February 15, 2016 Colleyville, Texas A Editorial by Nelson Thibodeaux
PLEASE ALSO REFER TO THIS UPDATED ARTICLE: City Attorney seems to change his facts on City Manager’s purchased of property.
Please watch the video above it is only a few minutes and you will hear the discussion concerning this “investigation”.
Complaint About Potential Conflict of Interest by City Manager is Dismissed as “Not an Investigation” but the Chance to “Clear the Air”, that we have a Trustworthy City Manager and Staff,” Mayor David Kelly, Pre-Council Meeting, Feb. 02, 2016.
Definition of Pre-Council, City Council Meeting – a place whereby City Council can make decisions without a recorded vote of each member and where the public has no input whatsoever. Particularly useful when Mayor Kelly desires to sweep an issue under the rug without the inconvenience of public input. (Similar to his position on the Comprehensive Plan where he agreed to have another meeting, but implored council for “No More Public Comments,” (failed after vigorous citizen objections).
Background: After several contentious City Council meetings covering, the now approved (on a 5-2 vote) suspect new Comprehensive Plan, there was considerable concern among many citizens over the potential of conflict of interest. After all, citizens ask, why were those so adamant to pass the “Higher Density Friendly” Plan in the face of so much citizen vocal opposition. One of these potential conflicts is did any of the participants have a financial interest in high density properties?
Certainly one Employee of the City of Colleyville, City Manager Jennifer Fadden owns a Villa in the Village that was purchased considerably less than the appraised value. She was also very instrumental in the formation of the Comprehensive Plan. Therefore, IF Ms. Fadden did have a “Conflict of Interest,” that would also extend to a reason to recuse herself from the discussions of the Plan. Therefore, per the City Charter, I posed the SIMPLE QUESTION, “How did you become aware of this property and DID the citizens of Colleyville have the ability to obtain the same information at the same time?” A very, very simple question, one would think!
To clarify this SIMPLE question I filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) form requesting , “The method, manner and copies of real estate fees and/or real estate contracts for all properties purchased by the City Manager, Jennifer Fadden in Colleyville, since she has been City Manager.
First Response: The City Secretary says if this means “Attorney/Client” privileged documents that the request will have to go to the Attorney General for an opinion. But IF NOT, the documents would be ready immediately. I responded, that I would not request these documents…..in return I received no documents pertaining to the request at all.
I then filed and included the request; “This includes items that have been declared attorney/client privilege.
Second Response: “There are No Responsive Documents.”
These request were forwarded to the Attorney General –The following is the response by the Colleyville City Attorney to the Attorney General saying ALL responsive documents were sent, which of course is FALSE. BolyeResponsetoAG. The was the result of the Attorney General Response to me. AG Response to me. Note the AG’s response; “When a governmental body represents to this office that it has released all existing responsive information, we must accept its statement.” WELL GOOD LUCK WITH THAT TAXPAYERS!
I FINALLY filed a complaint per the City Charter, BECAUSE the City Manager steadfastly then, as of NOW, REFUSED to reveal how she became aware of this property on the market AND did all citizens have the same opportunity at the same time? Once Again, if no Problem, why not answer the question? I even spoke at a citizens forum at city council and said I would withdraw my complaint if she answered this simple question and save the city attorney fees for an investigation. What follows is the discussion by City Council at at Pre-Council Meeting on Feb. 2, 2016
Lets Review the comments of the Above Video:
City Attorney: The complaint isn’t valid anyway because it was not made within 15 Days after the Comprehensive Plan was passed.
Response: since there were two timely request that were stalled by the city; there was no reason to make a complaint until it was determined the City Manager would not respond.
City Attorney: The Comprehensive Plan impacted EVERYONE (he is right about that), therefore not just the City Manager. AND regarding the citizens right to know, “I did some Internet research myself and found that the property was “subject to foreclosure.”
Response: Wow..this attorney knows where to find property that is “subject” to foreclosure from a bank and all citizens should know where to find this information. So, if you miss a house payment and technically you could be subject to foreclosure, this attorney knows where to find this information! Well this will come as a shock to a lot of people, so I have requested under the FOIA, based on the attorney’s comment that he knew about this BEFORE the City Manager’s purchase, just what is the web site link and where is the information on this property. Well this is the essence of the matter…The City Manager only took advantage of what ALL citizens knew about or easily could have known about…..where is the evidence MR. Attorney?
Understand this is the SAME law firm, “Boyle & Lowry L.L.P.” that when LNO challenged the billing for their “review” of the Lindamood vs. Taylor lawsuit; and why would taxpayers be ask to pay for their review..the reply was OOPS, sorry we BILLED the CITY and got PAID by mistake. This is the same Law firm that apparently has advised the City Manager that she does not have to disclose ANY information about her property purchases AND BILLED the CITY TAXPAYERS FOR THAT ADVICE!
Mike Taylor: “Well anybody could have found this information, I just didn’t look.” He also poses a question to the City Manager; “How old was the kid that was Mayor for a Day?” Then proceeds say, “Well that kid could have done a better job on this complaint. I would be embarrassed as an adult to have submitted this. This is nothing more than a political stunt.”
Response: While directed at me personally, over the past 20 years since Taylor has continued to run, lose, run, lose then run again for City Council, it underlines his disdain for the citizens of Colleyville. He has often taken on the attitude that “he knows what is best for the citizens”, very similar to his disdain for those who opposed the Comprehensive Plan. My, oh my, all of us poorly educated folks in Colleyville should wither in the bright light of Taylor’s superior education and intelligence. Where did he get his Degree in order to make these kinds of judgments on others? Havard, Yale, University of Texas, Devry?
