A recent report that has been distributed throughout neighborhoods in Duncanville has severely misled readers into believing that interim City Manager Greg Contreras broke from a “long established policy” that Duncanville’s Fire Chief and Police Chief live within the city limits.
Sam Rhode, a long serving first responder, was promoted from Assistant Fire Chief to Chief last Tuesday. This action did not go off as a well deserved promotion. Instead it was marred with questions concerning “response time” due to Rhode’s residency.
Rhode currently lives in Cedar Hill. A “mere 5 1/2 miles,” as quoted in the report, from Duncanville.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s explore the facts to this reported “long established policy.”
According to Duncanville’s City Charter, Municipal Code/City Ordinances and employee handbook, there is absolutely no written policy requiring the Chief of Police or Fire to reside within the city limits.
Per Article 3 of the City Charter and City Ordinance 1491, the City Manager is the only employee with required residency.
The only item that was found about “Directors of Departments” can be viewed below.
According to the screen shot from MuniCode below, residency is not required for Police Chief.
Along with the evidence provided above, it was also confirmed by the city that no policy exists that require Police/Fire Chiefs to reside within the city limits.
From the research done, duncanvillevoice.com was unable to confirm the statement about a “long established policy.” Without any factual documentation to back up the claim, one may conclude that the printed statement was deceptive and disingenuous.
Now let’s explore the argument about “response time.”
Logically one would question why “response time” has become a hot button issue? Or does a member or [members] of the Duncanville City Council have a axe to grind with interim City Manager, Greg Contreras?
How long had Rhode served as Assistant Fire Chief? Did he act as “Chief” during the absence of recently retired Chief Giordano and was Rhodes’ “response time” questioned during that time? Has Rhode been reprimanded for showing up late to a fire, or missing one completely when called out?
The “5 1/2″ miles mentioned in the article sparked my curiosity and I began to play with Google maps.
Even if Chief Rhode lived in Duncanville his response time may still be the same, or even longer depending on the location of a possible fire/disaster.See example below.
If Chief Rhode resided in lovely District 5 on Jungle Drive, and a major disaster happen at Harrington Park, The drive would be over 6 miles.
Before everyone starts jumping and hollering at the screen that Chief Rhode should take the highway because cutting through town is the long way…
It would take even longer.
Yes, Chief Rhode will have to travel 5 1/2 miles from Cedar Hill into Duncanville. But I’m confident that we have a highly effective and well trained team of Fire Fighters on Camp Wisdom and a team on South Main that can quickly respond and handle any fire/disaster that may come before our fair city.
The last line in the article states that “Councilwoman Jameson’s opinion is that the Police Chief, Fire Chief and the City Manager should reside in the city.”
Is it policy or opinion?
We all know the saying about opinions right?
Congratulations Chief Rhode; Duncanville knows we are in good hands and thank you for your service to our community.
Not only is November 5th election night, there is also a marathon planned in the Duncanville City Council chambers. The posted agenda for the regularly scheduled meeting contains 3 pages of city business.
Most of it is business as usual except for a few items.
The first item of interest is Agenda Item 11, to ratify the appointment of Sam Rohde as Fire Chief for the City of Duncanville. Congrats are in order and we should all send him positive thoughts and pray that he and his crew stay safe and healthy.
Agenda Item 16 is when things are going to get interesting.
Hotel/Motel tax is back on the agenda; This should make for a good show.
The Duncanville Lions Club is asking for $20,000 for the Sandra Meadows Classic. This is one should be a no-brainer. The Sandra meadows Classic has proven to be a win – win for the City of Duncanville. Hotels are full, restaurants in the area are packed and small business in the area become a beneficiary of the influx of tournament goers.
The DL Hopkins Senior Center have asked for $10,500 for the installation of a new sound system for the Parkview room. This should also be a no-brainer. Not only does the Senior Center host dances, plays and other functions put on by staff, it also hosts the Duncanville Library Author Banquet and is a rental for parties and small gatherings. Having a new sound system could be a selling point for future rentals and gatherings.
The International Museum of Cultures have asked for $25,000 for advertising and promotion of the Museum and the City of Duncanville. If you look at the way this agenda item is written, it fails to explain what the “promotion of the City of Duncanville” actually means. It appears that the IMOC wants to become the “Visitor Center” for the City. Should that not be the job of the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce?
It’s unlikely that travelers will seek out the local museum to find the hottest restaurant or bar in town. Most would ask the locals about where to eat and be entertain; experienced travels will seek out the local Chamber.
