Elected officials criticized for missing luncheon

Published 9:43 am Friday, June 22, 2012

To the Editor:

The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Franklin hosted a luncheon on June 15 with U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va.

It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a bit of face time and an informative question-and-answer session with the congressman, who works pretty hard on our behalf.

The event was well attended, drawing some 70 individuals, representing a cross-section of business and professional leaders from our community.

Sorely missing were our local elected leaders. Aside from Southampton County Capron District Supervisor Bruce Phillips, not a single leader bothered to attend. Not one.

Certainly other members of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors and Franklin City Council cannot be busier than a U.S. Congressman?

Southampton County Administrator Mike Johnson, Franklin City Manager Randy Martin and even state Del. Rick Morris, R-Carrollton, found time to attend.

Where were the other members of the Southampton Board of Supervisors? Why was not one Franklin City Council member in attendance, especially our mayor-elect, who will be taking office in just weeks?

I’ll at least give Franklin Mayor Jim Councill a pass on this one, as he called the Chamber several days prior to say he had a previous out-of-town engagement.

As president of the Franklin-Southampton Chamber, I feel it was an embarrassment on the part of our community’s leadership. As an elected official representing the voters of Franklin and Southampton County, there should be certain events on your radar, especially one that hosts a U.S. Congressman and includes many of the community’s business and professional leaders.

Your decision to seek an elected office automatically elevates you to a higher level of expectations and accountability.

To the members of Franklin City Council and the Southampton Board of Supervisors, I am stunned by what appears to be your lack of interest in engaging the business community other than at election time.

Michael Clark
Franklin-Southampton Area
Chamber of Commerce