Oh wait, during his 20 years of running he was ask at a forum years ago if he had a degree, “no but I attended one year of college and I intend to go to college again with my daughter!” Yes folks that is a quote from Mr. Taylor. Funny, I believe his daughter is away at college or already graduated and he is still in Colleyville talking ignorant smack to citizens. Why? Because after the last election he is entrenched for yet another 2 years without facing the voter’s opportunity to correct this disdain for citizens of Colleyville, of which I am one!
Talking disdain for the citizens of Colleyville take a look at his actions early in his perennial running for Colleyville City Council career. Less we forget the disdain he had for an elderly couple in their eighties.. Taylor Forces Couple to Sell Property to the city, THEN leases to a developer for $10 per month.
Mayor Kelly: “This is NOT a valid Complaint. Our effort is NOT RELATED to the Complaint. This is an matter to clear the air that the validity of the Complaint is NOT here.” “The whole point IS NOT TO INVESTIGATE but to show we have “Trustworthy City Employees, especially the City Manager.”
Response: The Citizens of Colleyville should be outraged that this Mayor, who is up for re-election,plans on spending taxpayer’s monies NOT FOR AN INVESTIGATION, but to prove the point that there are Trustworthy Employees. REMEMBER THIS IS COMING FROM THE MAYOR OF YOUR CITY. THE DECISION IS ALREADY MADE AND STATED AS SUCH AT THIS MEETING. SO IF HE WANTS TO PROVE CITY EMPLOYEES ARE TRUSTWORTHY HE SHOULD SPEND HIS OWN MONEY OR THAT OF THE CITY MANAGER (Making approximately $200,000 PER YEAR). Mayor Kelly apparently is looking to use this “political stunt” to bolster his re-election bid for yet another term; if re-elected, he would have been Mayor for 14 years! Talk about a politician that covets the thought of staying in office to further his personal agenda.
History of Jennifer Fadden as a City Manager:
In December 21, 2008, LNO reported that two existing high ranking city employees were told they would no longer be considered for the open position of Colleyville’s City Manager by Mayor Kelly. Just recently LNO was told by one of these employees that they cautioned Mayor Kelly against making a decision between a young kid from Oklahoma, who had never been a City Manager, and what appeared a troubled City Manager who was being referred to Colleyville by the same Consultant that had referred her originally to Weatherford. One even volunteered to serve in the office until a City Manager could be found and then step down, in lieu of hiring Ms. Fadden.
Mayor Keller responded to LNO’s request for information on his decision making process on concerning the hiring of a City manager in January 09, 2009.
Now comes to past , eerily familiar with the astronomical water bills in Colleyville was the electricity scandal in Weatherford when Jennifer Fadden was City Manager and forced to resign. (She was given the opportunity to resign and receive an astronomical package versus being fired).
City manager latest casualty in Weatherford electricity scandal
If you’ve watched your electric bill creep upward in recent years, you probably don’t live in Weatherford. The Parker County community is one of dozens of cities that chose not to join the rest of the state in deregulation back in 2002. The result: cheap electricity.ll that changed this summer, when rates jumped 75 percent between April and July. Full Story
In the Great Water debate in Colleyville, Mayor Kelly has taken the position that; “we can not ask our water supplier what they do with increased rates, any more than they could ask Colleyville what we do with our taxes.” A lot of speculation has surrounded the son of Congressman Kay Granger that oversees ancillary projects for the Water Authority.
Jennifer Fadden began her career in Fort Worth as a management assistant to then-mayor Kay Granger.
THERE IS NO LONGER A BRIGHT LINE BETWEEN THE CITY MANAGER AND COUNCIL POLITICS
The Biggest Political Stunt of all, was the use of City Employees to assist in the politics of the City Council race last May.
Mogged included City Employees in his efforts by having City Secretary Amy Shelly write one of his opening remarks supporting his political agenda, as well as, emailing Mona Gandy, Marketing Director of Colleyville, requesting her input on his planned Press Release that was going to use “the angle” of safety on Glade Road.
However, Mogged was aware the 31% was NOT ON GLADE ROAD, in fact the statistics provided by Chief of Police Mike Holder indicated there had only been 5 more accidents in 2014 over 2013, which is only a 13% increase and IN FACT there had actually been 39 in 2011, 34 in 2013 and 39 again in 2014 for an increase of only 13% the previous two years and actually a decrease in 2013 versus 2011. This was confirmed to Mogged and City Manager Jennifer Fadden on March 2, 2015 via an Email from Police Chief Mike Holder, see this link 31 per cent is 13 percent Highlighted.
On March 03, 2015 Mogged emails Mona Gandy and Jennifer Fadden with the following message (highlights added for emphasis): A copy of the actual email is here: Mogged’s safety angle.
Then Mogged contacts the City of Colleyville’s City Manager Jennifer Fadden AND Mona Gandy, the Communications and Media Director of the City of Colleyville announcing that he is going to use this “safety angle for capturing reader interest,” and asking for their feed back. Evidence that Mogged is asking City Employees to provide suggestions and collusion for input on his Press Release, where he plans to use “the safety angle” to urge citizens to vote against the Citizens’ Proposition of Glade Road and informs the City Manager of that fact.
When City Manager Fadden was asked for written documentation that these employees were reminded that it was inappropriate to participate in the political campaigns, while a paid member of the City of Colleyville, she responded, “I talk to all the council members, it is part of my job.” However, there were no documents provided that she corrected city staff; as well as no documents when ask via FOIA about the subject matter on Dec. 7, 2015 about, “Conflict of Interest with City Employee,” that was billed to Colleyville’s Taxpayers. Apparently, no notes were even written on a Big Chief tablet. It appears the wagons are circled at City Hall and without a turn-over in the City Council, citizens apparently will continued to be left in the dark about the inner workings.
Citizen’s comments after the Feb 2, 2016 Pre-Council Meeting.