For the past couple of meetings, the city has begun what hopefully will be a positive norm of uploading the Common Council's agenda packets to the city website for public viewing. This has been a significant leap forward in terms of open, transparent government and the city should be lauded for this particular effort. However, unfortunately, it appears that an online Common Council packet is not complete for the public's viewing.
For the Common Council meeting of July 19th, several individuals were being considered for posts on various Franklin commissions or committees. The aldermen receive in their packets information relative to the individual(s) being considered for posts, including their application which the individual submits to the city. On the 19th, the following individuals were being considered for posts: Sandy Maher-Johnson for the Police & Fire Commission, Jon Giza for the Technology Commission, Craig Haskins for the Forward Franklin Economic Development Commission (EDC), and John Michlig for the Foward Franklin EDC. While Maher-Johnson, Giza and Haskins' applications are shown in the Council packet available online, Michlig's application is omitted. In fact, nothing showing Michlig's interest in joining the Forward Franklin EDC is available for online public viewing.
Upon further research, it was discovered that Michlig's application for the Forward Franklin EDC had several notes and remarks by Michlig that seem to take a strong stand on several matters. Here's the list:
- He states the economic development needs of Franklin as 90% "marketing related" and believes "ACTUAL MONEY" (he put that in all caps) must be allocated to marketing efforts.
- If an opportunity to create a marketing program or marketing "touchpoints" emerges, he will bid for the business. He notes it will be at a "greatly reduced rate" to the city and will resign his commission seat if necessary to get the business.
- He will try to resubmit "about 99%" of the items he submitted to the original Economic Development Commission before he resigned out of frustration, and expects "much better" results.
- He would like to see each member of the Forward Franklin EDC to produce a powerpoint presentation that explores some aspect of economic development, and a subsequent discussion relating to that aspect will be led by that member.
- He has a strong bias towards locally-owned businesses and will continually move to create and put in place programs that support small local businesses.
- He states that since his background is being checked and he takes an oath for this volunteer position, he has no interest in serving on a commission where the Chairman closes meetings with a statement like the following: "We have some other things in the works that we can't talk about right now."
- He labels TIF (tax-incremental financing) districts as "dubious tools at best" and thinks that most people are unaware of how they work. He recommends a remedial session of TIFs in general and Franklin's TIFs specifically, of which the commission would prepare and present.
- He wants the commission to do a "post-mortem" of each and every business that closes in Franklin.
Michlig ends his letter stating that if all those requests don't "scare anyone away", he'll be happy to serve on the Forward Franklin EDC. It apparently didn't scare the Common Council from appointing him to the body, but must have spooked the city leadership enough to not have Michlig's entire application, including the letter with the requests above, being easily accessible from the city's website with the rest of the July 19th Common Council packet.