Leader Staff Writer
The Garland City Council made a big move last week limiting what duties Mayor Arlon Bennett has in the city.
The council approved a motion to give all public safety department duties to Councilman Scott Coleman, departments assigned to Bennett. The council also restricted Bennett’s ability to hire and fire city employees.
The council shifted other duties to remaining council members. Councilmember Todd Miller will be over Planning and Zoning and sewer, J.R. Thompson will work on Wheat and Beet, the library and the youth city council, Councilman Gary Shaw will continue to represent parks and mosquito abatement and Councilman Josh Munns will be over Wheat and Beet, streets and water.
“All departments need a councilperson to represent and take concerns between them and the mayor,” said Coleman.
Garland City’s attorney Bruce Jorgensen was present at the Tuesday night meeting where the council discussed these changes. He advised the council to have the proposed changes written up in a resolution and put on the next agenda to vote. Bennett was not present.
The following night the council met again for a work session and city council meeting. The mayor was once again absent and no mention on his whereabouts was made. The council did not discuss their reasons for the changes.
Last year Bennett was reprimanded by the council for spending money on projects they had previously declined to complete. Bennett went ahead with a road project on Main Street that was over the cost he is allowed to spend without council approval. Bennett stated in a council meeting that the funds to cover the overexpenditure came from an anonymous donor. Later in the year he okayed the purchase of a salt shed valued at over $40,000, without the council’s approval.
Each time a new council or mayor is elected, the duties outlined above will be reassigned. This November, Bennett’s position is up for reelection, as is the council seats of Shaw and Munns.