FrankTalks city aldermen

Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey (left) led the discussion at Monday's FrankTalks along with newly elected Aldermen (from left) Gabrielle Hanson, Jason Potts, Patrick Baggett and Matt Brown.

The campaigns are behind them and dress rehearsals have been completed.

And now the rubber meets the road project. 

The four newly elected members of the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen officially go on the job Tuesday and will be sworn in during the regular meeting that begins at 7 p.m. They’ll start voting on items such as road improvements, developments and annexations, among many, many more. It’s a moment they’re awaiting with both eagerness and caution.

“I’m sure we’re all a little anxious about it, because not only are we being sworn in, but we’re going to immediately report for duty,” said Gabrielle Hanson, who was elected as alderman at large last month. "We’re making very serious decisions for a city and we’re all going to be worried about following meeting protocol and [whether we’re] really up to snuff. 

“We’re all incredibly excited ... just knowing there’s quite a significant torch being passed to each one of us as we move into our respective alderman position. There’s a lot of weight on us as we take these roles. I take it very, very seriously and don’t want to take any missteps.”

Hanson was elected to serve out the term of Pearl Bransford, who died in November 2020. John Schroer former mayor of Franklin, had temporarily filled the seat since February. Hanson will hold it until at least the October 2023 city of Franklin election.

Also making their BOMA debuts are Matt Brown from Ward 2, Jason Potts from Ward 3 and Patrick Baggett from Ward 4. 

They had actually met with City Administrator Eric Stuckey, Mayor Ken Moore and other city leaders as they fully launched their campaigns around mid-summer. Within days after the Oct. 26 election, they had one-on-one briefings with city officials and took part in a special-called work session in which they went over a multitude of situations and issues they’ll likely face in their roles.

“There is a learning curve to the job,” Stuckey said. “When you have four of them working through that at the same time, you have to be extra-intentional, making sure you’re getting them up to speed on where we’ve been, what the issues are, what they’re being asked to vote on and to set policy on. We’re trying to be really intentional about that.”

As soon as they’re sworn in, the new aldermen will join with existing Aldermen-at-Large Clyde Barnhill, Brandy Blanton and Ann Petersen, and Ward 1 Alderman Bev Burger (who ran unopposed in the election) to tackle a rather hefty agenda, one that could elicit lengthy discussions and tight votes.

“It’s a big night to take what I’ve learned and heard throughout the community, and I’m going to go and try to do something with it,” Baggett said. “I’m most proud about that, just being able to do the job.”

Stuckey said a big part of the lift for aldermen will come in a couple of months, when the board takes on the next budget.

“After the first of the calendar year, we start working on the budget pretty wholeheartedly,” he said. “That will be a challenge, but it will also be a great learning opportunity because you go through so many aspects of our operations and the decisions we make on how we spend our dollars. It will be great to get them involved in that stage of the process after the first of the year.”

In addition to the oath of office for the new aldermen and for Burger, Tuesday’s meeting will include the election of a new vice mayor and the appointments of aldermen to committees. The night will also feature a recognition of those aldermen who are leaving — Dana McLendon, who had represented Ward 2 since he was first elected in 1997; Scott Speedy, who served one term as Ward 3 alderman; and Margaret Martin, who represented Ward 4 for a total of 20 years.

“We will miss the folks that are stepping off,” Stuckey said. “They’ve served so very well for a long time. But it’s also good to get new perspectives and new voices at the table as we make important decisions and chart the course of the community going forward.”