News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. -- The Code Enforcement employee accused of going into a woman's home uninvited has lost his job.
Jimmy Vowell was at a home serving a notice back in July when he said he noticed a door was open. He said he then went inside to see if everything was OK.
The victim, Erica Masters, was sleeping inside when she saw him standing in her home.
Columbia County commissioners decided Tuesday night that Vowell will not get his job back.
A few weeks ago, the Civil Service Commission ruled that the punishment was too harsh. County commissioners had the final say.
Vowell says his fight is not over.
Masters told News 12, "It's actually been pure hell for me for the past several months trying to deal with this. I still lose sleep."
"I'm just dissatisfied that the Board of Commission did not see fit to stand by their Civil Service Commission decision," Vowell said.
In Tuesday's hearing, it felt like a match with Vowell and his friends in his corner and Masters, who drove from her new home in Atlanta, on the other side of the room.
"I have to weather this every day. I have to weather the embarrassment, I have to weather the nervousness of whether or not someone will believe me or whether or not this actually affects me," Masters said.
Vowell's fight to keep his job now is just half the battle.
"Just going to keep going, you know, there's a lot of fight left in me, I'm not done yet. We'll just have to wait and see," he said.
Masters told News 12, "I'm glad the county is finally looking at it as seriously as I have had to deal with it."
News 12 asked Masters if she could find comfort knowing someone is out of a job and unemployed because of this. She said, "yes," and claims he does have a job citing the Department of Labor records which apparently show Vowell is working for a vinyl siding company.
Meanwhile, Masters still has a lawsuit against the county and Vowell himself. She is asking for at least $300,000 in physical and emotional losses.