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March 5, 2014

‘It’s just a big mess’

THOMASVILLE — Meigs residents rallied at the town’s city hall Wednesday afternoon to protest the firing of the police chief, among other situations involving city government.

Some described the gathering as a riot. A Thomas County Sheriff’s Office captain said otherwise.

“The city manager, she fired me today for no reason,” said Edward Rauls, former police chief, who served on the Meigs police force for 17 years.

Marsha Demoga, city manager, told the Times-Enterprise she could not discuss a personnel matter.

Rauls said termination papers said he was not doing his job.

The former chief said Meigs citizens plan to picket city hall today. Wednesday’s assembly of 50 to 100 people was peaceful, Rauls added.

“Were trying to get something done about this,” he said.

People do not think the city manager is making good decisions and want her out, Rauls said.

Meigs resident Angela Donaldson said Rauls was fired for no reason.

“It’s awful for a city to have to go through so much,” Donaldson said. “It’s just a big mess up here in Meigs.”

 Donaldson said Meigs Mayor Linda Harris cannot do her job because of animosity among city employees.

“Nothing goes from what the mayor says. ... The mayor don’t have no say-so,” said Donaldson, who has lived in Meigs for 39 years.

Sheriff’s office Capt. Chuck McDonald and two deputies responded to the situation.

McDonald said people were “casually standing around and talking” in the city hall parking lot and across the street.

City hall employees were escorted to their vehicles after expressing concerns about the crowd.

“They were afraid for their safety,” McDonald said.

City hall employees decided to close the office and were escorted to their vehicles.

“I just locked up the office and left,” Demoga said.

Public works employees who work from a nearby building also went home for the day.

With police presence, Meigs city hall business will be conducted on a drive-through basis today.

Meigs has four police officers. “We don’t have a chief right now,” Demoga explained.

She added, “We just want things to calm down.”

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.

 

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