Michael Lynch Scholarship Recipient Places Public Service First

July 28, 2014

By Molly Coleman

Vince Williams, Mayor of Union City, Ga., has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship, allowing him to attend NLC University’s annual Leadership Summit.

Described by his fellow elected officials as “among the most visible examples of integrity, honor and compassion in the community,” Mayor Williams has devoted his life to public service, both in and out of political office. Throughout his seven years as a city council member and his first year as mayor, Mayor Williams has focused on creating a city that is able to meet the needs of its citizens while also attracting and supporting new business development.

In striving to realize this vision, he has been instrumental in a number of key projects, including a “Tax Allocation District and Opportunity Zone,” in order to attract new developments, the “Union City Prescription Discount Card Program,” which assists citizens in purchasing expensive prescription drugs, implementation of the "NLC Utility Partners Service Line Warranty Agreement," which helps save residents money on the cost of repairing broken and leaking water lines, and the creation of the Union City Parks and Recreation Department.

With a degree in Political Science from Lemoyne-Owen College in his home state of Tennessee, Mayor Williams has committed himself to furthering both his own education and that of other elected officials in Union City. He has attended the last seven NLC Congressional City Conferences and numerous Congress of Cities Expos; in addition, by reinstating Union City as a member of NLC, he ensured that these educational opportunities would be available to the entire city government.

Mayor Williams’ service to his community does not end when he leaves his office in City Hall. As a devoted member of Higher Living Christian Church, Mayor Williams plays an active role in his faith community, serving as Community Liaison, Christian Counselor and on the advisory board for the church’s Community Impact Center. In addition, he helped to found the church’s Warrior for Life ministry, which is devoted to mentoring young men from the ages of six to 26.

This commitment to mentoring the youth of Union City has been a hallmark of the work being done by Mayor Williams. In his role as an elected official, he developed the Union City Summer Internship Program, which works to “challenge [high-achieving students] to further the cause of public service.” By providing paid internships to students in Union City, the program has helped to equip city residents with the skills and motivation needed to succeed in the workforce.

Mayor Williams has used his position to become a prominent voice on behalf of the people of his city and state. He serves as the Chair of the George Municipal Association’s public safety committee, on the South Fulton Regional Planning Committee and in the Georgia Municipal Black Caucus, amongst other board and committee positions. In addition, he has had the opportunity to represent the United States in the US-China Exchanges Association’s U.S. Business Matchmaking Conference, where he served as a delegate along with leaders from Japan, China and multiple countries in Africa.

About the Michael Lynch Memorial Scholarship

Michael Lynch, a former city councilmember from Kirkwood, Missouri, was fatally shot at a council meeting in February of 2008. Councilmember Lynch was a tireless advocate for newly elected officials, encouraging them to get involved in organizations in their community as well as their state municipal leagues, and to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered by NLC. He made sure they knew of opportunities to attend leadership training programs and were aware of scholarship programs that could help them along the way.

Following Councilman Lynch's death, NLC established the Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship in his memory. The scholarship provides funding for a city official to attend NLC's annual Leadership Summit.

After being notified of his selection, Mayor Williams remarked that he “was absolutely elated,” and “deeply humbled to have been selected.” As one of a number of impressive applications for the Lynch Scholarship, Mayor Williams stood out for his strong commitment to mentoring, and for his desire to turn Union City into an innovative regional leader.

It is these passions that exemplify the traits for which Michael Lynch was remembered, and which will be of immense value as Mayor Williams brings the lessons learned from the leadership summit back to Union City.

For more information about the Michael H.T. Lynch Memorial Scholarship or the 22nd Annual Leadership Summit to be held in Santa Clara, CA, this August, please visit: http://www.nlc.org/build-skills-and-networks/education-and-training/leadership-training or contact the Laura Lanford at (202) 626-3187 or lanford@nlc.org.