BARTONVILLE — The Town Council will proceed without a mayor for a few months until residents vote to fill the vacancy during the May elections.
But a new council member, Norma Harrington, has been appointed to fill the unexpired Place 2 position that had been held by Mayor Pro Tem James Farrell.
Mayor Ron Robertson and the mayor pro tem abruptly resigned recently, citing irreconcilable differences with the council. The council accepted the resignations of the two men during a special meeting last week. Neither Robertson nor Farrell returned phone calls from the Denton Record-Chronicle seeking comment.
After some discussion during the special meeting, the council voted to appoint Harrington to the Place 2 term until the next general municipal election on May 20. No action was taken on appointing someone to the vacant mayor’s seat, but officials have the option to fill the position during the 2014 election.
Robertson’s and Farrell’s resignations were a surprise to some town officials. Both men announced their resignations immediately after a regularly scheduled council meeting, and both said their resignations would be effective immediately.
“I find myself in a place where I can’t see myself adding value to the direction of the town,” Farrell said during the meeting, according to an official recording obtained by the Record-Chronicle.
Immediately after Farrell announced his resignation, Robertson announced his.
“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,” Robertson said.
He said he believed the council was 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.
The town has been embroiled in legal battles with Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp. over an incomplete water tower within the city limits.
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.
And since then, the legal battle has been at a standstill. Some residents have criticized the town for spending tax dollars on legal fees that could be avoided.
Robertson had said the town would defend its position no matter how long it takes.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.