Former Madison City Councilman Bobby Crawford received a standing ovation at Monday night’s regular meeting after receiving a prestigious award from the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) to honor his 39-year career as a public servant.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” said Crawford of his venture into public service. “I said, ‘I’ll try it.’ It’s been a very pleasant experience all these years. There have been ups and downs, but overall, I think the City and the people running the city have done an excellent job, because they deserve a Madison that is like no other town.”
GMA Representative Bill Thornton presented Crawford with a Lifetime Service award as Crawford’s family, friends, members of the public and former colleagues stood to their feet in raucous applause.
“The City of Madison would really like to thank Mr. Crawford for all the service he rendered to this City,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman. “Your support on this council truly made a difference and we thank you for your service.”
GMA Lifetime Service Award was created a few years ago by the GMA to recognize city officials who retire from office after serving 35 years or more. The City of Madison recommended Bobby Crawford for the award to the GMA.
“Bobby demonstrated his love for Madison through his many years of generous service,” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson. “Madison is fortunate to have that kind of dedicated leadership, and Georgia’s cities are also grateful to have seen the example he set for all city leaders.”
“We just feel like it is important to recognize individuals around the state who give so selflessly—they are not in it for the headlines or all the credit, but they are the folks who are making improvements in your quality of life and just serving the citizens of your community,’” said Thornton. “So we were very pleased when the city submitted Mr. Crawford’s name for recognition. He certainly, I think, epitomizes what this award is all about.”
Thornton praised his nearly four-decade career.
“There are very few individuals around that state who can say they were able to do that,” said Thornton. “It’s a special person. We know he gave selflessly to the city…We know he had a real impact on your downtown. We know he was very passionate about recreation, finding opportunities for citizens throughout the county, actually. We know he was a good fiscal steward. He was conservative in the way he approached the budget but yet he was always there to make critical infrastructure investments that were necessary for this community to grow and to flourish. We are just proud that you have honored him and we proud now to have the opportunity to present him with this award.”
When Crawford first became a city councilman back in 1969, he oversaw the city’s natural gas department.
According to Madison City Manager David Nunn, Crawford took on the city’s still nascent natural gas system and helped grow it into what it is today. Crawford was also
According to the GMA, one issue of great importance to Crawford was the proprietor of Madison Drug and downtown development.
“His tenure saw the shifting of business from America’s downtowns to the outskirts of towns, even in small towns. Bobby supported the evolving efforts to keep Downtown Madison vibrant and active beginning with the establishment of the Downtown Business Council, which became the springboard for our more than 30-year-old Main Street program,” said Nunn.
Nunn also praised Crawford for his pivotal role in creating Madison’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and serving on the board of the DDA during his last term in office.
“Through the efforts of Main Street and the DDA, Downtown Madison has not only thrived but expanded. Downtown is the heart of Madison, and Bobby’s heart was always in downtown,” said Nunn.
According to the GMA, Crawford also supported the annexation of the I-20 interchanges and connecting corridors with the understanding that commercial and industrial development was also important to the area.
Madison leaders credited Crawford with creating opportunities for active recreation and conservative when it came to municipal budgeting and millage rates.
Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to its 521 member cities.