Mayor John Harper vs The World – Part II

Mayor John Harper vs The World – Part II

To preface this post:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Those are the 1st few lines of the Declaration of Independence. They applied to the mood of the moment as the future United States declared its independence from England.

Now, maybe We, The People of Rowlett need to declare OUR independence from the ever increasing dictatorship that our Mayor is attempting to foist off on us.

Our city has a charter, a set of rules, and in it, we are, to the best of my limited understanding, a Mayor, Council and City Manager type of government with the city manager being the CEO of the city and the Mayor, along with the Council in an oversight position.

No ONE person can run this city, and no ONE person should be allowed to. That is the very reason for an ODD number of members on the City Council, no one can enact a plan of action without a majority vote from the Council. That’s the democratic way we hear so many constitutional scholars espouse.

Mayor Harper knew this when he took the job, and now, because he can’t persuade, or bully the Council into accepting HIS plan, and his plan only, the Council has, in Mayor Harper’s words, “turned on him”. There is no compromise in the attitude exhibited by Mayor Harper. Government is meant to be give and take, well, in most places.

The rules are, and have always been, MAJORITY RULES, that’s government in action, and IF the members of the Rowlett City Council are wrong in their decisions, it is then up to US, the citizens of Rowlett, to take them to task come election time. It is certainly NOT the duty of the citizens of Rockwall to meddle in OUR affairs, and quite frankly, Rockwall needs to butt the hell OUT of Rowlett business and government.

The picture below if from the ROCKWALL TEA Party, not ROWLETT, from ROCKWALL.The Rockwall TEA Party members were in attendance at this TEA Party gathering in Rowlett yesterday in support of Rowlett Mayor John Harper, at HIS invitation.


Two troublesome individuals were soon gone – the only
negative response to Mayor Harper’s presentation.

The picture caption is added by the Rockwall TEA Party, aka: The Rockwall Republican Men’s Club, on their Facebook page, found at TEA Party Rockwall.

What the caption doesn’t tell you is this; those troublesome individuals are Rowlett City Councilmen Chris Kilgore on the left, and Doug Phillips on the right. The only trouble that these two gentlemen were causing was a troubled mind for Rowlett Mayor John Harper.

From John Harper via the Rowlett TEA Party page on Facebook:

John Harper

I invite everyone, Rowlett and Rockwall, to come hear the whole story! http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=204817956196465

What Mayor Harper meant to say was apparently this:

Everyone except those pesky RINO Council members from Rowlett that hate me and are in open rebellion against my benevolent dictatorship, uh, leadership…

I’m sorry to hear that our City Council is not a part of the community, at least in John Harper’s opinion.

I am also rapidly becoming more convinced that a censure of Mayor Harper is in order and an exploration into a recall or NO confidence vote is indeed in order and needs to be launched ASAP, with censure being the least severe action to befall our Mayor.

Censure:

1. An expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.
2. An official rebuke, as by a legislature of one of its members

Something has got to be done, and drastic measures may well be the only option if the Mayor isn’t willing to engage in a CIVIL debate with the Council.

I am certain that Mayor Harper will see my recent posts as me having turned against him and as having abandoned him too.

I did not abandon you John…you drove me away.

I have sat on the sidelines, watching, listening, garnering information from many sources, not the least of which is the recorded and archived footage of Council work sessions. I have seen your anger in those videos, I have seen you claim that you had other things to do and walk out of Council work sessions.

That is fairly disconcerting for the Council members, and quite frankly, it doesn’t inspire much confidence from those of us sitting on the outside looking in when our Mayor has other pressing engagements when there is CITY business that needs to be addressed on OUR behalf.

Mr. Mayor, your reactions to Councilman Michael Gallops and Mayor Pro Tem Todd Gottel yesterday was the most unprofessional exhibition I have ever seen. You should be ashamed of yourself!

And so you know, so you don’t bear any ill will against Todd for the City Council walking in to this dog and pony show you put on for the Rowlett and Rockwall TEA Parties, Sir, I am the one that instigated their attendance, I am the one that contacted Messrs Gottel, Kilgore, Phillips and Gallops and encouraged them to attend what was indeed, a PUBLIC MEETING.

Now, Mr. Mayor, it appears that you need to contact Merriam-Webster and have them publish your interpretation of PUBLIC MEETING.

You sure as hell redefined it yesterday.

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21 Responses to Mayor John Harper vs The World – Part II

  1. mrchuck says:

    Fred, I am so glad that you take your ever precious time to attend these meetings.
    This is where our Rights and Freedoms are met or overlooked!

