Citizen Checkbook Assaulted By Pen Whipping

Originally posted August 2013

When you arrive to witness the August 6th Duncanville City Council meeting you may find the toilets clogged at City Hall….

The cause of the backup is nothing more than a giant wad of your tax dollars that have been stuffed down the hole and the toilet being flushed repeatedly.  It’s surprising to see this happen after some of our Council Members ran for elected office on the platform that they would bring “Financial Stability back to our City.” It appears that the opposite is happening.

In doing research for the upcoming budget, it was discovered that the monetary number for the Duncanville VS. MARA Inc lawsuit had climbed to a level never seen before.

Below, I present to you the facts on how much this is costing you as a taxpayer,

CAForensic

– click on image to enlarge –

DownHereSince May 17th 2012 thru today, the City of Duncanville has flushed down almost $140 thousand dollars of your tax dollars paying Sandy Alexander; auditor of Main Station. That’s a staggering $102,493 OVER what was budgeted for. And with that kind of money being thrown around, one would expect some results right?

We’re still waiting on that answer..

If one sicking number wasn’t enough, enjoy this second set of numbers.

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From November of 2011 to present, the City of Duncanville has shelled out over a $180,000 in legal fees just in the MARA Inc case alone. Between the audit and attorneys the current total adds up to a whopping $320,453 with zero results, convictions or substantial/criminal findings.

In the image above, look at the very last column in the bottom right hand corner. The running total for all legal expenses including MARA, Community Bank, General and Court add up to over a half million dollars.

So far….

Spend, Spend, Spend… At Any Cost

At the conclusion of the January 15th 2013 Duncanville City Council meeting, District 3 council woman Leslie Thomas responded to a comment that was made by Patrick Harvey (prior to his election) during the public comment period.

Here’s the back-story.

Patrick Harvey, resident of District 1 (now Council-Member At Large), came and stood before the elected 7 on that evening and probed the council about the obscene amount taxpayer money that is being spent on a forensic audit and attorney fees against a local businessman known for bringing economic development to the area.

Mr. Harvey questioned if there was a “pot of gold at the end of this yellow brick road or if the city attorney was going round and round on the taxpayers carousel.”

The use of scripture by Mr. Harvey emerged as the catalyst that goaded a response from Leslie Thomas.

If you haven’t seen the comment that Mr. Harvey delivered before the council, it can be viewed below.

The following video has been edited for audio clarity. The audio had to be pulled and the bass removed. Replacing the audio was no easy task and it lags behind about a second or so. It reminds me of the greatness of old Kung Fu movies that were over-dubbed in English…but I digress…

The audio that you hear is complete and has not been cut. You can verify the completness by watching the end of the meeting on the city’s website. 

A couple of things should be pointed out here.

Then Councilwoman Thomas begins her statement by claiming that the city council hired the forensic auditor. This is not necessarily true. McKamie/Krueger hired CA Forensics to perform the audit and when work was completed, McKamie/Krueger then invoiced the city to pay said auditor.

Leslie Thomas then informs the citizens that “as a society that we spend a lot of money on law enforcement and no one complains because we know the importance of having police officers working the streets and no one questions their budget.” (Like the police replacement vehicles right?) Thomas then makes it clear that “this is the council’s attempt to bring justice to the city.

The statement that should be circulated around the water cooler in the morning is of her testimonial that seemed to speak for her fellow council-members. Leslie announced “It didn’t matter what the forensic auditor cost, as long as justice is being produced.” She continues with, “And when I say it doesn’t matter it’s a reasonable cost, we put out for the lowest bid and that’s what we got. So we are doing our due diligence on the cost. It’s what this council was elected to do. We were elected to investigate and to guard the city’s interests and that is what we are doing to our best ability.

Thanks to an open records request by a observant citizen, duncanvillevoice is able to bring you cold, hard evidence that this statement is well, completely false.

1. The search for a forensic auditor was never put out for bid. At some point, and not in public,  then City Attorney Julie Fort and company suggested auditors. The council supposedly picked one out; not sure if there was a vote on this because it never came before the public, and zero bids were taken and compared. It then ends up on an agenda to enter into an agreement with CA Forensics LLC and not to exceed $26,000 dollars without council approval.

What’s that you say? Are you suggesting that this is another attempt to impugn the character of a former elected official through innuendo, suggestive comments and outright lies posted on an instantaneous blog that is out to demonize the opposition? 

No Matter The Cost

No Bids

Mrs. Thomas, you stand corrected.

In light of the bible study earlier, I was reminded of Psalm 101:7

No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.

Jesus-

A Bad Case Of The Freebie Jeebies

Originally Posted on May 6th, 2013-

Voters in Duncanville have inquired as to the validity of the attempt to deny local children a free meal last summer. It has been questioned due to the only documentation that has been provided is a copy of the minutes [which are not “exact” minutes] of the City Council meeting from June 19th, 2012 and a recap of the meeting by other news sources.

