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Councilman accepts responsibility for issues in Franklin

Published 10:20am Saturday, February 22, 2014

I would like to offer an apology to any and every citizen of this city who feels I have transgressed against them with something I may have said in my position as an elected official. As I was asleep the other night, I was awakened to the thought of, “What has happened to this country?”

I thought this was a free country, where freedom of speech was afforded to everyone. I began to ponder on what was most likely the precipice of my political career. I did not want to allow someone else to be the only one to pen my final thoughts or epithet.

I have been vilified by this publication in the past; however, my vilification was not for my “issue positions” as much as for being outspoken and giving voice to the voiceless. Time has proven my positions to be on the right side of every major issue that has come before our city council during my tenure: The U.S. Navy practice landing strips, the city charter changes deemed unconstitutional by the Virginia General Assembly, outrageous utility and tax bills and, most recently, the school system leadership needing change according to both this paper and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

As my term ends, I’m concerned with the preservation of our rights to free speech and your right to a growing city for your tax dollars; not a city with plenty money and debt, while the citizens continue to be victims to more fees, higher taxes and utility bills with a declining city.

My heart grows heavy every time an important issue such as jobs, economic growth and our city school systems failure is deemed not your elected officials’ responsibility. It saddens my heart to hear people say “I hate to admit it, but McLemore was right,” or “I can’t believe it, but I’m going to have to agree with McLemore on this one.”

Then there is the one that says “McLemore has some good ideas, but it’s the way he says things.”

Am I not articulate? Again, please allow me to go on record saying, “If I have done anything to offend anyone by standing my ground and speaking my mind, I apologize; it was not my intention to hurt anyone. To the contrary, it was to try to help most of the citizens of Franklin that have no voice.”

Am I not entitled to an opinion just like you are, and express mine as an elected official?

It is my opinion that Franklin is in bad need of change before it slips too far to recover.

The past two years have showed us the worst failing schools, higher utility bills, and a commitment for a truck stop, lots of photo opps and new fees. Did you know that our city rehired a retired city employee part-time and is paying him more than or as much as some department heads at approximately $75,000 a year? Is that right, fair or good leadership? To continue with this sort of leadership is detrimental to the people and a return to 16 years of failed leadership before trying something different would be insane.

As I have stated publicly, I continue to feel that as an elected representative of the people of my ward and this city, it is our responsibility to initiate policies that foster solutions to these dire circumstances that have befallen our citizenry; for this also I apologize to the citizens of Franklin.

In a world where it seems no one wants to take responsibility for anything, blame me. I accept responsibility as an elected official for lack of jobs in Franklin, excessive utility bills and failing schools. As we approach this next election, I declare that I will not seek re-election unless the citizens express a desire for me to continue to bring new ideas, offer solutions and give voice to the voiceless and not sell out to the status-quo.

GREG MCLEMORE is the councilman for Ward 3 of the Franklin City Council. He can be contacted at ward-3@franklinva.com

  • rock

    Good article Greg and I hope you run again!I just wish the mayor would let you speak instead of cutting you off so much.Let us here more about the part time Communication Manager’s package and who on council supported it.

    Suggest Removal

    • SandMan

      By looking at the shocked faces of the Mayor & Council members when Mr. McClenny spoke of the issue…..NO ONE supported it since NO ONE was aware of it!! Seems like another “back room” deal. Stay tuned! It’s not over by a long shot!

      Suggest Removal

  • rmcclenny

    The part time Communications Manager’s package is valued at $87,630 per year;for all those getting ready to pay real estate and personal property taxes.

    Suggest Removal

  • SandMan

    Thank You Councilman Mclemore, for exposing the obscene salary & benefit pakage given to the “part time” Chief Dispatcher. When all is revealed, maybe the tax paying citizens of “struggling” Fraqnklin will learn that he is being paid $41.26 per hour……240 hrs of PTO time…..15 paid Holidays per year….PLUS a health insurance
    “stipend” of $811 per month!!!! Name one other part time employee receiving that type of package!! A slap in the face to all the hard working full time employees working for barely livable wages….and to the retired Chief Dispatcher who made $50k after 32 years!How did this happen? Maybe..hopefully….that question will be asked at Monday night’s Council meeting!!!

    Suggest Removal

  • Councilman

    I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the Sykes and Brown families on our lost. The quote “sometimes bad things happen to good people” has never been so true as in the case of Ricky and Shonna Sykes. What Ricky Sykes has had thrust upon him shouldn’t happen to anyone and my heart goes out to him for his duel loss.
    The Sykes are the perfect example of not forgetting where they came from: Parents of three absolutely beautiful, Intelligent, well mannered children, a beautiful home and a successful self-made business, a business that cares for others that can’t care for themselves. With all their success through hard work they have achieved they continue to be humble and stay down to earth and try to help anybody. The Sykes are a credit to our City and we should be thankful that people like them choose to live in Franklin. The reason I used the words our loss earlier was because, young Brooklyn was a loss to us all. Our young people are our future you see, young Mr. Brooklyn could have grown up to be the next M.L.K. or Malcolm X who knows, God knows we need new leaders, we all lost a little piece of our future with the loss of your grand son. So, I say peace, only God knows what you are going through.
    stay strong my brother and sister.

    Suggest Removal

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