Profiles in Power highlights public officials nationwide who are improving their communities through their dedication, enthusiasm, creativity and experience.
This week’s profile is Monique Sheffield; Cobb County, Georgia County Commissioner – District 4.
Public career highlights and education: I secured matching federal funds for a transportation project in my district, for a community library expansion and a newly built community recreation center. I was also instrumental in securing a national restaurant the community has desired for years and several other eateries. I completed the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia training modules to become a certified county commissioner in 2023 and was appointed to several National Association of Counties national boards during my first year in office.
What I like best about public service: What I like best is making a positive difference in my district and changing the trajectory of the lives of others. Being a public servant opens the door for me to get to know Cobb County citizens on a personal level and understand how to best serve them and meet their needs. Most of all, it allows me to fulfill my purpose.
The best advice I’ve received: I believe that listening is more important than speaking. It is said that a minute of thought is worth more than an hour of talk. To that end, one of the best pieces of advice that I received that lines up with my belief is, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” That advice resonates with me because the art of listening not only identifies what is said, but it helps to identify what is unsaid. If we listen for understanding, we can better prepare a comprehensive response to be understood.
People might be interested to know that: Around age 10, I decided that I wanted to be a Supreme Court justice.
One thing I wish more people knew about county government: I wish more people knew that there are limitations to the roles and responsibilities of a county commissioner. The main areas of responsibility of a commissioner are to appropriate the budget, ensure the public’s safety and exercise our constitutional and police powers of land use and zoning. Numerous other responsibilities are extensions of the noted three main areas.
There are challenges within our communities that are outside of the purview and powers of a commissioner, such as the increase in the cost of living and the decrease of housing inventory. Unfortunately, we have limited power to directly address those concerns.