JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – City Councilman Ivan Figueroa said goodbye at the end of his last City Council meeting Jan. 27, and many residents came forward to say goodbye to the last of “The Originals,” those members of the City Council who had served since the city’s inception.
He along with Dan McCabe, Liz Hausmann, Bev Miller, Karen Richardson and Randall Johnson were the first serving councilmembers along with Mayor Mike Bodker.
For seven years, Figueroa devoted all his spare energies to creating a new city and helping to create the template for service to the city. That meant not only attending council meetings but becoming educated in all areas of city government – zoning, city planning, public safety, recreation, public works, traffic and perhaps the toughest of all – community relations.
Many came forward at the “public comment” portion that comes at the end of the meeting to thank him for is service.
Ed Isakson-Alpharetta YMCA Executive Director Scott Doll and YMCA Board member Jim Paine presented Figueroa with a framed certificate thanking him for his work with the “Y” both as a board member of the YMCA and for being its advocate in Johns Creek.
“You helped the Y to serve Johns Creek. You not only supported us financially, but you introduced like-minded people to help us as well,” Doll said. “You were also instrumental in the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce and the re-formation of the Rotary Club of Johns Creek.”
Paine said Figueroa “answered right away,” when he was asked to be on the YMCA Board of Directors.
“We wanted to thank you for all your support. It has meant a lot,” Paine said.
Roger Wise, representing Secretary of State Brian Kemp, brought a proclamation from the secretary stating Figueroa has been named an Outstanding Citizen of Georgia in recognition of his service to the city.
Among his other achievements:
• Figueroa was the first member of the Johns Creek City Council to receive a Georgia Municipal Association Certificate of Recognition for advanced training.
• He was appointed in 2011 to the state Workforce Investment Board by Gov. Nathan Deal.
• He served as a member of the Board of Directors for Senior Services North Fulton and the Ed Isakson-Alpharetta YMCA.
• Figueroa has served as team manager for Destination Imagination, a teen creativity group at Chattahoochee High School.
The councilman was also honored for his support of the arts in the city that now boasts an orchestra, a theater, the Johns Creek Arts Center and the creation of a public art program for the city.
State Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer also sent a representative to commend Figueroa for his service as a founding member of the City Council. A detachment of eight Eagle Scouts was also present to thank him for his support of Scouting in Johns Creek.
Even Karen Figueroa, his wife, stepped forward to congratulate her husband for his public service.
“Seven years ago, I didn’t know what we were getting into,” she said. “I hated politics, and often played the devil’s advocate. But what I learned from my husband was that there is always a second side to any issue.
“And we don’t always know what that is,” she said. “So he got me to see things in a different light.”
The family is now moving to St. Simons Island, Ga., where they look forward to leading “a quieter life.”
“We’re looking forward to watching the pine needles turn brown,” she said.
When it was Figueroa’s turn, he offered his thanks for the support he had has a member of council.
“I learned a long time ago sitting here that it takes the help of all the citizens to get anything done,” Figueroa said. “I am thankful that there were so many things I was able to participate in.
“Tonight, it is a bittersweet night to say goodbye. I look forward to seeing what Johns Creek becomes,” he said.