Important search

Published 9:24 am Friday, September 16, 2011

We’re glad to see the Franklin City Council moving along with its search for a successor to City Manager June Fleming.

Fleming, who thought she was moving to Franklin to retire several years ago, has graciously extended her service to the city a number of times since stepping in as Bucky Taylor’s successor three years ago when Taylor left to lead the Southeastern Public Service Authority.

The city has benefited tremendously from Fleming’s steady leadership during a challenging era in city government. Heeding the clear desires of the electorate in the 2008 election, Fleming, with the support of the City Council, imposed fiscal discipline in a government that had been growing too fast. As a result, the city was positioned to cope much more successfully with the sharp downturn in tax revenues caused by the closure of Franklin’s paper mill and the collapse of the real estate market.

However, Fleming never intended for her service to be a long-term solution for city government. She’s ready to get back to the life of retirement that she earned from a lifetime of public service.

City officials say they have narrowed a field of 34 applicants down to 18 and will next identify five or six finalists for face-to-face interviews. Few decisions will be more important than the council’s choice of a new city manager.

Franklin needs an energetic, financial-minded, visionary leader to guide our city through the coming years of tough challenges and exciting opportunities. The council should proceed thoroughly and deliberately, leaving no stone unturned in identifying the right person for the job.