Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Double Oak council member resigns

Double Oak Town Hall. Photo by Bill Castleman

A Double Oak Town Council member resigned this week because she is frustrated with the town’s leadership and wants to see the government be more open and transparent.

Ginger Brittain tendered her immediate resignation at the conclusion of Double Oak’s Town Council meeting on Monday night. She said she had “given this extensive thought and deliberation” and had lengthy discussions with her family and Double Oak residents before deciding to resign due to “continued circumstances which I cannot control.”

Brittain was appointed to serve a one-year term last year, and she was unopposed in this year’s May election.

“I think what finally led to my resignation was my frustration with current leadership not willing to move the town forward,” Brittain said. “I know how important it is to remain loyal to the original feel of the community … but I thought there were things we could do to move the town forward without losing our roots.”

Brittain said specifically, she thinks the town needs to review some of its ordinances because it is getting more  requests for accommodations from new residents with different lifestyles — such as entrepreneurs, people who work from home and people requesting setups like mother-in-law suites — and the town should “make it clear and easy for residents to know how to go about it.”

Back row from left to right: Double Oak Council members Joe Dent, Anita Nelson, Ginger Brittain. Front row from left to right: Mayor Pro-Tem Andrew Wills, Mayor Mike Donnelly, Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Whisenhunt.

“It may seem like small things, but they’re important to me to do these things to move the town forward,” she said.

Brittain also wanted the town to communicate more openly with residents to keep them better informed, and she thinks the government should be more open and transparent. She had her concerns before she decided to seek election this spring, but another big issue for her came up as soon as she was sworn in.

Double Oak Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Wills resigned from the council “for personal and professional reasons” in May. Billie Garrett was appointed to serve the remaining year of Wills’ term, and Double Oak Volunteer Fire Chief Scott Whisenhunt was named mayor pro tem, and former DOVFD Chief Joe Dent was named deputy mayor pro tem.

“I really am concerned about the perception about our current volunteer fire chief sitting on council and being appointed mayor pro tem,” Brittain said. “It’s a gray area or conflict of interest to have someone serving a volunteer organization that is receiving money from the town who is also dealing with the town’s budget.”

Brittain said she has no problem with the volunteer fire department — “They do excellent work.” — and she would have this issue if there was a similar gray area involving another department or organization.

“I understand that it’s a small town and some people have multiple roles, there’s not a lot of depth in the volunteer pool,” she said. “But I think there are lots of other people in the community who want to serve, but aren’t getting to.”

Brittain called her short time on council a “very eye-opening experience for me into how local government works.” She said she’s willing to serve again on council or in a different capacity in the future under different circumstances.

“The Town of Double Oak thanks Mrs. Brittain for her service,” said Mayor Mike Donnelly in a prepared statement. He declined to comment further.

Under state law, Double Oak Town Council can appoint someone to the role or call a special election. Donnelly said the council hasn’t met yet to discuss its plans for it, but he said he it is likely that council will appoint someone.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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