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Everyone up for election in Franklin pledges to run again

When Sam Greenwood retired as Macon County’s manager and almost immediately accepted the same position for the town of Franklin in March of 2008, he made sure everyone clearly understood that his time there was limited.

Greenwood wanted to help Franklin make a seamless transition from a mayor-council form of government to a council-manager style. This task now completed, Greenwood is set to retire from public service for a second time.

That means November’s upcoming election in Franklin — where the mayor and four of the six aldermen are up — is particularly critical to the long-term future and wellbeing of the town, the incumbent aldermen and mayor said in a series of interviews last week. To a person, they agreed the key issue for the next board would be finding the right person to replace Greenwood as town manager. Greenwood isn’t the only turn-over the town will see. Terry Bradley, Franklin’s longtime police chief, also is going to retire this year. And several more of the town’s top employees have enough years in that they could opt to leave, too.

“There’s a lot of people who are department heads who are eligible for retirement,” Alderman Bob Scott said.

Mayor Joe Collins, who said he is “strongly considering” running again, has been mayor for four two-year terms, and before that, was an alderman.

Scott said rather than run for another four years, he would instead run for the seat formerly held by Jerry Evans, who passed away this year. Evans’ seat only has two years left on it, rather than a full four-year term.

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“Jerry and I were pretty good friends, and I’d like to serve out his remaining time,” Scott said. Scott is finishing out the end of two terms, and he started his tenure of public service as an advocate of term limits — there are some projects Scott said he’d like to see through, however.

Alderman Farrell Jamison, appointed to fill the seat after Evans died in February, said he’d run, too, to keep on serving out Evans’ unexpired term. Jamison wants to focus on economic development issues, bringing more businesses into Franklin, and to help with general revitalization in downtown.

Alderwoman Joyce Handley said she probably plans to run again, although she acknowledged she’s technically supposed to be “sitting on the fence” and weighing that decision because her husband has suggested enough, perhaps, is enough.

Greenwood, Handley said, “has done a marvelous job,” but now a replacement must be found, and it needs to be the right person for the job. She wants to help pick that person.

Alderman Verlin Curtis, who has served two four-year terms, does, too. Curtis said another issue in Franklin is the changes a flood insurance program could bring to some property owners, particularly in the Crawford Branch area. What’s at stake is whether Franklin participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which could mandate certain property development restrictions in the 100-year floodplain.

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