Apathy will be the death of us

Published 8:56 am Friday, July 17, 2015

There were a grand total of zero community members present at the Franklin City Council meeting last Monday.

At a meeting where the majority of the agenda items were recognizing the achievements of the City’s employee’s attempts to improve the quality of life in Franklin, the absence of community involvement is particularly jarring.

Melissa Rollins, director of finance, was recognized for helping the finance department to receive the GFOA Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Award. Kelley Conaway, a teacher for Franklin City Public Schools, gave a presentation about Franklin’s growing Cyber Learning Academy, providing additional educational opportunities for parents of Franklin public school students.

The City Council, Mayor Johnson-Ashburn, members of FSEDI and the Chamber of Commerce and Franklin Public Schools work tirelessly alongside many others to make live better for us in Franklin.

And they are met with a resounding silence.

We do not wish to insinuate that citizen attendance to government meetings is the only measurement of community involvement, but it is an indication of a larger problem faced by Franklin city officials.

We as a community seem to be unwilling to acknowledge the efforts of these individuals, paying little attention to the benefits they produce for us. For example, only two adult students took advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the Cyber Learning Academy this past year.

Let’s not sugarcoat the city’s dire financial straits. We are drowning in debt. But if we don’t at least take an interest in the affairs of our local government, then we cannot be helpful in revitalizing Franklin.

Consider this The Tidewater News’ clarion call: The city government cannot save us by themselves.

As long as we let the efforts of those like Rollins and Conaway to slip by without notice, we our sending the message that we are content to let Franklin drown.