Open letter to Current Flower Mound Council Members and 2018 Candidates for Council and Mayor,
On December 18, 2017, I read an article in The Cross Timbers Gazette entitled “The Point Draws Concerns” published on December 15th. The article referenced the development of The Point project, as well as a Public Information Request (PIR) submitted to the town by The Point’s attorney. Further, the article mentioned a text message that Mayor Hayden had sent that was discovered in the PIR.
I attended the December 18th, 2017 council meeting, and asked for an investigation regarding the text message that Mayor Hayden sent to an employee of the Town of Flower Mound that likely implies some type of disciplinary action. The text message was sent to the Director of Planning Services during the October 23rd Panning and Zoning Work Session on The Point, because Mayor Hayden did not like the Director’s explanation of an ordinance that was given to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
To date, there has been no follow up by the current council. No candidates have addressed this as well. Additionally, further issues have come to my attention.
First, during Public Participation, when I questioned Mayor Hayden about the text, Mayor Hayden lied about the content of the text message sent to the town employee, saying “he was going to scream bloody murder.” Factually, the text message read “if I get that kind of answer again, there will be blood.” For the Mayor to send this threatening text to an employee is highly inappropriate and could be a violation of the Town Charter.
Second, during the same meeting, the Mayor and Town Manager went out of their way to name the employee who received the text message and disparage him. Why? The employee, up to that point, had not been named. Why would a professional City Manager and Mayor seek to embarrass an employee with 15 years of service to the Town of Flower Mound?
Third, there were three people on the text: the employee (Director of Planning Services), the Mayor and the Town Manager. The text message was ONLY provided by the employee to fulfill the requirements of the Public Information Request. The Mayor did not provide it. The Town Manager did not provide it. The text message is a record of town business. It should have been preserved by all three individuals. Therefore, all three should have provided it for the PIR. This leads to the question: did the Mayor and Town Manager not properly preserve records of town business or did they not respond properly to the Public Information Request?
In 2015, several of the current council members and Mayor Hayden demanded that a sitting council member at the time, Brian Roundtree, be investigated for inappropriate interactions with staff members. Yet these same council members are not holding the Mayor to the same standards when clearly what Mayor Hayden has done could be far worse!
The staff member who was threatened in the text message, the Director of Planning Services, was recently placed on involuntary administrative leave.
The timing of this is questionable and I wonder if it has something to do with Lakeside DFW – one of Mayor Hayden’s favored pet projects. Lakeside DFW is coming forward soon to request an additional 800 high density residential units. The former Director of Planning Services was the most knowledgeable staff member in regard to Lakeside DFW and the agreements that were reached in 2012. Residents will never know if this long-time employee believes the 800 additional high density residential units are in keeping with the 2012 agreements because he was involuntarily excused before we could have the benefit of his experience.
The residents of Flower Mound have a right to know if the Mayor’s threatening text message violates the Town’s Charter. Residents also deserve to know if the Mayor worked with the Town Manager to disparage and terminate this employee, and if so, why?
If any elected official(s) were to work behind the scenes to have an employee fired, it undermines the rest of Council and compromises the integrity of Flower Mound’s town government. This issue is far more important than “growth” versus “no growth”.
I’m asking each of the current members of Council and all candidates for Council and Mayor to publicly state their position on this issue in writing and post it on there respective Facebook pages. I understand personnel issues are private and therefore I don’t expect an explanation of the employee’s involuntary administrative leave. However, the fact that public information is not being preserved and/or presented for a PIR is highly disturbing as is sending threatening text messages to town employees.
Finally, it is not just my right, but my responsibility to question my elected officials. Citizens should ask hard questions without having their motives scrutinized. After all, the greater threat to freedom and liberty is not informed citizens…rather, it’s an irresponsible, elitist and evasive political class that refuses to answer hard questions and make tough decisions.
Flower Mound, TX