FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - This month TAPinto Franklin Township will be running a series called "Meet The Leaders.” The objective is to provide our readers an opportunity to hear from Franklin Township’s leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Franklin Township’s present and future outlook.
Each participant was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life. Each “leader” was presented the same core questions that will be published unedited.
TAPinto Franklin Township’s third leader interviewed was Councilwoman At-Large Kimberly Francois. Francois was born and raised in Pittsburg, Pa. and has lived in Franklin Township for 25 years. She has her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Harvard University, a Master of Science in Project Management from George Washington University and she also has her Lean Six Sigma and Green Belt certifications. Francois is also a former two-term mayor of Franklin Township and two-term deputy mayor.
Francois is an IT senior project management consultant in the healthcare industry, a consulting business owner, and also has extensive professional experience in operations, program management, and network planning and engineering in the financial services, and telecommunications industries.
Question: What initiative did you start in 2016, that you are most proud of?
Answer: The Hamilton Street Business District Marketing Committee.
Councilwoman Francois also mentioned she was proud of assisting in the following through the Hamilton St. Business District Marketing Committee:
- Published the first "The District Newsletter",
- The first "Trunk Or Treat" on Hamilton Avenue with over 250 youth in attendance,
- Honorary renaming of Maltida Avenue to Waltin "Turk" Young Avenue
- Street landscaping, street clean up, sidewalk improvements, and new Christmas décor.
Question: What will be your main objective for 2017?
Answer: Planning the design of the new youth center. The Township of Franklin is seeking professional services of a qualified consulting team to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study and conceptual design for a potential future municipally-operated youth center at 429 Lewis Street in Somerset, NJ. Prior needs assessments have indicated the need to provide a facility that can house a variety of services for at-risk youth under one roof in the Somerset area of Franklin Township. A drop-in center that could support a variety of recreational, educational, and social services is envisioned.
Question: Are you involved with any youth groups for the community that you would like to share?
Answer: I am the leader and founder of the Franklin Youth Initiative (FYI) which has been in existence since 2006. There are several Youth Groups as part of this Initiative. The FYI Boys Council, the FYI Girls Circle, the Divas & Gents Drill and Drum Team, and FYPEP. We have Stop the Violence Talent Showcases and Annual Black History Month Celebration. This year's 5th Annual FYI Black History Month Celebration is planned for February 18, 2017 from 6-10 pm at the Senior Community Center (snow date 2/25/17 same time and place).
Question: What do you feel will be Franklin Township’s biggest challenge in 2017?
Answer: Implementing some of the economic development recommended initiatives that will come out of the consultant’s proposal. We need to expand our ratable base to stabilize taxes. Providing more affordable housing for seniors and families.
Question: What do you do in your spare time?
Answer: Cooking, traveling, reading, jogging, and spending time with the Youth.
Question: Five words that describe Franklin Township are?
Answer: Diverse, unique, invested, passionate, and community
Francois is the vice chair of the Franklin Township Redevelopment Agency, which is responsible for assisting the Township of Franklin in the revitalization of the Renaissance Redevelopment Area. Francois is the founder and leader of the Franklin Youth Initiative (FYI) which has provided youth services and programs such as the FYI Career and Job Expo, the FYI Teen Drop-In Center at the Franklin Middle School, and the FYI Police Academy for the past ten years. She spearheaded the FYI program to prevent Gang violence in Franklin Township. She has secured Investors Bank as the FYI Corporate Sponsor and has raised over $70K in grant funding.
Kimberly’s vision for the Township is to build a youth center. Francois is on the Youth Services Commission, Council Liaison to the Board of Education and President of the Somerset County Action Program Board of Directors. She has served on the Planning Board, Rent Leveling Board, Sewage Authority, and the Human Relations Commission. Included in her many accomplishments, Francois is particularly proud of her work to build the Senior Community Center and her Mayoral legacy for the creation of the Franklin Township Teen Recreation Program.
Be sure to come back to TAPintoFranklinTownship.net for updates on Councilwoman Francois and other municipal news!
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