Ward 6 decision going to judge

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Franklin City Council was not able to reach a consensus to pick an interim council member for Ward 6 during the Monday meeting. As a result, it falls to a circuit court judge to make the decision.

Before discussion and voting, though, three people came before the council to promote Dr. Antwan Hatch as a candidate for the seat.

John McBride said that Hatch is “committed to growth and development of the city,” and “He has a very steady constitution.”

Terrence Johnson called the candidate “thoughtful and well-balanced.”

Adam Grent said that Hatch is not only his uncle, but has also been “my mentor my whole life. He has a determined drive. When he says he’s going to do something, he does it. He’s instilled confidence in me; he’ll do the same for the city of Franklin.”

Under old and new business, Councilman Benny Burgess for Ward of Ward 2 asked for the other candidate, Bobby Cutchins, to be appointed to the vacancy.

Burgess thanked both men, but said he felt that Cutchins is respected throughout the entire community and that “the learning curve’s going to be very short.” Vice Mayor Barry Cheatham of Ward I, who seconded the nomination, said the candidate “brings more to the table on a short-term basis.

In response to a point made by Councilman Linwood Johnson of Ward 4, Mayor Frank Rabil said the city charter “lays the responsibility on council. It’s a duty and a responsibility. A consensus should be met.”

The votes for Cutchins were from Burgess, Cheatham and Rabil.

Johnson then put forward Hatch’s name and added that as someone under 50 years old, he would “bring good perspective.

Greg McLemore of Ward 3 said that not voting for Bobby is painful to him personally, and added that Cutchins has proved himself. But that Hatch’s youth “brings a new added element. … We need to give opportunities to those who might be deterred.”

Mary Hilliard of Ward 5 said having to choose “is a hard decision.”

“Hatch has proven himself through the religious community. He, along with Mr. Cutchins, would bring something to the table — to this council.”

She knows Hatch personally and said, “I stand to support him.”

Those three council members then voted for Hatch.

Rabil said that council failed to come to a consensus, and he then apologized to the candidates.

“The City let you down,” he added. “I will ask the city attorney to pass along to courts our inability to make a consensus.

McLemore asked if the courts have a time limit, to which Franklin City Attorney Taylor Williams answered there was none of which he was aware, but that “the State Code is very specific that council has a chance, but then it goes to the judges of the circuit court. They’ll act when they want to act.”

There is still the possibility that council could have an emergency meeting as late as this Friday, but failing to have a majority vote for one candidate over another by then takes the matter out of the City’s hands.

After lengthy back-and-forth discussion, all but McLemore agreed to authorize Williams to file a petition, under state statute, informing that council didn’t reach a consensus and ask courts to make an appointment.