The other thought is, if the IMOC is such an attraction for the City of Duncanville, why would they need $25,000 for advertising. This museum receives funding from numerous outside sources and boasts about the large amount of virtual internet tours given every year. With the 30,000 visitors they claim to bring in each year, wouldn’t that help offset the cost?
It’s also been reported that the building that the museum currently resides in on Highway 67 was given to them by the previous owner. That owner was Dalton Lott. I’m sure you remember that name. It’s the same person who owns the building where Marshall Arts Event Center is located on Freeman Street in the Downtown District.
Remember when the owner of Marshall Arts Event Center went before the previous DCEDC board and asked for a grant to install a sprinkler system in the building she leases? She was denied thanks in part to Mr. Lott being the owner of the building. During that meeting, statements were made by members of said DCEDC, which included ousted District 3 Councilwoman Leslie Thomas who is a staunch supporter of the IMOC, that she felt the DCEDC shouldn’t give a grant to a millionaire landlord. Maybe the IMOC could use the money they saved on purchasing a building for advertising their business.
It would be appropriate to allocate some money for the museum; They do represent the arts, culture awareness and fit the criteria for Hotel/Motel tax…but not $25,000. Unless, they can prove, in writing and receipts, that they can match the economic impact that the Sandra Meadows Tournament brings to the City of Duncanville. Then the investment would be worth it.
I wonder what kind of tournament the Duncanville Lions Club could put on for $45,000?? The city is in possession of an amphitheater, why not hold a concert at the end of the tournament with a national act? But I digress…
The Duncanville Community Theater has requested $12,000 for operational costs. Again, a no-brainer. Theater Director Amy Jackson always gives a thorough and concise presentation explaining how the Hotel/Motel tax will be allocated.
I suggest you bring your Snuggie and a toothbrush; It’s gonna be a long night.
And remember, City View Tacos is open 24 hrs for late night diners.
Shop Smart, Shop Small, Shop Duncanville.
What a way to spend a Saturday evening.
It’s hard to imagine that this council has more than 2 or 3 candidates lined up jockeying for this position. Wonder who they could be? I’m sure we will find out soon.
Judging by recent “letters” circulating, it seems that interim City Manager Greg Contreras may have over-stayed his welcome with certain members of the council.
As interim City Manager, Mr. Contreras has done a fine job executing his duties regardless of his qualifications. It’s probably safe to say that some have found that it’s not so easy to squeeze Contreras to conform to their agenda. If a new permanent City Manager is found, Contreras deserves and has earned the right to be considered for the Assistant City Manager seat. However, it’s not clear if there is money budgeted for that position.
We will find out soon enough.
Recent social media comments about a local communication device here in Duncanville. It’s interesting to read what is being communicated outside of duncanvillevoice.
Does it seem to you that there is a fondness, even a yearning within the community to have the quality reporting that once was?
What are your thoughts?
Let’s keep the conversation civil; it’s time to bring back what the citizens want.
Agenda 6-24-13 (PDF)
Packet 6-24-13 (PDF)
Monday June 24th will bring another Town Hall Meeting regarding the Wintergreen Road Project to the forefront. If you have never seen Duncanville politics in action, this will be one you will not want to miss.
On Tuesday June 18th, the Duncanville City Council held a public hearing regarding the possible council approval to allow Dallas County the use of eminent domain to secure 10,540 sq ft of land (which equals to about a 1/4 of an acre) from Duncanville resident, Dr. Ronald L. Dotson. This land acquisition will supposedly help in the realignment of Wintergreen Rd. (See design below. Land needed for road enhancement will be in yellow.)
In an order to provide complete factual information, an added 11,211 sq ft of Dr. Dotson’s land will be needed for a Temporary Construction Easement. During negotiations with the County, this land can be “rented” or “leased” by the County from the landowner at a rate agreed upon by the two parties. This land is not used for actual construction, but could be used for storage of construction materials, staging area for equipment etc. This land is returned to the landowner at the completion of the construction and returned to the negotiated level of restoration ie; replanting of grass, construction damage. (See design below. Land needed for the “TEC” is highlighted in red.)
During the public hearing on the 18th, there were a number of accusations that were made without any documentation or proof.
One of the many accusations was that a gas station and strip mall were planned to be built. Again, if you look at the plan provided by the county, there are no plans indicated for development along the street. According to Dr. Dotson, this information was implied by a news publication last September. Another rumor that begs to be clarified by Dallas County is if this road is planned to go through the middle of the Dotson house? This is apparently another rampant rumor that is making its way through the public.
