School noms still valid

Published 9:32 am Saturday, July 25, 2009

FRANKLIN— The School Board appointment saga continues.

Apparently the School Board nominees who were passed over for appointment at the last City Council meeting must still be considered for the seats.

City Attorney Taylor Williams said that the language of councilman Barry Cheatham’s motion to hold another public hearing to seek more candidates for the School Board’s at-large, Ward 1 and Ward 2 seats didn’t do anything to address the nominees from the June 8 public hearing.

“There weren’t any motions made that dealt with the nominees from June 8,” Williams said. “All of those nominations are still valid and are going to be considered by council.”

Williams said that the nominees from the June 8 public hearing, who have already been interviewed, and any new candidates from the public hearing on Monday will have to be considered together.

In various interviews with The Tidewater News, several of the original nominees seemed to be under the impression that their nominations had been thrown out. However, that isn’t the case.

“There was never a motion to throw out the June 8 nominees,” Williams said.

Cheatham said that it was never his intention to exclude anyone, even the original candidates, from being nominated at the next public hearing.

“This just keeps them from having to be renominated,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Robert Meredith, who currently holds the Ward 2 seat on the city’s School Board, was passed over in the last council meeting. He said that the language of the motion might have been an oversight by council members.

“They probably didn’t anticipate this particular turn of events,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.”

Phyllis Crum, who is seeking appointment to the board’s at-large seat for the fifth time, said that she is “glad to hear” that she is still under consideration for the seat. She also said that the City Council should take the opportunity to hold open interviews and deliberations for the nominees from the upcoming public hearing.

“They should really allow the people to see what the candidates have to say,” she said. “These aren’t personal interviews. They should allow the people to see the whole process from start to finish.”

Nancy Parrish, a candidate for the Ward 1 seat, said that she is happy that the original nominees are still under consideration.

“I think the City Council would’ve overlooked some great people,” she said. “These are the people who were willing to serve from the beginning.”

Cheatham said that more Franklin residents should step up and participate in the process, and he hopes that more people take the opportunity on Monday.

“I know this council is working hard with the city manager and staff to make the city more open and receptive to new ideas,” he wrote. “I would hope that the residents see that and will come out to put their hat into the ring for the School Board next Monday night.”

City Council is holding a public hearing to seek more nominees for the at-large, Ward 1 and Ward 2 School Board seats at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.