Town Officials Vote to Change “Aldermen” Name

It’s official, the Town of Franklin will no longer use the term “aldermen” to describe its governing officials. After a motion by Alderman Barbara McRae with a second by Alderman Brandon McMahan, the board voted 3-2 to amend the charter of the town changing the style of the governing board of the municipal corporation from board of aldermen to town council. Although the board voted to make the change in its style of government, it didn’t state what the town’s government officials will call themselves. Aldermen Joe Collins and Billy Mashburn voted against the motion; Vice-Mayor Patty Abel was not in attendance at this week’s continued meeting of the town board.

When making his motion, McMahan stated he would like to see the necessary changes made gradually as the town changes its style of government. Cost are expected to be minimal to make the changes.

After holding the required public hearing as well as hearing comments from the public at prior board meetings over the last several months, the town board moved forward with the vote. The board had planned to vote on the matter during their regular meeting the first Monday of May, but postponed the vote after Collins suggested such action due to the absence of Mashburn at the meeting. The board had to take action on the item at this week’s continued meeting or the issue would be dead until after the next election.

The Town of Franklin was one of the few municipalities in the state to still use the term aldermen to denote town government board members. According to Mayor Bob Scott the term aldermen is an old-fashion term used to describe the town officials’ positions on the board dating back to the 1700’s. The term aldermen actually means “old men.” Mayor Scott presented the proposal which has been a discussion point at several board meetings as well as the board retreat this year.