Here’s to fresh starts

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2008

The Southeastern Pubic Service Authority’s hiring of Franklin City Manager Rowland &uot;Bucky&uot; Taylor as the waste agency’s executive director is timely.

Foremost, the Chesapeake-based authority, which serves Franklin, Southampton County and Isle of Wight County among other area localities, gets a seasoned, competent administrator to replace the retiring John Hadfield. Taylor’s intricate knowledge of SPSA’s operations from his work in Franklin and Southampton County governments, as well as his longtime service as an alternate member of the SPSA board, will allow him to hit the ground running in his new assignment.

Taylor’s departure also is timely for Franklin city government, which is about to embark on a new course after the election this spring of two new City Council members.

Council newcomers Barry Cheatham and Benny Burgess didn’t run on an anti-Taylor platform per se, but they very clearly ran against the status quo, which Taylor embodies.

The voters responded overwhelmingly to the challengers’ campaign, defeating Ward 2 council incumbent Charles Wrenn and sending a strong message to Mayor Jim Councill that City Hall must change its ways, especially on fiscal matters.

There was likely to be conflict between the newcomers and Taylor, a staunch Councill and Wrenn ally, as the council began heeding the voters’ mandate.

Instead, Taylor’s departure for bigger and better things allows the City Council to start afresh by recruiting a new city manager who is not encumbered by ties to the old power structure.

On balance, we’d call it a win-win-win situation – for Taylor, for SPSA and for the City of Franklin.