Argyle council discusses duties of mayor, town manager

Prepared statement made by Argyle Town council member Bonny Haynes at today’s special called council meeting at Argyle Town Hall:

“I appreciate everyone taking your valuable time to come to this meeting today.  I know this is an irregular scheduled meeting but this is the only time in the 72 hour notice period required by law that we were all available and that our town attorney was available. Please keep in mind that our town attorney works for other cities as well. 

The Mayor of Argyle, a mayor of a general law city, has certain authorities granted by State law and by ordinances put in place by various councils over the years.  Matt Smith has recently won the election and been elected mayor by 253 or our 3,300 citizens, and I respect the democratic process, but that is not what this discussion is about today.  It is not at all about who won or lost the election.  This discussion is about bullying, intimidation and threats, and this discussion is about how we are going to conduct ourselves in accordance with rules of this Council, State Law and common decency and courtesy to our staff.  We did not elect a dictator….you’ve been elected mayor of a Type A general law city, and we the council fully expect you to understand your roles, responsibilities and duties as Mayor and also want you and the public to understand what you are allowed to do by law and what you are not allowed to do.   By the end of this meeting, my hope is that we all understand your authority and that there is a process for everything we do, and that the council as whole gives the policy and direction of the town, not any one of us individually.   We fully expect the mayor to adhere to those policies.  We WILL NOT TOLERATE disruptive behavior, threats, humiliation and bullying of this council or our extremely talented and overly qualified town staff.  We will not tolerate any conduct that adversely affects or impacts the community’s confidence in the ability of our town to provide essential services. The town staff deserves to be treated with courtesy, respect and dignity.  They don’t take orders from any one individual sitting on this council.  They take direction from all of us as a collective body.  We do not always agree on the vote (and I can assure you with this current council there are many times we haven’t agreed), but we have always agreed on the process of how we get there….the process by which we all operate. 

You have the exact same access to information and public records and to city hall that any other elected official has, including me and everyone on this council and everyone who has served before us.  Nobody has denied you information, but you do not have the authority to shut down Town Hall with your disruptive behavior and over burden the employees with your exorbitant demands for information to be provided at a moments notice.  You have essentially stopped the staff from working on next year’s budget because they are trying desperately to comply with your unreasonable requests for every single document and receipt and piece of paper generated for the last five years down to every pencil purchased.  You ARE entitled to public records but your request (which will essentially take down a forest) will take some time to gather.  You are going to have to wait a reasonable amount of time for them to comply with your requests as these very hard working people have a town to run and citizens to attend to.  You are not entitled to get them any quicker through scare tactics, threats or intimidation.  We all have to go through a process to get public records.   There has never been a problem with asking nicely for anything from town staff prior to this time and they have always complied with everyone’s request to my knowledge.  We are all public servants- but no one should be treated like slaves. 

To this point, you have not been denied to access to any part of town buildings during business hours.  Elected officials, like any other member of the public, may have access to Town Hall or any other Town facility during normal business hours, M-F, 8am-5pm except for those times when duly called meetings are being conducted in these buildings.  For security and protection of town assets… security codes and key access to any part of the building has only been given to those town employees having a justified need for access to the building.  Town Council members and the mayor have NEVER been issued a key to any part of the building or been issued security access codes or alarm codes. (except maybe Yvonne Jenkins, RIP)  For many reasons, no mayor or council member is entitled to a key to the building, or 24/7 access to the building, or a computer connected to the town server or our own private office in the building.  There is a council member office in the foyer which we all can use and do use to meet with people, and that office was constructed specifically for that purpose during the renovation of this building.  You are not entitled to your own office and you are certainly not going to tell Mr. Dresher that you are going to take his office in town hall and he that can do his work just as easily in a cubicle.  You have no authority to do that.

Lyle Dresher is a man of the highest character and integrity, and has more knowledge and experience running a city than all of the people in this room put together. And as much as the people on this council have disagreed with each other, last year we unanimously passed Ordinance 2010-17 because we all agreed on one thing (and I can assure you that our staff agrees)….Lyle Dresher is the best thing that ever happened to the Town of Argyle!  This ordinance gives the Town Manager the duty of Chief Administrative Officer of the Town and he is responsible to the entire Council for the proper management and administration of all the affairs of the Town, and he has done an outstanding job.  We as voting body, felt Mr. Dresher was so qualified to do this job that we gave him authority to conduct business as a Town Manager instead of a Town Administrator.   

I want the town staff to know that they are strongly and fully supported and empowered not only by me and this entire Town Council to do their jobs but by the citizens of the town and hopefully by the new Mayor.  If not, I want you all to know that you have my utmost respect and appreciation any full support.  I trust you all to carry out the town’s business as is expected by our citizens.  I thank you all for the time you have given me, may God Bless Argyle and May God Bless Texas.”

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