Mary Norwood: ‘We’ve got to get the city clean’

City pensions

As a council member ... we were told we could afford it, plain and simple. What I asked ... was how on earth did this get so out of control? [The] answer to me was new hires and raises after the council had approved the pension plan.

We have got to go in and, literally with a scalpel, not with a sledgehammer, and fix what needs to be fixed.

City finances

One of the reasons I didn’t vote for the budget — the tax increase — was because I didn’t get the information I wanted in 2008.

What I’ve seen is it’s very difficult to get an apples-to-apples comparison. I understand numbers; I just don’t trust what we’ve got. I’m not saying anyone has done anything wrong, but the opaque accounting that we’ve had has been problematic.

I’ve said I will do a top-to-bottom comprehensive audit.

City management

I believe each department needs to be ... assessed for what are the critical functions they’re performing.

We have 7,800 employees on the city payroll. Any company of any size knows exactly what their employees are doing. I wanted that same kind of analysis, so I can go back to the citizens and say we have right-sized and we have right-positioned.

Public safety

The level of violence ... it’s so random, it’s very, very alarming.

One of the main things we need to do is address the repeat offender issue. Other cities ... have repeat offender units that literally shadow known repeat offenders.

Certainly, we need to spend money on public safety, but it is a reallocation of existing resources. We ... need to restore the annual [pay raise] increments for police and fire. We hire police, but we don’t retain them, so we’ve got to deal with those issues.


We have half of the city that has not seen any economic development of any size in 50 years.

We have an incredible opportunity to knit neighborhoods back together.

The first thing we have to do is to have the city’s processes working well. . Other entities do not have this same level of challenge. We’ve got to get the city clean. ... We are not ready for company.

Yes, we need to ... have affordable housing at every single level of the socioeconomic spectrum, including rental. We now have ... people buying homes for prices we would never have believed.


I’m a big proponent of the Beltline, I loved the ‘Brain Train.’ I love all of the connectivity we can possibly do.

How are we going to fund it? Hopefully with a TSPLOST. (A transportation special local option sales tax). I was sorry that did not pass in the state Legislature. Or, as some people have recommended, a penny sales tax.

Region and state

I’ve been involved with the [Atlanta] Regional Commission ... and have deep ties throughout the region as well as throughout the state.

What I don’t think will work is to isolate Atlanta; we have done way too much of that. I am very hopeful that being a transplant to Atlanta will be helpful in the state Legislature, and in state government.