One more try on charter

Published 9:53 am Friday, February 17, 2012

We hope the Virginia General Assembly will accept a good-faith effort by the Franklin City Council to compromise on proposed changes to the city charter and pass the watered-down version before the close of the legislature’s 2012 session.

If lawmakers balk, we urge council members to abandon the controversial charter effort and move on to more pressing business. Too much important work is needed in Franklin for the council and city staff to spend any more money, time or emotional energy on the charter.

The council’s compromise effort, approved Monday by a 5-2 vote, is reasonable and should alleviate concerns in the House of Delegates about the constitutionality of what the city seeks. The heart of the scaled-back legislation is a recall provision that is common practice for many localities and states across the country. We see no reason for the General Assembly to oppose the change.

Once the charter matter is settled, council members have work to do and should set about doing it. In this time of economic transition for our community, the council’s focus should be on building a lean, efficient, responsive government that is transparent and both citizen-friendly and business-friendly. The council should reach out to Southampton County and find ways to deliver services more efficiently by working together instead of separately.

Parliamentary fiddling is fine to a point, but enough time and energy have been expended. Here’s hoping the General Assembly removes the distraction from the City Council’s plate and passes the latest charter changes as presented.