Grant reappointed to city School Board

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Initial vote fails but second passes, 5-1


Even with Mayor Frank Rabil absent, Franklin’s City Council had no problem re-appointing Amy Phillips to the Ward 2 seat on the city’s School Board, voting 6-0 to do so on Monday. But when it came time to appoint a new Ward 6 representative, Councilman Bobby Cutchins’ motion to appoint Jessica Grant failed.

The Council then took a new vote later that evening following its closed session, which resulted in her being approved 5-1. She had been one of two nominees for the position, the other being Heather Bunn. Grant, who currently occupies the Ward 5 seat on the School Board, with the term for that seat ending on Sunday, June 30, but has confirmed she is in the process of relocating to Ward 6.

Councilwoman Wynndolyn Copeland had seconded Cutchins’ motion during the first vote, but when that vote was called, Councilman Linwood Johnson abstained and Councilman Benny Burgess and Vice Mayor Barry Cheatham both voted nay, making the result 3-2. According to Franklin’s charter, any City Council motion must have at least four votes to pass, which is why the first vote to appoint Grant, despite being a majority, did not pass.

Burgess, Cheatham and Johnson each said following the first vote that they would prefer to see the position re-advertised. Copeland and Councilman Greg McLemore, on the other hand, both said they felt the Council had already received a nomination from someone who, in their opinions, was qualified.

Cheatham had been the one dissenter in the vote following the closed session. The vice mayor, speaking to The Tidewater News on Tuesday regarding his vote, said he had no particular issue with Grant as a School Board nominee.

“I just think that we could have gotten someone a little bit stronger,” Cheatham said, adding that he would have preferred more nominees from which to choose.