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Financial Freedom - Be wise, Pt 2

Published:Monday | September 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Council Woman Karen Meinzen McEnerny of Sandy Springs, Georgia. - Contributed

Elaine Grant Bryan, Contributor

As we navigate towards the end of this recession, let's continue to adopt valuable tips from successful leaders and entrepreneurs. One of the best ways to learn is from the mistakes of others and from the examples of great people.

Council Woman Karen Meinzen McEnerny of Sandy Springs, Georgia, shares the following wise tips below:

1. Financial freedom is important to a country as it gives flexibility to meet the needs of tax payers.

2. It is important to aspire towards being debt free.

3. Fiscal prudence is vital in the establishment of any city.

4. It is a privilege and honour to serve others in your community.

Since Sandy Springs became a city, I have been asked by people throughout the United States and abroad about the success of this recently formed Georgia city. I asked McEnerny, the representative for District 6, about it. What motivated her to be a leader? She said the creation of the new city in 2005 was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become part of the ground floor of governance for 99,000 people.

"As the first elected city council member from the district, I could help set the tone of fiscal prudence; establish a unique governance system using a private-public partnership to deliver city services through a private-sector contractor; implement better zoning decisions, governed by balanced growth, where infrastructure could support higher density; protect our prized neighbourhoods from intrusive uses; and improve the quality of life for all corporate and private citizens through sound and balanced ordinances and strong and effective police, fire and emergency services," she said.

Meaningful Collaboration

Regarding community service, she noted that, as an elected official, the opportunity to work on issues of critical importance to constituents is the key to public service. "I never fail to be impressed with the sophistication, intellect and commitment of these citizens to make a difference in the community. They care, they are engaged, she said."

Whether it is from assisting with pothole repairs or implementing a strategy to deny a cell-tower application in their neighbourhood, it is the opportunity to work and collaborate with citizens that makes a difference. This collaboration eventually leads to making the citizens and community wealthier. This can be done anywhere in the world, including Jamaica.

Municipalities must become financially free, and be flexible enough to meet the needs of its taxpayers, like superior policing, fire protection, curing years of deferred maintenance of roadways, and installing proper drainage systems. McEnerny said the city's police and firemen were provided with adequate pension benefits and its other city staff compensated by employers' families and children, to name a few. Financial freedom is flexibility to adapt to changing needs, like bridge replacement during an emergency without raising taxes.

McEnerny attributes her success as a leader to staying connected to the thoughts, concerns and values of her constituency and effectuating changes based on those needs. "An engaged citizenry will always be the foundation of good governance. It is a privilege to serve."

Councilwoman Karen McEnerny is a good example of someone who used her position as the first elected city council member for the City of Sandy Springs District 6 to set the tone for fiscal prudence and play a significant role in improving the quality of life for all citizens.

Elaine Grant Bryan is an empowerment speaker, 2010-11 Georgia Counselor of the Year, District V1 LSS graduate, recipient of numerous awards, real estate expert on HGTV & Fine Living channels. Send feedback/and questions to