Mayor Teresa Tomlinson was elected as the 69th Mayor of Columbus, Georgia on November 30, 2010 with 68% of the vote. On January 3, 2011, she was sworn in as the city's first female mayor. On May 20, 2014 she was re-elected to a second term with 63% of the vote, making her the first Mayor since the city's consolidation in 1971 to win re-election in a contested race. She has five times been named to Georgia Trend's 100 Most Influential Georgians, and she holds a National Security Secret Clearance with the Department of Defense.
Mayor Tomlinson has led Columbus and its city/county government through a time of innovative transformation, reforming its budget in the face of declining revenues, improving city services, revitalizing blighted and under-utilized neighborhoods, reducing crime, increasing inclusive citizen engagement and setting a vision for unprecedented vibrancy in the state’s second largest city and the nation’s sixteenth largest consolidated government.
During her tenure Columbus, Georgia:
- Was named one of the 2016 top fifty Best-Run Cities in America
- Reduced crime by 33% from its height in 2009, including a 34% drop in property crime and a 17% drop in violent crime
- Balanced the budget for the first time in 16 years using no reserve funds
- Provided city and county services at the remarkably prudent cost of $1,300 per person
- Reformed the city’s pension plan saving taxpayers some $30 million and increasing funding of the General Government plan to over 90%, while preserving the valuable Defined Benefit Plan for Employees
- Increased General Government employee pay 8.5% and Police Officer pay 11.3% over a six-year period
- Won a Harvard University, Kennedy School of Business Bright Ideas Award, for the Save-A-Pet Plan which reduced the animal euthanasia rate from 80% in 2010 to 20% in 2016 and increased adoption by triple digits
- Instituted Tax Allocation Districts to encourage the revitalization of previously blighted areas, including City Village and the Liberty District
- Constructed new biking/walking trails, known as the Dragonfly Trails, to create 60 miles of connected trails throughout the city, including trails and streetscapes in previously blighted areas
- Returned 2.2 miles of the Chattahoochee River to its natural state creating the world’s longest Whitewater Course in an urban setting
- Saw the renaissance of the city’s downtown creating a bustling dining/entertainment district, known as Uptown, with some 24 restaurants
- Provided constituents with direct access to their mayor through quarterly forums called Let’s Talk with the Mayor and social media
- Partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholder to set a multi-year vision, known as Columbus 2025, to reduced poverty, increase the quality of our workforce and increase prosperity throughout Columbus.
In 2015, after the startling announcement of the potential closure of her undergraduate alma mater, Sweet Briar College in Virginia, Mayor Tomlinson joined with thousands of alumnae across the nation to raise $28.5 million in 110 days and convert over $12 million of that to cash in 70 days in order to fulfill the terms of a court approved settlement, which saved the college and kept the doors open, where it thrives today. She was a primary witness in the court case that was successful before the Virginia Supreme Court and was involved in discussions with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office regarding the saving of the college. Mayor Tomlinson delivered the 2015 Commencement Speech, thought to be the College’s last; but, instead, the speech became an endorsement for liberal arts education, an indictment of the failed leadership of the past and a rallying point for the effort to save the college. Mayor Tomlinson is currently the Chairwomen of the Board of Directors of Sweet Briar College.
Abbreviated Biography to be used for Introductions -
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson was elected as the 69th Mayor of Columbus, Georgia on November 30, 2010 with 68% of the vote. On January 3, 2011, she was sworn in as the city's first female mayor. On May 20, 2014 she was re-elected to a second term with 63% of the vote, making her the first Mayor since the city's consolidation in 1971 to win re-election in a contested race. She has FIVE times been named to Georgia Trend's 100 Most Influential Georgians, and she holds a National Security Secret Clearance with the Department of Defense. In 2015, Mayor Tomlinson, together with other alumnae, led the effort to save her undergraduate alma mater, Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Today, the college thrives and Mayor Tomlinson serves as the Chairwoman of college’s the Board of Directors.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson moved to Columbus in 1994 from Atlanta and married Wade H. (Trip) Tomlinson, who was raised in Columbus. For 16 years she practiced with the law firm of Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison and Norwood, LLC, where she specialized in complex litigation and was the firm's first female partner. She served from 2006-2010 as Executive Director of MidTown, Inc., a non-profit community renewal organization. Mayor Tomlinson is a 1983 graduate of Chamblee High School in Atlanta, Georgia (where she was inducted into the Chamblee High School Hall of Fame in 2015), a 1987 graduate of Sweet Briar College, in Virginia (where she was a 2011 Distinguished Alumnae), and a 1991 graduate of Emory University School of Law, in Atlanta.