For decades, Commissioner Jerry Klein has been a familiar, active presence in the Germantown community. Last month at the City’s annual Commission Celebration, his many contributions were applauded as Klein was one of five commissioners who were recognized for more than 20 years of service.
Klein says the quality of life in Germantown originally inspired him to get more involved and give back to the City. “When my wife Julie and I moved to Germantown in 1967, we decided that we wanted to be an active part of this community,” he said. “I had never done that before.”
At the time, the City was just getting wired for cable so Klein joined the Cable Advisory Commission, of which he was a member for a year. It was the beginning of a lengthy history of service, as he then became a member of the Design Review Commission for several years.
When former Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy took office in 1994, she encouraged Klein to join the Economic Development Commission (EDC). Later, he became chairman, a position he held for 13 years until last year. Now, he serves as vice chairman under EDC Chairman Bo Adams.
The EDC advises the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on matters that affect the economic life of the City, along with issues relevant to long-term planning and development. Additionally, it helps in encouraging business retention and productivity, resulting in economic stability, vigor and balance in the business community.
Klein says he gains great satisfaction from watching businesses thrive in Germantown and knowing that the EDC played a key role in their growth. “It’s been interesting to watch what has gone on here over the years,” Klein said. “When I walk around Saddle Creek or through the doors of Huey’s, I look around and think about how lucky we are to have all this wonderful commerce here. It’s thrilling to know that I played a part in it.”
Although the City has evolved significantly over the past 50 years, Klein says its community spirit and welcoming atmosphere has remained the same. “It’s a very friendly community and it’s one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been to in my life – and my wife and I have had the opportunity to travel to many places. It’s always nice to come home,” he said.
To residents who would like to get more engaged in shaping the City’s future, Klein suggests doing a little research first to get a feel for what’s a good fit. “If there are folks out there who really want to get involved, I would strongly suggest that they attend three or four of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings first,” he said. “They’re always open to the public and everyone’s very friendly. After the meetings, the aldermen are very willing to take the time to address questions and concerns.”