Two not eligible for seat on board

One candidate left; deadline Monday

Two Franklin residents who wanted to be considered for an open city council seat are not eligible to run because they haven’t lived in the city long enough.

Now, one candidate remains, though party leaders expect to get more interest before the deadline to file on Monday.

Members of the Johnson County Republican Party plan to meet in a caucus next week to choose a new member of the Franklin City Council. Whoever is chosen will finish out the remainder of the term of former council member Joe Ault, who resigned due to public reaction to his post on Facebook that used a derogatory term to refer to Democrats, voters and certain nations. The term runs until the end of 2019.

Three residents had asked to be considered, Greg Hayes, who works United Rentals, former city council member Tim Dobbs, and Daniel Blankenship, a retired Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputy and courthouse security officer.

But party officials recently learned that Dobbs and Hayes are not eligible to run, Johnson County Republican Party Chair Beth Boyce said.

Under state rules, a resident must live within the district they want to serve for six months before they can be selected. That was a rule party leaders knew, and while the dates were close for both men — who moved to the district in the fall — they met the requirements, Boyce said.

But they recently learned that the law also requires the person to live within the city for a year before being named to the city council, and neither Hayes nor Dobbs meet that requirement, Boyce said. That leaves Blankenship as the only candidate who meets the requirements.

Boyce does expect that more candidates will likely ask to be considered. The deadline to send a letter to Boyce is Monday.

Residents who file must live within District 1, which includes a portion of downtown Franklin, approximately bordered by Graham and Younce streets on the east, U.S. 31 on the west, Washington Street and Parkview Court on the north and Youngs Creek on the south. A portion of the district also runs east, south of King Street, to just beyond Forsythe Street.

Whoever is selected will join the seven-member board tasked with setting the city’s budget and approving new city rules, such as any changes to the smoking ban, or if the city wanted to consider charging a new tax or higher fees for services. Council members are paid $7,374.35 this year.

This will be the third caucus to replace a Franklin official in about a year. Last year, then-mayor Joe McGuinness resigned in the middle of his term to become commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, and city council member Steve Barnett was selected as the new mayor. Bob Heuchan was selected to replace Barnett on the city council in a second caucus.

Get involved

Members of the Johnson County Republican Party will meet next week to select a new member of the Franklin City Council. Here is what you need to know:

To apply: Residents must live within District 1, and must submit a letter to Republican Party Chair Beth Boyce, at 845 Richart Lane, Greenwood, IN 46142, by Monday.

To attend: The caucus will be hosted at Franklin City Hall, 70 E. Monroe St., at 7 p.m. Thursday. The event is free and open to the public.

Author photo
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.