The diagram does show that the beginning of Mr. Dotson’s driveway will have to be removed for the alignment and connection of Wintergreen but does not indicate that destroying the home will be necessary.
During the public hearing, Dr. Dotson argued that the construction fence will be located within 20ft of the front door. The temporary construction easement on the diagram stops short of covering up the entire outer lane to his circle driveway. At this time, duncanvillevoice.com is unable to verify the distance from the easement to the front door. This is a question that should be directed to the engineers of the county on Monday night.
An argument has been made by the other side of the issue that questions whether or not Dr. Dotson knew about the project prior to the purchase of his home. Dotson did in fact confirm this was the case in his public statements made on June 11th. Dotson claims to have initialed a document stating that they were aware of the Wintergreen project and it was understood that it may or may not happen. A supporter of the project liken this to knowingly purchasing a home next to a nuclear reactor. “It may or may not melt down one day, don’t be surprised if that time comes. And if you signed on the dotted line knowing it was a possibility, you can’t claim you didn’t know or that you were not okay with it. It was dyed-in-the-wool before you put that sweater on.”
Dotson claims that the initial drawing that he initialed off on during the purchase of his home is much different than the plan purposed by the County today. When Dotson was asked by District 3 Councilmember Stan Smith if Dotson had a copy of the original plan or deed he signed off on, Dotson replied with, “Yes, we have it somewhere.” Dotson did not appear to have any documentation with him. Councilman Smith stated that he would be interested in seeing that plan.
Also during statements made by Dr. Dotson, it was pointed out that he and his family “would not and will not” live with a road outside their front door. Supporters question why the Dotson’s purchased the home in the first place knowing the possibility of the intrusion of part of a road on the land in question.
At the end of Dotson’s comments which can be seen by watching the video posted on duncanville.com, Dotson warns the Council that if eminent domain is the method that will be used to secure his portion of land need for the project, a long and tough legal battle will lie ahead. Dotson is stated as saying, “Any plan differing from the initial plan we initialed originally is a breach of contract; a subsequent lawsuit will be filed against the City of Duncanville and Dallas County.”
Again, supporters of the Wintergreen project agree that this is another admission that Dotson was fully aware of the possibility that the project could potentially move forward.
According to communication with an Attorney specializing in eminent domain who wished to remain anonymous stated that, “Failure to comply by the homeowner could result in a breach of contract as well. If the home owner agreed to purchase the home knowing full and well that this project had the possibility of moving forward in the future, any action against the County could possibly backfire. Without seeing all pertinent documentation from both sides, it would be difficult and irresponsible to predict an outcome. It would depend on what was disclosed by the County and what the homeowner was made aware of at the time of closing.”
It was brought up numerous times that it was reported that Dr. Dotson was okay with the plan moving forward from the beginning as long as he was compensated for his land. At this time, there has been no documentation or proof that this is true. Duncanvillevoice.com has been unsuccessful in obtaining any such evidence and until then, this statement will be chalked up as hearsay unless proven otherwise.
Whatever side of the fence you may be on, this will prove to be a contentious battle.
On a final note, misinformation is being propagated by some that is untruthfully fueling this debate. The point to this statement is that some of the misinformation needs to be publicly clarified once and for all to the citizens of Duncanville.
I challenge any sitting Councilmember to publicly ask Mayor Deborah Hodge to verify if Costco ever took any of her land through the law of eminent domain and if not, does she still retain the rights to all of her land? Did any of the land where Costco sits ever belong to the Hodge family? It would also be important to point out if eminent domain was ever used by a court of law to acquire the 20 ft strip of land that was used to widen Wintergreen in front of her house, or did Hodge settle with the city? If the truth is told, the public may be quite surprised at the answer.
Apparently Hodge did not use that opportunity during the public hearing to correct those who were using Costco as ammunition and this needs to be clarified so that the voting public is not mislead with anymore lies and misinformation. If this fight is going to be fought, let’s not make the same mistakes over and over.
It’s also the hope that Hodge will conduct the meeting fairly. If need be, duncanvillevoice.com will pull all of the video of Hodge while she gavels down the crowd because of outburst of talking or clapping throughout her tenure as Mayor and compare it to the last public hearing that saw none of this. District 5 Johnette Jameson is usually the catapult for Hodge to conduct a meeting in that manner with her incessant call for “point of order.” The public hearing on June 11th, recorded zero “POO’s” from Ms. Jameson.
What’s good for one, is good for all. If you’re going to be a parliamentarian; act it.