May 18, 2022 | News

Candidate Profile: Yvonne Shaw, Douglas County Board District 4

Writer: Jim Massara

Published May 18, 2022

Four candidates are running to represent District 4 on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in the May 24 General Primary Election.

Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as the primary draws near.

Yvonne Shaw is running for Douglas County Board of Commissioners District 4.

Name: Yvonne Shaw

Campaign website: Elect Yvonne Shaw to District 4

City of residence: Douglasville

Office sought: Douglas County Board of Commissioners District 4

Party affiliation: Democrat

Education: Earned a Bachelor's Degree in integrative studies with a concentration in criminal justice. Currently completing her graduate studies in public administration and is also working in a cohort in the certified public manager program at the University of Georgia. She holds multiple certifications from the International Code Council, the National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems Training Institute, the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition, she holds certifications from the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government through her course studies with the Georgia Association of Code Enforcement. Recently, she obtained an Executive Leadership Certificate from Kennesaw State University and graduated from the Leadership Sandy Springs Class of 2020.

Occupation: Code Enforcement Manager, Community Development. She has 16 years of experience in the code-enforcement profession.

Family: I have four children: Amir, 20; Kamari, 15; Alexis, 11; and Lark, 2. Amir is a college sophomore attending Bethune Cookman University and is studying communications. Kamari is a rising sophomore at Douglas County High School and is on the track and football teams. Alexis is a rising sixth grader and cheers, runs track and sings in chorus. Lark is a curious toddler who loves to learn new words and watch Cocomelon.

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? I work in municipal government.

Previous public office, appointive or elective: I'm an appointed member on the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board.

Age: 39

Why are you seeking this office? I'm running for this office seat so that I can help to beautify Douglas County by reducing blight and litter and create a safer environment by supporting the recruitment and retention of public safety staff, including sheriff's deputies, police, fire personnel, paramedics, EMTs, code officers and animal-control officers. I'd like to see them receive competitive wages, good equipment, vehicles and funding for public-outreach programs. I'd also like to help attract and retain viable businesses for better retail options and better paying jobs for skilled and professional workers.

  • Promote smart growth and development by preserving the character of the less densely populated and rural areas of the county through zoning regulations and create suitable housing options for the more densely populated areas.

  • I want to freeze or reduce property taxes so that citizens can continue to afford the homes that they live in, helping to stabilize the economy and the community.

  • I'd like to promote legislation that reduces the number of residential properties corporations can own by helping to preserve housing options for our citizens.

  • Lastly, I want to be an ethical and transparent leader who is responsive and accountable to the citizens of Douglas County.

Please complete this statement: The single most pressing issue facing my constituents is ___, and this is what I intend to do about it. The single most pressing issue facing my constituents is safety. I feel that my constituents generally feel unsafe when living, shopping and conducting business in the county. I want to promote the recruitment and retention of public-safety personnel. I will support policies and budgets that competitively fund positions, provide equipment, take-home cars for law enforcement, and performance bonuses. I will help to ensure that public-safety officers continue to have appropriate levels of funding for public outreach to help educate citizens, allow for community policing, and promote mental health, substance abuse treatment and sobriety.

I will support programs that public safety spearheads and those of community partners who will help create outlets amd diversion programs for at-risk youth. I want to promote the open dialogue and bridge the gap between communities of color who have a distrust or negative feelings about law enforcement as a whole.

I will continue to support and promote interagency agreements between surrounding law enforcement agencies, including the Douglas County School Police, so that information can be shared and a regional approach to crime-fighting and preventing can be achieved.

Lastly, I will support grant programs and outreach that helps our business community fight crime through environmental design. This includes installing lighting, video surveillance cameras, and reducing blind spots. They must also have adequate security and functioning fire suppression and emergency alert systems. Our code enforcement and fire marshal staff must have funding for additional staff and equipment. They also need judicial support to ensure that repeat and egregious offenders are held accountable. Our animal-control officers need salary increases and strong judicial support.

