Candidates discuss shared services

Published 8:20 am Friday, April 27, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is the final in a four-part series focusing on Franklin City Council candidates in the May 1 election.

Do you support shared services with Southampton and/or Isle of Wight counties? If so, what are some examples of ways the localities should cooperate, and how would you work to implement?

Ward 1 Candidates

Earl Blythe

I certainly support shared services with neighboring counties and believe identifying possible services should begin with a summit consisting of the three governing bodies, who would give department heads and key staff directions to provide details that could be presented to their respective governing bodies.

After public hearings in each locality, the governing bodies should then come together and make a decision regarding implementation of the recommendations of staff and citizens.

Barry W. Cheatham

I have wanted certain parts of our education system to be shared such as the alternative education program, honors classes and special help classes. I have talked extensively about a strong regional trade program for youth who won’t be going to college. When companies look at our region, they will be looking at the quality of the workforce. I am the catalyst who started the Western Tidewater Regional Solid Waste Committee that is looking into life after Southeastern Public Service Authority in 2018. We are looking as Franklin and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties for a regional approach.

Ward 4 Candidates

Linwood Johnson

I do believe there are areas that the three localities can work on together, however, let us focus on ideas that all the localities agree and cooperate on now. That idea is economic development. We should continue to focus on this element because we are doing this now and joint economic prosperity through job growth and business revenue will be the foundation for a greater collaboration in all areas in the future.

Mona Murphy

Yes. First, bring all parties together with a shared services coordinator to show us the way.

I did a bit of research on shared services. I found the major component in having a successful plan was to enlist the help of a shared services coordinator. The coordinator facilitates all aspects of a shared service agreement starting from the conception of the idea, to an investigative study, to crafting the agreement and execution, then the submittal of funding to lift the new agreement off the ground and running. In looking at Sussex County, New Jersey, they enjoyed numerous informal benefits that can be attributed to having a full-time shared services coordinator.

These informal benefits resulted in increased and continued communications through the municipal officials within Sussex County and the surrounding areas. These communications in turn resulted in tax dollar savings to citizens of about $500,000. I know this can work for our communities.

I would like to see Franklin and Southampton share services such as alternative education, vocational programs, social services and parks and recreation.

I would like to see all three localities share services for police, fire and rescue and flood plans.