Franklin — City voters will be electing a new mayor in April.
Mayor Tom Taylor (pictured) told city employees and members of the Common Council on Friday that he will not run for a fourth term.
"I am making this announcement today so that a smooth transition may occur and in order to provide a much advanced notice to department heads and employees, as well as to the public," Taylor wrote in an email. He also expressed appreciation for serving the city while thanking a wide range of individuals — including department heads, other employees and citizen volunteers — for their service.
Time is right
In an interview with NOW, Taylor said he had been thinking about his decision for more than a year and that it is based on some practical realities.
"It's more about a long-term commitment and multi-year projects," Taylor said of the job, pointing out the extension of the tax-incremental financing district and the 27th Street Business Improvement District, as well further commitments supporting projects such as The Rock.
Taylor said he made his announcement six months before the next election because candidates will need to file by the end of December or early January. He also wanted to signal his decision to department heads and other staff members he called "extremely gifted and talented" so they could plan their respective futures.
"We have had a number of department heads who have been around a long time, and I wanted to give them a heads up," Taylor said.
He expects mayoral candidates to come from both within and outside the current group of elected officials.
"We have some outstanding individuals," Taylor said. "We are loaded with great people, and I think they would do a very good job. The only question is how much time and commitment they have. I have been doing this mostly full time on a part-time pay. That's been just fine with me."
Taylor also said a mayor will need to have the confidence to deal with difficult issues and criticism.
"You really need to develop a hard shell," he said. "It's not a job for the meek."
The biggest challenge will be continuing to balance the city's growth with green space, he said.
"I moved here in 1983 because I loved the green space and the animals, like deer, in the backyard," Taylor said. I'd like to see the rustic character of Franklin remain. There should be good quality growth without ruining the environment."
Proud of success
He is proud of a number of achievements during his tenure, such as the development of the Comprehensive Master Plan and the Outdoor Recreation Plan that will guide the city to 2015. He also points to working with Wheaton Franciscan Services to bring a hospital with an emergency room to the city.
On a regional basis, Taylor said, he is proud to be the chief negotiator regarding EMS-paramedic contracts with Milwaukee County. He also has been re-elected five times to the position of chairman of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council, which comprises mayors and village presidents of Milwaukee County municipalities.
Prior to his mayoral stint the past nine years, Taylor served as an alderman but stepped down because he did not like the political environment.
In his career, he worked in various capacities for Milwaukee County, where former Milwaukee County Executive Director David Schultz appointed him acting director of human resources and assistant director of labor relations. He was a member of the Long Term Strategic Planning Committee for Milwaukee County. Also, he was a member of the Executive Board of Milwaukee District Council 48 of AFSCME, which represented 14,000 employees, and was vice president chief steward of AFSCME Local 882.
Going forward, he plans to get involved with local civic organizations such as Franklin Seniors and the Lions Club. He has a particular affinity for Goodwill because of a family connection and plans to get more involved in that enterprise.
"It will be nice to participate and be involved in different way," he said.
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