Saturday, May 25, 2024

LETTER: Debunking Argyle Councilman Bradford’s response to my letter supporting town council candidates

Concerning Councilman Rick Bradford’s response to my letter endorsing Bryan Livingston and his running mate Cindy Sheddy for election to the Argyle Town Council, I would like to clarify for the readers several important points.

The lawsuit that Councilman Ron Schmidt filed four years ago against the same council to which he had been elected was NOT WON by Schmidt, but rather was settled by the town for more than $30,000 to avoid more tax monies being spent on lawyers.

The real reason for Mr. Schmidt’s lawsuit was his verbal assault on a female member of the Argyle town council in a public setting. His behavior was unacceptable as well as being in violation of the town’s Code of Ethics. In the words of his victim, “This request has become necessary after the verbal assault that I fell victim to when Ron Schmidt yelled profanity at me, while pointing his finger in my face, during the Council recess on the evening of April 23rd, 2019.”

Consequently, the Argyle council decided on a penalty that gave Mr. Schmidt’s attorney an opportunity to make 1st Amendment and several other claims, including pain and suffering, which were subsequently exploited to force the town into a monetary settlement. Ultimately, Mr. Schmidt not only sued the town, he also sued his victim, the female councilmember. Again, Mr. Schmidt did not “win” his case. The cost of litigation would have been very high and the town chose not to squander taxpayers’ funds by going to trial. So his claims were never tested in court

Councilman Bradford states that Councilman Bryan Livingston moved to repeal Argyle’s Code of Ethics, the basis of the improper sanctions against Schmidt. This is only a partially true statement; in explaining his motion, Mr. Livingston stated, “This is a redundant ordinance, and repealing this ordinance puts us in conformance with other towns across Texas.”  He then moved to repeal Argyle’s Code of Ethics, the basis of the Schmidt sanctions, at the Town Council meeting on Jan. 21, 2020, and it passed by a unanimous vote. In fact, the ethics code was repealed because Mr. Schmidt demanded the repeal as part of the settlement, including the language of the motion made by Councilmember Livingston.

However, Argyle does need a code of conduct to replace the repealed ethics policy. One need only observe an Argyle council meeting to understand that the town’s leaders need to treat each other with greater civility and respect. Mr. Schmidt has been promising a code of conduct since 2019, but it’s never actually been produced or presented to the Council.

Councilman Bradford claims that he has the interests of Argyle residents in mind when he complains about not being included in meetings that are being held by the Denton County mayors to work on the Oncor transmission line issue. He currently is the only candidate for Argyle Mayor, so is almost certain to win and be sworn in on May 15. When he is mayor he will have the authority to make the decisions that go with the role. Until then, Mayor Livingston is within his rights and responsibilities to make his own decisions about who may represent Argyle in the Oncor discussion.

Councilman Bradford denies trying to “wrest control” in the Oncor discussions from Mayor Livingston, yet in a recent Facebook post, Councilman Schmidt openly described taking control of the Oncor negotiation from Mayor Livingston at the special meeting held on April 24th. I have spoken with the Mayor, who confirmed that the Argyle council criticized his strategy of working with the four other towns that, under his leadership and that of Northlake Mayor Rettig, have come together to work toward a positive outcome for Argyle. It would appear that the wresting of control has been accomplished and that the Argyle council is now actively directing the Oncor negotiation. I fear that this development does not bode well for Argyle.

As I stated in my original letter, I hope that each of the municipalities within County Commissioner Pct. 4 will thrive and achieve the goals of their residents. Toward that end for Argyle, I have worked well with Argyle councils and mayors to produce projects such as Crawford Road and Stonecrest. My intention is to continue working on projects for our shared constituents with mutual respect from the town and the county. I am confident that will happen if Mr. Livingston and Ms. Sheddy are put onto the town council.  Those election outcomes will make life better for all Argyle citizens and I again urge you to elect these two fine public servants.

Dianne Edmondson
Denton County Commissioner Pct. 4

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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