Franklin mayor to seek eighth term

Published 8:34 am Friday, December 30, 2011

FRANKLIN—Franklin Mayor Jim Councill said he will seek re-election next year.

“I’m not tired of it,” Councill said. “I’m challenged and energized by it.”

A seven-term mayor who began serving in 1996, Councill earlier this year was at odds with the majority of the City Council on bringing Navy pilot training to the Franklin airport. The 67-year-old owner of Councill Financial Concepts said he wasn’t offended by the decision to stop negotiations with the Navy and understands it was the will of the people. He also still believes the city never considered a “wonderful option.”

Councill said stabilizing the city’s economy is one of the bigger issues facing Franklin in the future. Other issues facing the city are continuing to better the education system and working to make Main Street popular again.

In addition to the mayor’s seat, Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 4 City Council seats also will be on the May 1 ballot, said Franklin Voter Registrar Jennifer Maynard.

Incumbent Ward 1 Councilman Barry Cheatham said he plans to seek a second term. An accountant in Virginia Beach, Cheatham was elected in 2008.

Candidates running for city seats can start collecting the needed 125 signatures after Jan. 1, Maynard said. The deadline to qualify is Tuesday, March 6.

Ward 2 Councilman Benny Burgess, owner of Burgess & Co. CPA in downtown Franklin, is undecided about running for re-election.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Burgess said. “I haven’t really sat down and figured it out.”

Burgess was elected in 2008.

Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson, who represents Ward 4, did not return a phone call.

Maynard said there has been very little interest from other potential candidates, saying two residents have called with questions. She said she didn’t know what seats the residents were possibly seeking and wouldn’t reveal their names.