Efforts to incorporate the City of Sandy Springs began in 1966 in response to an effort to annex the land that is now Sandy Springs into the City of Atlanta. By 1976, Sandy Springs resident Dr. Eva Galambos was “convinced that local control, with a City of our own, was the only answer for Sandy Springs.” Led by Dr. Galambos, the fight to form their own government continued by Sandy Springs residents for more than 40 years through groups such as the Committee for Sandy Springs. During the course of developing this active community network, Eva Galambos served as a mentor and leader for other women in Sandy Springs, including those who would eventually be elected to serve alongside Mayor Galambos on the first City Council.
Finally, in June 2005, an overwhelming 94 percent of residents voted for incorporation of the previously unincorporated area of north Fulton County. Incorporated December 1, 2005, and the first new city in the State in nearly 50 years, Sandy Springs has made dramatic strides in providing effective and efficient services to residents.
Mayor Galambos was an early champion for the public-private partnership model of local government. She also continually sought to make improvements. Under Mayor Galambos’ leadership, in 2010, the City undertook a comprehensive procurement process to rebid all general government services. Through this process, the City realized $7 million per year in savings by contracting with multiple firms when compared to the previous single contractor arrangement. During Mayor Galambos’ tenure, the City operated with no long-term debt, and was able to vastly improve the City’s infrastructure and quality of life of its residents.
In her 2011 memoir, A Dream Come True: My Very Good Life, Eva Galambos chronicles what she called a very rich life. Her family escaped the Nazis in the 1930’s, moving with her family first to Italy, and later to Athens, Georgia where she attended high school and college. Galambos earned a Masters’ degree in Labor and Industrial Relations in the early 1950s. Early on, Galambos showed that she was a trailblazer. She was admitted into the first class at Georgia State University to grant Ph.D. degrees to women, earning her Ph.D. in Economics in 1969.
Dr. Galambos’ work as a consultant laid the groundwork for many of the policies used by municipal governments today. In the late 1970s, Dr. Galambos co-authored a popular text, Making Sense Out of Dollars: Economic Analysis for Local Government (National League of Cities, 1978) that is still used in classrooms today.
During her tenure as Mayor, Dr. Galambos was an active member of the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA). She was a member of GMA’s Legislative Policy Council, charged with setting the priorities for GMA as they relate to the development of policies. For her work leading to the creation of the City of Sandy Springs, Mayor Galambos was honored by GMA with the 2010 People, Place and Purpose Award. Mayor Galambos was also the recipient of the 2011 Andrew Young School Distinguished Alumni Award from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.
When asked to recall her greatest achievement, Eva Galambos was always quick to respond, “My children.” She was the devout mother of three: Tobae, Michael and Johnny and grandmother to six. The love of her life was her husband, Dr. John Galambos, whom she met at the University of Georgia and married in 1949.
Eva Galambos, 87, who served as the City’s first mayor passed away on Sunday April, 19, 2015.