During the Flower Mound Town Council meeting on Monday night, the council voted 3-2 to change its requirements for its Veterans Liaison Board to allow a civilian to serve on it, an action that changed the rule the council broke just a few months ago.
The town Veterans Liaison had been just one position, held by Doug Brown, but the town council wanted to expand it to a board, and the process began last fall. In February, the council established the six-member board and appointed six people to join it.
The town required Veterans Liaison Board members to be currently serving in the military or be a veteran, but one of the board members — Derek France, a candidate for mayor — is neither. In both Town Council meetings this month, multiple council members and Mayor Steve Dixon acknowledged they made a mistake when they broke that rule when they appointed France. Dixon said France stated in his application and before the council that he is not a veteran, but the council failed to follow its own criteria.
The council acknowledged that it had two options, to either remove France from the board or change the requirements to allow non-veterans on the board.
Dixon said during Monday’s meeting that he is open to the idea of someone who has a heart for veterans but is not a veteran to serve on the board with veterans. Dixon has endorsed France to succeed him as mayor. Councilman Sandeep Sharma said he would prefer to keep the requirements as they are, unless the town has difficulty in finding one more veteran who wants to serve on it. Council Member Ann Martin suggested one appointment could go to to a family member with a Dependent ID card.
Jim Pierson, the only veteran on Town Council, said that it could be a good idea to consider allowing a non-veteran member on the board for a multitude of reasons.
“A civilian might be a wise idea for us to incorporate into this board,” Pierson said. “We’re trying to promote ways for them to integrate themselves back into the community, participate at a level that enables them.”
Pierson motioned to amend the resolution that established the Veterans Liaison Board to say that it can have one civilian member. Before the vote was taken, Martin said she thought the wording of the amendment was too ambiguous, that it didn’t specify what qualifications the citizen would need to have to be appointed. The council voted anyway, with Martin and Sharma voting against and Pierson, Jim Engel and Ben Bumgarner voting in favor.
This story has been updated to clarify Ann Martin’s position.