Former Franklin Mayor John Schroer was confirmed by the city’s board of mayor and aldermen Tuesday night to fill the vacancy left by the recent passing of Alderman At-Large Pearl Bransford.
After being approached by Alderman Brandy Blanton, Schroer agreed to accept the nomination until a special election can be held in conjunction with the ward aldermen election in October. He has said he will not run for the seat.
Schroer served as mayor of Franklin from 2007 to 2011, when he stepped down to direct the Tennessee Department of Transportation. He retired as commissioner of TDOT in 2018.
He also served with Bransford on both the Franklin Special School District board and Franklin BOMA for a total of 18 years.
After a largely private battle with cancer, Bransford passed away in November, shocking a community she dedicated her life to serving through efforts in preservation, education and representation.
The board approved Schroer’s confirmation 6-1, with Alderman Dana McLendon dissenting, though he acknowledged respect for Schroer’s leadership.
“I still think it’s a mistake for us to appoint someone without a different process than this,” McLendon told the board. “We will have announced and approved a replacement for Alderman Bransford without even asking anyone else if they might like the job publicly. I think that’s a mistake.”
Alderman At-Large Clyde Barnhill agreed with McLendon’s assessment, though he said he would still vote to approve Schroer.
“The process that we used leaves a great deal to be desired,” Barnhill said. “I am very, very disappointed in the process that we used. The selection wasn’t even on the agenda the other night.”
Vice Mayor and Ward 1 Alderman Bev Burger defended the selection as the right choice in a difficult season.
“Honestly, I don’t think most people in our fine city will be offended at this process,” she said, noting the appointment is only for a few months and will help fill a vacancy in committees.
Offering the position on an application basis to others, Burger argued, would open a whole new can of worms.
Candidates wishing to run for the position in the Oct. 26 election may pull a petition beginning May 17. The qualifying deadline is July 15.