by Bryan C. Webb
A few days ago Bob Weir wrote a column expressing his views regarding the ongoing investigation of the town council. Mr. Weir’s article was as usual well written and challenged each reader to stretch their vocabulary. Yet, there are a few points that I believe need to be corrected or at least clarified.
First, I have not admitted to any infraction, Mr. Weir’s article states that I have. What I have done is taken ownership of my actions. I have also asserted that those actions were not wrong nor were they a violation of the town’s ethics ordinance.
At issue is my phone call to Mr. Pearson, after an executive session discussion regarding his possible future removal from planning and zoning, and whether or not that phone call was a violation of the town’s ethics ordinance.
Section 2-415 of the ethics ordinance addresses unethical behavior. I believe Item 3 of this section is the most relevant to the facts at hand:
“No Officer or Town Employee shall: Directly or indirectly disclose or use any information gained solely by reason of his official position or employment for his own personal gain or benefit or for the private interest of others.”
The emphasis was added to highlight what I believe is the critical piece of this section.
It’s interesting that the Texas Attorney General’s office has said that under similar circumstances, the individual, in this case Mr. Pearson had a right to be heard in public. The article stated that my actions warranted a ‘slap on the wrist.’ To support this conclusion Mr. Weir would then also believe that the benefit given to Mr. Pearson was the ability to exercise his right to be heard in public.
I assert that Mr. Pearson’s right to be heard in public was no more a ‘benefit’ than anyone’s right to attend the church of their choice; to speak and write what they wish, or to defend their home and family.
My actions on that day simply assured that Mr. Pearson had the opportunity to exercise his rights if he chose to. Given that when I took office I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, the laws of the State of Texas and the ordinances and charter of the Town of Flower Mound, I truly had no other choice than to make that phone call to Mr. Pearson.
Second, Mr. Weir says he believed Mr. Rountree when he said he never intended the investigation to go this far and did not intend to spend tax dollars on it. I don’t know how anyone calls for an investigation and expects it to be conducted at no cost. I do agree that he never intended for the investigation to go this far, especially when he stated last week that he was OK with the investigation as long as it was only about Bryan Webb.
I and many others were astounded to hear those words spoken out loud. Mr. Rountree made allegations about Mr. Dixon, did he not expect those to be investigated? Residents made allegations against Mr. Rountree, did he not expect those to be investigated either?
Last Tuesday Mr. Rountree played the victim card, claiming that I and others were out to get him. Yet it was his actions and those of Mr. Gelbman that took us down this path. A path they could have avoided had they simply listened to the advice of just a few people. Yet somehow we are asked to accept that he was the one that was teed up like a golf ball.
As I see it, this investigation originated because two council members failed to listen to the advice of staff and these same council members failed to understand, or perhaps even read, the ethics ordinance that they have accused me of violating, and if they did, they failed to ask even the simplest of questions.
This investigation continues because these same council members have failed to account publicly for their own actions and behaviors or respond to allegations as I have done. If they won’t at least acknowledge their own actions, then we must have an investigation to determine what did or did not take place.
This investigation must continue because the integrity of the entire council has been called into question. Allegations, both credible and incredible have been made. Stopping short of providing answers to these questions would in itself be a violation of our oaths.
It is my desire that the investigation be concluded quickly and at the least possible cost, which brings me to my third point. Mr. Weir said the investigation will cost at least $35,000. What council voted on was to authorize the expenditure of not more than $35,000.
If all council members respond quickly and completely to requests from the investigator, I see no reason the investigation can’t be completed for much less than the authorized amount. If council members drag their feet or do not respond fully and completely then Mr. Weir may end up being correct. And if that turns out to be the case, I would expect Mr. Weir to be first in line asking, “Who and Why?”
Stopping the investigation before it is completed would be an insult to the residents, an affront to the oaths each of us swore, and on a practical matter, would do nothing to begin a healing process. As I stated last week, our residents deserve to have faith and confidence in their town council. Today, they do not.
The only way forward is to complete the investigation and bring the results forward for all to see. It is only then, that we will have an opportunity to begin to heal.