New request for airfield proposals encourages mayor

Published 9:33 am Saturday, February 26, 2011


FRANKLIN—The Navy’s Friday announcement that it is seeking proposals from regional airfields for pilot training is encouraging to Mayor Jim Councill.

“I think it says that the Navy has not ceased interest in Franklin,” Councill said.

He concluded this because the request for proposals did not omit Franklin and an environmental assessment study on Franklin Municipal Airport has been suspended, not stopped.

The mayor and Councilwoman Mary Hilliard on Feb. 14 voted against discontinuing talks with the Navy’s proposed use of Franklin Municipal Airport for pilot training.

Councilman Greg McLemore made the motion to stop discussions after a spirited town hall meeting on the issue; four additional council members sided with McLemore.

“The council had an established procedure to follow that would gather the information, field questions, research the answers and to determine the proposed cost for services requested,” Councill said. “And then have a public forum to present these findings before any decision would be made.”

“Good governance requires that we research all the information necessary to make an informed decision,” he continued. “And the council cut that process off and made a decision with inadequate and incorrect information. That process violated our own rules and the expectations by the larger community of Franklin, Southampton and Isle of Wight.”

The request for proposals was to be posted Friday on Federal Business Opportunities at

The Tidewater News attempted to reach all City Council members and City Manager June Fleming for comment Friday, but got no response.