  2. TexasFred says:

    This is a sampling of the madness that we are suffering as citizens in Rowlett.

    Mayor Harper unhappy with reductions

    The city of Rowlett workforce will be shrinking by five full-time positions after the announcement of Reduction in Force layoffs was made by Rowlett City Manager Lynda Humble.

    The layoffs are the result of an expected shortfall to the city’s budget.

    The RIF layoffs come on the heels of the decision by the city council to support reductions to the city employee’s retirement benefits. The layoffs are expected to save the city $288,000.

    “We will have to eliminate five positions and expect to notify those affected this week,” Humble told the council during its Feb. 28 special session.

    Rowlett Mayor John Harper does not agree with the reductions.

    “I am deeply troubled by them trying to save the money on the backs of five employees and their families,” Harper said.

    He said that the issue had never been discussed among the council, or if it had he was not part of the discussions.

    “If the council members discussed it, it was not in a public forum and thus a violation of the open meetings law,” Harper said. “It was never discussed. I don’t know how we can arrive at a decision without any disclosure.”

    He added that he could not support the city trying to balance its budget on the backs of five people, when there are other expense cuts and options that have yet to be discussed by the city council.

    “One of the ideas I had is using furlough days to offset the cost,” Harper said.

    He said he had planned to present this alternative at a March 19 meeting of the city council but the meeting was cancelled due to lack of support from council.

    “I expected any cuts to be discussed at the March 19 meeting and now there is no meeting,” Harper said.

    Harper said he plans to share his ideas about the way the city should be cutting costs at the Rowlett TEA party’s monthly meeting at 3 p.m. on March 19 at the Rowlett Public Library.

    “It is very clear to me that we have to reduce operating expenses because we have less income coming in,” Harper said. “My position is to look at all of the expenses and reduce them.”

    He added that he believed there should be more of a shared sacrifice between the employees and the citizens. Harper said that the recent cuts to the city’s retirement system were not enough and plans to show what he calls a “rich retirement system” to the TEA party attendees during their meeting.

    “We have a potential shortfall of millions and they saved a couple of hundred thousand and they call that a success; I am troubled and concerned by that,” Harper said.

    The eliminated positions within the city’s organization include Donna Shaw, accounting specialist I; Gloria Santoya, Action Center customer service representative; Wes Ferrell, building inspector II; Donna Huerta, communication manager/PIO. The last position to be eliminated is administrative assistant of public works, which is currently vacated and being filled by a temporary employee.

    Huerta said she would be retiring as a result of the layoff.

    All employees impacted by the reduction in force were notified March 3 in an effort to provide them with as much time as possible to find other employment. There will be an organizational realignment that affects several other positions within the next few months.

    Harper said that he fears the loss of these positions will also negatively affect the quality of city services the residents receive.

    “I am not in favor of anything that reduces city services. Our residents already have been paying one of the highest tax rates for a long time and deserve good service,” Harper said. “When we disrupt these five positions it will lead to a disruption in service.”

    Employees affected by the organizational realignment were notified March 3 as well.

    “I want to emphasize that the decision to eliminate these positions has nothing to do with the quality of service or commitment that these employees have provided to the city of Rowlett,” Humble said via e-mail. “These decisions were reached after careful thought and deliberation in an effort to make strategic decisions that will ensure the sustainability of the organization and to guarantee our ability to continue serving our citizens.”

    As part of the efforts to further save the city money, reorganization will take place within the city’s action center.

    Senior Action Center customer service rep Amy Delaisse will become a part-time employee at her request. Administrative assistant Carrie Wilson will be transferred from the city secretary’s office to the city manager’s office and assume additional duties, including providing full-time customer service in the action center.

    After reviewing the responsibilities and job duties of the communications manager, the city will create a coordinator position to fit within the city’s new pay system. The new position will be a marketing/public affairs coordinator position.

    SOURCE:
    Rowlett reduces its workforce

  3. TexasFred says:

    I had a personal conversation with Mayor Harper regarding the 2:1 matching funds the City contributes, and reducing that to a 1:1, which I consider fair…

    “My proposal is to leave the 2:1 match but eliminate completely the cost of living allowances going forward and also eliminating the updated service credits completely. Those two changes will save the city about $1.5 million annually on retirement costs.”

    Mayor Harper NOW favors a 1:1, I wonder where he got THAT idea??

  4. The hard lifting is always done at the local level. I applaud you for your dedication Fred, both with the city and the Tea Party.

