Denton City Council member Dalton Gregory announced this week that he will resign his District 2 seat in order to run for an at-large seat on the council.
His resignation becomes effective when the city canvasses the May election, expected on May 13. However, his announcement also allows the City Council to call a special election for his anticipated vacancy.
In other words, in addition to races for the mayor’s seat, Place 5 and Place 6, a race for District 2 is also expected to be on Denton’s May 10 ballot.
Gregory, 61, said the council would need experienced members in the coming years, with the departures of Mayor pro tem Pete Kamp and Mayor Mark Burroughs because of term limits, and council member James King, who has said he does not plan to run again. Next year, Jim Engelbrecht will also leave District 3, having reached his term limits.
Gregory had given 18 years of service to various city boards and committees before he was first elected in 2009 for the District 2 City Council seat. He, too, would leave the council for term limits next spring if he didn’t resign to run at-large.
“There’s the potential for much less experience on the council,” Gregory said. “It’s not bad. It’s great to have a variety of perspectives and not do things the way we’ve always done them.
“But it is helpful when members can share the history,” he added. “They can explain why things are the way they are right now.”
He said he wanted to continue to serve, in part, to provide leadership on projects he believes are important to the community, such as making Denton more walkable and bike-friendly.
He filed campaign paperwork appointing Bettye Myers as his campaign treasurer, which she has done since he was first elected in 2009.
Gregory’s resignation to run for another seat is not unprecedented. Kamp made a similar move, resigning a district seat to run and serve at-large.
In 2008, residents filed a lawsuit questioning a long-standing practice of not counting past years of service toward term limits for council members who switch seats. At the time, they hoped to keep Kamp, Burroughs and Perry McNeill, who was running for re-election as mayor, off the ballot. The lawsuit was dismissed. In 2009, Denton voters approved a charter amendment that limits council members to 12 consecutive years of service.
Whether Gregory has one or more opponents in the race remains to be seen. Formal filing for a place on the ballot begins Jan. 29. To date, Chris Watts and Jean Schaake have made similar announcements and appointments. Both are expected to file as candidates for mayor.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.