Special Investigator Hired by Council

DUNCANVILLE, TX – The voting bloc of Councilmembers Boyd/ Harvey/ Cooks/ Smith, a 4-3 majority of the Duncanville City Council, voted to hire a special investigator at the February 18th Regular Meeting.
The investigation was initiated by a complaint filed by Councilmember Patrick Harvey that alleges a charter violation without alleging any specific incident.  Harvey included no relevant evidence in his complaint. This will be a first that an investigation was called for and there is no evidence of a charter violation. Strangely, based on an accusation without pertinent information, the voting bloc voted to hire a special investigator to find evidence.  The investigation’s mandate is to discover whether any Councilmember has given orders to city staff; an offence that allows the Councilmember to be “expelled” under Section 2.10 of the City Charter.
The investigator, Attorney Paul Coggins, will charge $495/hr.  He is the head of Locke Lord’s national White Collar Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations practice.  Mr. Coggins was the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas during the Clinton Administration.   The investigation is scheduled to be completed in March.  Other ethics complaints that included both charges and evidence, filed by citizens against Harvey, Boyd, Cooks and Smith are not a part of the investigation.
To quote the Duncanville City Charter:  Sec. 2.10. Council not to interfere in city manager’s appointments or removals.
“Neither the Council or any of its members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to or his removal from office by the City Manager or by any of his subordinates. However, the Council may consult and advise the City Manager, make inquiry regarding the appointments or removals and may express their opinion in regard thereto. In regard to administrative and executive duties under the City Manager, the Council and its members shall deal solely through the City Manager and neither the Council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the City Manager, either publicly or privately.
Willful violation of the foregoing provisions of this Charter by any member of the Council shall constitute official misconduct and shall authorize the Council by a vote of a majority of its membership to expel such offending member from the Council if found guilty after a public hearing, and thereby create a vacancy in the place held by such member.”
One of the bloc voters, Mark Cooks is challenging Mayor Deborah Hodge in the upcoming election.  Usually complaints about the council are held or dismissed during election season.
Historically, Duncanville has never had a council remove one of its members from office.