  5. TexasFred says:

    Maggie, I hope you understand, the TEA Party blew their credibility too, and I have completely disowned them… The TEA Party here in Rowlett has gone to hell in a hand basket, Rockwall went long ago, I guess it was a matter of time until Rowlett followed… Non-partisan doesn’t mean what it used to…

  6. Glad you told me. I was remembering several emails supporting the Rowlett Tea Party, I think. If not, then I mixed up your involvement with Rowlett “something.”

  7. TexasFred says:

    Maggie, you’re correct, I WAS involved, heavily… I was VP and did the social media and so forth as Communications Director…

    There’s a lot involved, a hell of a *back story*, but I pulled out…

  8. Fred, that’s the problem with being involved in groups, especially when we have been so involved at other levels, we blog, we read. It’s hard to sit and “take it.”

  9. Bob Mack says:

    He added that he could not support the city trying to balance its budget on the backs of five people..

    Fred, he seems to have forgotten that he’s the mayor of all the citizens of Rowlett, not just the people that filled the 5 terminated positions. Sounds like you’ve got enough material there for a book full of cautionary tales…

  10. TexasFred says:

    Bob, if you read that then I know you saw the details, some went part time, at THEIR request, one retired, at their own request… The building inspector was a seriously underused and over paid position, it’s being done by contract inspectors now, as needed, should be a lot cheaper…

    All of this is a temper tantrum by the Mayor, “My way or the highway you f’ing idiots…”

    Name calling… From our Mayor… I am NOT kidding, That’s his last resort, and calling in support from another city was, for me and many others, the LAST straw…

  11. BoomerRowlett says:

    Thank you Fred for speaking up. This type of behavior that the Mayor is exhibiting does not help our city. It hinders the development of our city. Because of our Mayor’s selfish personality and his show of bullying in the public, those who might be interested in good development, may pull back and not pursue Rowlett as a viable, stable place to put good economic development.

    What he did at this meeting of the Rowlett Tea Party was unacceptable, and also so unbelievable that a city council member would act as though he is the only member of council. Such arrogance. I hope the Mayor does resign, because I hear talk of recall.

    I understand the rest of city council have different ideas, but are able to communicate those ideas and come to an agreement with each other. They also have the ability to keep their personal politics out of their discussions at city council meetings, or any other meeting, where like the Mayor, still represent the city. Shame on him for hurting Rowlett this way. He has lost many, many supporters.

  12. RowlettMayor says:

    Fred…I cannot ignore what you are writing. I am saddened that you cannot see what is happening.

    Open Meetings Law…there is nothing that is emphasized to the Mayor & Council more than DO NOT VIOLATE THE OPEN MEETINGS LAW. (Forgive the caps, but that is how it is emphasized to all of us.) There were five of the six city councilmembers present at the beginning of the meeting. I knew that Mayor Pro Tem Gottel and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jackson planned to attend. The others were unexpected. I announced that we needed to not be a quorum. I did not care who left so long as someone left. Gottel, Jackson, and Kilgore left. I continued the meeting.

    If you had attended the meeting, you would know that I am calling for nothing more than genuine dialogue within the City Council. The instances I cited where dialogue is not happening can be confirmed. The numbers I presented are from the Rowlett Chief Financial Officer. If what I have presented as facts are wrong, please show that to me and to your readers. I am very willing to engage in civil debate with the Council.

    As I stated to those in attendance yesterday, I am quite willing to step down as Mayor. But, not until I have done my best to show the Rowlett taxpayer that their interests are not primary to the majority of the City Council.

    I am saddened by your posting before you asked me one question. We have had a long-standing exchange of emails on any subject. Why not on this matter?

  13. TexasFred says:

    Mayor Harper, I did attend the meeting, I was standing with Todd Gottel when you walked right by us, and we BOTH spoke, and you never turned your head or acknowledged us in any way.

    After you accosted Chris Kilgore and refused to even look at the Texas Rule of Order for public meetings, and then publicly denigrated Michael Gallops, I was done, I sat outside and listened.. And so you know, this isn’t about the NUMBERS Sir, it’s about attitude and personalities, and the one you are using to try and force your will upon others.

    I know you’re reading this, so, let me be blunt, by YOUR standard applied to the TEA Party PUBLIC MEETING held Saturday last, had the Council all shown up at What-A-Burger at the same time, someone would have left hungry…

    And now Jerry Berggren is touting ANOTHER meeting that will allow rebuttal… Is the Council banned from that one too?

