Brookhaven Mayor John Park, the first Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) mayor in Georgia, was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 8, at Brookhaven City Hall. 

Brookhaven City Council members Michael Diaz (District 1), Jennifer Owens (District 2), and Madeleine Simmons (District 3), also took oaths to serve the people of Brookhaven. District 4 council member John Funny was appointed mayor pro tem.

City Manager Christian Sigman, City Attorney Jeremy Berry, City Clerk Sandra Bryant, and Chief Judge Bryan C. Ramos were reappointed.

The crowd of more than 100 people included State Rep. Esther Panitch, State Sen. Sally Harrell, and DeKalb County Commissioner Michelle Long Spears.  

“The theme of my administration for the next several years is going to be a return to normalcy,” Park said. 

Park told Rough Draft his three goals are to hire a citizen advocate to increase customer service at the city, bring the Public Works director in house to focus on multimodal connectivity, and to improve the city’s stormwater infrastructure.

“We spent five years mapping pipes, gutters, waterways, and figuring out where everything was [after taking over stormwater from DeKalb County]. Now we’re going to strategically start replacing all those pipes,” said Park. 

Although previous council members have stayed involved in city affairs, Park said he has not designated roles for former Mayor John Ernst or council member Linley Jones. He anticipates giving them “roles relevant to their experience.” Ernst oversaw the growth of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and Jones has been critical in the historical designation of Lynwood Park and multimodal plans along Ashford Dunwoody Road.

The new city hall project is in motion, the Brookhaven Police Department has moved to the new Public Safety building, and the city is wrapping up the park bond. Now, it’s time to focus on making the city more accessible for everyone, he said.

“Change is good, but constant change can be chaotic,” Park said.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Rep. Esther Panich as a senator.