In serving 12 years, councilman recalls the progress

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

To the Editor:

Thanks for the tongue lashing, Steve Stewart (“How to leave gracefully — or not,” Publisher’s Notebook on Sunday).

It was justly deserved. My comments were certainly poorly stated and the citizens of Franklin do deserve better. I would like to end my public service on City Council on a more positive note.

Looking back over the last 12 years, we faced some interesting issues and challenging times. We have had significant staff changes: three new council members, three city attorneys, four police chiefs, two fire chiefs and two public utilities directors.

Through all that, we weathered two hurricanes and a flood. We built a new City Hall, a new courts and police building, renovated the public safety building and social services building and developed a business incubator.

We made significant changes to our building, zoning and comprehensive plans that will benefit the citizens for years to come. We have reviewed and revised our debt management process to achieve many projects that would have been thought impossible.

Most importantly, we established a vision for our city and developed a process for strategic planning to implement and achieve annual goals. I am proud to have served on this team of dedicated professionals.

Do we have significant challenges ahead?

We sure do. We need to continue our efforts toward managing growth, improving our schools and developing our economy, to name just a few.

I urge citizens to show up at all City Council meetings to provide input. Council members need to listen to the citizens, even when they do not like what they hear. Our job is to sift though the input and make the best decision for the city as a whole.

While the budget sessions are the pocketbook sessions, at every council meeting decisions are made that effect the direction of the city and ultimately how we spend money.

At one of our planning sessions for the city, a particular quote (the author unknown to me) stuck with me that I will leave as a guiding principle for our new council members that helped me make decisions: “A politician makes decisions that will affect the next election, a statesman makes decisions that will effect the next generation.”

Thanks to all my constituents in Ward 1. It has been my pleasure to serve you. I truly have appreciated the opportunity to serve you and the rest of the citizens of Franklin.

Joe Scislowicz

council member, Ward 1