Four more nominated for city School Board

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

FRANKLIN—Four new candidates were nominated for the open seats and the City School Board and one candidate, Phyllis Crum, was nominated for a second seat during a public hearing Monday night.

The City Council’s attempt at consensus led it to pass over School Board nominees for Ward 1, Ward 2 and the at-large seats earlier this month. Instead the council elected to hold another public hearing to receive more nominees for the seats.

“I applaud your attempts at consensus,” said Franklin resident Joe Stutts, who spoke during the meeting’s public comment period.

However, not everyone was pleased with the council’s decision to pass over the original nominees. Greg McLemore admonished the council members during the public comment period for their decision to pass over nominees at the last meeting. He said that it amounted to telling the candidates that they “weren’t good enough.”

“I was very disappointed in our City Council,” he said. “I just don’t think that it was right for you to put (the candidates) through that.”

Crum, who was already a candidate for the at-large seat, was also nominated for the board’s Ward 2 seat. She can legally be nominated for both seats, but can only be appointed to one, according to Taylor Williams, the city attorney.

For the Ward 2 seat, Crum will face incumbent Robert Meredith and Tawanna Bernard.

Linda C. Burkett and Edna R. King were both nominated for the board’s at-large seat. Burkett is an information technology manager at International Paper’s Franklin Mill. She’s a former educator and has worked for IP/Union Camp for 34 years. King is a retired educator, who has served as a coordinator for various programs with school systems and colleges in the area over the past five decades.

King and Burkett face competition from incumbent David Benton and Phyllis Crum.

Dr. Peggy Scott, a candidate for the at-large seat, withdrew her nomination in support of King during the public hearing.

Glenn Hopkins and Will Councill were nominated for the Ward 1 seat. Hopkins is an Iraq War veteran who has served in the military for 26 years. Councill previously served on the board, but resigned in 2008 so that his son could be employed by the school division.

Hopkins and Councill will face Nancy Parrish and Audrey Lee.

Ellis Crum suggested that council members consider calling all candidates back and holding public interviews. He also suggested that council members ask all candidates the same interview questions.

“If this is a qualification issue, then certainly citizens deserve to hear the qualifications first-hand from those candidates,” he said. “If it is a consensus issue, perhaps the citizens can help us reach consensus.”

Despite Crum’s suggestion, council will hold closed interviews for the four new nominees on Monday at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Council members are reserving the right to reinterview the other candidates also, if it’s deemed necessary.