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Former Chief, Lieutenant terminated
The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - On Friday, Nov. 14, Acting Mayor Scott Born fired Ferris Police Chief Jeff Cottongame and Lieutenant Sherman Swafford, after reviewing documents and evidence surrounding the investigation of the Ferris Police Department.

Born said the nature of behavior dictated decisive action.

'They were not allowed to resign,' Born said. ' I took the action as acting mayor to terminate them.'

The following day, on Saturday, Born hired Donald Marks, a retired 36-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, as Ferris' new cheif.

At Monday's council meeting, the appointment of Marks was confirmed following a closed executive meeting, but no further action or charges was taken regarding Cottongame and Swafford.

Mayor Jimmie Birdwell returned to his position to preside over the council Monday, following a 30-day medical leave.

He said Cottongame and Sherman will still receive their pensions, because they were fully vested with the city.

The former officers have been on paid administrative leave since September, while a legal firm hired by the city conducted an investigation regarding their operation of a possible 'security business' against state guidelines and other improprieties.

Council members approved paying the Dallas law firm of Nicholas, Jackson, Dillard, Hager and Smith, which specializes in municipality issues, $7,463.79 in legal fees and Birdwell said this was just a partial payment with other fees to be paid later.

Attorney John A. Haring accompanied his clients, Cottongame and Swafford, during their meeting on Saturday with Born and the city's attorney Robert Hager, as they were informed of their dismissal.

'I don't have any comment now, thank you,' Haring said as he exited city hall.

Cottongame declined to comment, as he walked to his late-model black pick-up and drove away.

Swafford said, 'Kiss my a**' and 'Hello Ms. Troll, how are you?' to this reporter as he walked to his vehicle after being fired. He returned moments later to city hall to turn in his city-owned uniforms and gear.

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Nelson Propane

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