Firefighter cleared to work in Hernando despite investigation - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Firefighter cleared to work in Hernando despite investigation

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HERNANDO, MS -

(WMC-TV) - A city firefighter will continue working after an investigation into claims that he is a convicted felon.

Action News 5 first told you that the City of Hernando was investigating one of its firefighters in January after a tip came into the newsroom.

While city officials cannot confirm personnel matters, we did learn he is in the clear to keep working.

"We've already begun an investigation and we're looking into this matter very seriously," said Hernando City Attorney Kenneth Stockton last month.

Convicted felons are not supposed to receive certification unless granted a waiver by the state's certifying board. They just ruled on Frankie Daniel Barnett's case this week.

"We heard the issue of Mr. Barnett and we have chose that he has met the burden of the waiver and we've chosen not to pull his certification based on the ruling," said Michelle Crowley, Mississippi Minimum Standards and Certifications Board.

A Frankie Daniel Barnett pleaded guilty to a felony second degree robbery charge out of Morgan County, Alabama in 1998. Because it is a personnel matter, the mayor would not confirm if it was the same person, but says as long as the state board allows him to keep his certification, he will be a welcome firefighter in Hernando.

"If we had any employee that we hired that had done something as a youth, I think society in general doesn't hold those things against them for the rest of their lives," said Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson.

Action News 5 did ask the state board if they did background checks for applicants.

"That is not the board's decision to make, that is the authority having jurisdiction," said Crowley.

The city said they do background checks, but did not find Barnett in violation of any city policies.

"We hire firemen who have a certificate to fight fires, so that's not really up to us, it's up to the minimum standards board at the state and as long as they have that certificate they can work for us," said Mayor Johnson.

The mayor said he would pass along Action News 5's request to speak with Barnett.

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