As Atlanta City Council winds down its budget process, Buckhead officials are praising the leadership offered by District 9 City Councilwoman Felicia Moore, who chaired the council’s finance committee.
Buckhead Coalition President Sam Massell said as finance chair, Moore walks a tightrope between knowing the nuances of the budget and her other responsibilities as a council member.
“I’ve not heard any complaints about her [as finance committee chairwoman] and that, in itself, is a big compliment, because that’s a heavy responsibility,” Massell said.
Moore’s district represents parts of Buckhead, a community usually associated with Councilmembers Yolanda Adrean of District 8 and Howard Shook of District 7. Moore, 50, said her district runs “from Buckhead to Bankhead” and says she enjoys its diversity. Buckhead neighborhoods in her district include Cross Creek, Hanover West and Ridgewood Heights.
“I think it is truly a blessing,” Moore said. “I am glad that I have the opportunity to represent Buckhead to Bankhead, white to black, rich to poor. The Hispanic population is heavy in my district. It’s diverse in many ways and I really enjoy it because I think it gives me a fuller view of what constituents want.”
It turns out, she said, that the needs and concerns of Atlanta residents in different parts of her district are similar.
“What I find my citizens on both sides of town want is good service delivery for the taxes they pay,” Moore said.
She devotes her full attention to the council, saying it’s difficult to find a job that will mesh with her duties as an elected official. In the past she’s worked in public relations and real estate.
But Atlanta politics was her passion, and her fondness for the city developed just as she was figuring out what she wanted to do with her life.
Moore came to Atlanta from Indianapolis, Ind. She discovered Atlanta during her senior trip in high school, while touring historically black colleges and universities.
“I hate to say it,” Moore said. “A group of us snuck away from our hotels and chaperones. I was really blown away by the nightlife of the city, by all it had to offer, being the black Mecca of the South. That attracted me.”
Moore, who holds a communications degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, moved alone to Atlanta. She said she worked at several different jobs and eventually found the one that would be her introduction to city politics. She worked as an aide for Gloria Bromell-Tinubu in council District 12.
She joined the council in 1998 after defeating two-term incumbent Jared Samples. She hadn’t previously run for office.
On the council, Moore’s developed a reputation as someone who’s willing to say “no” when everyone else on the council says “yes.” Moore said that has put her in the minority of votes on a few occasions.
Gordon Certain, president of the North Buckhead Civic Association, said he’s a fan of her work.
“She’s real,” Certain said. “She’s not easily swayed by the administration. … She makes her own mind up, and she’s not reluctant to be the only person opposing something or favoring something. She’s got a lot of integrity.”
Moore said there are two parts to being a council member. When she’s not studying the ins and outs of city policy, she’s attending neighborhood meetings.
“What I tell people is this position is two-fold,” Moore said. “What you do here at City Hall and what you do in the community, and neither really cares about the other.”
Moore took over the finance committee chair from Adrean, who called her “a fine example of a public servant.”
“She takes her job very seriously,” Adrean said. “She’s very thoughtful. She’s consistent with her views and I thought she did a very good job with the budget.”
Shook noted he’s had his differences with Moore in the past, but said he personally thinks highly of her.
“I have a lot of respect for her as a very diligent, detail-oriented, hard-working council person,” Shook said.
Moore said she plans to run for re-election in 2013, but isn’t at this time seeking a higher office, such as council president, a city-wide position. She doesn’t want to get ahead of herself, however.
“Next term I’m really interested in continuing to serve my district,” Moore said. “At that point, it will be 20 years for me.”