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Panel Kills Franklin Charter Changes for 2012

February 29, 2012

By Brad Fulton
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A House subcommittee Wednesday killed a bill that would have changed the Franklin City Charter and, among other things, would have required City Council members to resign their seats to run for mayor.

Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, introduced Senate Bill 311 at the start of the legislative session. The Senate unanimously approved it on Jan. 23, sending it to the House for consideration.

Last week, Franklin City Council members said that the bill was an “embarrassment” and that it should be held over until 2013 and amended.

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns voted Wednesday morning to continue SB 311 until next year, effectively killing it for this session.

In early February, the same subcommittee killed two similar measures – House Bill 204, proposed by Delegate Roslyn Tyler, D-Jarratt; and HB 634, sponsored by Delegate Rick Morris, R-Carrollton.

Among the changes to the Franklin City Charter, the Senate and House bills would have:

  • Prohibited council members from interfering with the city manager’s hiring or direction of city employees.
  • Outlined the reasons for which a council member would forfeit office, such as failing to pay real estate taxes.
  • Established a process for voters to recall the mayor or council members from office before their term is up.
  • Prevented a council member from running for mayor while concurrently serving on the council.

Tyler said the changes represented standard revisions for a city charter.

“We were basically just trying to update our charter to reflect the current charters of other cities,” she said.
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