Franklin, other towns to vote on Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2008

FRANKLIN—Residents have the opportunity to pick their city leaders when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

Registered voters totaling more than 5,600 will electing a mayor and three council members. Two of those ward seats are being contested in what observers say may be the most dramatic city elections in some time.

The Ward 1 council seat, to be vacated by Joe Scislowicz, is being sought by both Barry Cheatham of Bobwhite Lane and Dan Hoctor of Covey Circle.

Cheatham, a certified public accountant who is a partner in an auditing firm in Virginia Beach, believes that the city can be more consumer-friendly and more responsive to taxpayers.

He said he believes the city can be more business-friendly as well, and is concerned about the welfare of the downtown area.

Cheatham wants to bring better-paying jobs to the area as well, so that residents do not have to commute to work.

He believes in &uot;curtailing the city’s debt the old-fashioned way—by tightening our belts.&uot;

He said he thinks that city government should be more transparent and he supports providing more vocational opportunities for students.

He is secretary of the Franklin Kiwanis Club and has lived in Franklin since 1990.

Hoctor, a physical therapist, is vice president of Southside Physical Therapy. He has lived in the city since 1992.

He, too, believes the city could be more business-friendly.

He is a supporter of the schools, and says the city needs new buildings to house the students.

&uot;(I know) our buildings are older and our resources are thin,&uot; he said.

He noted he would not rule out looking into a merger with our neighboring localities down the road.

Hoctor cites some upcoming challenges for the city as reducing the city debt, and following through on the budget without cutting needed services. He believes the city government can be more transparent.

Attracting higher-wage jobs is also part of Hoctor’s platform. Though noting the importance of keeping within the budget, he would also like to see more recreational areas of which citizens can take advantage.

Hoctor is past president and member of the Franklin Rotary Club. He serves as assistant governor of Rotary District 7600 Area 10. He is a member of the Franklin Southampton Futures group.

In addition, Hoctor is vice president of community development for the board of directors of the Franklin Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ward 2 representative on council, Charles Wrenn of Sycamore Road, is seeking re-election and is being challenged by Benny Burgess of College Drive.

Wrenn, who will have served

more than two full terms come June, replaced Billy Hawkins by appointment in 2000.

He also serves as vice chairman of the Southeastern Public Service Authority Board, chairman of the Franklin Business Incubator Board, the Bronco Federal Credit Union Board and Pandemic Awareness Committee, and president of the Rotary Club. He also serves on the Southampton Memorial Hospital Board.

&uot;There is a lot of unfinished work to be done. I’m real enthusiastic about the expansion of Poplar Spring Cemetery and I’m really interested in the (recently created) Historic Preservation Commission.

&uot;I think we have some real challenges with our schools. We are at a point where we need to start talking about a new school.&uot;

Another primary focus of interest for Wrenn is hiring a human resources director.

Burgess, a partner in Burgess & Co., an accounting firm downtown, is a native of the area, growing up in Hunterdale.

Burgess is a proponent of attracting more businesses downtown and thinks the city could be more business-friendly.

School improvements are a &uot;high priority,&uot; according to Burgess, giving the students &uot;more alternatives.&uot;

He noted that the City Council needs to be accountable and that city debt needs to be reduced.

The past president of the Franklin City Educational Foundation, Burgess is still serving on its board. He is also a member of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants board of directors.

Also seeing some opposition this election is current Franklin Mayor Jim Councill, who is seeking a seventh term.

He has served 12 years and is looking forward to continuing work that has been under way during his term, such as his work with the Army Corps of Engineers, congressmen and senators’ representatives to keep the Chowan River Basin study moving along.

&uot;I convened with a working group of all affected localities and agencies to collaborate on solutions and joint efforts to look for solutions or preventative measures,&uot; he said. &uot;That process is moving and I will continue to push this to resolution.&uot;

The mayor also organized an Early Childhood Development Commission &uot;to address the coordination and effective teaching in early childhood (ages 3-5) so that all children might be prepared to succeed as they enter kindergarten.&uot;

He invited Southampton and Isle of Wight counties to become involved as well. Southampton joined the effort, and Isle of Wight is also now on board.

As part of his work on the Opportunity Inc. Workforce Development Board, he has initiated more dialogue between the three localities to increase vocational training opportunities for students.

Councill is also active in the Hampton Roads Partnership, the the Mayors and Chairs Caucus, and serves as the chairman of the Southside Mayors and Chairs. He serves on the Hampton Roads Economic Development Authority and was recently selected to the executive committee of the Virginia Municipal League.

&uot;Our attention in the immediate future is the Corps of Engineers study of the river,&uot; he said, &uot;engineering options the city might have, coordinating with police to address the increased crime and gang activity, implementing our Reverse 911 system for emergency notification, always addressing the needs and concerns of our dedicated school board, staff and faculty, and working diligently to offer needed services as economically as possible.

&uot;We are addressing the SPSA and Regional Jail concerns, and focusing on downtown revitalization.

&uot;It is an exciting and challenging time.&uot;

Gregory McLemore of Madison Street is vying for the mayor’s seat.

A local businessman and civic activist, he has been a resident of Franklin intermittently for the last 30 years.

His platform focuses on utility bill reform, eliminating the city vehicle decals, providing better water quality and immigration control.

