Gregory Franklin goes from prison warden to customer service

Retirement was not exactly what Gregory Franklin envisioned.

Instead of the traditional retirement activities such as golfing or fishing, Franklin found himself busier than ever after retiring in 2007 following three decades in the field of corrections.

“In my situation, when I retired it seemed like I had more stuff to do,” Franklin said with a laugh. “Everyone thought I had a lot of time, so I was doing this and that – a lot of different things. I was busy, I figured I might as well go back to work and get paid for it.”

Franklin had definitely earned his retirement. The former prison warden at four prisons in Texas, including the William P. Clements Unit in Amarillo, decided to check out what the City of Amarillo (COA) had to offer as far as employment. 

And now he is enjoying a second career.

Franklin is the Customer Service Coordinator for the COA Solid Waste Department. In the past five years with the city, Franklin has done everything from operate a knuckle boom truck to his current role as being the primary resource for residents contacting the COA Solid Waste Department.

“Any time a customer has any kind of question or even a complaint dealing with the Solid Waste Department, I will respond,” said Franklin. “We resolve any problems customers may have.”

For example, COA has roughly 25,000 Dumpsters spread across the city – probably the most visible aspect of the service the Solid Waste Department provides. 

“In a nutshell, we also explain to the community what we actually do. A lot of the community does not know what services Solid Waste provides,” Franklin said. “Yes, they put the trash out and we pick it up, but a lot of things go into what we actually do and how we do it.”

Believe it or not, there are similarities to Franklin’s previous life as a prison warden and his second career with the city. 

“A lot of people don’t look at it this way, but the prison system is a lot like a large city,” said Franklin, who is married with twins – a 16-year-old son and daughter. “The prison system can be self-sustaining. We educate, we manufacture things, we grow our own crops and things like that. 

“A lot of people don’t know what actually goes on inside the prison system. You are constantly communicating with people as far as what is happening. You also work with the community in different aspects. When I was a warden there was a lot of community service work, working with individuals and managing rules and regulations.”

And Franklin has no regrets about coming out of retirement.

“I figured if I could work I should work,” Franklin said. “I love both jobs.”

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