Girard's new councilwoman brings experience to post
By Samantha Phillips
The new Girard councilwoman is bringing her several years of political and business experience to the position.
Fran Wilson, the former sergeant-at-arms, will be sworn in as 3rd Ward councilwoman Monday.
Keith Schubert filled that seat last year, but he had to resign in the fall when he moved to another ward. Wilson filled in for November and December, and was selected from three applicants to take the position for the rest of 2018 and 2019.
Council President Reynold Paolone said in his 13 terms so far, Wilson has always been around in some capacity. He added it’s the first time he has seen two women on council.
“We are lucky to have Fran and Lily Martuccio. I’m glad to have Fran here; I know she is going to do a great job and give 110 percent,” he said.
Wilson served on the city’s board of appeals for about 10 years. She was also the Trumbull County Democratic Party Precinct 3A committee member in Girard.
Serving on the appeals board gave Wilson some insight on things she would like to see improved in Girard and the kind of issues people need help fixing.
“I would like to get more into the ordinances that have to do with zoning,” she said. “You can’t bring economic development in to the city unless you have something to offer, and you need to have a good-looking city. We need money to do things, but you need businesses to bring in money, and you can’t bring in businesses until you take care of the buildings you already have,” she said.
Wilson said she is concerned about out-of-town property owners who own a business but don’t maintain it.
While she has her eyes on certain issues, she said she is going to stay realistic.
“Don’t ever tell anyone you can fix something. You always say I will try the best I can, but I can’t guarantee I can fix it. Otherwise people won’t trust you if it doesn’t get done,” she said.
Wilson said one of her assets is her ability to network. Whether she was serving on boards such as Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana or working with the county Democratic Party, she said it was always important to her that she wore a name tag, gave out business cards and introduced herself to everyone she met.
Her love of political involvement was derived from learning about government as a child when her immigrant parents went through the process of becoming American citizens. As a 10-year-old, she said she helped her parents study for the citizenship test and was proud to watch them become citizens.
She learned many lessons from her father.
“My dad was a big mentor. He taught me things I remember to this day,” she said. “I got started in the political arena and realized what it was all about and I became very outgoing because of that. I learned to speak up and stand up for what is right.”
Wilson worked at Packard Electric from 1972-99, starting as a supervisor and finishing as a financial staff superintendent.
“I was always thinking about helping other people, even when I was in the plant, I tried to help people. I talked to them. People just want to know they have someone that will listen to them,” she said.
She added that she hopes more citizens will come to council meetings and get involved, rather than simply talk about the city’s problems to other citizens.