Last Monday, the Flower Mound Town Council terminated the contract of our town manager, a move that will cost several hundred thousand dollars in severance pay. They told us that Mr. Jefferson was bad for business growth, citing an attitude which they say restrains progress.
Those who are familiar with the recent history of politics in this town might have a different view of why he had to go. Some say it was payback; revenge for refusing to run interference during a political situation a few years ago. Others say he got canned because he was diligently following the Smart Growth Program and the Master Plan, which makes it difficult for developers to, among other things, build a plethora of tall, high-density apartment buildings in an area where residents are already concerned about over-crowding. Those are known as standards, without which we’d soon look like a long line of rundown inner city projects adorned with graffiti. Instead, our town has been listed in national magazines as one of the best places to live in the entire country. Since this assassination of Mr. Jefferson began, I’ve wondered why this Council would remove the man whose management experience put us on those lists. The mayor says it was nothing personal.
Really? Well, firing the guy whose only crime seems to be that he stood for quality development, which resulted in resident satisfaction being near the top of the list in Forbes, D Magazine and other publications, is truly bizarre. I suppose if we were rated number one in the world, he would have been forced to face a firing squad.
Evidently, this Council feels that they received some sort of mandate when they were elected in May. Let’s keep in mind that the placement of fuel stations in the Kroger parking lot was a major part of their campaign rhetoric. Yet, when they took office they voted for the same proposal that the former Council was willing to vote for. If they played politics with that issue, it’s easy to believe that they played politics with the town manager issue.
The problem with politics is that it often turns good people into self-centered egomaniacs. I know these Council members are decent, family-oriented people, but, unless they’re not telling us the whole story (something we have a right to know) about this costly decision, their judgment should be questioned. Paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money, whether to satisfy the lust for revenge, or to prove how powerful they are, shows no respect for the average working man and woman who deserves better than to be a pawn in a supercilious chess game.
Now they tell us they have started a search for a new manager. One wonders how long it will take to find someone who will go along to get along. Frankly, if the Council wants to make all decisions affecting the town, why should we pay a town manager, or a town staff, for that matter? After all, why pay people to use judgment in their positions when you can simply fire them for doing their jobs?
As part of their campaign to massacre anyone who stands in their way, they have recently dismissed Planning and Zoning Commission members and replaced them with those who, presumably, will be a rubber stamp for a Council that has decided to rule by fiat. Incidentally, they could have simply overruled the P & Z each time the commission tried to support the town’s high standards. However, that would indicate to concerned residents that the Council was in direct conflict with the group responsible for carefully studying and recommending the highest standards for the town. Therefore, instead of allowing for a professional difference of opinion, it was ‘off with their heads.’
Okay, now that they’ve had their way with the town manager brouhaha, it’s time to deal with the future of this eternally controversial burg. It’s time for this Council to tell us how much they plan to increase the density, with all the ramifications that will include, in the form of increased servicing costs, additional schools, roads, etc.
It’s not their integrity I question, because I believe them to be above reproach. Still, if they intend to okay the development of thousands of apartments, a move that would not have been possible under the current Master Plan, we the people should be consulted before we have alterations made in our quality of life. Furthermore, we should be told why this Council suddenly decided to drastically change the character of this town immediately after being sworn into office.
Public Information Requests, under the Open Records Act, may be the only way to uncover what’s going on around here. That is, unless this Council has decided to terminate the right of public discovery too.