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Vansyckle ‘Absolutely floored’; Council declares mayor violates code of ethics

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OVILLA – After  a lengthy two  and a half hour question and answer session and then convening in closed session for another hour,  council unanimously decided Mayor Bill Vansyckle had committed ethics violations on an investigation regarding the firing of City Prosecutor Rodney Ramsey.

Towards the end of the month of August, complaints were filed on City Administrator Randy Whiteman after he fired Ramsey leading to a special called meeting to “fire” Whiteman.  Councilmen James Wade and Richard Dormier were not asked about availability of attending, ultimately leading to the meetings cancellation. 

In an affidavit written by Ramsey, he stated during a conversation at Bubba’s Barbeque on Ovilla Road and Interstate Highway 35, “Mr. Whiteman stated that he had been aware that I lowered the fine on a few misdemeanor cases and dismissed others. Mr. Whiteman stated that he did not want any citations dismissed.”

Whiteman alleged Ramsey’s fixing tickets was a reason of firing. One of the citations dismissed by Ramsey included a Suburban address, a neighbor to Vansyckle.

A fence being built without a permit stirred controversy amongst the city.  Code Enforcement Mike Dooley said he was told to change the procedure by Vansyckle. 

“The previous way was to always write a citation if there was no permit since you know you need a permit to build things,” said Dooley. 

“Now I have to catch them [whoever is in violation of the code enforcement] and then give them a warning to go get a permit and then follow-up,”said Dooley. 

Vansyckle said the reason for procedure change was to “give the citizens of Ovilla a chance, be code compliant.”

Of several pages of exhibits, Vansyckle was accused of knowingly assisting Ramsey in his complaint against Whiteman and working for Ramsey. 

While Vansyckle did admit to working with Ramsey in the past, he said he did not assist him in any way during the investigation and has worked with 98- percent of all attorneys in Ellis County because of his job as a private investigator. 

“I was conducting my own investigation into the matter, to protect the citizens of Ovilla,” said Vansyckle. 

During a recent phone interview, Ramsey said  “he [Vansyckle] didn’t do anything for me while I served the city.”

“Bunch of thug and hoodlums are upset and trying to protect Whiteman, I have two years to file suit, just not sure whom I will file on yet, we shall see,” said Ramsey.

City Secretary Pam Higgins said she was told by the mayor to let him look at Whiteman’s personnel file.

A practice allowed by all councilmen, according to City Attorney Tim Sralla.

“As the custodian of records, I had to be present while he [Vansyckle] was looking over the files, where I saw him write down Whiteman’s social security number,” said Higgins.

After the meeting Vansyckle said he was “absolutely floored” by Higgins testimony. 

“I would hate to say something as bad as Pam is a liar but, I did not write down the social,” said Vansyckle. 

The council will decide upon Vansyckle’s punishment for the following offenses during the next council meeting on Monday, Dec. 12 : overstepping his authority when he told Whiteman to suspend his removal of Ramsey, his actions to fax Ramsey  Whiteman’s letter of suspension and then personally deliver  the doctored complaint showing bias against Whiteman,  failure to deliver a conflict of interest or excuse himself from the complaint process even though he had participated with Ramsey in filing the complaint and demonstrating his abuse of power when he went to the city secretary and ordered her to allow him to view Whiteman’s personnel file while the he copied down Whiteman’s social security number violating Whiteman’s right to personal privacy.

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