Five seek seat on Franklin City Council

Five people want to be appointed to the open seat on the Franklin City Council.

The residents have applied as candidates for the seat on the council that represents District 1. The seat became open when a former elected official resigned.

The candidates are: local attorney Michael Auger, retired Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputy Danny Blankenship, insurance agent Steve Brown, deputy prosecutor Lori Prince, and Josh Prine, a network administrator.

Six precinct committee members will meet in a Republican Party caucus tonight to select the new city council member, who will serve on the city council through the end of 2019 and finish 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.

Prine may not be eligible to be selected, Johnson County Republic Party Chairwoman Beth Boyce said. He is a lifelong Johnson County resident but moved to Franklin more than a year ago, and the change to his voter registration was initiated but not completed. He was working to complete the process before the caucus.

Two other men had wanted to be candidates for the seat but were not eligible.

The new city council member will represent the residents of 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.

If you go

Republican Party Caucus

Franklin’s Republican Party precinct committee members for District 1 will conduct a caucus to select a new member of the city council

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Franklin City Hall, 70 E. Monroe St.

The event is open to the public.

Candidates: Michael Auger, Danny Blankenship, Steve Brown, Lori Prince and Josh Prine

Author photo
Michele Holtkamp is editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2774.