The Incumbent

Part 4 of the Braunville Chronicles

Franklin Moor had been elected mayor in 1992 by dint of a labor vote. The election turnout was 26% greater than previous years, with Moor leading a charismatic(some say showboating) campaign.

By 2002, accusations of corruption had wracked the government of Braunville. Moor had been accused of everything from racketeering to taking bribes. Most insistent were the rumors that he held a high position in a secret society that had been instrumental in getting him the office.

Moor and 90% of his cabinet were accused of holding monthly meetings in secret rooms built under cover of renovations to the mayor’s office. Staff members not “in the know” were said to have a high turnover rate.

Moor would frequently dismiss these allegations as “typical dry Braunville humor.” He even lampooned the idea of a secret room during one memorial day fundraiser, entering a ‘secret chamber’ beneath a prop outhouse where people were encouraged to throw money down. Moor ran unchallenged for ten years for the mayor’s office. He was, by all accounts, a fairly popular mayor. His response to Amelia Franck’s infant was what did him in.

Gene Franck had backed the opposing candidate, the incumbent mayor, in the 1992 election. Franck and Moor never had an outward rivalry, but Moor was know to take covert potshots at the other man in speeches. He was also responsible for demolishing the Asher house, an antebellum mansion, when Franck was gathering signatures for its restoration. The mayor claimed that the city needed the land for new public facilities(nothing was ever built on the site.) Moor also repeatedly cut funding to the city’s only art museum, where Franck was on the board of directors, but private donations kept it open.

When Amelia Franck’s infant was stolen from the delivery room, Moor made a quip about “someone needing [the] birth certificate” at a public city hall. The comment was received poorly, though Moor did not appear to understand why.

Sondra Yee, a reporter at the hall, thought the comment oddly worded. In researching the mayor, she found that little public record existed of Moor before his run for mayorship. So she took a trip to the hall of records.

She found Moor’s birth certificate. Rather, she found the birth certificate of Franklin Henry Moor, an infant who had died in 1959. Rather than break the story in the paper, she took it to Branville’s chief of police. The chief agreed to accompany her to the mayor’s office, where they were received by only a single secretary. The office was empty of staff. Moor appeared to be ill, pale with circles beneath his eyes, and frequently drank water. He queried the pair about their visit, and when given the reason, laughed.

He told them he would clear everything up, and walking into a supply closet which, to the chief’s knowledge, did not have another exit.

He did not walk out again.

The office was searched, but no alternate rooms were found. Emergency elections were held, and Brian Grant, a public transit official, was installed in office. The staff had to be replaced entirely.

Sondra Yee attempted to follow up on the story, but no more leads turned up.

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