The following is some background to this issue in an effort to help those who are new readers catch up.

On June 19th 2012, Mr. Kenneth Woods and Carla Lacy were brought before the council as representatives of Help is Here, a non-profit corporation to provide information and answer questions from Council-members regarding the USDA Summer Food Program.

Before June 19th, then City Manager Dan O’Leary stated he had received “phone calls” regarding the usage of city parks for the Summer Food Service Program. Duncanvillevoice.com was unsuccessful in determining who was behind the “phone calls” made to O’Leary which subsequently led to the temporary cease of free meals served to area underprivileged children until it could be discussed and approved to move forward under the direction of the city council.

Mr. Woods answered questions and provided information to the council regarding how the program was operated.

Eventually, the council decided to take action on the item in question. Former councilman Grady Smithey made a motion, seconded by Leslie Thomas, to approve the use of city parks and facilities for participation in the USDA Summer Food Program for the remainder of the Summer of 2012 while waiving the requirement for signs, banners and associated fees. The staff was also directed to obtain a waiver of liability from the providers and to develop a formal policy regarding the use of city parks & facilities regarding the program prior to Summer 2013. The vote passed 7-0 which was surprising given the opposition that confronted Mr. Woods and Ms. Lacy during the discussion.

Speaking of the opposition, here is the video from that night in question. Excuse the bad color and tint, the city’s archive video collection is a bit rough. Please watch the video all the way through.

It has been reported that during the public comment section of the latest council meeting, Mr. Woods spoke and was discouraged by the phone call he received by the city stating that the city was not interested in participating.

 

AgendaItem16On Tuesday night, the council will be discussing and will consider approval for the organization “Help is Here” to provide free meals in the parks of Duncanville. It will be interesting to see if the council followed up and worked to complete the “formal policy” regarding the use of city parks and facilities set forth in 2012 or will it be argued that these types of programs are unnecessary due to a lack of “underprivileged” children that live in a certain area and the possible saturation of such programs like those of Help is Here. As you can see, the item lacks any acknowledgement of what was requested/recommended in the past.

You have seen the video, you decide if this was an attempt to “protect” children from being feed improper foods or if the program had the appropriate permits or inspections; Was this an attempt to keep kids from having access to a free meal within a close proximity in a safe and very public space? Or is this just a bad case of the “Freebie Jeebies.”

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

Originally posted on August 13th, 2013 under “Knock Knock, Whose There? Not Economic Growth”

As citizens, all should remember the date; August 25th. This day should be recognized as a annual City Holiday, observed as the day Economic Development in Duncanville came to a screeching, blood curdling, halt.

On August 25th, 2011; Former Duncanville City Council-members, Don Freeman (District 1), Leslie Thomas (District 3) and (District 5) Councilwoman Johnette Jameson voted to vacate the entire Duncanville Economic Development Corporation for the first time. This course of action may possibly be the most brilliant political move that the citizens of Continue reading

Video Deposition Of Don Freeman

Originally Posted On October 12, 2012-

Due to the high number of views of this post, duncanvillevoice.com had to make a necessary upgrade to the bandwidth. Thank you for your patience while we corrected this problem.  

duncanvillevoice.com has obtained the September 28th 2012 video deposition of District 1 Duncanville City Councilman, Don Freeman.

The video has been edited into three parts due to the file size and time. The first two videos are 30 minutes in length, and the third is just over 25 minutes.

Thankfully this video contains a time stamp of when the deposed is on the record or off. To prevent from being accused of “chopping” and “editing,” duncanvillevoice.com has posted the video in its entirety. You will see that the “start” and “end” times match as you navigate the videos.

Be forewarned that these videos are long and contain dry material. The videos do however hold vital information that the public needs to hear. That is why the “sharing” and “embedding” of the videos have been enabled for all of “The Voicers,” as you have been lovingly dubbed, to share on your Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other social media that your friends and neighbors may follow.

I could go through and pin-point everything questionable about this deposition, but I will refrain and allow the followers of this blog to watch and make your own decisions.

The future of Duncanville sits in the balance as we speak. We must spread the word to the citizens who may not know that hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars are being spent on unwarranted litigation to run off Monte Anderson who is personally responsible for bringing in hundreds of jobs and MILLIONS of dollars to the city’s tax roll here in Duncanville.

Although this deposition is of just one of the many involved in this case, it’s a prime example of how easily manipulated one can be. This deposition begs to ask the question, “Who is really behind this ploy to run of Monte Anderson?” It’s clear that this is not the brain child of Don Freeman, he’s just a lowly pawn in this rag-tag collective.

It’s easy to hide behind executive session, but you can’t hide from public record and this will not be hidden from the citizens of Duncanville.

This is our city and it’s time to take it back.

