Brief stop

Published 9:47 am Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When the news broke that John Faraci, the chairman and CEO of International Paper Co., was in town for a brief stop at the Franklin paper mill, many people probably thought the worst.

But he wasn’t here to heap more bad news on weary and worried employees. Instead, he was here to deliver a message: The company appreciates your sacrifices.

“What we’re trying to do at International Paper is position the company for the long term, and manage for the short term,” he said.

“That’s meant some very tough decisions here at Franklin (about) people, which we don’t like to make, but they’re necessary to make.”

These may be unsettling words to hear from a man who makes a little more than $10 million a year in compensation, but we agree that the decision to close the sawmill, despite its long and proud history, makes sound financial sense.

The demand for lumber is just not there. The construction industry is down. So is the housing market.

But Faraci was optimistic about the economy turning around in the near future.

When that happens, the housing market and construction industry will rebound and the demand for lumber will return.