City again without nominees for Ward 5 School Board seat

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Franklin’s City Council is once again without a nominee for the Ward 5 city School Board seat.

The Council had last opened the floor for the public to nominate School Board candidates for Ward 5 during its June 10 meeting, having received none for the aforementioned ward during the Council’s previous meeting on May 13. On June 10, the Council received a single nomination for Ward 5 from Franklin resident Anthony Rawlings, who submitted Jasmine Smith of Morton Street for consideration.

Smith’s interview with the Council had been scheduled for Tuesday, June 18. However, City Manager Amanda Jarratt informed The Tidewater News on Monday that the interview had been cancelled. When asked for details, Jarratt said Smith had contacted her earlier that morning and had indicated that due to personal circumstances, she would be unable to fill the Ward 5 School Board seat if selected.

The city now plans to rerun its nomination advertisement and solicit recommendations for a third time at the City Council’s July 22 meeting, at which point the Ward 5 seat will already be vacant. The School Board’s current Ward 5 representative, Jessica Grant, will end her appointed term in office on June 30. The available term will be from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022.

Despite receiving no nominations for Ward 5 on May 13, the Council did receive some that evening for the School Board’s Ward 2 and Ward 6 seats. Pam Lease of Clay Street re-nominated Ward 2 School Board representative Amy Phillips for another three-year term. For Ward 6, Carrie Johnson, the School Board’s current at-large representative, nominated Heather Bunn, citing that Bunn has three children enrolled in Franklin’s school system. Rawlings also nominated Grant for Ward 6 on May 13, acknowledging that she was the current Ward 5 School Board representative. He then claimed that Grant planned to relocate to Ward 6 in the near future.

Grant, speaking to the newspaper on Tuesday, June 18, confirmed that she would not be seeking re-nomination for Ward 5 and also confirmed that she was relocating to Ward 6.

The immediate past Ward 6 representative, Bob Holt, stepped down at the end of April, as was previously reported in the Wednesday, May 8 edition of The Tidewater News, after being informed by City Attorney H. Taylor Williams IV that because he had relocated to another ward, he could no longer hold that seat.

Phillips’ re-nomination interview with the members of City Council, according to Jarratt, has been scheduled for Monday, June 24 at 6 p.m. during a work session one hour prior to the start of the regular Council meeting that evening.