I promised this was coming soon, today, I deliver.

*Please allow video time to load after pressing play, the video will start shortly after.*

Go and share the news my friends and thank you for being such loyal readers…~P~

Doubting Thomas? Never Did-

Duncanville,

Thank you for continuing to be such loyal readers.

Shall we begin?

Does anyone remember the date February 22nd, 2013? I do. It is engrained in my thoughts as one of my fondest memories.

That was the day when duncanvillevoice.com broke the story about how the Suburban Newspaper had posted, on their web-site, the 16 page audit that Sandy Alexander of CA Forensics provided the then sitting Duncanville City Council and then Interim City Manager regarding the lawsuit against Monte & Rosa Anderson & MARA Inc.

Fact is, the 16 page audit was scheduled to be discussed in Executive Session that same night at the end of the Duncanville City Council meeting. Yet somehow, someway the audit, in its entirety, was posted previous to Executive Session ever happening that night at the council meeting. The other unmitigated fact of this story is that a Open Records request was formally made with the City of Duncanville by then publisher, David McKamie two days after the Suburban had published the documents online.

The critical question at the time was; “How did the Suburban publication acquire the documents prior to them being revealed in Duncanville City Council Executive Session?”  There was much speculation on who was responsible, but it was left at that, speculation.

The council at the time which consisted of Deborah Hodge, Don Freeman, Stephen Jones, Leslie Thomas, Mark Cooks and Johnette Jameson never made the issue of the documents “magic appearance” public, or addressed the situation during a regularly scheduled council meeting .

All questions that were targeted at the council regarding an explanation went unanswered, and the citizens of Duncanville were ignored.

If names on the previous council seem familiar, four of the former are currently running for a seat back on the City Council.

Don Freeman District 1, Leslie Thomas District 3, Johnette Jameson District 5 and Stephen Jones At-Large.

I am sure some of you are asking, “how is this information relevant today?”

I have an answer, and the documentation.

The question of “whom” had access to the documents prior to executive session has been answered in sworn deposition dated March 19th 2014.

If you’d like to re-familiarize yourself, or if you’re new to the wacky world of Duncanville politics, click the links below to previous posts.

Suburban To Print CA Forensic Audit Report – 2/22/2013

Confidential Executive Session Information Illegally Shared – 2/26/2013

Now that you have caught yourself up, please download the PDF file provided for you below. It is the full transcript of the sworn testimony of previous Interim Duncanville City Manager Greg Contreras taken on March 19th 2014 regarding the Internal Investigation of the Duncanville City Council.

What you are looking for starts on page 59. I have highlighted items of interest. It is suggested that you inform yourself and read in its entirety. It will all be relevant to this years upcoming election.

Sworn Testimony Of Greg Contreras (PDF)

Now that you have read the sworn testimony, you now know who admitted responsibility for taking documents intended for executive session off of a printer and handing them to another former council-member. You’ve also learned that this issue was taken to the “then” Mayor and Council and how it was ignored and never revealed to the public.

In a recent article in the Daily Focus News Leslie Thomas stated her goals if elected;  “Achieve transparency and adhere to the Texas Open Meetings Act.” Leslie Thomas was quoted as saying, ” When there is no discussion on issues it’s obvious that there is either a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act, or a gross dereliction of duty.” Thomas says she will bring her “law background in municipal law” if elected.

Questions that should be asked of Leslie Thomas:

“Is it true that you knowingly and willingly removed confidential documents off of a city printer without permission, read said documents and hand them to Johnette Jameson, then council person for District 5?”

“And is it also true that this deliberate dereliction of duty and failure to follow the laws and guidelines of the Texas Open Meetings Act not presented to the citizens of Duncanville?”

“Did you also watch the video of said acts with Greg Contreras and the Marshal?”

If the answer resembles “I didn’t know what I was doing.”

A Juris Doctorate should know..

Ignorantia juris non excus,

but I digress…

~P~

Please share, it’s the right thing to do.

Hold The Public Hearing; The Citizens Deserve It

From the good people at MyDuncanville.com; a true news source for the community.

City release details allegations of Home Rule Charter Violations against Jameson.

An article posted on the Dallas Morning News NeighborsGo website Wednesday night stated that embattled Duncanville City Council member Johnette Jameson submitted a resignation letter late Wednesday afternoon.

The city staff was contacted Thursday morning and Shirley Acy-King, Interim City Secretary, provided a copy of the resignation letter.

The resignation comes as the Duncanville City Council is preparing for a public meeting set for November 22, 2014 to discuss possible violations of Section 2.10 of the Duncanville City Charter concerning council members’ conduct with city staff.

Jameson1-12

Picture not from MyDuncanville.com

The council was to decide if Jameson had violated that section after the council had hired an independent firm to conduct an investigation into the entire council to find if any member had violated the Home Rule Charter.