Creating good-paying jobs and affordable housing, as well as improving schools, are also concerns of McLemore’s.

He would like to see the city become more eco-friendly and business-friendly, and promotes collaboration among localities. He also cites the city needs more educational opportunities through the recreation department.

He said, &uot;My issues are the citizens’ issues.&uot; He said he would work to &uot;outlaw secrecy and secret deals&uot; and &uot;to reduce these outrageous utility bills.&uot;

McLemore is a small-business owner and patented inventor of McLemore Collectible Displays, and a retired radio broadcaster and program director. A former restaurant/nightclub owner, he has also managed several hotels and nightclubs in the Hampton Roads area.

Ellis Crum of Queen’s Lane also challenges the current mayor.

Crum has been very active in local government, speaking frequently on behalf of citizens regarding issues ranging from city policy to electric rates.

&uot;I think it’s our responsibility to be involved in government, and at a local level where we have an actual impact,&uot; he said.

Crum’s platform includes improving our schools and education for the youth, alleviating problems of the homeless and underhoused, making Franklin more business-friendly, and creating a place in which children will want to return and work.

He said, &uot;We need to provide a decent standard of living for families.&uot;

Crum says he also hopes to restore faith in city government processes, &uot;where citizens are encouraged to be part of the process and part of the solution, and where the city is responsive to others.&uot;

According to Crum, fiscal responsibility and financial accountability are two areas on which to focus.

Crum has lived in Franklin since 2004. The president of East Coast Inspirators, a home-based motivational speaking and life coaching business, Crum also serves as CEO of the leadership arm of that organization, Legacy Enhancer.

He is current force analyst for headquarters’ Training and Doctrine Command of the U.S. Army at Fort Monroe in Hampton. Crum is a former Army officer who worked in Special Operations Command.

The former pastor of Manna Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Crum is working on his master’s of divinity degree at Liberty University in Lynchburg. He is also board president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia, Franklin Unit.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson is running unopposed.

Appointed in January 1999 when Robert Harrell passed away, she then ran in 2000. &uot;I want to continue serving Ward 4 and the city,&uot; she said. &uot;There is still a lot to be done. There are items from the retreat that I think haven’t been fully discussed.&uot;

The polls will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Residents of Southampton’s six towns go to the polls on Tuesday to elect members of their local governments.

This is a list of who’s on the ballots in each town.

The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Most towns hold their elections in the fire halls.

The town office telephone numbers are listed in case additional information is needed.


Town office: 654-6361

Mayor (1 seat)

* R. Spier Edwards Jr.

Main Street

Town council (5 seats)

* Amy J. Gautier

Beaton Avenue

* Linda E. Beatty

Bryant Avenue

* Mary Elizabeth Washington

East Street

* Michael T. ”Mike” Gadsby

Elizabeth Street

* Rhonda J. Mathias

Broad Street


town office: 654-9420

Mayor (1 seat)

* Arthur B. Harris Jr.

Darden Street

Town Council (6 seats)

* George Lenton Smith

Grizzard Street

* Harold Preston Futrell Jr.

Darden Street

Kelly Joe Ray

Grizzard Street

Lundy G. Sadler II

Hall Street

* Nancy Phelps Barrett

Branch Bridge Street

* Roger Allen Hinson

Hall Street

* Samuel Elton Whitley

Branch Bridge Street

* Susan O. Phelps

Branch Bridge Street


Town Office: (434) 658-4275

Mayor (1 seat)

* William Nick Kitchen IV

Main Street W

Town Council (6 seats)

Deborah B. Starke

West Main Street

* Erma W. Joyner

Main Street W

* John W. Ausbon

W. Main Street

* Reginald T. Vaughan Sr.

Railroad Avenue

* Vernie W. Francis III

Church Street

* William G. Jarratt Jr.

Main Street W


town office: 653-2222

Mayor (1 seat)

* Lewis H. Davis Sr.

Court Street

Town Council Ward 1 (2 seats)

* Mary E. Hill

High Street

*Maxine Darden Nowlin

Aurora Street

Town Council Ward 2 (2 seats)

* Danny R. Williams

Hanging Tree Road

Stanley A. Piersa Jr.

Linden Street

Town Council Ward 3 (2 seats)

* George T. Kitchen Jr.

Rochelle Street

Jason C. Fowler

Court Street


Town office: 859-6397

Mayor (1 seat)

* Keith H. Joyner

Main Street

Town Council (6 seats)

* B. Frank Cook Jr.

New Road

D. Wayne Felts

Bell Avenue

* Edward C. Garner

Babb Drive

* Paul S. Kea Sr.

General Mahone Boulevard

* Sandra L. Vick

Babb Drive

* Sean Unitas Wade

Rawls Drive

Wayne D. ”Junkyard” Clark

Main Street


Town hall: 654-66731


(1 seat)


Harvey J. Porter Jr.

Main Street

Town Council (6 seats)

A. E. ”Al” Briggs III

Main Street

* Guy Pope Rountree Jr.

Main Street

Judith Carol Rose

E Railroad Street

* Kenneth Wayne Cooke

Railroad Street W

* Robert Kenneth Powell

Thomaston Road

Robert L. Bouters

Main Street

* Vanless D. ”VD” Worrell

Westbrook Street

* indicates incumbent