Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tonight City Council Meeting Needs Oversight

Wilmer City Council will meet at 7:30PM tonight to consider a zoning ordinance outside the city boundaries of the 95+ acres West of the railroad on Belt Line Road following a second public hearing on the matter. Also, on the agenda are two closed executive sessions, two police officer hirings and an Oncor rate increase. Click Here to View the Agenda.

A second public hearing will be held concerning the planned annnexation and "base zoning" of Xebec Realty's 95+ acre industrial development West of the railroad tracks on Belt line Road. Readers may remember the public hearing on this same topic at the last council meeting in July was very active and "lively".

The Council will then meet in closed executive session with the City Attorney to discuss the "zoning ordinance". The published agenda references Section 551.071 of the Texas Goverment Code, which reads as follows:

A governmental body may not conduct a private consultation with its attorney except:
(1)when the governmental body seeks the advice of its attorney about:
(A)pending or contemplated litigation; or
(B)a settlement offer; or
(2)on a matter in which the duty of the attorney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with this chapter.
(ED: emphasis added above)

At the last City Council meeting, the motion to "consider the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission of the application for volunteer annexation" failed for lack of a second after conferring with legal counsel. The Planning & Zoning Commission recommended against annexation when it considered the proposal last month. Several members of the P&Z Commission are alleged to have financial interests in property adjacent to the planned development.

Upon reconvening in open session, the Council will "Review and consider proposed zoning ordinance of approximately 95.7731 acres of land in the extrterritorial (sic) jurisdiction of the City of Wilmer" - apparently in defiance of Texas statutory prohibitions against such a action. Texas Local Government Code provides only for the volunteer annexation of residential property. Zoning statutes forbid a municipality from attempting to regulate zoning in its' extraterritorial jurisdiction (outside the city limits). The question of annexation is not mentioned in the published notice of the agenda.
(ED NOTE: since there is no litigation or settlement pending we must assume this is an illegal or unethical action that may expose the Council members to prosecution or litigation after resarching the State Bar's TDRPC referenced by Sec. 551.071.)

Other business includes consideration of a statement of intent for a planned rate change by Oncor Electric Delivery, followed by another executive session to consider hiring two police officers. The council will again reconvene in open session to vote on the new police hires before adjourning.


Anonymous said...

So Joe, did they break the law again? Did they adjourn to a closed meeting with the attorney to discuss a zoning change? I think most people are wondering how this keeps happening and nothing gets done about it. Is there any agency that is willing to come forward and put a stop to them? Maybe we are just all wrong? I sure would hate to think that, but if someone else kept breaking this many laws, we would surly be behind bars or at least removed. Just a thought, to see if anyone has an answer? Maybe the solution is to get on board and overlook the money, overlook the lies, overlook the deceit and just accept that this is the way of life in Wilmer. If we do, and we need a job or a ticket fixed or some kick back money, we would be one of many that gets rewarded. Just a thought, either way Wilmer loses and this council keeps getting richer (well only the smart ones)

Editor Publisher said...

To Anonymous 8/8/8 3:23PM
"did they break the law again?"
Good question. Maybe "sidestepped" or "skated" is a better description. Maybe there's a fine line. Rob Dillard said the public hearing notice wasn't inaccurate or erroneous in direct response to my question - but many legal problems have resulted from this man's advice. My opinion is "Yes, the law was broken" - or at least twisted badly. It's kind of like a running a stop sign - did you stop too far back or too much into the intersection - did you slow to a "rolling stop" - or did you blow through the intersection at 60MPH? Guess it depends on who is looking at COMPLIANCE with the law whether or not you're "busted".

Anonymous said...

Everyone keeps talking about Rob Dillard...isn't Bob Hager the City Attorney?

Editor Publisher said...

To Anonymous 8/8/8 7:47PM -
Bob Hager IS the City Attorney now, Rob Dillard used to be the City Attorney. Hager is the Managing Partner in the same firm as Dillard. Like many working folks, he deserves a vacation and someone else had to fill in for this meeting.

Anonymous said...

The City of Wilmer has a multi-partner law firm. Hudson likes that because now he can pick and choose the best answer for any given situation! As you know, no two attorneys will have the same opinion about anything. Hudson has 5 opinions to choose from.

Anonymous said...

You keep saying the council and mayor broke the law but nothing ever happens to them. Maybe they have not broke the law, and everything you are saying is just hype. Did any of you readers ever think about that. Sour grapes is best enjoyed in private.

Editor Publisher said...

Anonymous 8/10/08 1:16PM said:
"You keep saying the council and mayor broke the law but nothing ever happens to them"

Gee, why do you think we keep publishing? One day maybe there will be something done about it. One thing is for sure, if we don't make the situation public, it is destined to continue unabated.

Here's a quote that applies to our editorial position:
"Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice."
Robert F Kennedy

Anonymous said...

Well said. Could not have said it better myself. Another one (supporter) bites the dust.