League Board Adds Four New Members

Two mayors, a city financial officer and a foundation director were elected to the National Civic League’s board of directors at its last regular meeting.

Mayors Patti Garrett of Decatur, GA, and Mary Casillas Salas of Chula Vista, CA, were each elected to a three-year term. Mayor Garrett was also selected as the board’s Vice Chair. In addition to Mayors Casillas Salas and Garrett, the board also elected Jessica Brown-Linton, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Durham County, NC, and Tony Peyton, Program Director at the C.E.&S. Foundation. The National Civic League board of directors is made up of 24 civic leaders from around the U.S. and meets three times each year to help lead the 125-year-old organization.

Below is more information about the board’s new members.

Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, Chula Vista, CA

Born and raised in Chula Vista, Mary Casillas Salas’ South Bay roots run five generations deep. She has dedicated her career and life’s work to family and to the community she loves. Mayor Casillas Salas has two daughters Michele and Sara and is the proud grandmother to Michael, Adriana, and Marissa. Mayor Casillas Salas is a product of local schools, graduating with honors from San Diego State University.

She began her public service on the Chula Vista Civil Service Commission in 1991 and was then appointed to the City’s Planning Commission in 1993, where she served until elected to the Chula Vista City Council in 1996. In 2000, she was reelected with 66 percent of the vote. After leaving the Council in 2004, she served as a Director of the Sweetwater Authority/South Bay Irrigation District. In 2006, she was elected to the California State Assembly where she chaired the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. She also served on the Jobs, Economic Development and Economy Committee, the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and the Health Committee. Her love of community spurred her to once again seek election to the City Council. She was elected to the City Council in 2012, and in 2014 she made history as the first elected Latina mayor in Chula Vista and the County of San Diego. She was re-elected for a final four-year term as Mayor with 72% of the vote.

Serving her hometown has always been Mayor Casillas Salas’ passion. Her effective leadership and consensus-building skills are her strength. Her work to move Chula Vista forward is evident throughout the city. She led efforts to secure funding for new urban parks, formed strategic partnerships with various government agencies to ensure completion of Olympic Parkway and other major traffic thoroughfares, played a key role in the planning of the award-winning communities of Eastlake, Otay Ranch, and San Miguel.

During her tenure as Mayor, Chula Vista has received national and international recognition for our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and prevent climate change, our smart cities initiatives, and our actions to ensure sustainable development. The City obtained ownership of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center from the U.S. Olympic Committee. Mayor Casillas Salas led the campaign to adopt Measure P to rebuild our aging infrastructure and Measure A which raised sales taxes to pay for the hiring of additional police and fire personnel, advanced the development of the Bayfront in partnership with Port of San Diego with a signed development and disposition agreement with RIDA Development. She continues to guide major projects, including the development of a four-year university and the revitalization of western Chula Vista.

Now Mayor Casillas Salas is looking to the future and is committed to a better quality of life for the people of Chula Vista through excellent public safety, effective stewardship of public funds and careful planning that leads to superior sustainability of community resources.

Mayor Patti Garrett, Decatur, GA

Patti Garrett was elected to the City Commission in 2009, served as Mayor Pro Tempore in 2015 and was first elected Mayor in January 2016. She has been active in the community since moving to Decatur in 2001. Previously Patti served as chair of the Decatur Tour of Homes committee, house captain on the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project, a board member of the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, and as secretary of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association. She currently serves on the Advisory Council of New American Pathways. She also serves on the Community Resources Committee at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), on the Regional Housing Task Force at ARC, on the Steering Committee for the One Region Initiative of Welcoming America and is past Chair of the Policy Committee of the DeKalb Municipal Association.

Mayor Garrett is a 2012 graduate of Leadership DeKalb, a member of the 2010 class of the Regional Leadership Institute and serves on the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). A graduate of Texas Christian University and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Patti has taught nutrition at Georgia State University, provided nutrition counseling services at the Georgia State Counseling and Testing Center and worked as a Clinical Dietitian at Emory University Health Services. Patti also received the 2010 Georgia Dietetic Association Distinguished Service to a Community Award and was the 2017 recipient of the National League of Cities’ Michael H. T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship award.

Mayor Garrett is interested in health policy, particularly as it relates to access to healthy foods, environmental policies, active lifestyles and the role of local governments in fostering healthy, vibrant communities. She and her husband, Gary, live in the Oakhurst neighborhood.

Jessica Brown-Linton, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Durham County, NC

Jessica has more than 20+ years of progressively responsible experience in debt management, investment management and cash management.

Over the past several years Jessica has been a part of the development of a unique way of financing capital projects. This new method allows the County to borrow as needed compared to the historical method of borrowing all the funds at one time. This new process resulted in more than $ 15 million in interest savings on the New County Courthouse alone. This method is also being used to finance public school construction projects. Jessica was also a part of the implementation of an interest rate SWAP that currently provides annual debt service of more than $3 million dollars annually and cumulative savings in excess of $ 12 million. By thinking “out of the box” Durham County has been able to better afford the capital projects needed to support the growth in our community.

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from NC State University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Strayer University. She is an active member of the Government Finance Officers Association (nationally & locally: GFOA) of which she is a past board member, served on the Treasury & Investment Management and Budget & Financial Planning Committees. She is past Vice-chair for the Black Caucus on the national level and past Vice-chair for the Black Caucus at the local NCGFOA. She is also a member of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) and is past president for the NC Triangle local chapter of NFBPA.

Tony Peyton, Program Director at the C.E.&S. Foundation

Tony is the Program Director at the C.E. and S. Foundation, a private family foundation focused on education grantmaking. Before joining the C.E. and S. Foundation, Tony served on Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s senior staff as the Director of Public Policy. Part of that role included developing and managing the Mayor’s education initiatives. He also served as the primary liaison for the Mayor with local, state, and national education institutions and organizations.

Prior to working for Mayor Fischer, Tony was the Senior Director of Policy and Government Relations at the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL). During his 14 years with NCFL, he was responsible for directing NCFL’s federal and state policy, lobbying, and advocacy activities. Tony serves on the National Board of Advisors of the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy at Penn State University. Tony received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Louisville as well as completing the Certificate Program in Legislative Studies at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute.


For more information about the National Civic League board of directors please visit https://www.nationalcivicleague.org/who-we-are/

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