The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) recognized LaGrange and former mayor Jeff Lukken during its annual convention in Savannah this week; Lukken was inducted into the Municipal Government Hall of Fame and the city of LaGrange received the City of Ethics designation at the conference on Monday.
The Hall of Fame honors municipal officials who “exemplify the best in public service and have made extraordinary contributions to their communities and Georgia cities,” according to a GMA press release.
Lukken’s highlighted accomplishments included his 16 years as mayor during which he worked with the city council to eliminate property taxes. GMA also recognized that LaGrange’s police and fire services became nationally recognized for being the best in their perspective fields during Lukken’s term, and the city began building its program of broadband infrastructure allowing the city to offer free Internet to households due to a creative public/private partnership with a local cable provider in 2002.
“There are so many successes that can be attributed to Mayor Lukken,” said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton in the press release. “He was instrumental in creating many initiatives that have significantly improved public services and the quality of life in this community. He was also a great friend to GMA and made our organization stronger through his participation.”
Lukken also served on GMA’s Board of Directors and Legislative Policy Council; He served on the Governor’s Technology Task Force, the Governor’s Rural Development Council and an Energy Council.
Also at the GMA conference Monday, LaGrange joined the more than 200 cities that are designated as a “City of Ethics.”
The City of Ethics program began in 1999 to encourage cities to adopt and adhere to a set of ethical principles and adopt a local ethics ordinance.
LaGrange council had voted last month to approve an ethics ordinance, which contained guidelines for conduct, conflicts of interests, prohibitions, rules and procedures for complaints and appeals, penalties, etc.
LaGrange and each city certified as a city of ethics are required to apply for re-certification every four years.
“I appreciate the council for unanimously passing the ethics ordinance and ethics resolution that enabled us to receive this statement,” said Mayor Jim Thornton at the Tuesday council meeting. “It’s an important statement we can send to the population of LaGrange and also other cities across the state.”
Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and counseling services to its 520 member cities.