Before the Ferris City Council could tackle the regular agenda, the board heard from one of its own plus several members of the community-at-large. Almost all who spoke voiced their opinion — largely of displeasure — on the sudden suspension of Ferris Police Chief Eddie Salazar and Ferris Police investigator Walter “Gator” Weiss.
Most notably to the podium during the public comment session was councilman Bobby Lindsey.
“I’m not a very good speaker but I’m here to ask you to wait till all the facts are out. Some people have come up here and said some bad things about some people and you do not know if it is going to be that way," Lindsey said. "I just wish you would use some common sense and not tell people things before you have all the information.
"You’ve jumped on the city council. We do not know what’s going to happen, but we are going to take care of it. You’ve jumped on city employees, and you do not know what’s going to happen with that. If it comes back, and there’s nothing to this and it gets resolved, but you’ve already been up here to destroy people. Are you going to take the time to apologize? I doubt it."
He added to the chamber-filled audience, “I really wish you would wait until everything is in before you hurt somebody.”
Nina Mills followed Lindsey and claimed, “a quorum was seen at city hall thus violating the open meeting act."
"If you think we are going to stand by and do nothing, you’re wrong," She added. "We want Bill Jordan and the mayor to resign. We want chief Salazar back. We want Gator back [...] Nothing formally has been brought to the public. How can you suspend someone who is conducting an investigation against their boss? By not taking action, the city council is condoning the actions taken by the city manager.”
The last speaker, Sherry Chapman stated that “if [Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson] felt that an investigation was needed" into the alleged action of Salazar and Weiss that "he would have referred it to the Texas Rangers."
She added that she felt Wilson would not have hired "an independent investigator who is one person and who is the city manager for the city of Arlington. This is a sideline business for him. This is an $8,000 business financed by the taxpayers of Ferris.”
Chapman asked if any members of the council or staff had received any compensation in any way for referring the investigation group. “Who made the recommendation to use them,” Chapman asked. She added that the process of filing the complaints against the officers violated their due process and “chief Salazar and investigator Weiss should be returned to duty. The council is ignorant of the law.”
“Also, there are alleged complaints filed against Bill Jordan. Why is the mayor continuing to allow Bill Jordan to have access to the city’s information," Chapman asked. "Most cities would not allow a person under investigation to have access to personnel information. Right now, the citizens of Ferris have no confidence in our mayor, our city manager nor out city council. We will file to be on the agenda for next week.”
Steve Hamm closed the public forum session and spoke about his hopes that the council would approve his bid for a church located East of Interstate 45.
“We put a bid in on the old Church of Christ here in town. We desire to get that for our Spanish Church,” said Hamm, who is the pastor of Patrick Baptist Church in Ferris.
Hamm also weighed in on the ongoing investigation and suspended officers. He said, “it doesn’t matter which side you are on this issue. I think everybody has a right to have a voice. But there’s one thing I see her tonight, we need the hand of God on this issue. We need to be praying this thing through. You do not have the answers. God has the answers. And when you go to him with that; this thing is going to work beautifully.”
The first action item was a resolution to authorize the purchase of property and a 1,350-square foot structure by Hamm.
The action was unanimously approved.
Next was a resolution presented by the Ferris Type A Economic Development Corporation to purchase 0.40 acres located South of East Eighth Street and east of Interstate 45. The purchase is vital to the development of a 9.79-acre tract owned by the Type A Economic Development Corporation to be used to create an access point from FM 660 into the new development.
The council unanimously approved the motion.
The board then unanimously appointed Ed Auger to the Type B Economic Development Corporation. City secretary Callie Green immediately following his approval swore auger.
The annexation of a 37-acre tract of land — located North of Wolf Springs Road and East of Birch Road — was also discussed. The council approved the city’s staff to develop the required service plans and set future required public hearings to begin the annexation process.
The land is planned to become a 54-single-family residential development.