What are the major differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? The major differences between me and the other candidates seeking this position is my 16 years of hands-on experience working in municipal government. I manage a division of seven people within a very active business, residential and civic community. I've worked collaboratively with police, fire, public works, communications, IT, economic development, parks and recreation, building and land development, planning and zoning, permitting and revenue staff, engineers, storm water managers, public utility companies, county and state governments, elected and appointed officials, attorneys, judges, civic and neighborhood groups. I've consulted on numerous committees, serving as a subject-matter expert for local and regional problems. I've created policies, standard operating procedures and text amendments to the code of ordinances. I've worked in the field and in an administrative capacity to enforce property maintenance, zoning, nuisance, environmental and taxation ordinances. I've helped to reduce years of blight in high-crime and low-crime areas. I have an intimate understanding of how municipal governments work and the problems that they face. I have been a part of brainstorming and finding solutions to problems. I've learned to provide a high level of customer service, accountability and responsiveness to citizens in my years of service. Currently, I work in the City of Sandy Springs. It is the second largest city in Metropolitan Atlanta with a population of 110,000, which is often doubled during the daytime. It is also the place with more Fortune 500 companies per capita than anywhere else in the country. I've also worked in the City of East Point, which has undergone a large transformation in the years that I've worked there in the city's police department. I worked side by side with my police commanders and patrol officers as a civilian dealing with high-stress and dangerous situations. I think I'm the most experienced and would be the best prepared to perform the duties of the office.

If you are challenging an incumbent, in what way has the current officeholder failed the community? The incumbent is not seeking reelection; however, she didn't appear to be very responsive to citizen inquiries about blight and litter control. She also didn't appear to fight for much needed infrastructure improvements such as paved roads, filling of potholes, and the traffic issues marring the business corridors of District 4.

What other issues do you intend to address during your campaign? The other issues that I didn't previously mention are finding ways to reduce unnecessary spending on programs that don't provide a significant return on the taxpayers' investments and that cannot be sustainably funded in the long term.

I'd also love to help enhance our county and city recreation and parks with walking trails, bike paths, and possible outdoor food venues. I have a vision for Pine Mountain Gold Musuem.
I'd love to have the county invest with Villa Rica to improve amusement rides and the petting zoo for kids. I think it would improve the patronage of the park.

Lastly and most importantly, I want adequate funding to be provided for litter removal, prevention and enforcement. I want our landfills more closely monitored for violators who don't cover their loads and contribute to exorbitant amounts of litter on the sides of our roads, in our yards, storm drains and waterways. Penalties should be enforced and serve as deterrents to other waste haulers who don't comply with the ordinances. I'd also like to see required tonnage fees and quarterly reports submitted in order to remain an authorized waste hauler in the county. In addition to the tipping fees that are paid, there needs to be an increase for infrastructure impact fees added in for roadside cleanups and damages to roads caused by large trucks.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job? My past accomplishments used as evidence that I can handle the job include the following:

I enhanced and implemented special projects including vacant structure abatement, had hundreds of blighted homes demolished, managed program to transform businesses with automotive related-use inspections, apartment sweeps and third-party inspections, business corridor inspections, created forms and brochures, standard operating procedures and performed community outreach.

I drove staff performance through metrics, standard operating procedures and organizational standards, averaging 2,500 inspections annually over five years.

Assisted in city revenue collections through licensing and permitting enforcement actions and court fines, averaging $500k annually over five years.

Accountable and responsive to citizens, often responding to inquiries within 48 hours or sooner.

Worked collaboratively with other agencies and staff members to accomplish goals under stressful conditions, under tight deadlines and with competing priorities.

Reviewed and consulted on committees for special events and films, the rewrite of the development and zoning code, and the recruitment and RFP processes for contracts and executive staff.

I've won numerous awards and received accolades and bonuses for the performance of my duties.

I will graduate from the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government on May 26, 2022 as a Certified Public Manager.

My volunteer work performing community cleanups; and doing food, toy, and clothing drives and working with other volunteers in Junior League and other organizations has provided me with insights that helped me to understand the unique needs of the community. My work as a victim advocate on the Douglas County Task Force has allowed me to practice empathy and understand the importance of legislative and judicial support to punish abusers and keep victims safe and healthy.

My work as a board member on the Animal Control Advisory Board of Douglas County has provided me with insights on the issues faced with animal abuse and neglect, criminal activity, animal overpopulation and the needs of the Animal Services staff.

I have numerous certifications relevant to municipal government enforcement and management. I also hold a Bachelor's degree in integrative studies with a concentration in criminal justice. I have nine remaining credit hours prior to the issuance of my Master's Degree in Public Administration.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? Ambassador Andy Young quoting the famous Bible scripture: "To whom much is given, much will be required" (Luke 12:48). This reinforces the fact that I'm fortunate and blessed to have an education, a voice and unique talents that have helped me to excel as a public-sector leader. It is my goal to continue to pay it forward in service.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about yourself and your positions? Although I am a registered Democrat and have been one since the age of 18, I want all of the voters in Douglas County's District 4 to understand that I will attempt to represent the needs of everyone and will listen to the voices and opinions and thoughts and ideas of everyone, regardless of your political affiliation or any other defining attribute that you identify with.