Tucker is lucky to have a wealth of people who love and care about their community. Not only do they love Tucker; they find ways to put that love into action to make Tucker better. I’ve noticed it ever since I moved here, and I’ve been told that it’s been a characteristic of the community for the generations preceding.
Three of the people who I’ve come to know, and who I would like to nominate for Citizens of the Month, are Pat Soltys, Matt Robbins and Michelle Penkava. InTucker’s editor has a rule that no one serving on City Council or on an appointed board of commission can be named Citizen of the Month. That’s why I think this is the perfect time to nominate these three public servants: their time as elected officials is over!
For the past four years, Pat Soltys has served District One as a City Council representative, essentially wearing two hats: that of City Councilmember and that of real estate industry leader. I’m not sure how she’s managed to do it, but Pat has maintained her professional success, while throwing her whole self into the needs and concerns of her constituents. She is a fixture in the Smoke Rise community and, even though she’s stepping back from City Council, I know she will continue to be active in advocating for a better Tucker.
Exiting from the seat in District Two is Matt Robbins. Matt Robbins is my friend. Matt Robbins is everyone’s friend. At 81 years old, he is among the liveliest and most outgoing people that I’ve ever met. Matt served six years on Tucker’s City Council, but that’s not what he’s proudest of. Most mornings you can find Matt downtown reading to the blind. On weekends, he’s often spotted chatting up parents and coaches at TYSA games at Henderson Park. As he leaves Council, Matt has the distinction of being the only person to serve as Mayor of Tucker other than Mayor Frank Auman. For his 80th birthday, Matt was made, by mayoral proclamation, honorary Mayor for a Day. He took on the responsibility with a gusto that I know he will bring to his post-Council life.
Michelle Penkava has been a force on City Council since the very beginning. A pivotal figure in Tucker’s cityhood movement, Michelle has represented the residents of District Three with great passion and advocacy since 2016. Like Councilman Robbins, Michelle was term limited and was unable to run for re-election. Despite that, she accomplished many great things, especially late in her tenure. This includes her work to transform Chamblee Tucker Road into a complete street, which will hopefully force drivers to slow down and keep our pedestrians and cyclists a little bit safer. I know I’m not alone in my curiosity about Michelle’s next steps; she is such a devoted public servant and she has so much more to give to our Tucker community.
While this month is about celebrating our new councilmembers-elect, I think it would be fitting for these three great individuals to be honored together as InTucker’s Citizens of the Month.
Nomination by Derik West