Bill Floyd, mayor of Decatur for the last 14 years, announced Thursday that he'll resign to work with the Dunwoody-based Pendleton Consulting Group, effective Jan. 7.
In a statement released to Patch and other local news outlets, Floyd said he'd be assisting businesses and local governments around Georgia and "there is the possibility that some of the work that I will be doing might be considered by some to present a conflict of interest."
Floyd has been Decatur's northside city commissioner since 1991, served as mayor pro tem from 1994 to 1997 and mayor since 1998. In Decatur, the other commissioners choose the mayor, not the voters.
On Jan. 7, the commission will pick a new mayor. A press release from city hall said the commission will meet Jan. 22 and is expected to call a special election for March 19 to fill Floyd's seat.
Floyd's influence was felt outside Decatur. He served as president of the Georgia Municipal Association, chairman of the Metropolitan Atlanta Mayor’s Association and on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Along with big names like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, he was a member of the executive committee of the Regional Transportation Roundtable. Voters shot down the November 2012 referendum, but Floyd interacted with leaders and residents throughout metro Atlanta in campaigning for the issue.
He should fit right in with the Pendleton Consulting Group, a team of influential Georgians involved in public and private enterprise.
The company's website says, "Our Rolodex is remarkable: a product of more than a century’s combined experience working alongside the most influential people in the state."
The website says the group works in fields such as branding and business strategy, political policy and process, business to business connections and economic development and consulting.
One of Pendelton’s co-founders is Phil Jacobs, a former top executive at BellSouth and AT&T; and former longtime member of the state economic development board. He is registered to lobby for the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.
Another co-founder is Craig Lesser, former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development under Gov. Sonny Perdue. Lesser was a lobbyist with McKenna, Long & Aldridge before setting up his own firm, JEL Group, which represented Kia Motors. Kia’s West Point plant has been among the [Gov. Sonny] Perdue administration’s biggest economic development successes.
Closer to home, Decatur evolved into a walkable, festival-loving city on Floyd's watch. The city is regularly mentioned in national publications for its quality of life, indie spirit, good restaurants, interesting shops and craft beer pubs.
"He put Decatur on the map," said state Rep. Karla Drenner of Avondale Estates. "He took a small town and made it a destination city."
The town of 20,000 used to draw a crowd to the DeKalb County Courthouse during the day but virtually died at night.
Starting with Mick's restaurant (which occupied the Parkers on Ponce space), the Brick Store Pub and Watershed restaurant, Decatur evolved into a dining destination.
During Floyd's time, Decatur also became festival city. The biggest one is the Decatur Book Festival, which regularly pulls in more than 70,000 people over Labor Day Weekend.
There's also the city-sponsored craft beer, wine and Green festivals and many other smaller festivals that liven up the courthouse square and the Marta plaza.
The city website bio on Floyd says that he's president of W.F. Floyd Construction, Inc., a company that specializes in water and waste water systems. He's a native of Alabama and a graduate of Auburn University.
“Mayor Floyd has provided outstanding leadership and support for the City of Decatur,” said City Manager Peggy Merriss. “He has been a huge part of our success. His humble approach and obvious pride in the City makes others want to be successful as well. He has championed our staff and challenged us to be better people. He will be missed.”