OPINION: Mayoral hopeful shares council meeting thoughts
I found the Council session to be informative. I think that Mr. Ford did an outstanding job providing statistical data in regards to our population density concerns. However, I do believe that the presentation did not specifically cover planned development of zoned areas. I would like to see data projections examining those areas when specifically addressing density concerns.
In addition to the information provided by Mr. Ford, I found the meeting as a whole to be equally as informative to the residents when addressing conflicts of interest within our Council. Citizens are concerned about growth and want to feel comfortable that, as we move forward, all actions by Council are in the best interest of the people. Addressing conflicts of interests is important to this process.
Given recent events covered in the media regarding Council members in Dallas, it is incredibly important that residents pay attention to the actions of our elected officials. After conferring with hundreds of residents, it was clear that before this meeting, most were unaware of Council’s actions and are in disbelief.
The meeting accomplished the exposing of a culture that exist within our local government. Though I want to be clear, in that, I am not judging the intentions of past or present Council. I recognize the pride in wanting to build within your hometown; however, I also recognize that this can be done without holding a Council seat. From a leadership perspective, I also recognize actions like these could place city employees in difficult and uncomfortable positions. City contracts offer job security and are considered lucrative, the government officials should not be in the business of competing with businesses, as an entity.
I felt as if Mayor Shetter, while he acknowledged the discomfort as a Council member awarding multiple contracts exceeding millions of dollars, he also defended these actions because they are both a legal and open process. As a resident, this made me feel defeated, in that, my elected Council believes themselves to be above exercising local government ethics.
At the time I brought those questions up to council, I had not considered running for mayor. I made that decision the following morning based on the answers that I received that evening.
If there was one change I would make, it would be mentioning the names of two Council members who felt the need to clear their name at the following session. I understood their frustration and wanted to give them their due, they deserved that; though, it did not change the facts that they admittedly profited personally while holding chair. I misspoke about one of them in regards to them moving out of Burleson, which was my mistake. I regret that and apologized publicly because that was the right thing to do, though legally, I was not under any obligation to do so. Doing what is right and doing what is legal is often times different.
Ultimately, I believe that with power and authority comes responsibility and obligations. Inevitably, obligations usually entail sacrifice in some way. Government officials that hold positions ought to govern themselves with proper ethics which are beneficial to the residents, other the public servants, and themselves.
Our elected officials should be making ethical decisions to preserve the integrity and sacrifice of all public servants within our great city. Profiting from city contracts, exceeding into the millions, undermines and insults those who choose to sacrifice willingly and are not extended the same rights.
I am not running against the current incumbent, I am running for the greater benefit of my fellow Burleson residents.
Mayoral Candidate for Burleson 2017