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Rawlings fired over misconduct

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FERRIS – Council reconvened from a closed session during the Monday, Aug. 1 council meeting with a unanimous vote to fire Code Enforcement Officer Tim Rawlings. 

Originally reported in the Thursday, July 21 edition of The Ellis County Press, Rawlings was confirmed to have been fired by City Manager Eric Strong. Council just had to meet to make final approval. 

“It was too late for the evening’s agenda when his leave occurred so, the item had to wait until Monday, Aug. 1,” said Strong.

According to a memo presented to council during closed session, Rawlings was fired based on wasting excessive amounts of time visiting “very sexually explicit” sites on the city’s computer, a violation of city policy. 

Section 5.03 of the City of Ferris Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual states: Using or providing any city equipment, credentials, or services for other than official city business or without proper authority. (For example, using a city vehicle or city equipment for personal use without written permission.) 

After further examination of Rawlings computer by the city, it was discovered a large amount of time was spent playing games on Facebook, such as Farmville, as well as more in- depth searches of sexual content. 

Section 7.01 of the city code states : Use of both the internet and email must be tempered with common sense and good judgment. If an employee abuses their privilege of access to the internet or email, that access may be removed and the employee may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, civil and criminal liability. 

In a letter from Rawlings to the city in response to his termination, he states the dating web sites were printed off to help a friend and the “everyday health websites come each day in an email, they have several different articles in each one, this came as an add on to the Suzanne Summers weight loss web page that I had signed up for to help Loretta [his wife] lose weight.”

Strong admitted Rawlings denied all the allegations.

Rawlings didn’t know where the various other searches came from. 

Currently, all Rawlings duties have been assigned to Public Works. 

“Charlie James is handling the permits, code inspections and plan reviews,” said Strong.

The animal control duties are handled by three of the city public works employees until the appropriate long term solution is considered.

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