    This bullshit has got to come to an end NOW.. It has gone on for far too long and it IS destroying the City of Rowlett and any chance we have for economic development…

    Your threats to QUIT if you don’t get your way have got me, and a lot of others in Rowlett thinking that maybe you do need to quit, it’s a Council of Seven for a reason, and apparently, you’re not getting that part of the equation…

  14. notreallyablogger says:

    You are throwing the baby out with the bath water. Let’s get back to the topic of the Mayor’s presentation which concerning sustainabilty. He gave us a preview of things to come if the City does not control the spending and does not maintain a viable contingency fund. Do you want Obama style spending in Rowlett?

    I for one do not think this is a good time to be purchasing 100 new computers, using contingency fund to purchase trucks and potentially paying money to settle discrimination lawsuits. I do not want a city tax increase, do you?

    If you are concerned about sustainability at all government levels, how can you overlook these matters at the local level?

  15. Right Truth says:

    It’s no wonder we get discouraged and fed up with politics, especially local politics, after hearing things like this. You stay on this Fred. I know from our local politics, things are dirty, so dirty, and it seems that no matter who we throw out or who we elect, the dirt is still running the show.

    Debbie
    Right Truth
    http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

  16. notreallyablogger says:

    If you all are not aware, the Rowlett Council Executive Sessions and Council meetings are shown on Cable channel 16, Time Warner. I watch both to observe the meetings.

    I see first hand how the Mayor and only a few others actively participate, do the heavy lifting, are prepared and actively engaged in the City agenda. You can watch the meetings for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

    I triangulate information and assess the news from multiple sources. Rowlett will have an election for Council positions in May and we will all want to be educated voters. Who is looking out for us, the taxpayers? I look for Council members who are well informed, and exhibit substance as well as for consistency.

    Don’t be a sheep!

  17. TexasFred says:

    Not Really — Thank you for your input… I don’t know where we’d be without it…

  18. Robert says:

    Well dayum! okay here’s a totally unbiased opinion on this entire issue (Because I live in the people republik of kalifornia)

    First off.. KUDOS to your mayor. He did something that very few elected officials would do. He responded to you in your blog with his opinions. Well Done sir.

    Second. Your city is (By the actions of the few Ive seen here) is in a much better state of democracy than MOST of our nation.

    3rd. In regards to the actions that led to this post. I’m going to side with Fred.

    Had this occurred in MY city, I would have been disgusted myself. You can not go into another city and look at those folks as your backers. You can’t expect to do that ALONE with no witnesses. If you are a mayor and wish to confab with other city officials fine, however it should be in an open meeting. However; had it occurred in my city I would have been the only one attending… We are a sad lot out here. You guys give me hope.

    I wish you guys well in settling this issue.

  19. TexasFred says:

    Robert, so you know, I have long held Mayor Harper in the highest regard, and his ideas may be *spot on*, but this is NOT a dictatorship, you don’t threaten Council members, you don’t cuss them, or at them, you don’t engage in PUBLIC denigration of a fellow Council member… Mayor Harper did all of that..

    If 6 out of 7 Council members are against something, and only 1, in this case, the Mayor, is FOR it, there’s got to be a reason behind the differences..

    Instead of bullying the Council, Mayor Harper should try to have a meeting of the minds WITH the Council, not a *MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY* meeting that he has become notorious for…

    Mayor Harper needs to persuade the Council, not bully and denigrate them, reason with them, don’t preach AT them… Just because you’re the only PhD on the Council doesn’t make you right all the time…

    And one other thing, if John Harper ever again expects to get one ounce of support from me, he will make PUBLIC apologies to the City of Rowlett for bringing in the ROCKWALL TEA Party as HIS backup…

    That was the issue that sent ME on this tirade. This is a Rowlett specific issue, our Mayor, our Council, our city, our damned problems, not those of his AMEN PEW from the Rockwall Republican Men’s Club…

    John needs to figure out WHO’s Mayor he is, and last time I checked, it was Rowlett…

  20. notreallyablogger says:

    Fact check: Rowlett, Texas is a city in both Dallas and Rockwall Counties.

    Counties.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowlett,_Texas#External_links

  21. TexasFred says:

    Not Really, do you think you are the ONLY one that lives in Rowlett?? We ALL know these facts, so, please, don’t clutter the comments section with redundant comments…

    And one other thing Not Really, I know you live here in Rowlett, your IP stats tell me so, if you’re so all fired up over Rowlett, why do you hide behind a nom de plume? I share my REAL picture and REAL name with my readers, because, you see, I REALLY AM a blogger…

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