Citizens’ group may shift focus to election

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2008

FRANKLIN—Members of a citizens’ group are second-guessing whether they should give a third presentation to the City Council regarding reorganization of the electric department.

In a recent work session, the City Council approved responses to some of the issues raised by the group, including not having &uot;sufficient information to justify establishing an electric commission or authority to manage the electric system at this time.&uot;

Chuck Lilley, a resident who is retired from sales management at Union Camp, said that although the group has requested to be put on the council’s February agenda, he wonders if it will be worth the time.

&uot;The (upcoming) presentation (in response to comments from Councilman Mark Fetherolf) is, for the most part, about the financial flow between the electric department and the general fund,&uot; Lilley said.

The City Council approved a memorandum at its meeting on Jan. 28, addressed to &uot;Chuck Lilley and others,&uot; that outlined its stance on a series of requests and recommendations made by the citizens’ committee.

The citizens’ group contacted or visited five other localities that have independent utilities in an effort to explain how and why they were formed.

&uot;We presented a clear enough picture of how they operated,&uot; Lilley said. &uot;But, they (council members) seem to have made up their minds.

&uot;Our intention is probably better served by focusing on the upcoming elections.&uot;

Ellis Crum, a businessman who is also in the group, said that it isn’t a matter of whether it is immoral or illegal to not consider the independent commission, it is a matter of being transparent.

&uot;Is it really an issue that citizens want to become more decisively engaged in self-governance?&uot; he rhetorically asked.

&uot;I would be concerned if the city has an issue with citizens becoming more involved.&uot;

In the memorandum approved by the City Council and addressed to the group, Mayor Jim Councill wrote in a preamble:

&uot;In recent months there has been considerable discussion revolving around the City’s Electric Department. Council has received some good information and appreciates the interest that has been shown. Council feels that due to the time that has transpired since your presentation we should provide you with an update of where we are even though the process is not yet complete. Council has held discussions on the various topics presented and it feels that it has a clear understanding of what has been provided. Council has been looking at the various components of the local government and how they intertwine with each other in order to provide the level of services that our citizens, visitors and neighbors enjoy by living in the City. By working together we are committed to continuing to provide a City where free exchange of ideas and analysis of how business is being operated

and maintained between revenue sources and expenditures which are required to run the City in a professional and accountable manner. In an effort to clarify some items I am providing the following information which has been authorized by the Franklin City Council.&uot;