As I look back on the last six years, there are too many people to thank and too many issues in the city to list them all. My tenure on the Highland Village city council is coming to a close. There are many aspects of my service that I will certainly miss. But I can look back and say that I served for six years which was the term limit for my position when I was first elected in 2006.
I want to take this time for reflection on six years of service to the people of Highland Village. This journey started when the Place 6 seat on the council was open because Dianne Costa was running for mayor. I had always been interested in the workings of local government and had a long history of volunteer service to this community. On this basis, I decided to throw my hat in the ring for elected office. This election season was on the tail end of some fairly hotly contested races for city council in Highland Village. There was a good hard fought race with lots of walking door to door and after the victory I began my service on council in May of 2006. Thanks to all the folks who supported me in 2006 and have continued to support me the last six years.
Learning all the ins and outs of being a member of the council takes up most of the first year of service. I immersed myself in activities and learned about the regional representatives and regional issues in North Texas and Denton County. Transportation was one of the issues at the forefront of my entire time on council. DCTA services and road projects were two things that required constant vigilance by our council. The training I had during my surgical residency helped me tremendously on the council. The team concept is essential not only on the dais, but in relationships with city staff. I learned early on that a hands off style without micromanaging city departments fit me well. The city is blessed to have a great management team in place. They were always available and more than willing to discuss issues in their individual departments. In addition the city has a great group of volunteers on our boards and commissions who help the wheels of the city turn efficiently. I appreciate their willingness to serve.
In 2008 I ran for reelection and helped our mayor in her reelection bid. The next two years, I served in leadership positions on the council as both Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and Mayor Pro Tem. This experience brought me even closer to the day to day operations at city hall. I gained an appreciation of the commitment our city leadership had to the vision for keeping Highland Village a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I developed relationships within the business community, with other elected officials, and with my council colleagues that helped me grow as an elected official.
Again mentioning individuals, I will invariably leave folks out. This being said I want to mention a few folks that I have worked with during the last six years. Mayor Pro Tem Louis Robichaux and I were elected together in 2006. At that time, we were certainly on different ends of the city’s political spectrum. Circumstances on council presented the opportunity for us to establish a great working relationship. We worked well to build consensus and I will miss his steadfast leadership and strong passion for the city’s fiscal well being. Our working relationship has been proof that consensus building is the only way to lead in my book. The working relationships that I had established with my colleagues on council were a driving force in the decision to run for mayor in 2010. Individuals who previously served as mayor, Dianne Costa, Don Combs, Bill Lawrence, Austin Adams, and Charlie Turner, I thank you all for your counsel when the decision to run for mayor was made. The support for this decision was extremely humbling.
The accomplishments of the city council during the last six years are numerous, but they are not mine to claim. The concept of acting as a body was always at the front of my mind during council deliberations. I certainly have enjoyed leading efficient meetings and allowing for concise yet open debate on the issues of the day. Open debate and communication were concerns when I was elected in 2006, and I feel the city has continued to offer more and more options for our residents to stay informed about city events. The increased city presence on the Internet is something I am extremely proud to have been a part of. Expanding parks services, streets maintenance, exemplary water/sewer services, safest city in Texas, and expanding fire/EMS services have been the definition of what local government should do for the people. Cutting the council’s discretionary budget by 30 percent in financially challenging times showed how, as members of council, we can and should lead by example.
Leading by example is first and foremost in the mind of our City Manager, Michael Leavitt. Mike is an outstanding manager of the organization that is the City of Highland Village. His department heads are fiercely loyal to him and the entire city staff has the utmost respect for him and how he does his job. Mike was always there when I needed advice about the background of an issue. Members of council have always given him glowing reviews throughout my tenure on council. I am proud to have had the chance to work with him, and to call him my friend.
So as my time as a member of the Highland Village city council comes to an end, I thank the citizens for the opportunity to serve for six good years. I hope that the hallmarks of the last six years will continue. These include fiscal responsibility, respect on the council, trust in the city staff, and most of all a philosophy that the government that governs the least governs the best. I thank the twelve individuals that I have served with for their leadership, patience, wisdom, and service. I thank my family and friends for their unending support, especially my wife DeAnna who has always been my sounding board. My medical practice has grown and my patients and my family will continue to be my number one priorities.
Being mayor of Highland Village is more than attending meetings, going to ribbon cuttings, and giving speeches. The mayor is the face of the City of Highland Village, and I hope that as I leave office that face has been welcoming, smiling, laughing, and maybe even winking a few times as well.
Scott R. McDearmont, MD, FACS
Highland Village, TX