Franklin council took civility class

Published 10:33 am Monday, April 9, 2012

FRANKLIN—The Franklin City Council in November participated in a University of Virginia program to learn how to be more efficient as a government board.

John Thomas, director of the Weldon Cooper Center’s Virginia Institute of Government, hosted the free meeting at City Hall. The city, however, pays a voluntary $500 to participate in the network of localities represented by the institute.

Participants discussed how council meetings should be run and how council members could improve interacting with one another.

“In my mind it was a group of people, as a governing body, who wanted to function more efficiently in a public setting,” Thomas said. “They knew they weren’t functioning as smoothly as they could be.”

City Attorney Taylor Williams said the meeting was open to the public and notices were posted at City Hall, on the city’s website, given to department heads and sent to subscribers of the city’s e-mail list.

After the meeting, which was billed as a work session, the council made checklists on note cards and graded themselves as well as the group as a whole on effectiveness, Councilman Benny Burgess said.

“I think anytime you are working to solve problems it’s beneficial,” Burgess said.

Councilman Don Blythe also thought the meeting was beneficial.

“It gave everyone a little bit of personal constructive criticism,” Blythe said.