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A Guest Editorial Article
by Nancy Bell
I have attended just about every council meeting and briefing session in many years. I am so disgusted with OUR current City Council. They have done so many things against our Charter, Rules of Procedure and Robert’s Rules of Order. If I was on that dais; I would never allow certain items to be passed. It is just wrong to continue to rake the citizens of Duncanville over the coals.
I will start off with Cliff Boyd (not running for re-election). He came on the council with a huge agenda. He started off with taking over the negotiations of the lawsuit with regards to Monte Anderson. The Economic Development Board offered Mr. Anderson $1,659,785 which included new money, forgiveness of old debt, and tax benefits to settle the lawsuit that the City had against him. What a landfall for Mr. Anderson through the efforts of Mr. Boyd. I thought that this action would cancel out Mr. Anderson and never see or hear from him again. But lo and behold, Mr. Anderson continues to give monthly reports to the Economic Development Board of what he is still doing around the city as a developer. We continue to give him money through the Economic Development Board. Haven’t we had enough of Monte Anderson? Is he the only developer in DFW area? I thought he spouted off in a letter that he would never ever work in Duncanville again. That did not last long when you show him the money! Along with the former Interim City Manager, Mr. Boyd and the rest of the council is party to the EON Reality deal that we have funded to the tune of $1.4+ million with Wells Fargo Bank where the former council member Mr. Mark Cooks is employed. The bank wanted collateral and the council signed over the future Interim Property Taxes as collateral. It is my understanding that they cannot use the property tax in this manner. The agreement is that we have offered the old library building to this “out of the country” owned company named EON Reality to set up their entrepreneur school. I still do not understand what this school is offering the City of Duncanville. The City paid for the remodel of the building to accommodate their needs including equipment. EON will pay Duncanville a monthly rent of $12,000 for 10 years with that money being applied toward the note at Wells Fargo. What if this company does not make it? Do we have another Fieldhouse albatross? How does this action benefit Duncanville financially? Again, are we are up a tree with bad choices being made again by the current council.
Take Mr. Rutherford, who came on the council as quiet as a lamb and is still that way. He does not say anything except during councilmember reports. After one of his votes, he was asked by one of his constituents why he voted the way he did, his response was that “he votes the way Mr. Boyd tells him to vote”. To my knowledge, Mr. Rutherford has voted “yes” every time. I really cannot say much about him as he hasn’t done much. He is the only one who greets me in the Briefing sessions.
Let us go further down the row to Mr. Stan Smith. He owns no property in Duncanville but he didn’t mind voting to increase our property taxes and water rates. He has voted “yes” for everything that has come up for a vote. I do not recall ever seeing a “no” vote from him. I guess he is the one who came up with the catch phrase making Duncanville “The Basketball City of the World” because that is all he talks about except for Duncanswitch. This Chamber project started off with a lot of different vendors but it has dwindled down to one huge garage sale. I want to know why the Chamber is reaping the rewards of fees for this monthly event while Duncanville furnishes the property, the police and staff? When are they going to remove the “caboose” from the tracks with all the graffiti on it? This does note make a good first impression of Duncanville.
Next is Mayor David Green. He is definitely a follower and not a leader. He is forgetting procedures for the executive sessions, the discussions and the votes. He gives other council members the proclamations to read because he has trouble reading them correctly. He also has the City Secretary reading the consent items when he should be doing it. He also votes “yes” on every item that comes up for a vote. Offer him a free meal and he is there. I think it is time for Mr. Green to step down.
Next is Patrick Harvey. This man spouts off a lot of quotes in his speeches not only from books written by famous men, but verses from the Bible. He does not practice what he preaches. He was part of an illegal vote that pertained to a piece of property that he owns in Hollywood park which he benefited by the creation of a wall required by the City for a business medical building. He should have recused himself not only at the Economic Development (4B) Board Meeting when this issue was first brought up, but also at the City Council Meeting.
