The first job I held after receiving my Master’s in Public Administration was in the Research and Budget Office of the City of Savannah Georgia. I was very fortunate to begin my career in the organization headed by City Manager Don Mendonsa. He worked for 28 years for the City, 21 in partnership with Mayor John Rousakis. Mendonsa was considered one of the “deans” of city management in Georgia and established a model for professional management that permeated the organization.
Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, and the county seat of Chatham County. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War. Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. City offices were located on the river and one could watch the tugboats maneuvering ships upstream to the port.
Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors, who enjoy the city’s architecture and historic buildings. Most days you can see groups of young ladies visiting the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America). Savannah’s downtown area, includes 22 squares which are the source of constant activity, but make driving a bit of a challenge. Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as The Oglethorpe Plan). Celebration of St Patrick’s Day is serious business in Savannah, with the second largest parade in the world. The parade winds through the historic district and the fountains in the squares are died green for the event.
The annual summer conference of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) is held in Savannah. Our family enjoyed many a trip to Savannah later in my career to attend the GMA conference and extend the stay for a few days at Tybee Island.