Weatherford Democrat

May 1, 2013

Q&A: Willow Park City Council – Place 1

Weatherford Democrat

Here is a look at the two candidates seeking the Place 1 seat on the Willow Park City Council. Incumbent Brian Thornburg is being challenged in the May 11 election by Chawn Gilliland. The candidates were asked several questions, with a 300-word limit for each response. Early voting began Monday and continues through May 7.

Name: Chawn Gilliland

Age: 46

Occupation: chief of police, Aledo ISD Police Department (11 years).

Family: wife, Sharena Gilliland, local attorney who is currently the elected Parker County District Clerk; children, Ryan and Reagan.

How long resided in city: Eight years

Community involvement: board of directors, Freedom House of Parker County; board of directors, Parker County Crime Stoppers; Moslah Shrine (patrol unit) – primary objective to raise money for the Shriners hospitals; Master Mason; Sigma Chi Alumni Association – objective to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

What do you see as the biggest challenge the city is facing? How do you plan to address that?

Our great city needs to focus on building an infrastructure that will allow us to grow with the projected population boom we see on our horizon. This includes, but is not limited to, water, waste water and city streets. Also we need to plan for business growth and expansion of our current local businesses while making Willow Park the premier residential hot spot in Parker County. We need to work closely with surrounding cities and county entities to help pave the path for future growth.

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

• Water expansion and repairs.

• City infrastructure for expansion and growth.

• Expansion of emergency services for our city.

Why do you believe you are the best candidate?

Experience in city government and budget.

What separates you from your opponent?

A proven track record.


Name: Brian R. Thornburg

Age: 38

Occupation: TSG staff engineer for Jamak Fabrication in Weatherford.

Family: I have been married to my best friend, Erika, for nearly 18 years, and we are the proud parents of four wonderful children: Joshua (14), Jacob (11), Jasmine (8) and Jillian (7). God has blessed me beyond measure with my family!

How long resided in city: We have called Willow Park our home for nearly three years. Quite frankly, this is the best community in which we have ever lived.

Community involvement: I currently serve my community on the Willow Park City Council in Place 1. Before that I was the vice chairperson for the Planning and Zoning Committee. I am also currently a community group leader at my church in Willow Park. In the past, I have served in many volunteer roles in church including youth pastor, treasurer, board member, young adult ministry director, sound team leader and usher. In Royal Rangers, I served as deputy sectional commander for the Greater Akron Section as well as senior commander for my local outpost. I also served in many leadership roles in high school and college such as chaplain of National Honor Society, captain of the swim team, squad leader in marching band, and vice president, treasurer and historian for Key Club. I have always been a leader with a servant’s heart.

What do you see as the biggest challenge the city is facing? How do you plan to address that?

As with much of North Texas, water, or lack thereof, is our biggest challenge. Along with the rest of the city council members, we have bought ourselves a little bit of time by adding three new wells into the Trinity Aquifer. When these come on line, our supply will finally exceed our demand, but not for long.

I support the efforts to drill two more wells to get us ahead of development until we can tap in and procure surface water from either Weatherford or Fort Worth. The quality of the water we provide is just as important, and I support the efforts to replace aging pipes that introduce contaminants and are prone to breakage concurrently with upgrading our infrastructure to better distribute water.

I have also pushed for in-line monitoring at the Circle Court Groundwater Plume to ensure that levels of TCE, a known carcinogen, stay well below the EPA limits. Water, both quantity and quality, is crucial to sustainable growth in Willow Park.

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

1. No more apartments – My voting record is clear. I have never voted in favor of apartments.

2. More water with better quality – I have consistently supported efforts, through my votes and my initiatives, to increase water capacity and improve water quality.

3. Economic development – Infrastructure improvements will be funded by future development. I have consistently supported projects that bring new jobs to our community, improve the quality of life for residents and bring more money into our city. I want Willow Park to be the envy of our neighbors, the pride of our residents and an even better place to raise our children than it already is today.

Why do you believe you are the best candidate? What separates you from your opponent?

I am running to stay in Place 1 out of a passion for my community and a love for my neighbors. I care deeply about the future of this community. I am not just running with an eye on a higher office. I want to continue to be part of this team that is actively working towards a brighter tomorrow for Willow Park.

My attendance record alone reflects my passion. I have never missed a meeting while on city council or the Planning and Zoning Commission. Even before joining the city council, I attended a majority of the meetings as a concerned citizen. Unfortunately, my opponent cannot say the same.

Aside from my passion, I have successfully led diverse teams of up to 135 employees as a manufacturing manager as well as leading a team of engineers and technicians as an engineering manager. I am always patient and respectful and can find common ground with just about anyone. I love to laugh and I enjoy working with people wherever I go. I work to be the man that others want to follow by setting a good example and treating others the way I would want to be treated.