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New bill gives FCSD employees job security

The employees of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department are looking to get a little more job security this November as voters go to the polls to vote on allowing them to establish a merit system for the department.

Sheriff Larry Plott said he has worked for 15 years to get some kind of system in place to give the employees job security.

“We are just getting to that now,” Plott said.

The Alabama Legislature passed a bill that would establish a Merit Review Board, which would function much like the Civil Service Board used by Russellville City.

“We’ve been hearing in the public that this bill would not allow any officer to be terminated regardless of the employee’s actions,” Plott said. “This is not true.”

Plott said there are policies in place in the department that could lead to termination if broken.

“The newly elected sheriff could keep these policies in place or institute new policies,” Plott said. “Should a policy be broken, employees can be terminated under this new bill, however, the employee would have the right to appeal the decision to the Merit Review Board.”

Plott said the new board would disallow a newly elected sheriff to just walk in and dismiss everyone simply because he wanted to. The new sheriff would have to give just cause as to why the employee is being dismissed.

“We have a full staff of highly qualified employees,” Plott said. “Why replace them with other employees that will need to be brought up to speed and properly trained?”

Plott said it will take about a year for a completely new officer to be trained and placed in a position, and with the crime going the way that it is, the county doesn’t have time to train a new fleet of officers.

“When I took office, no one lost their jobs,” Plott said. “Everyone stayed except the chief deputy who decided to retire. I am not asking for anything more than what I have done.”

The new billwill go before voters in the November general election to be approved before going into effect.

“I encourage everyone who has questions about this bill to contact me and I will answer any questions about it,” Plott said.