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Henry, Clayton officials picked for leadership institute

Four government leaders in Henry and Clayton counties, will take part in an endeavor designed to address ongoing development trends in the Atlanta area.

The Atlanta Regional Commission selected Hampton City Manager Andy Pippin, Stockbridge City Councilman Mark Alarcon, City of Morrow Police Chief Jeff Baker, and Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton, to study the 10-county region during the 22nd annual Regional Leadership Institute (RLI), scheduled for Sept. 11-16 at Simons Island, Ga.

Fifty-six leaders representing public, private and non-profit entities from the metro- Atlanta area were chosen for the project. The Atlanta Regional Commission is the official planning agency for a region that includes Clayton, Henry, Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta, and 67 other municipalities.

"This leadership program brings together people who are already leaders in their local communities, and helps them see things through regional and national lens," said Atlanta Regional Commission Chairman Tad Leithead. "RLI helps community leaders reach across jurisdictional lines, and develop the strong ties necessary for a regional stewardship network. This type of regional vision and cooperation is critical for the future of the Atlanta region."

Pippin said he submitted an application for the institute, last year, and included his participation in Hampton's budget for 2011-12. He is hopeful the institute will give him insight on the impact development in his city would have on other areas.

"Not only do I have to think about the welfare of the city, but I have to think about the region, and how decisions made in other parts of the region affect Hampton," said Pippin. "The program is geared toward looking at things as a region. Whenever you plan transportation improvements, or any type of development, how that will affect others in the region is important."

Commissioner Singleton said she is looking forward to the institute, because it will enable her to learn how leaders in other areas approach issues, including transportation, housing, budgets, and the need for more revenue.

"I think more than ever, we're at a point in our society when it's important for leaders to come together, and share ideas concerning these issues," she said. "I'm excited to get to share these different points of view with members of the private sector, government leaders and private business owners."

More than 1,000 leaders from the business, government and non-profit sectors have completed RLI's curriculum, which was created in 1991, and "presents the diverse challenges and issues facing the Atlanta region," according to Kellie Brownlow, chief of the Atlanta Regional Commission's Governmental Services Division.

"Topics range from transportation and air quality, to education, water and economic development," Brownlow said.

For more information about the Regional Leadership Institute, visit www.atlantaregional.com/rli.