Senate to vote today on requiring Franklin council members to resign to run for mayor

Published 8:04 am Monday, January 23, 2012


RICHMOND—The state Senate is scheduled today, Jan. 23, to vote on a bill that would require Franklin City Council members to resign to run for mayor, and the House is considering similar legislation.

Under the legislation, anyone on council who runs for mayor in the May election would not have to resign since the the charter amendments would not take effect until July 1.

Sponsored by Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, the bill is up for a third and final reading on the Senate’s uncontested calendar. The bill, which was unanimously approved by the Senate Local Government Committee on Tuesday, would make several amendments to the Franklin City Charter.

One amendment states that if a Franklin City Council member wants to run for mayor, he must resign no fewer than 10 days after filing his petition for mayor. The resignation would be effective on June 30 of the election year.

The bill also spells out rules for recalling Franklin City Council members or the mayor. Recall supporters would have to gather signatures from at least 15 percent of the voters in the council member’s ward or, in the mayor’s case, 15 percent of the voters citywide.

Moreover, the bill says a council member shall forfeit office if he fails to pay all real estate taxes or personal property taxes by Jan. 15 each year.

Two bills nearly identical are pending in the House. They were introduced by Delegate Roslyn Tyler, D-Jarratt, and sponsored by Del. Rick Morris, R-Carrollton.

“We’re basically just upgrading the charter, which has not been changed in some time, to reflect and conform to the charters of some other cities,” Tyler said.

She said the legislation may be modified.

“Delegate Morris and I are working on the final draft of the amendments,” Tyler said

The changes would be only the second amendments to the Franklin City Charter since it was enacted in 1962. Last year, the charter was amended to change the length of terms of members of the Franklin School Board.