Dianne Fries (District 2), Karen Meinzen McEnerny (District 6) and Chip Collins (District 3) are all preparing to move forward to lives outside of politics. They will pass the torch to new council members at its Jan. 7 meeting.
Fries, denied a third term by challenger Ken Dishman in November, had served on the chief governing body since the city’s inception eight years ago.
“The thing I will remember most is how much fun it was for all of us, elected officials, in creating this city,” Fries said. “It’s been such a fast-paced [time], especially the last two years.
“Things have been moving so quickly, with everybody working so hard. It’s like a family with a new baby — it’s a lot of hard work, but you love every minute of it.”
The near future will find Fries helping to coordinate the city’s upcoming MLK holiday celebration as well as the annual Global Imports Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge.
She issued the following advice for the incoming council: “Be respectful to each other … and validate the facts before reacting.”
Like Fries, McEnerny is a founding city council member.
She elected to walk away — after serving two terms — based on her belief in political office term limits.
“I knew there were some outstanding [candidates] out there who could bring fresh ideas and new alliances to the table,” McEnerny said.
The two-term councilwoman acknowledged that the “love, support, respect and honor” demonstrated by constituents is what she will most remember about her tenure.
In regards to her future, McEnerny said she is mulling volunteer leadership positions in the non-profit realm.
Going forward, McEnery acknowledged concerns about the “ongoing destruction” and environmental damage wrought by construction and development in her district.
“Property owners are screaming for help … about the inability of builders to control runoff and erosion,” she said.
Collins also declined a bid at another term, his second. He was not available for an interview last week but talked about his departure in August when announcing his intentions.
“It really comes down to two things: family and business, and really the overarching theme between those two things is time,” Collins, a partner with Burr and Forman, a law firm in Atlantic Station, said. “I have absolutely loved my time on the city council and have always thought I would run again, because I have enjoyed it so much and wanted to see some of these big projects through to the end, such as the downtown city center and the park projects such as [the] Abernathy [Greenway]. But as it got closer to qualifying and I really had to sit down and think about this and look inward, I finally concluded that there are only so many hours in a day. An hour I spent on city council work was an hour I spent away from my four school-age kids or my law practice.”