A changing of the guard recently took place in Chamblee, a city that’s been undergoing its own transformation over the past few years.

Brian Mock, a two-term councilmember, was sworn in as the city’s first LGBTQ mayor recently along with two new members of city leadership. They’ll have to oversee and manage the metro Atlanta city that grew the fastest over the past decade, raising questions about housing costs and affordability.

Mock, who ran unopposed for mayor, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s honored his neighbors trust him to lead Chamblee through its continuing period of change.

“I certainly recognize that being mayor and being gay gives me a platform that others may not necessarily have, a platform that I will continue to use to better our community,” Mock said, joining two other LGBTQ mayors in DeKalb County — Doraville’s Joseph Geierman and Pine Lake’s Melanie Hammett. “It’s truly an honor to serve as Chamblee’s first LGBTQ+ mayor.”

Chamblee, DeKalb’s fourth most populous city, effectively tripled its population since 2010. Due mostly to two annexations, the city has grown to more than 30,000 residents and is rapidly developing.

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Eric Clarkson, who served as the city’s mayor since 2005, said the population boom has brought many new housing and development projects to the city. He said he trusts Mock to continue that growth streak and pick up what his administration started.

“I know that Brian is going to do a phenomenal job,” Clarkson said during a swearing in ceremony last Thursday. “... What makes it so much easier for me (to leave office) is thinking about having Mayor Mock in the City of Chamblee.”

Three councilmembers were also sworn in to fill their roles at City Hall. John Mesa, the city’s last mayor pro tem, was elected to his third term representing District 1, and he’ll be joined by newcomers Jimmy Furst and Elmer Veith. Furst is filling the city’s at-large council seat, succeeding Mock, and Veith is the first person elected to represent Chamblee’s newly created District 4 — a result of those recent annexations.

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Mock said the new city leadership will need to address living costs in the city and actively try to create and preserve affordable housing.

“We’re losing some good folks because they just can’t afford to live here,” Mock said. “There’s no easy answer for this, but we must look at every option and use every tool in our belt to open doors for those who want to call Chamblee home.”

He added that he would ramp up resources to address homelessness in the city, including additional mental health and addiction counseling services.

At the swearing in ceremony, elected leaders from throughout north DeKalb were in attendance, including officials from Doraville, Dunwoody and nearby Norcross. Mock said working with neighboring cities will be a priority for his administration.

“I’m not a border guard. I’m protective of our city limits only when it’s something that hurts us,” he said. “I’ve always believed that if something good is going on in our neighbor’s backyard, let’s get in on it.”

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