Council again makes changes to charter bill

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FRANKLIN—The Franklin City Council voted 5-2 Monday night to change the rules regarding a recall election to help ease passage of the city’s charter amendment bill through the Virginia House of Delegates.

The bill has already passed the Senate, but members of a subcommittee in the House Counties, Towns and Cities Committee had concerns because the provision didn’t allow for a council member who has been removed from his seat to be a choice on a ballot of possible successors, City Attorney Taylor Williams told the council.

Williams said the language for the recall provision came from a similar provision in Portsmouth that passed in the General Assembly last year.

Coucnilmen Greg McLemore and Don Blythe voted against the move that would change that language to allow the seat of a recalled council member to be considered vacant and let the council fill the vacancy.

“I make a motion to kill it because I feel it will fail again,”

McLemore said of the charter amendment bill.

“I don’t know why we keep pushing this week after week,” Blythe said. “I don’t know what’s behind it.”

Councilman Benny Burgess said he favors giving the charter amendment bill another shot at passing in the House because the council had taken it this far already.

“There are so many forces at work in Richmond,” Burgess said. “I don’t know it it’s going to be successful because there are other factors involved.”

This change marks the second for the bill since it passed the Senate. The first changes took out provisions that would require a council member to resign for not paying city taxes, council members to resign to run for mayor and fining a council member for giving a direct order to a city employee.

The House Counties, Towns and Cities Committee will take up the issue again at a meeting of its subcommittee today, Feb. 29.