Francis’ service appreciated

While we seldom agreed with her politically, we have enormous respect for Jolene Francis, who was bumped off the Chico Planning Commission this week. Francis makes no bones about her pro-development, conservative philosophy, but she is honest about it. That is a refreshing and rare attribute in public servants these days.

For the past eight years Francis has juggled her job as a banker with her responsibilities as a commissioner who weighs in on matters that could financially affect her bank customers. And in all cases, about 20 percent of the time, she has correctly excused herself from voting.

That honesty came back to haunt Francis this week when she failed to gain enough votes for a third term on the commission. Some councilmembers believe that conflicting out of one-fifth of the votes is too many. But we think her intelligence and integrity overshadow those missing votes.

Compare her voting record to that of former Planning Commissioner and present Councilman Larry Wahl, who while on the commission seldom missed a chance to cast his vote. Wahl was just fined $12,000 for not excusing himself from commission votes that affected his financial benefactors.

Francis represents an important constituency here in Chico that helps balance the needs and overall health of the town. We are sorry to see her go but trust she will be back.