After a closed session Monday, the Franklin Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to give Interim Town Manager Summer Woodard a permanent place in town hall. Woodard, who has been acting as town manager since Warren Cabe resigned in May, now has the job for good.
“We were unanimously very pleased with her work,” said Alderman Barbara McRae. “She is very qualified and has been an employee for years.”
Woodard, a Franklin native, received a master’s degree in public administration in 2010 and has worked for the town ever since, including serving as assistant to the town manager under three different managers. As a student, she did an internship that gave her experience working in every town department.
The board voted to award her the same contract they signed with former manager Warren Cabe, an annual salary of $85,000. They did not go through a search process for the position, agreeing that Woodward was highly qualified and up to speed on everything happening in the town.
“Since she proved herself, why go through the expense of a major search when we already had a viable candidate in-house?” asked Mayor Bob Scott.
As part of the same discussion, the board also did some shuffling of positions in town hall, with the moves expected to save about $25,000. Woodard told the board she did not need an assistant but did not want to serve as human resources director, since that could cause a conflict of interest.
“If you get into a conflict with an employee and the HR director decides something, the employee should have the opportunity to appeal,” McRae said, “and if the town manager and the HR person are the same individual, there’s nobody that you can appeal to.”
The board gave the human resources job to Chad Simon, who has been working in the front office for several months, splitting the HR job with the town clerk position. Janet Anderson had been doing that job in addition to her responsibilities as finance director but now is continuing solely as finance director.
“The town has grown and we have to look periodically at positions and how we can operate more efficiently,” Scott said.
— by Holly Kays, staff writer
Franklin residents will be paying a bit more on their property taxes next year following a unanimous decision by the Franklin Board of Alderman to increase the rate by 2 cents per $100. Currently, the rate is set at 25 cents, but the town had been thinking about raising it for a while.
With each throw, Scott Medlin is connecting to his ancestors.
“The Scottish Highland Games need to be preserved because most of the gatherings included athletic competitions, with each clan gathered around cheering on their representative of the clan,” the 58-year-old said. “It’s really about the competition and knowing that I too have done this and there’s not many people in the world that can do this.”
Franklin is the ideal staging are for exploring the Nantahala Mountains.
The bridge carrying eastbound Main Street traffic across the Little Tennessee River in Franklin will be close to 90 years old by the time its newly planned replacement is up and running at the end of 2017. The N.C. Department of Transportation will take care of costs for the $2.1-million project — almost.
The search for a new town manager is on in Franklin after Warren Cabe submitted his resignation at the town board’s April meeting. His old job as emergency services director for Macon County came open again, and Cabe applied. He’s already accepted the position and will leave his post as town manager on May 2.
The folks in Franklin are not yet sure what direction they may go with the revamping of the town’s gazebo on Main Street. Representatives of Venture Local Franklin presented the town board of aldermen with alternative plans for the gazebo during its April 7 meeting, but the board did not take up the issue for discussion.
When Franklin town leaders meet in April, they will be digesting a number of alternative plans for revamping the downtown gazebo, the beloved but dated focal point of the town square on Main Street. The designs and ideas for a gazebo facelift will be presented to the board of aldermen by a group of downtown merchants lobbying for a larger voice in town conversations.
The division along Franklin’s Main Street is tough to see with the naked eye. Passersby appear oblivious to the battle lines. The lazy rhythm of downtown, its quaint storefronts and ornamental lamp posts serve up a idyllic postcard, quietly concealing contention.
Franklin could soon get its first taste of microbrew beer. An offer to lease the old town hall building and turn it into a brewery is currently on the table.