However, at this Economic Development Board Meeting I attended, their secretary stated that she spoke to the City Attorney, and he informed her that this issue had to pass with a 4-0 vote. Of course, there were only four members on this board purposely by design when it should have been seven. Mr. Harvey, Stan Smith, Cliff Boyd and Mark Cooks were the deciding votes. This action was against the Charter and the Rules of Procedure that no member of the council should benefit from any such votes. Mr. Harvey and Ms. Humble are the primary persons responsible for the “Kangaroo Court” against the council member from District 5. Of course, the rest of the council followed suit. She came up with a group of staff members to make false claims against the council member. When Ms. Jameson resigned (at her attorney’s suggestion), the council should have voted for an election. Her resignation was well within the parameters of a “called” election. They did not. They chose to keep the vacancy open until the May 2015 election. Again, another issue breaking the Charter and the Rules of Procedure. Mr. Harvey is the Financial Director in Seagoville. Harvey brought to this council ideas based on what Seagoville does. He consistently asks our Financial Director questions as if to stump him to make sure he is following the acceptable practices of accounting procedures. I am curious again, what happened to the issue of 54 checks written by an employee of Seagoville? Guess who the Financial Director is? Didn’t he know what was transpiring? Is this issue still pending or was it whitewashed too? He has brought forms with letterhead from Seagoville to Duncanville to be attached to the Candidates package. The secretary forgot to take off Seagoville’s name, what a big mistake. He attended one of the “Meet your policeman day for coffee” at the Whataburger in Duncanville. I witnessed this personally as it was on Wednesday, October 8th from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30. I am curious, is Seagoville paying Mr. Harvey to sit in a restaurant in Duncanville promoting Duncanville? During this election time, there are no political actions/discussions allowed to be shown during council meetings but Mr. Harvey showed a magazine during councilmember reports featuring him and his wife. This was definitely political. The Mayor should have stopped him. After witnessing this action, a citizen later brought this issue to the attention of the new City Manager that this practice is the same as the Citizen Comment Period, that council member reports will not be televised. Mr. Hugman checked it out and found it to be a true statement and has corrected it.
At another meeting, Mr. Harvey displayed three Seagoville certificates that he had received for his job as FD. We could care less what accomplishments he has made in Seagoville except that it looks good on his resume. Again, this was political and should have been shut down by the Mayor. Personally, I have filed three complaints against Mr. Harvey with regards to his property in Hollywood Park. It was on the agenda for an Executive Session but I never heard another thing about it. It was totally “whitewashed.” I want to know why his job in Seagoville is not considered a “conflict of interest” while being on the Duncanville City Council or vice/versa. Major corporations have you complete forms making sure that your involvements outside the company do not conflict with your position. This is definitely a conflict!
Finally, we end up with Dr. Ron Dotson. His voting practices have been right along with the rest of the council. He has voted “yes” every time since the loss of District 5’s representative. Prior to being on the council, Dotson had an issue regarding the Wintergreen Road Project. He asked the citizens of Duncanville to sign a petition to stop the Wintergreen Project. Over 2300 citizens came forward. The petitions were presented to the city in the correct legal manner and were accepted and stamped received. The vote went to the citizens on November 5, 2013, and they voted almost 60% to 40% to defeat the Wintergreen Road Project. Then rumors started spreading that Dr. Dotson has been working with the County for a year on an agreement that would satisfy him. My understanding is that he had signed an agreement to allow the County to put the water main under his driveway instead of taking the front of his property. The county would then move the proposed new road over a little bit. Last Tuesday night, April 7th, at the Council Meeting, discussion items 20, 21, and 22 regarding the Dr. Dotson issue, water main and the continuation of the Wintergreen project were discussed. When a vote was called, Dr. Dotson recused himself. Mayor Green announced that he would be back to read a letter. After the vote which was unanimous, Dotson was called back in and read a letter to the citizens regarding the reasons for his continued participation in the Wintergreen project. Dr. Dotson should have informed the citizens of Duncanville, who had signed the petition, exactly what he was doing. My understanding is that the correct procedure is that an election was needed to “rescind” the original November 5, 2013 vote. We were not afforded that opportunity.
This is another issue showing that they are not following our Charter and the Rules of Procedure. I requested a copy of Dr. Dotson’s “open” letter that he read to the citizens of Duncanville. The meeting was still open and was not closed until Dr. Dotson finished reading his letter. I requested a copy of the letter under the Open Records Act. I was told that this was not an Open Records issue because the Secretary was not afforded a copy. It is an open meetings item and I should have received a copy. This letter should be attached to the minutes of the meeting. Was this a legal response? Now are they are ignoring State Rules? What is next?
We have an expensive Attorney, Bob Hagar, that we pay large sums of money to. The citizens no longer get to hear the discussions about issues. The discussions are being held in places other than the council meetings and they show up on the agenda as a consent item with a resolution attached. This means that these items have already been discussed somewhere.
Tell me, citizens of Duncanville, do you want a council that disregards our Charter? Why do we have Rules of Procedures if we are not going to follow them? Why does our Charter state that Robert’s Rules of Order will be our guidelines when we do not even practice them? Why does the State write laws for us to ignore?
IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THE ABOVE COUNCIL TO A COUNCIL THAT CARES ABOUT THE CITIZENS AND NOT THEIR OWN AGENDAS!!!
VOTE FOR: Don Freeman, District 1; Leslie Thomas, District 3; Dr. Stephen Jones, At Large and Johnette Jameson, District 5. This council that will work towards achieving what their constituents want. Early voting begins on April 27th and ends May 9th. Remember, if you do not vote, you do not have the right to complain.