Fleming contract extended

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FRANKLIN—June Fleming will remain Franklin’s city manager through June 2011, thanks to a vote by the City Council Monday night.

“We’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of us and she’s become very familiar with all of our issues,” Mayor Jim Councill said after the vote. “We need good guidance going forward.”

Fleming, a retired city manager in Palo Alto, Calif., became Franklin’s interim city manager in 2008 when Rowland “Bucky” Taylor left to become executive director of the Southeastern Public Service Authority. She originally agreed to stay with the city until the end of the 2009 fiscal year and earlier this year agreed to stay until the end of the 2010 fiscal year.

“I took this job to help them as they search for a city manager,” Fleming said in August, noting that she never intended to keep the job permanently.

In March, the City Council removed the “interim” from her title and agreed to pay her $30,000 through the end of the fiscal year. Fleming had previously served without compensation, except for a monthly travel allowance.

“The fact that we’ve got so much turmoil, we need something stable,” said Councilman Benny Burgess, who made the motion to extend Fleming’s contract. The motion passed with a vote of 6-0. Councilwoman Rosa Lawrence didn’t attend the meeting.

Earlier this year, Fleming and the council agreed on a “memorandum of understanding” for her to serve “at the pleasure of council” until June 30, 2010. Under the agreement, Fleming is to be paid a salary of $60,000, about half of what Taylor earned as city manager. She is allowed flexible hours and time off, “as long as the needs of the city are met.”

The council agreed to “make an effort to hire and employ a new city manager” during this period.

However, council members said the pending closure of International Paper’s Franklin mill and the fiscal impact it will have on the city require stable leadership.

“We want to go out and get a city manager, but right now we just felt like it’s better to keep her here for one more year to work through this transition,” Burgess said.

Other council members agreed.

“This is not the time to be making a change,” said Councilman Barry Cheatham. “She’s done great work for us.”

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson said Fleming’s “expertise” and “efficiency” are invaluable—especially now.

“I think she has come in and done a wonderful job,” Johnson said. “We’re elated that she’s staying on.”

Fleming said that she agreed to serve another year because it was the desire of the City Council.

“I’ve always said that I would do what the council thought was best,” she said after the meeting. “They made that request, and I’ve honored it.”