Change needed in Franklin

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To the Editor:

Mayor Jim Councill has been in office for many years and has been dedicated to the welfare of Franklin.

But he seems to have fallen into a pattern seen in many lifelong politicians of becoming disconnected from the values and wishes of his constituents. As much as I hate rehashing the events, I and the great majority of citizens of Franklin were appalled by his behavior regarding the Navy’s plans for Franklin’s airport.

It was not so much that we differed in our opinions about what was best for Franklin, but in the way he handled the situation. It became clear to me and many others that he was rather single-handedly pushing to a contract regardless of continued and overwhelming testimony by many who were against it.

Former City Manager June Fleming showed clearly that there was not only no monetary advantage, but in fact, a fiscal disadvantage and, no jobs were to be added to the community workforce. The negatives could be stacked head high, including degradation of our quality of life, impact on future settlement and, of course, safety to property and lives.

But Mayor Councill stubbornly ignored the wishes of the majority of our citizens and the majority of other elected City Council persons. The authority for pursuing such a “personal” agenda is not granted for the mayoral position within our charter.

His independent actions were not examples of effective leadership but were divisive both to the community and to City Council.

These are not the qualities we need in Franklin as we move forward to improve our schools, employment rate and community well-being.

It is time for a change in our leadership, and thank goodness we have the person for the job in Raystine Johnson.

I have seen Ms. Johnson “in action” at City Council meetings. She is contemplative, a critical thinker not rushing to opinion without consideration of both facts and others’ opinions. She is not boisterous or loudly outspoken, but when she speaks, folks listen.

As many of us have witnessed in our lives, it is often the folks who say the least that we listen to the most. If our city leadership is to be effective in improving conditions in Franklin, there is an urgent need for a collaborative, consensus-building approach from the mayoral position.

As a city councilwoman and vice mayor, Raystine Johnson has proven that she is that person. She will lead Franklin to solutions that are best for all citizens, black and white, and in all economic levels.

She has the “heart,” the “mind” and the “will.” Yes, it is time for a change. Please vote for Raystine Johnson on May 1 and give her a chance to make a difference in Franklin.

Ames Herbert