Knox Election 2017: Tim Francis

Tim Francis

KNOX — Tim Francis, a Republican running on the Republican line for town justice, is making his first try for a post in Knox government after serving for half his life in law enforcement.

Francis, 50, was born in Oneonta, in Otsego County, but shortly after moved to Knox. He grew up on a dairy farm in Knox and had intended to continue working there before he switched to a career in law enforcement, working at the Albany County Correctional Facility.

“It wasn’t my first choice, to be completely honest,” he said. “I grew up on a dairy farm and that was my first choice...I had a young family, and you’ve got to make a living.”

Francis, who is currently a correctional sergeant after working for 25 years in Albany County’s jail, is about to retire.

“I want to bring my experience to that,” he said, of the position of town justice.

Francis said that he cares about the Hilltowns and the values there, and that he believes in government “for the people, by the people.”

Francis said he has experience in solving problems. He has served as an assistant shop steward for the past six years in the Teamsters Local 294 union, where as a union representative, he has conducted conflict management. At his job at the jail, he has overseen hearings, which he describes as similar to the court process. He also works closely with the courts in his work.

In his experience working at the county jail, Francis said that he believes in sentences that promote alternatives to jail time, such as work-release programs, and community service.

“Definitely it would be on a case-by-case basis, no doubt about it,” he said.

Francis noted that it costs about $66,000 a year to incarcerate an offender, and that, while there are certain crimes that deserve jail time, the criminal justice system can’t put all offenders in jail.

He also believes “scared straight” programs, or having offenders speak with victims of drunk-driving crashes, is a suitable punishment for some offenders, such as youthful offenders.

“Just show them the effects of some the crimes … sometimes a picture’s worth a thousand words,” he said.

He added that community service may also be suitable.

Francis said that he would recuse himself from a case if he knew someone involved.

“That’s one of the great things about having two justices in a small town,” he said.

He said he would recuse himself if it involved family members or long-term friends, and would have to find out where to draw the line on a case-by-case basis.

“Ironically, I’ve had to deal with some those issues in the facility,” he said, noting that people he knew from the area have ended up in the jail.

Francis said the hardest thing to deal with in court would be a case with “an innocent person being hurt.”

“If I get the opportunity to serve in this position,” he said. “I will give it 100 percent.”

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