Council to begin city manager search

Published 10:17 am Saturday, November 13, 2010

FRANKLIN—The City Council on Monday voted to appoint a three-member committee to review initial resumes of candidates vying to be Franklin’s next city manager.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson, Councilman Benny Burgess and City Manager June Fleming will screen candidates before bringing finalists before council for consideration.

Last November, Fleming agreed to stay with the city through June 2011. A retired city manager in Palo Alto, Calif., Fleming became Franklin’s interim city manager in 2008, and in March 2009, the City Council removed the “interim” from her title.

The council’s two newest members, councilmen Don Blythe and Greg McLemore expressed displeasure with the selection committee and voted against its approval.

Blythe said he wanted to serve on the committee and didn’t like that the three committee members’ names were “just thrown out” to be voted on before discussion during the council’s Monday meeting. He said he felt “pretty offended.”

“We’ve got a duty to the citizens of Franklin to do it right, and to me this is not the right way to do it,” Blythe said. “This would be a great opportunity to really serve the citizens and participate in this, but I wasn’t given a chance and I do resent that.”

McLemore, who said he didn’t necessarily want to serve on the committee, took issue with Johnson and Burgess serving together on the committee.

“There’s too much going on with those two and I don’t support them being the ones to pick our new city manager,” McLemore said.

During discussion, he also questioned the legality and ethics behind things the council does in closed session meetings.

“I don’t like being a party to backdoor deals,” McLemore said.

Councilman Barry Cheatham, who made the motion for the committee, said he nominated Burgess and Johnson because they have served on the council for a while and “don’t have agendas” or particularly strong opinions about how the process should go.

Mayor Jim Councill said the purpose of the committee is “merely to screen the applicants” to make sure they meet certain requirements.

“Then the whole council will make the decision,” Cheatham said.