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Wilmer citizen calls for council’s resignation

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Discipline for EMS employee, who escorted mayor to hospital, postponed
Mark Varsel
The Ellis County Press

WILMER - The Wilmer City Council was expected to deliberate the fate of emergency medical technician Todd Bell at its recent council meeting.

Bell had assisted Mayor Linda Root after an altercation with the new city administrator, Thomas Lauer, after which Lauer suspended Bell from his duties.

The meeting opened with local citizen John Eggen telling the council, 'Citizens are tired of the backroom tactics used to govern this city. The mayor has the support of the citizens of Wilmer.

'[The] council cannot tell the difference between what is in the best interest of Wilmer and what is in your own best interests.'

Eggen then called on the city's council members to 'step down and tender your resignations.'

The gallery of citizens attending the meeting broke out in spontaneous applause.

Councilman Don Hudson responded, 'Mr. Eggen, I will never resign on your say so. I was elected by the entire community. Why don't you come up with something new?'

'Or write it yourself,' councilman Jesse Petton added.

Hudson then said, 'I don't care to hear from you again.'

Citizen Gladis Lavine addressed the crowd reminding everyone, 'This is America. You have a right to say what you want to say, whether you agree or not.'

When it came time to debate the potential disciplinary action facing Bell, Lauer asked the council to table the issue for two weeks as, 'I have not properly served him his written notice (regarding his suspension).'

The council agreed and extended Bell's paid suspension for two weeks.

Councilman Henry Martinez questioned Lauer regarding the ordinance establishing the city administrator position.

Martinez said the news media has reported the ordinance could have flaws and not be lawful. Martinez requested Lauer place the item on the agenda for council to discuss at its next council meeting.

In a related item, earlier in the meeting, Martinez read into the record from the city's 2001 audit report.

Martinez disclosed an audit-finding regarding unpaid federal employment taxes dating from the fourth quarter of 1999 and the first quarter of 2000.

Martinez said he wanted it known the unpaid taxes, penalties and interest for the period amounted to $317,535 owed to the federal government.

The city is appealing to lower the fines imposed by the IRS.

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Nelson Propane

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