A public meeting was held today, April 6, 2018, at New Boston, Texas, City Hall, 301 E N Front Street, to hear the sole agenda item to, “consider and take official action on ratifying the authority of the Mayor to retain and release professional services.”
The Council Chamber was packed with citizens of New Boston, leaving an overflow of those waiting to see how the Council would act. All Council members were present, along with Attorney Mike Brock and City Secretary Darla Faulknor.
New Boston Mayor Johnny Branson asserts that he has the sole right to hire and fire without council approval and is seeking to formalize this power.
Bryan Ogburn, owner of the Burger Joint, was in attendance and said, “The Mayor is trying to take away the power from the Council and government and do as he sees fit, like a dictator. He and the police chief and secretary are in cahoots to run this town and bully people.”
Branson attempted to hold a vote on the agenda item prior to hearing any discussion from council members or citizens. There were no council members who seconded the motion to hear a discussion and the agenda item was not adopted. The meeting was hastily adjourned, with Mayor Branson dashing out the door before the public could intervene.
“The Mayor has a trust for being transparent in the decisions that affect the city,” claims Councilmember David Turner.
“We do not need to micromanage the city,” he continued. “In my understanding in what a Class A city can do, the Mayor is the Chief administrative officer, having the ability to hire and fire as he solely sees fit.”
Councilman Joe Dike, interjected, “I don’t agree with that.” Dike referenced a policy under Article III. Sec. 2-11, that states, “The officers of the municipality are the city secretary, treasurer, assessor and collector, city attorney, chief of police, city engineer who shall be appointed by the city council and any offers or agents authorized and appointed by the city council.”
The council believes Branson hired Texarkana Lawyer, Troy Hornsby, to mislead them and help rewrite the City’s policy to disable an employee’s right to appeal for wrongful termination.
Hornsby was hired without prior approval from City Council and was paid with city funds. However, he resigned on March 22, 2018, citing he was hired to handle the Millwood issue and now that it was compete he felt that he ethically could no longer fulfill his duties.
Lt. Johnny Millwood was fired by New Boston, Texas, Chief of Police Tony King, on March 9, 2018, shortly after the policy had been amended and currently is placed on paid administrative. Lt. Millwood was not provided any written documentation or explanation for his termination.
According to Butch Dunbar, Attorney to Millwood, On March 20, 2018, the council unanimously voted to reinstate Millwoods employment and to request an investigation into the New Boston Police Department by the Texas Rangers. The request was carried out by Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle and signed by Brock and Hornsby.
New Boston Chief of Police Tony King refuses to validate Millwoods status as a Peace Officer with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, directly in violation of the council’s vote. King allegedly has violated protocol and business practices while on duty, making arrests without probable cause and making purchases with city funds without council approval. He is also accused of sending a perverse photo to Lt. Millwood, claiming the girl in the photo with a penis was Millwood. King denies these allegations.
Councilman Dike is accused of attempting to hold secret meetings with selective councilmembers and also accused of trying to break into City Secretary Darla Faulknor’s office at City Hall. Dike denies all these allegations.