His own worst enemy

Published 8:22 am Friday, May 20, 2011

Greg McLemore, the loose-lipped, combative Franklin city councilman, is on a fast track to political self-destruction.

McLemore joined the council nearly a year ago with good intentions and a mandate from Ward 3 voters, who elected him in a landslide over their incumbent councilwoman. Like voters in Wards 1 and 2 two years prior, Ward 3 wanted change at City Hall, including more transparency, more accountability, more responsiveness to citizens and more fiscal discipline.

McLemore has brought a lot of bluster to council chambers, but that’s about it. He has so thoroughly alienated council colleagues with his outbursts during meetings and his stinging rebukes in public forums, including guest commentary on this page, that he has rendered himself impotent as an agent of change.

The reality of representative democracy is that the majority rules. In the case of a seven-member City Council, four votes are needed to pass a motion. Effective council members learn to build coalitions to advance their agendas.

Outside of his motion to end discussions with the Navy about the use of Franklin Municipal Airport for pilot training — a motion that hastened the council’s inevitable rejection of the controversial project — McLemore has yet to be part of a winning coalition on a substantive matter.

Given the current tension on the City Council and McLemore’s fiercely stubborn nature, he will remain in a decided minority. Three years from now, Ward 3 voters will be wondering what happened to the change they sought at the ballot box in 2010.