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Hiring & firing, Wilmer council back in form

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JIM WILLIAMS
Ellis County Press
WILMER - Citizens conceded their tax money was at work last Thursday as the City Council appeared to revert back to its old ways of hiring and firing.

Four executive sessions over two hours during the council's regular July 20 meeting produced several key personnel changes:

* Frank Mooney was recently let go as police chief.

* Thomas Lauer was approved to replace Mooney.

* Ronnie Bain was terminated as volunteer fire chief.

* Teresa Bain was demoted as head of the paramedic department and placed on 90-day probation.

* Bobbie Martinez further was confirmed as administrative clerk.

Councilman Billy Wickliffe opposed Ronnie Bain's dismissal, saying, 'I voted against his dismissal because of past service.'

'It has nothing to do with his firefighting capabilities,' Mayor Pro-Tem Don Hudson said. 'Ronnie did a fine job.'

The council refused to accept the resignation of Teresa Bain by a 3-2 vote, instead demoting and placing her on a 90-day probationary period. Wickliffe and council member Virginia Arroyo voted in opposition.

'I felt like Teresa was doing a good job,' Wickliffe said. 'I was still supportive of her.'

'As far as I'm concerned, she did resign in the last executive session,' Arroyo said.

Teresa Bain is wife of Ronnie Bain.

Bobbie Martinez was confirmed as administrative clerk by a 3-1 vote and one abstention. Arroyo voted against Martinez, and Wickliffe abstained.

'I feel like there should be more than one person in city hall who speaks Spanish, because there are a lot of Spanish-speaking residents, and that's all they can speak,' Arroyo said. '[City Secretary] Crystol [Birdwell] speaks Spanish, but sometimes she's out of the office.'

'It was a hot issue, and I wanted to stay away from it,' Wickliffe said. 'It looked like a good thing to do.'

Martinez is Birdwell's daughter.

In one of the executive sessions where no council action later was taken during open session, members deliberated and discussed job duties, assignments, evaluation and direction of the code enforcement officer, Earl Kendrick.

Wickliffe said Stephen King, the city's former code enforcement officer, has been working as building inspector for the city.

Wickliffe said two separate lawsuits filed by King and former Wilmer police officer Tiny Lange, currently member of the city council, were both still in litigation with attorneys

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