Savannah Mayor Van Johnson was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but with strong Savannah roots, as he traveled back and forth between the two cities for much of his childhood.
After graduating from the New York City Public School System, Johnson earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Savannah State University and Georgia Southern University.
The mayor is a former radio talk show host, political commentator and former author of local weekly columns. With this, Johnson has distinguished himself as an independent, thoughtful and passionate voice on current events.
Mayor Johnson was elected as the Savannah City Council’s Alderman for the First District in 2004. The citizens of the district re-elected Johnson for 3 subsequent terms, where he received over 75% of the popular vote. During his tenure as an Alderman, Mayor Johnson served as Mayor Pro Tem and Vice Chairman of Council. Johnson used his platform to advocate on behalf of the least, the last and the lost; and to promote inclusion and equity for all of Savannah’s citizens.
Upon finding out that he was voted ‘Best City Employee’ in the ‘Best Of Savannah’ competition, Johnson said, “To God be the glory because this has been a trying year both personally and professionally.”
Johnson said the award is not his alone.
“When you see me standing here, they say Van Johnson because it’s the face that they see, but I’m really a representative of a 2,400-member team,” Johnson said. “When the Super Bowl is won, everyone is going to the quarterback, but the fact is that the quarterback can’t be very effective if his line is not protecting him, if the running back is not running or the defense is not holding the line.”
Johnson credits all city employees.
“Every single day, every single employee, no matter what department they work in, is making it happen,” Johnson said. “I hope to make them feel more valued.”
Johnson said that the entire city of Savannah team hopes to get even better.
“I accept it on behalf of team Savannah,” Johnson said.