Tomlinson led the city of Columbus through an unprecedented time of innovative, positive transformation.
In January 2019, Teresa Tomlinson finished her second highly successful term as the first woman Mayor and Public Safety Director of Columbus, Georgia. After her election in 2010, she was resoundingly elected in 2014. She has been named to Georgia Trend’s 100 Most Influential Georgians six times and holds a National Security Secret Clearance with the Department of Defense.
As mayor, Tomlinson was the chief elected official of a consolidated city/county government serving some 200,000 diverse citizens and overseeing nearly 3,000 employees and a $275 million budget. She led Columbus through a time of innovative transformation, reforming its budget in the face of declining revenues, reducing crime, revitalizing blighted and under-utilized neighborhoods, improving city services, increasing citizen engagement and setting a vision for unprecedented vibrancy in the state’s second largest city and the nation’s sixteenth largest consolidated government.
As Mayor, Tomlinson:
- Managed Columbus so well, it earned a spot as one of the top 25 Best-Run Cities in America;
- Steered the city to a 39% reduction in 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 $55 million; and
- Won Columbus a Harvard University Bright Ideas Award, for the innovative Save-A-Pet Plan, which reduced the city’s animal euthanasia rate from 80% in 2010 to 17% in 2017.
In 2015, after the startling announcement of the potential closure of her undergraduate alma mater, Sweet Briar College in Virginia, Tomlinson helped lead an effort to save the college, raising $28.5 million in 110 days. She 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. In June 2015, a court-approved settlement replaced all of the college’s prior leadership and appointed Tomlinson to the college’s Board. Tomlinson served as the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Sweet Briar college from July 2015 to August 2018. Today, the college thrives.
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. 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.
Teresa Tomlinson is currently a partner with the firm of Hall Booth Smith, specializing in complex litigation, crisis management and strategic solutions.