Five City Commissioners are elected in nonpartisan elections for overlapping four-year terms – two from District 1, two from District 2, and one At-Large. Each January, Commissioners elect two of their fellow members to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.
Our commissioners, pictured left to right, are: Brian Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers, Kelly Walsh, Mayor Patti Garrett, and Scott Drake.
Duties of the Commissioners
The City Commissioners determine the policies of the city and enact the local laws necessary for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. They provide leadership in identifying community needs and developing programs to meet community objectives. They oversee the delivery of services to citizens and are responsible for adoption of an annual budget and the levying of taxes necessary to finance local government operations.
The City Commissioners appoint the members of a number of boards and commissions who carry out responsibilities specified by state law, the city charter, and local ordinances, including the Decatur Housing Authority, Zoning Board of Appeals, Downtown Development Authority, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Environmental Sustainability Board, and Active Living Board.
The City Commission annually appoints municipal court judges and the city attorney. Rhathelia Stroud is the chief judge, and the other judges are Berryl A. Anderson, Matthew McCoyd, and Hollie Manheimer. Two substitute judges are Charles E. Bailey and Robert N. Leitch. Bryan Downs is the city attorney, and Larry Steele is the city solicitor.
Day-to-day operations of the city's various departments and implementation of policies established by the City Commission are the responsibility of the city manager, a professional administrator appointed by the City Commission.
Meet the Commissioners
First elected November 2009
Term expires 2017
Patti Garrett was elected to the City Commission in 2009 and as Mayor Pro Tempore in 2015. She has been active in the community since moving to Decatur in 2001. Previously Patti served as chair of the Decatur Tour of Homes committee, house captain on the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project, a board member of the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, and as secretary of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association. She currently serves on the Advisory Council of New American Pathways. She attends Decatur First United Methodist Church and has served on its board of trustees.
Patti is a 2012 graduate of Leadership DeKalb, a member of the 2010 class of the Regional Leadership Institute, and serves on the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). She is active in the DeKalb Municipal Association and serves as Policy Chair. Patti also serves on the Community Resources Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission. A graduate of Texas Christian University and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Patti has taught nutrition at Georgia State University and worked as a Clinical Dietitian at Emory University Health Services. She currently provides nutrition services through PMG Nutrition LLC. Patti also received the 2010 Georgia Dietetic Association Distinguished Service to a Community Award.
She and her husband, Gary, live in the Oakhurst neighborhood.
Mayor Pro Tem
First elected November 2015
Term expires 2019
Tony Powers was elected to the City Commission in 2015. As a native of Decatur, Tony has served the Decatur community for many years. Tony grew up in the Oakhurst Community and is a proud graduate of Decatur High School.
Tony served as co-president of the Oakhurst Elementary School PTA from 2001-2002, was a founding member of the Decatur Education Foundation and served as chair of the Education Foundation from 2010-2012. He served as chair of the Housing Infill Task Force from 2007-2008 and joined the City Planning Commission in 2009. He served as Chair of the City Planning Commission, a position he held since 2012. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the South Fork Conservancy since 2012. Tony was also honored with a Hometown Hero Award in 2002.
Tony earned a degree in marketing from the University of Georgia and is a co-owner of Intown Ace Hardware. He and his wife Leisa live in the Great Lakes neighborhood, they have two daughters, Diondra and Alexandra and all are proud graduates of Decatur High School.
First elected March 2013
Term expires 2019
Born and raised in Decatur, and a graduate of Druid Hills High School, Scott has been an active member of Decatur organizations throughout his professional life. He has served in the Decatur Business Association since 1998, as a board member from 2004-2013 and as president in 2010. Scott also served on the board of directors of Our House, a non-profit organization supporting homeless families with children in Metro Atlanta, from 2005-2012. In addition, Scott has participated in many community-building Decatur events, chairing committees for the DBA Decatur Beach Party and DBA Concerts on the Square, and serving as a volunteer for the Decatur Arts Festival from 2003-2007. Scott was honored as a Decatur Hometown Hero in 2008. He is currently a member of the Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative Project Steering Committee (PSC).
Scott received his B.A. in public relations and political science from the University of Mississippi. He is a partner of the Decatur Pure Station, a full service filling station in downtown Decatur, Moe’s and Joe’s Tavern in Virginia Highlands and The Universal Joint Restaurant Group in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina. He lives in Decatur with his wife Lindsey and two daughters, McLaine and Emma.
First elected November 2015
Term expires 2019
Brian Smith was elected to Decatur’s City Commission in 2015. Prior to being elected, Brian served on the City of Decatur’s Zoning Board of Appeals from 2010 until 2015. He has held executive leadership positions with the Decatur Business Association and Winnona Park Neighborhood Association. Brian was the chair of the Winnona Park Elementary School’s Safe Routes to School program during the 2014-2015 school year.
Brian is a 2011 graduate of LEAD Atlanta and has been practicing corporate finance since 2001 at a major accounting firm. He received a BA in political science from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Georgia State University. He and his wife, Missie have two children, Madsen and Colby who attend the City Schools of Decatur.
First elected November 2017
Term expires 2021
Kelly Walsh was elected to the City Commission in 2017. Kelly has served on several boards and committees including the Decatur Active Living Advisory Board, the Clairemont Elementary PTA, and the Decatur Education Foundation PTA Council. She has also been an advocate of health and fitness through coaching Girls on the Run, serving on the board of the Atlanta Track Club, and organizing the Fifth Avenue 5K and the Mayor's Mile for the last two years. She is a member of the Decatur Business Association and is in the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2018. Kelly was honored as a Decatur Hometown Hero in 2015.
Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master of Business Administration from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. Kelly works as a residential Realtor for Keller Williams in Decatur. She lives with her husband, Pat and their two children in the Great Lakes neighborhood.