Wolfforth mayor reminds residents of agenda rules

Residents of Wolfforth: Your mayor would like you to know that if you have a concern, you can ask that it be put on the agenda for public discussion.

The deadline for that is by 5 p.m. on each Wednesday prior to a council meeting. Regular council meetings are held each first and third Monday of the month.

But one way that you cannot address your city leaders is by anonymous letters.

Mayor Charles Addington and Wolfforth City Manager Darrell Newsom said last Wednesday they are concerned about an unsigned letter that arrived at city hall that addresses Addington’s residency, and that of his family members.

The city has a resolution in place that states the council will not consider anonymous letters. The resolution dates back several years to when City Manager Frankie Pittman was in office.

But the letter from last week was received after a citizen made a complaint personally to Newsom regarding Addington’s residency, so the men decided they should address it.

“I really don’t think I need to justify myself to anybody, but for the sake of the city, I will justify myself, that, no, I’m probably not going to spend the next six nights in my house, because I will spend the next six nights working,” Addington said. He is the director of the emergency room at the Lubbock Heart Hospital, but he also has a private medical practice in Wolfforth.

Addington said he also spends time at a ranch in Dumas, as well as a property south of Wolfforth. His home on Bennett Circle in Wolfforth is currently being remodeled as a result of a water leak, he said.

Addington apologized for being aggravated about the matter, but he said he is upset that people are concerned about where he is sleeping when he would like their input into how to improve Wolfforth.

“It seems like their efforts are guided in the wrong direction,” he said.

Newsom said he has consulted with the city’s attorney, who said where someone sleeps is not a factor in residency.

“It’s his primary residency and what he calls his home, and that’s the deal,” Newsom said.

Addington said he gets his mail alternately at a post office box in Wolfforth or at the house on Bennett Circle.

“Do I pay city taxes? Yes. Do I pay a water bill? Every month. Do I pay FISD taxes? Every month. Do I pay property taxes right there? Absolutely,” Addington said.

Another issue people have brought up is whether he should be able to serve as the volunteer chief of the Wolfforth Fire Department, as well as the mayor, Newsom said.

“We talked to the attorney, prior to his running. And he said, in a paid position, it would be an issue. But in a volunteer position, it’s not an issue,” the city manager said.

Newsom said he sees how people could be concerned in general.

“He is a peer with other department heads. And there’s only so many dollars to go around, and the pie’s only going to be divided up at 100 percent at the end of the day,” Newsom said. “You’re sitting there with your peer, and you’re also sitting there with your boss.”

Newsom said other city department leaders could be afraid to argue with him, but he said Addington has never taken advantage of the situation.

“Here’s the thing: I never have. And I don’t intend to. I’ve done everything I can to make sure that’s never even been an insinuated thing. And it never has been,” Addington said. He said he has abstained from all votes directly concerning the fire department since he was promoted to chief while he was a council member. He does vote on items that include the fire department but concern the entire city, he said, but as mayor, he will not have many opportunities to vote aside from breaking ties.

Addington conceded that some Wolfforth residents seem more concerned about his dual roles since he was elected as mayor, and said the main reason why is “change.”

Newsom said any citizen can come to the city and request to have a discussion on an item during a council meeting. The city does not have a discussion period built into its meetings, but allows such discussion to be added to the agenda by 5 p.m. on each Wednesday before a council meeting.

Comments

  • bschecked (Author) said:

    “I really don’t think I need to justify myself to anybody”. Let me remind you sir that you are an elected officer of the people and therefore you answer to the people. I question how it is that you are able to serve as Mayor and the Volunteer Fire Chief? Does the Council and the Mayor not have oversight over the fire department as well as the Fire Chief? Is there not a conflict of interest? I see where the city has checked into these matters and, by the letter of the law, technically it is not illegal. However, should we as a community and as a city not hold our selves to a higher standard than just barely meeting the legal requirements? I would imagine that most people, except those benefiting from it, would agree that there is a potential conflict of interest in the Fire Chief also serving as the Mayor. Why does this city allow this to happen? Well, I’m sure you can argue that you were voted into office (by what 100 or so people), that is hardly representative of the population, but regardless you were elected so that should stand. The right thing to do would be to step down from your role as Fire Chief and if you don’t want to, the council should do the right thing and remove you as Fire Chief.

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