Weatherford Democrat

January 13, 2013

Former Willow Park mayor’s actions cost city

Weatherford Democrat

— Dear Editor,

Incompetence or malfeasance? Both actually are the exact words appropriate to describe the actions and behaviors of the former mayor of Willow Park, Marvin Glasgow. The findings of the 43rd District Court and the description of the recent Weatherford Democrat article by Christin Coyne are exactly on point.

Malfeasance is a wrongdoing or misconduct, especially by a public official. It is a commission of an act that is unequivocally illegal or completely wrong. I would refer you to that Jan. 2nd article or better yet to the findings of the court.

According to the Democrat article, “The company claims former mayor Marvin Glasgow submitted a falsified sworn statement during the application process saying the city was not involved in any lawsuits. However, Willow Park at the time was in the middle of litigation that included the highly publicized lawsuit involving the Deer Creek water system.”

This action will cost the citizens of Willow Park hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenues that otherwise could be spent on roads, police or fire departments or parks. The account so far: $190,000 in judgments, $100,000 in legal expenses, unknown tens of thousands in legal appeals, and additional tens of thousands on a countersuit claim; amounts yet to be determined.

The impact on Willow Park is nothing short of devastating. By comparison, these monies amount to the average expenditures on road maintenance over three full calendar years. Imagine Willow Park without monies to fix our dilapidated roadways for three more years! Either the council will, by necessity, reduce repairs across the board, or raise your taxes to cover the costs that are attributable to Glasgow’s impertinent actions.

As a former council member and mayor (2009-2011) who reduced costs and settled lawsuits to minimize legal expenses, I am appalled that my efforts at savings are now wiped out in one fell swoop by either gross incompetence or arrogant malfeasance, or both. This behavior is not a singular event in my experience with former Mayor Glasgow. This is not the full story, nor is there space to tell the whole story, but the attempt to mislead state officials in legal filings with known falsehoods is inexcusable. Willow Park was not involved just in a single lawsuit at the time of these false filings, but rather was being sued on multiple fronts from several municipalities, county and regional entities and had public hearings with potentially grave consequences from other state agencies. These were matters that every public official of Willow Park dealt with weekly.

Those who endorsed Marvin Glasgow for mayor also bear responsibility, names such as Poythress, Skaggs and Alderman who in public writings endorsed Glasgow, sometimes with full knowledge of these past shenanigans, enabling Glasgow to serve again in spite of these character issues. These same former officials are culpable for the entanglement of Willow Park in these various lawsuits, after which they compounded their actions by endorsing Glasgow. Also responsible – the other local paper which refused to print substantive facts which would have informed the public, thereby enabling the office of mayor to be occupied by a person such as Glasgow.

Other problems also persist in the under qualified administration of the city. For the record, I believe hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars have been misappropriated during the years Glasgow served as mayor. I have continually advocated a forensic audit of the city’s books. Glasgow, Alderman and the administration have resisted these efforts at every turn. The current mayor and council could take corrective action on behalf of the citizens if they are compelled to do so. If you choose to do nothing, then nothing will happen, and you will continue to bear the fruits of incompetent government officials acting above and beyond the reasonable limits of the law.

For those of you who believe that government in Washington or Austin is broken, might I invite you to attend one city council meeting, vowing to stay till the conclusion of that one meeting. See for yourself how City Hall functions in Willow Park. The very best medicine is for reasonable people to understand what is happening, and play a positive role in improving our local community.

I served my five years, thank you very much. It is time for others to come forward. Short of that, the City of Willow Park will likely continue to be managed inefficiently in spite of the efforts of some few good public servants, men such as Hickerson, Brown and Martin.

Kenneth Hawkins, Willow Park