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Mayor Thornton to be GMA president

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton will be inducted as the Georgia Municipal Association’s (GMA) President on Sunday, according to a City of LaGrange press release.

The ceremony will be held during the GMA’s annual meeting this weekend in Savannah.

“I am very excited about taking on this leadership role at GMA,” Thornton said.

“Through its member services and its networking, training, and advocacy programs, GMA is a tremendous resource to all 537 of its member cities. LaGrange has benefited from the work of GMA over the years, and I have enjoyed being active with the association. I appreciate the confidence of those GMA members who have given me the opportunity to serve our state and its cities in this position.”

Thornton explained that as GMA president, he will work with the board of directors to provide overall leadership and policy direction for the association.

“GMA is the principal advocate for Georgia cities at the state and federal level and leads the discussion of state policies as they affect local communities,” he said.  “GMA also provides a range of services to our member cities, including lease financing, retirement benefits, and risk management services.”

Thornton will be the third LaGrange mayor to serve as president of GMA, according to the press release. LaGrange Mayor R. S. O’Neal was elected president in 1944, and LaGrange Mayor Frank Tigner was elected president in 1955. Many LaGrange mayors and city council members have served on the GMA board and on its committees throughout the organization’s history.

Thornton has served on the GMA’s Board of Directors and has chaired the Legislative Policy Council, the Federal Policy Council, the Member Services Advisory Council, and the Municipal Government Policy Committee within the GMA. He was appointed as a co-chair for the GMA Equity and Inclusion Commission.

“GMA was founded in 1933 by Georgia cities in response to a legislative attempt by the Georgia General Assembly to curtail local autonomy,” said the press release. “Dozens of cities met in Macon that year and organized the Georgia Municipal Association under the leadership of its first President, Atlanta Mayor James L. Key.”

GMA had 56 “charter members” in 1933. Today, all 537 cities in Georgia are members. LaGrange was one of the original charter members. The Atlanta-based GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and technical assistance to its member cities.