Saturday, September 24, 2022

Layoff Puts Public Safety at Risk

After just two months in office, our newly elected Mayor and Council members have made changes to endanger the lives of the residents of Flower Mound, manipulate Town funds and expose the Town to even more lawsuits.

Eliminating the Fire Marshal position has endangered our public safety in the name of budget cuts. Mike Smith has six years of gas industry experience and inspected a majority of the Town’s active drilling sites.  He is credited with vastly improving the Town’s gas well inspection requirements.  He was even recently commended by the Town Council for his huge efforts to keep the required inspections for our new hospital on schedule.  Who is doing this work now? What are their qualifications? Even Flower Mound Cares should want the answer to that question! Aren’t they acutely concerned about gas well safety??

The Fire Marshal’s monthly reports document our Town’s inability to keep the occupants of public buildings safe. Only 3-percent of the public buildings in Flower Mound have received their annual safety inspection!!  Do you assume the restaurant, store or office buildings you frequent has functional fire, smoke alarms and clear functional fire exits? Well, guess again…it has been a looong time since their last inspection. Think about that the next time you are out dining or shopping.

Think about those inspections when you are asked on the election ballot to renew the one quarter cent sales tax the Town is charging you for “Fire Control, Fire Prevention and EMS district.” Think about those inspections when you hear about Flower Mound in court defending itself against violations of inspection requirements for a Federal Fire Protection Grant. This all happened while this special sales tax district has a $980,000 surplus. Where did that money go? Instead of beefing up the department, our new administration decided to eliminate our Fire Marshal position and further endanger the public in the name of budget cuts.

That’s right; we had a $1.8 million budget deficit. We had to make some cuts. Yet we had $2,500 for a single person junket to Washington, DC. We had $69,000 to pay an architect for plans for the “temporary” Senior Center in the old maintenance garage. We had to scrounge together $375,000 to pay legal fees to keep Terry Welch’s law firm paid up for frivolous lawsuits. There was money for new TV’s in the foyer at Town Hall and for administrative support for new committees and Boards the Mayor and Council have initiated. The Town seems to be printing money like Washington, DC!! (Maybe this skill was learned on the above mentioned junket.)

Miraculously, in DC style, the numbers have changed. Things are much better than expected. The Town will receive more County Property tax revenue than expected. Aren’t we proud of an administration that fires people and endangers the public on faulty information? How much of this was to intimidate Town employees?  Now the Town website has a job posting for a “Fire Protection Officer.” Isn’t that what a Fire Marshal’s does? Wasn’t that job just eliminated? Hmmmm…

Keep watching, Flower Mound voters…there are 64,000 of you out there that should have a voice in these issues. Put down your remote controls, get off your Facebook accounts and web surfing, read your local papers, ask questions and keep watching! November and next May’s elections aren’t that far away!! We need to take this Town back for the “Right-Minded” people of Flower Mound!

David Johnson
Flower Mound, TX

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