BARTONVILLE — Mayor Ron Robertson and Mayor Pro Tem James Farrell abruptly resigned Tuesday from the Bartonville Town Council, citing irreconcilable differences with the council.
Both men announced their resignations Tuesday night immediately after a regularly scheduled council meeting, and both said that their resignations would be effective immediately.
“I’ve given this a whole lot of consideration,” Farrell said during the meeting, according to an official recording obtained by the Denton Record-Chronicle. “I find myself in a place where I can’t see myself adding value to the direction of the town.”
Immediately after Farrell announced his resignation, Robertson announced his.
“I also will be resigning my position as mayor,” he said. “I really don’t want to be part of this. I don’t see myself working with you guys. I really don’t. I think you’re heading down the wrong direction.”
He said that he believes the council is following the direction of a person who shouldn’t be followed and who doesn’t have the best interests of the town in mind, but he did not elaborate.
Robertson and Farrell did not return phone calls seeking comment by press time Wednesday.
The resignations came just days after voters elected Jeff Traylor and Gary A. Marco to fill two vacant Town Council positions. Traylor and Marco were administered oaths of office Monday during a special called meeting, joining the other four council members, including the mayor and mayor pro tem.
Officials were mum about what conflicts Farrell and Robertson may have been alluding to, but Bartonville recently has been tied up in legal battles with Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp. over an incomplete water tower within the city limits.
Robertson has been very vocal about the issue since disputes began, saying he believes the water tower should be torn down.
Conflicts began in 2011 when the water supply corporation, known then as the Bartonville Water Supply Corp., decided to construct the $1.2 million water tower.
The corporation started building the tower, but the town demanded construction stop because the corporation had failed to obtain the proper permits, according to court records.
The town later denied the corporation’s request for a construction permit because the site was not zoned for construction, and the corporation sued the town. That suit was dismissed, according to court records.
In 2012, the corporation requested a rehearing of the suit, and a judge ruled that the town’s zoning ordinance and building permit requirements did not apply to the water supply corporation.
The judge then ruled that a construction permit should be issued to the corporation for the water tower. The town appealed that decision, and the appeals court overturned the lower court’s decision but left unanswered whether a permit for construction should be granted. Subsequent mediation efforts fell apart this fall, with town officials pushing to tear down the half-completed tower and corporation officials wanting to complete the project.
“No side agreed to the offers of the other side,” said Pat McDonald, Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp. president.
On several occasions, Robertson said that he would continue to fight the corporation.
The town issued a press release Wednesday in response to the resignations, stating that the council has called a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday “for the sole purpose of considering the acceptance of the resignations and appointments of replacement.”
No other business will be considered at the special meeting, according to Bartonville officials.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.