Patti Garrett was appointed Decatur mayor for the fourth consecutive one-year term Monday night. She is shown here several weeks ago displaying a miniature replica of a sculpture entitled “Start Where You Are,” honoring longtime City Manager Peggy Merriss who recently retired. When finished the sculpture will reside in Legacy Park. Courtesy of Greg White

Garrett named Decatur mayor for fourth term

Decatur’s commission unanimously appointed Patti Garrett as mayor for her fourth consecutive one-year term Monday night, with Tony Powers appointed mayor pro tem for the second straight year. Garrett just completed her ninth year on the commission and Powers, a lifelong city resident, his third.

Decatur is the only Atlanta-area municipality that doesn’t popularly elect its mayor, instead appointing the position annually from among its five-person commission. Although common in other states, only a handful of Georgia cities follow this practice including Griffin, Rome, Toccoa and Dalton.

Garrett said the job’s become more complex since she joined the commission in 2009.

“More people are on email and social media and expect faster answers to their questions and concerns,” she said Monday. “But also, in the last few years we’ve seen a lot of major planning initiatives take shape. For instance, the downtown master plan has been around for a long time, but now it’s coming to fruition.”

The coming year’s major project is the third community-driven strategic plan, the others in 2000 and 2010, both extensions and updates of the original 46-page “Decatur Town Center Plan, 1982.” Also, it’s anticipated that sometime this spring the 77-acre Legacy Park (formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home) along with 15 residential properties on Derrydown Way will get annexed into the city.

This time last year the commission’s compensation raise took effect, with the mayor’s annual salary jumping from $6,000 to $15,000 while remaining commissioners went from $4,800 to $12,000. It was the board’s first raise since Jan. 1, 1994.

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