The council could have vote to remove Jameson from office if the determination was made that she had violated the charter.

According to a release from the City, there are twelve counts of willful violation of Home Rule Charter section 2.10.

  • Count 1 – On or about early 2012, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by requesting that Interim City Manager Greg Contreras remove Steve Miller, the Director of Public Works, from his position. Miller has since retired from Duncanville
  • Count 2 – On or about late 2012, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by requesting that City Manager Dan O’Leary remove Shane Gravens from his position as Duncanville’s Director of Parks and Recreation. Gravens’ employment with City of Duncanville was terminated.
  • Count 3 – On or about 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by requesting that Interim City Manager Greg Contreras remove Mike Brownlee from his position as Duncanville’s Assistant Director of Public Works if he continued to communicate with Firestone about the company’s plans to move some of its facilities to Duncanville. Brownlee remains with the city.
  • Count 4 – On are about June 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by requesting that Interim City Manager Greg Contreras withdraw his appointment of Sharon White as a board member of the Civil Service Commission.
  • Count 5 – On or about November 8, 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Director of Parks and Recreation Bart Stevenson, a subordinate of the City Manager, to avoid communicating with certain categories of Duncanville’s citizens.
  • Count 6 – On or about 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Police Chief Robert Brown, a subordinate of the City Manager, to report every major crime in Ms. Jameson’s district directly to her.
  • Count 7 – On or about early 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Brunswick Morton, a subordinate of the City Manager, to accept and process an application for prosecution service for the City of Duncanville after the deadline for submitting those applications had expired.
  • Count 8 – On or about July 2012, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Duncanville Director of Parks and Recreation Shane Gravens, a subordinate of the City Manager, to direct his staff to go to Red Bird Park on the weekends and perform security checks.
  • Count 9 – On or about June 2012, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Director of Parks and Recreation Shane Gravens, a subordinate of the City Manager, to increase security at Duncanville field house.
  • Count 10 – On are about November 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Bart Stevenson, a subordinate of the City Manager, to change the Park and Recreation Board’s policy to prohibit political action groups from adopting parks in Duncanville.
  • Count 11 – On or about July 3, 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Finance Director Richard Summerlin, a subordinate of the City Manager, not to email people unaffiliated with the City of Duncanville about requests for funds from the City budget.
  • Count 12 – On or about August 2013, Johnette Jameson willfully violated Section 2.10 of the Duncanville Home Rule Charter by ordering Angie Wade, a subordinate of the City Manager, to stop making Fridays an option for the Duncanville Audit Committee to hold its meetings.

The release from the city goes on to outline the rules of procedure to expel a council member for violations of the Home Rule Charter.

In her letter Jameson wrote, “My resignation, I believe, is in the best interests of my constituents given this council’s pursuit of its misguided and costly effort to remove me from public office.” The Dallas Morning News received the resignation letter from the law firm representing Jameson, Bickel & Brewer.

Jameson’s letter goes on to outline what she believes to be violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, and states that she believes the allegations are without merit.

In addition, Jameson’s letter states that pursuant to article XVI, section 17, of the Texas Constitution, she will continue to perform the duties of her office until the successor is elected.

Jameson also let it be known that running for the District 5 seat in the future was not out of the question. “Please know that I am taking time to review all of my options, including running for the District 5 seat in a future election.”

According to the city charter, section 2.10 “Council not to interfere in City Manager’s appointments or removals,” it sates that neither the Council or any of its members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to or his removal from office by the City Manager or by any of his subordinates. However, the Council may consult and advise the City Manager, make inquiry regarding the appointments or removals and may express their opinion in regard thereto. In regard to administrative and executive duties under the City Manager, the Council and its members shall deal solely through the City Manager and neither the Council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinate of the City Manager, either publicly or privately.”

The article goes on to state that a willful violation of the provisions of the Charter by any member of the Council shall be constituted as official misconduct and authorizes the Council by majority vote of the membership to expel the offending member if found guilty after a public hearing.

According to section 2.04, “Vacancies in Council” the city council now must set a date for a special election to fill the unexpired term. If the unexpired term is longer than six months a special election must be called to fill the seat. If under six months, but not within 90 days, the council could fill the seat by majority vote. If it were less than 90 days then no special election would be held, and no appointment would be made.

The Duncanville City Council now has to call a special election and according to the charter and it must be held during a period of not less than 30 days and not more than 40 days after the vacancy occurs. At this time no meeting has been scheduled to call the special election.

In her letter Jameson did address the timing of her resignation. “My decision to resign will allow the voters of District 5 to elect a representative of their choice. I believe this action will encourage full and transparent dialogue in District 5 and allow all the residents of Duncanville an opportunity to keep a watchful eye over actions of certain members of this council.”

It is not known at this time if the meeting scheduled for November 22 to publicly discuss the alleged violations will still be held.