Council Member Officially Acknowledges Mayor’s Contributions to Gateway Bridge
Post Managing Editor
Tuesday evenings meeting of the Forney City Council attracted a larger than usual crowd to witness the swearing-in of one new Council Member, Darryl Hobbs and to listen to an unscheduled, “on the record” statement by Council Member, James Hatley.
Just before bringing the meeting to order, City Secretary, Dorothy Brooks, swore into office Darryl Hobbs who was on Saturday elected to the Place 1 position on the City Council.
Council Member Hobbs ran unopposed for the chair after long time Council Member, David Holler declined to run for re-election.
Council Member Hobbs held up his right hand as Brooks administered the Oath of Office and then took his seat to join the Council for his first official meeting in office.
Council Member, Robbie Powers, was also re-elected to the Forney City Council after running unopposed, and raking up her fifth absence this year alone, was unexplicably absent from the meeting.
City Secretary, Dorothy Brooks, explained that Council Member Powers could “come by the office this week and get sworn-in.”
Officially calling the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., the Invocation was presented and the Pledge of Allegiance recited before Mayor Rozell presented the bi-monthly Star Employee Award, followed by two Proclamations.
Mayor Rozell first acknowledged City of Forney Public Works Director, Chris Metz, and his employee’s contributions to the city in recognition of National Public Works Week, and then he read a Proclamation in recognition of “Pay It Forward Week”.
Returning to his chair and preparing to move the meeting forward, Mayor Rozell was interrupted by Council Member, James Hatley, who asked to “go off script” to address the audience.
Not listed on the official Agenda, and apparently a surprise to both Mayor Rozell and City Manager, Brian Brooks, Council Member, James Hatley made to following statement in regards to the recent Groundbreaking Ceremony that was held for Forney’s Gateway Bridge.
Councilman Hatley stated, “There was one recognition that was over looked or missed or whatever you want to call it that I think needs to be corrected tonight. Three years ago we elected a new Mayor. That new Mayor came into a fight for funding for a bridge. He had to fight without any particular one-on-one relationship with anybody at TxDOT, anybody at the Regional Transportation Committee or even any relationship with any of our elected official within the County.”
Hatley said, “He had to get up to speed about the fight over the money because there were some communities in Kaufman County that were trying to take the money for our bridge. So he took all that information in as quickly as he could, made the relationships he thought he could as quick as possible. And he had to access at that time, how do I best do this as me, as opposed to how someone else might want me to handle it.”
Elaborating Hatley stated “And what he chose to do was instead of taking the avenue the other communities were taking which was to attack Forney and to try to discredit our project. He chose not to do that. He chose to instead sell Forney’s project. He went to numerous meetings with the County Commissioners, with these different cities battling for our money, with RDC people and with TxDOT. And he stood his ground for us and he stood a higher ground. He didn’t get down in the mud and muck. He didn’t get down and become what they are. He showed them we were a high caliber community. And in the process of that was instrumental in putting together a plan that not only got the City of Forney the money we needed to move forward with that bridge, along with the Hunts and the City and the EDC.”
Always passionate in his convictions, Council Member Hatley stated, “But he also helped to figure a way to get funding for those other communities that were having issues with us to help them move forward with their projects as well. So he represented us in a way that we don’t have to have it all, let’s all work together. I don’t know of any better way to have your Mayor act in a situation like that, that’s adversarial. Where you come into a situation that you are unaware of what’s going on and all of a sudden you don’t know what role to play.”
Speaking for a full five minutes, Councilman Hatley concluded by saying, “I, for one have great appreciation for the fact that you chose to put Forney in that position above the fray. Darren, I know you would not have allowed me to do this, so just on behalf of me and this Council and what I hope is the citizens of Forney, we thank and appreciate you for the stance you took and the stance you take for our community everyday.”
After receiving thanks and hugs from each of the Council Members, Mayor Rozell remained standing behind his council chair.
Addressing the crowd, Mayor Rozell, joked “David I didn’t mean to steal your thunder. Your right, I probably would not have let you do this. I have no idea what to say right now. But the fact that you had to say it, to let the community know what was going on, is one more thing on my mind that tells me I probably did it right.”
Mayor Rozell stated “Ya’ll don’t need to know any of the back talking and you don’t need to know the work and conversations that we had to get through to make sure Forney was counted. Because there are projects taking place right now that are going to solidify Kaufman County, and in a few years from now, people will really knows where Kaufman County is. The fact that you had to say that, and the fact that most people do not know what was going on, tells me I probably did things right.”
Mayor Rozell said, “I can tell you, Forney had good representation with some of those folks. Not only because of the way I did it, but it’s because of the support I had from this Council. And I could not have done it without the staff that was constantly telling me, Mayor, you can do it. I know you are not sure, but you can do it.”
Next Mayor Rozell led the Council in acknowledging and thanking, exiting Council Member, David Holler. After each Council Member remarked on Holler’s contributions to the city, inserting funny jabs and private jokes along the way, Council Member Holler briefly addressed the crowd.
Council Member Holler stated “I’m going to miss everyone. I was originally approached by Darrell Grooms to be on the Council. He asked me ‘David would you like to be on the Council?” And I said, “Well I don’t know.” And he said, “Well either you would or you wouldn’t. And here I am.”
Council Member Holler said “A lot of people have asked me two things. Why I’m leaving and if I’ll be back. And the answer to the first one is that I’ve had three children in the time I’ve been on the Council and I have a new career now too. So my time is very limited and will I be back? Yes, I will. I love this city and want to be part of its future.”
Receiving a standing ovation, the meeting was halted, not adjourned, for fifteen minutes for a cake and punch reception in honor of Council Member Holler, and resumed to actually undertake Council business, at 7:50 p.m.