Some members voice concerns over gathering outside town, chambers
The town of Argyle has scheduled a special meeting for 5 p.m. Monday, but council members were surprised to learn that instead of having the meeting in normal chambers, the meeting will be held at a home in Bartonville.
The council is scheduled to meet at 1005 Roadrunner Road, a property owned by Kathie Rachwal, tax records show.
According to the town Code of Ordinances, all regular Town Council meetings must be held within the town or at Town Hall, 308 Denton St.
However, the ordinance does not limit where special meetings may be held as long as proper notice is posted at least 72 hours before the meeting.
Council members Bonny Haynes and Peggy Krueger said the council agreed to have a workshop session and training on Monday, but they said they were shocked to see that the agenda had been changed and the location moved.
“It sounds like they don’t want the public to see what they’re doing,” Haynes said. “It’s a sneaky move, and it was a surprise to me when I got the notice and I don’t like it.”
Krueger said she found out about the change after it was posted on the town’s website.
Mayor Matt Smith could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Council members Joey Hasty, Joan Delashaw and David Wintermute also could not be reached.
Haynes said she will not attend because the meeting should be held in the town chambers for the public to attend. Having the meeting in a private residence discourages the public from attending, she said, and because the meeting is, by law, open to the public, it should be conducted in its usual location.
According to the agenda, the council is scheduled to discuss the duties of the new town manager, who has yet to be hired. Smith said this week the council has narrowed its search to three candidates. He said the next step in the process is to formally interview each candidate. The council has been searching for a permanent town manager since last spring when the last town manager stepped down.
Former Town Manager Lyle Dresher said he does not believe the council meeting should be held outside town limits because the agenda items reflect business that should be handled during a regularly called meeting.
“It’s odd that they’re holding this meeting on a Monday, when normal council meetings are on Tuesday,” he said. “Why not wait until then? It just adds to the suspicion.”
Dresher said Monday’s scheduled meeting does not qualify as the usual special called meeting. He also said that by having the meeting in Bartonville, the town and the property owner may be responsible for accommodating attendees at the meeting.
“I’m not the town attorney, but in my experience in working with the town, this is not how things are supposed to be done,” he said.
Krueger said the duties of the town manager have already been established and discussing the manager’s duties is a waste of time. Krueger said she thinks the mayor wants to alter his duties and the duties of the town manager.
In the executive meeting, the council is also expected to consider “the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of Town Secretary Codi Delcambre and Finance Director Kim Collins.”
Haynes said she is not sure why the town secretary and finance director are on the agenda, but she said personnel matters should be handled at Town Hall, not at a private residence.
“I don’t know what grievance they have with them, but they should man up and put it on the agenda and tell the public,” Haynes said. “All of these items should be on a regular agenda, but they’re trying to hide what they’re doing so they can get their way.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .