Councilman accepts responsibility for issues in Franklin

Published 10:20 am Saturday, February 22, 2014

I would like to offer an apology to any and every citizen of this city who feels I have transgressed against them with something I may have said in my position as an elected official. As I was asleep the other night, I was awakened to the thought of, “What has happened to this country?”

I thought this was a free country, where freedom of speech was afforded to everyone. I began to ponder on what was most likely the precipice of my political career. I did not want to allow someone else to be the only one to pen my final thoughts or epithet.

I have been vilified by this publication in the past; however, my vilification was not for my “issue positions” as much as for being outspoken and giving voice to the voiceless. Time has proven my positions to be on the right side of every major issue that has come before our city council during my tenure: The U.S. Navy practice landing strips, the city charter changes deemed unconstitutional by the Virginia General Assembly, outrageous utility and tax bills and, most recently, the school system leadership needing change according to both this paper and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

As my term ends, I’m concerned with the preservation of our rights to free speech and your right to a growing city for your tax dollars; not a city with plenty money and debt, while the citizens continue to be victims to more fees, higher taxes and utility bills with a declining city.

My heart grows heavy every time an important issue such as jobs, economic growth and our city school systems failure is deemed not your elected officials’ responsibility. It saddens my heart to hear people say “I hate to admit it, but McLemore was right,” or “I can’t believe it, but I’m going to have to agree with McLemore on this one.”

Then there is the one that says “McLemore has some good ideas, but it’s the way he says things.”

Am I not articulate? Again, please allow me to go on record saying, “If I have done anything to offend anyone by standing my ground and speaking my mind, I apologize; it was not my intention to hurt anyone. To the contrary, it was to try to help most of the citizens of Franklin that have no voice.”

Am I not entitled to an opinion just like you are, and express mine as an elected official?

It is my opinion that Franklin is in bad need of change before it slips too far to recover.

The past two years have showed us the worst failing schools, higher utility bills, and a commitment for a truck stop, lots of photo opps and new fees. Did you know that our city rehired a retired city employee part-time and is paying him more than or as much as some department heads at approximately $75,000 a year? Is that right, fair or good leadership? To continue with this sort of leadership is detrimental to the people and a return to 16 years of failed leadership before trying something different would be insane.

As I have stated publicly, I continue to feel that as an elected representative of the people of my ward and this city, it is our responsibility to initiate policies that foster solutions to these dire circumstances that have befallen our citizenry; for this also I apologize to the citizens of Franklin.

In a world where it seems no one wants to take responsibility for anything, blame me. I accept responsibility as an elected official for lack of jobs in Franklin, excessive utility bills and failing schools. As we approach this next election, I declare that I will not seek re-election unless the citizens express a desire for me to continue to bring new ideas, offer solutions and give voice to the voiceless and not sell out to the status-quo.

GREG MCLEMORE is the councilman for Ward 3 of the Franklin City Council. He can be contacted at