From a press release:
DeKalb County Government is proud to announce Super District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson has been selected as the 2023 Georgia Elected Official of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The highly distinguished award represents the first time a DeKalb County elected official has been selected for the esteemed honor.
The American Public Works Associations’ Georgia Chapter Awards Program was established to recognize outstanding public works employees, individuals, groups, and projects, representing the best achievements in the public works profession in Georgia. Competition for the award is highly competitive and submissions are received statewide.
Commissioner Cochran-Johnson has served as the Chair of Public Works and Infrastructure (PWI) since 2020 where she has successfully overseen the allocation of funds totaling $1,077,074,904 in water, sewer, and infrastructure.
The appropriations represent one of the largest dollar amounts adjudicated by a Committee Chair in DeKalb County History. Cochran-Johnson’s role as Chair has been during critical infrastructure work under the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) Consent Decree that requires DeKalb to expand, replace, and enlarge its infrastructure while creating an ongoing Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and she has been present during Phase II of the Snapfinger Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion to improve wastewater treatment and increase capacity to 54 million gallons a day to support DeKalb’s increasing sewer needs.
As Chair of PWI, Cochran-Johnson has required mandatory audit review of contracts over $3 million, which has resulted in $57,215,092 in savings to Dekalb County taxpayers. Other key actions taken under her tenure include supporting the restructuring of infrastructure debt and supporting applications by the administration to receive Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans associated with water and infrastructure that have resulted in $90 million in combined debt savings.
“I am proud to have been present during critical decision-making for the people of DeKalb,” said Cochran-Johnson in a statement.
“As Chair of PWI, I have taken every action possible to place DeKalb in the best possible position, but I do not receive this award as an individual. I am humbled by the fact that individuals from various Departments in DeKalb County came together to nominate me for this honor.”
“My eternal gratitude to Director Peggy Allen of Roads and Drainage, I would also like to acknowledge the Public Works & Infrastructure Department and the newly Nationally APWA Accredited DeKalb County Public Works Department, and the Georgia Chapter of the American Public Works Association for the nomination. Your acknowledgement of my work has touched me deeply. I support each of you emphatically and I look forward to our future. I receive this award on your behalf, not mine, because you do the work that has made this award possible.”