Friday, December 27, 2013

C’burg council seat interviews begin Monday

By Brian Perdue

Monday, Christiansburg Town Council will interview 10 people interested in filling the council seat vacancy.

Council hopes to narrow the field to three finalists for a second interview – and a decision – at its Jan. 7 meeting.

The vacancy came about when current Councilman Michael Barber, who has two years left on his term, was elected mayor in November. Under state law, council must select an individual to fill the first year, then hold a special election in November 2014 for the remaining year of that term.

The list includes: Samuel M. Bishop, Wayne E. Booth, Allen N. Butterfield, Harry F. Collins, Karen L. Drake, Kathy A. Duncan, Gary W. Fissell, David J. Franusich, Melissa (Lisa) L. Gardner, and Richard H. (Hil) Johnson.

Eleven people applied, but one candidate was eliminated for failure to produce documentation showing they were a registered voter in the town.

Previous council seat vacancies had been filled in closed session. Councilman Cord Hall has been very outspoken that this would not be the case this time around and pushed for the open session Monday night where the public could hear candidates’ questioning.

Bishop and Franusich ran for Christiansburg Town Council in the November election. They finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the three-seat race. Bishop received 2,556 votes, while Franusich got 1,744 votes.

Bishop, a retired a police officer, is currently serving as a security officer at Carilion Clinic in Radford.

Franusich, a local planning expert, has been instrumental in starting a downtown business group that held several events this past summer in an effort to draw people to the downtown area.

Booth is a former council member and member of the town’s planning commission, being involved in community events for most of his life.

The other seven are lesser known in political circles, and like Booth did not seek the post in November’s election.

Gardner is an adjunct professor at American National University and formerly at Radford University. She has also served as a police officer. Fissell is a retired employee for the city of Lynchburg.

No other information was available on the other candidates before the upcoming meeting, and none were available for comment.

Monday’s meeting is open to the public beginning at 5 p.m. in town hall, but candidates will only take questions from sitting council members. Barber will serve as moderator but will not be involved in the questioning or decision making for his replacement.


– Written by Marty Gordon


3 Responses to “C’burg council seat interviews begin Monday”

  1. Samuel Bishop

    Samuel Bishop ia a police/security manager for Carilion Clinic.

  2. Melissa "Lisa" Lucas Gardner

    My qualifications to be a council member include experience as a town police officer in two small towns similar to Christiansburg.

    I also hold a B.A. in History & American Studies from Framingham University in Massachusetts and a J.D. (Doctor of Law) degree from New England Law in Boston.

    I have taught college courses as an adjunct faculty instructor in political science, state, local, & federal government, criminal justice, and law. Therefore, I am very familiar with the functions & duties of local government representatives.

    My family’s roots (Lucas, Price, Gardner)date back to the 1700′s in The New River Valley and she has lived in the Town of Christiansburg the past 14 years.

  3. Carrie Abernathy

    I am a former resident of Christiansburg, and Melissa “Lisa” Lucas Gardner was one of my law professors.

    Over the past 15 years I’ve interacted with Melissa and know that she is incredibly invested in the community. Community safety, government transparency, and equal opportunity are just some of what she focuses on. She is incredibly insightful (having been a police officer), and very knowledgeable.

    Lisa Gardner is looking to make sure that all citizens of Christiansburg have fair treatment and opportunities. If you are looking for a figurehead, look elsewhere—if Gardner is elected she will roll up her sleeves and actually work to make changes to a town that desperately needs them.


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