Commissioners uphold firing of Columbia County code e - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Commissioners uphold firing of Columbia County code enforcement officer

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UPDATE: It was unanimous.

Across the board, the Columbia County Commissioners do not want former code enforcement officer Jimmy Vowell back on the job.

"We took the evidence that was there from the hearing and the admitted conduct that took place, and that's what we based our decision on," says Commission Chairman Ron Cross.

In July, Vowell was caught on a surveillance camera entering the home of Erica Masters without her consent. He was fired a week later.

Tuesday, Vowell was in front of commissioners, asking for his job back.

But commissioners say it was an easy decision to uphold his termination.

"The fact that it violated county policy, and in a sense violated the property rights of this young lady, was sufficient in our opinion that the termination was justified," says Cross.

Even with the Columbia Co. Civil Service Commission in his corner, Vowell's request was still voted down.

"The Board of Commission did not see fit to stand by their Civil Service Commission's decision and to overturn it," Vowell said after the meeting.

Masters was in attendance Tuesday night, and was pleased with the commissioners' decision.

But she says the incident continues to haunt her.

"I'm always looking over my shoulder now," she says. "I still do have problems sleeping. I still do have problems being in public. I never know if somebody is looking at me."

Vowell isn't sure what his next step is, but he says he's going to keep fighting.

"There's a lot of fight left in me," he says. "I'm not done yet. We'll just have to wait and see."

Vowell's lawyers say they are considering a wrongful termination lawsuit.

UPDATE: Columbia County commissioners have denied a request by Jimmy Vowell to return to work.

The unanimous decision announced around 5:45pm Tuesday.

Original story:

Jimmy Vowell, the embattled former Columbia County code enforcement officer, will go before the Columbia County Board of Commissioners at 5pm.

Vowell as removed from his position in July after he entered a woman's home without her consent.

The meeting is a "grievance hearing" and will determine whether or not Vowell can get his job back, according to County officials.

FOX54 has a crew at the meeting and will update you as soon as we learn more information.

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