FERRIS

An investigation related to alleged unprofessional conduct in the workplace against Ferris City Manager Bill Jordan began a few weeks ago. The City of Ferris also received a pair of claims filed against four Ferris Police officers not long after.

Some residents believe the suspension of the officers is related to the investigation of Jordan.

However, the city manager stated that while — on the surface — the investigations appear to be connected, that is simply not the case.

“That is a separate issue on the side. It is unfortunate that it is happening at the same time,” Jordan explained. “So it is convoluting the scenario that is going on, but there are two different issues happening at the same time.”

Jordan would not discuss the investigation into actions alleged against him or the officers until the probes are complete.

The Bowman Group, based in Tarrant County, is handling the investigation into actions alleged against Jordan and the Ferris City Council will make the final decision on Jordan's status as city manager at a later date.

A city employee filed the complaint filed against Jordan on March 8.

THE OFFICERS

Ferris Police officers Philip Pearson and Sgt. Jason Nottingham were placed on paid administrative leave March 16. Ferris Police Chief Eddie Salazar and investigator Walter Weiss were dealt the same reprimand 10 days later due to alleged violations of the city’s personnel policy.

The entire investigation began after two residents filed complaints with the city about police conduct. One of the claims was formally submitted to the city in written form.

“They both similarly claimed that drugs were planted on someone during a traffic stop. Both were sighting harassment and being pulled over frequently,” Jordan said. “They were from two different people, and only one has submitted it in writing. We are only going with the one right now.”

Jordan stated when he received the complaint against Nottingham and Pearson he asked Salazar to place them on leave.

Salazar confirmed he did take this action as requested but noted the Texas Rangers conducted an independent investigation of the two officers. The Rangers cleared the officers of any wrongdoing in the matter.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety website, one of the tasks of the Rangers is to conduct public corruption and public integrity investigations.

Salazar shared that no illegal actions were taken by anyone at his department and could not comment further on the complaint. He also directed all other comments on the matter to Ferris city staff.

Jordan shared there have been no gaps in providing police service to the public at this time despite being down four officers. Sargent Joe Sifuentes is overseeing the department's operations at this time while the city looks for an interim chief. The city is also working with the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office who are assisting Ferris officers by keeping its patrols close and providing backup.

Jordan hopes the investigations will be finalized in the next two weeks.

“I want us to get back to operational and open again. That is the tough thing. I know that a lot of people are upset because we are down officers. At the same time I want to make sure that our department has integrity,” Jordan said. “If we have issues and complaints and we don’t investigate them and don’t look into them then how do we maintain the trust with the public if we say your complaints are not valid when we don't even look at them.”

According to the city website, Jordan has served as the city manager since October 2016 and previously served as the city’s chief building official. He has held positions with the cities of Red Oak, Dallas, and Wilmington, North Carolina.

He noted that he would like to speak on the complaint filed against him to clear up misconceptions but will not do so until the investigations are complete and approval is given by the city attorney.

Jordan noted once he is cleared, “We (the city) should be able to get the rest of this cleared up.”

Jordan added, “I am not worried about the outcome of the investigation at all because I know that I didn’t do anything.”

The Daily Light reached out to Nottingham and Weiss for comment. Messages were left but went unreturned. Contact information for Pearson was searched for but could not be found.