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During the past two months, residents in Carolina Shores have rallied to defend town recycling center employee Jerry Franklin,who they feel is being treated like trash.
The residents say it all started when Franklin received a reprimand from town maintenance supervisor Tom Donlon based on a single complaint: Someone told Donlon that Franklin failed to provide proper assistance at the recycling center.Now, they say, Franklin is no longer allowed to assist residents with their garbage and anyone who needs assistance must alert him by pointing at their bag of garbage.
After the residents raised a stink over the situation, Waste Industries — which handles pickup of household garbage, yard debris and recyclables at the town recycling center —offered to provide one of its own employees at the center upon request by the town.
Town commissioners already discussed whether Franklin would “slide into” different duties if they decide to accept Waste Industries’ offer and are expected to review it at its annual budget retreat March 14 at town hall, though they will let the decision ultimately rest with Donlon.
For its part, the board considers the matter a personnel issue between Franklin and Donlon, who has said, “everybody agrees (Franklin) does a wonderful job.” However, he cited liability concerns as well as “people popping their trunk expecting valet garbage” service at the recycling center as the reasons governing how Franklin must do his job.
To the residents who support Franklin, he is not just a town employee but also a goodwill ambassador for Carolina Shores. Those who have stood up for him cite his positive attitude and willingness to help residents beyond the scope of his job as the reasons they feel so strongly about his employment status.
Franklin himself has remained quiet; commissioners said he has not approached them about the situation though they said he is free to do so.
Apparently, the complaint that began this mess is the first and only one lodged against Franklin in his more than four years of employment by the town. That, to us, is itself an accomplishment. Most people, being short on time and patience, are more likely to share complaints than compliments. And now it is easier than ever through social media to complain, often anonymously, about bad service.
Franklin’s complainant made no allegation of criminal or civil wrongdoing, so we are all the more impressed that the mere suggestion he is less than exemplary in his job performance has prompted such an outcry.
The residents of Carolina Shores are taking this personally, and we commend them for it.