By Amanda Amsel
The Franklin Township Trustees accepted the resignation of a police officer and approved replacing the officer with a new hire.
In a 2-to-1 vote, the trustees approved the resignation of officer Joe Mullins and authorized Franklin Township Police Chief Allan Wheeler to fill the vacant position.
Trustee Tim Guyton voted against replacing the position.
At the regular meeting, Guyton said the reason he opposed hiring a new full-time officer was because of the financial issues the Franklin Township Police Department is having.
“So how are we going to pay this new officer,” Guyton said. “Based on our January budget hearing did we not agree we have no dollars in the bank account?”
Currently, the township has seven full-time police officers. If Mullins were not replaced, the force would consist of six full-time police officers.
Wheeler said he was in favor of hiring an additional officer for the safety of the township.
“We have two officers per shift, so if we drop down to six full-time officers and someone calls off, is sick or goes on vacation we can’t cover all our shifts,” he said. “We would then have to ask for help from the sheriff’s office and the response times would be even longer.”
Guyton said that financially it makes more sense to depend on the sheriff’s office than to hire a new police officer the township can’t afford.
“If Officer Mullins did not resign we would have been paying him anyway,” said trustee Don Cook.
According to Franklin Township Fiscal Officer Lisa Morris, Mullins has been with the department since July 2007 and was making $55,723 a year plus benefits. The replacement would be making $40,705 plus benefits.
“This is a no brainer,” said trustee John Fleshman. “Were not going to put the public’s safety at jeopardy. We are replacing a high rate person with a lower rate person, so it makes no sense to not fill the position. If we have to take money from the general fund then we will. We have to manage crime in the township.”
During the vote, Guyton once again cited police department financial issues as the reason for his no vote.
“No, if we want to do our best to provide services to taxpayers we have to manager our funds,” he said. “This is not about the chief’s management style, it is about not having money to pay for it.”
Wheeler supported the Cook and Fleshman decision to hire a replacement.
“If we can maintain seven people with two people per shift it will benefit the entire community,” Wheeler said.