilman2017.
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