Franklin commission approves hiring of safety personnel during emergency

Franklin’s Civil Service Commission has cleared the way for emergency public safety hires to be made.

The commission met remotely on Wednesday and gave the police and fire/EMS divisions the power to make those quick hires as necessary with the city in a state of emergency.

City officials said the state of emergency for the coronavirus has triggered emergency clauses in the police and fire union contracts. The city is unable to do the necessary pre-employment practices due to the coronavirus pandemic because the emergency does not allow the time nor the access to the required resources to utilize them.

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City Manager Sonny Lewis said the city will use good faith efforts to ensure emergency hires are lawfully qualified to serve in this state of emergency.

The resolution also notes that the emergency hires will be “at-will” temporary employees and the positions have no due process protections under local, state and federal law. If an emergency hire wishes to become an employee of the city, they will have to go through the normal hiring process after the state of emergency ends, Lewis said. He said the emergency hires are released at the end of the state of emergency.

The last time the city of Franklin made emergency hires was in February 2009.

Franklin City Council will consider this resolution and vote on it at its meeting on Monday.