An ongoing dispute between Grayson County and the Texoma Council of Governments escalated further on Tuesday morning, as the Commissioners Court voted unanimously to remove former Denison Mayor Bill Lindsay from TCOG’s Board, on which he served as a community representative. The Court’s actions were in response to comments made by Lindsay last Thursday regarding a disagreement between the two bodies over 9-1-1 services, said Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum.
“Certainly one of the things we look at from a Grayson County community representative is someone who will support the County, and I think it became abundantly clear Thursday at the TCOG Board of Directors that that didn’t happen,” said Bynum prior to the court’s vote. “There were some very disparaging words said towards us as a County.”
The conflict centers on revised language in the contract between TCOG and the county for 9-1-1 services. The TCOG Board declined to approve an amendment last Thursday proposed by Grayson County that enumerated in greater detail what services the Council of Governments would be required to provide.
Lindsay, who said he had not been notified of the court’s intentions prior to Tuesday’s vote, took issue last week with the timing of the commissioners’ revisions to the contract.
“Apparently, the judge didn’t like my response to the proposed ILA (interlocal agreement) between the County and TCOG,” said Lindsay. “(The County) dawdled until the last minute with proposed changes which were simplistic at best and meant little to the agreed services. The lack of timeliness … signals a lack of professional attention to detail.”
In comments Tuesday afternoon, Lindsay criticized what he saw as a lack of interest and participation in TCOG by the County. Lindsay specifically pointed to Bynum and Commissioner Bart Lawrence, who he said have not regularly attended TCOG meetings. The organization’s bylaws permit Bynum to select an official to serve in his stead, which he elected to do with Lawrence.
“It makes it difficult for (the commissioners) to be in touch with what’s going on,” Lindsay said. “If you’re not attending to discuss what’s taking place in our region, it’s hard to take issue (with TCOG decisions) in a professional manner. To be there in person to discuss what we need to do in our area, I think, is paramount.”
Comments by Judge Bynum seemed to imply that the relationship between the two organizations may well be hanging in the balance.
“One of the questions that may be begged through this vote is who are we going to have represent us as a result of Mr. Lindsay not being on the Board. We don’t know that we will appoint somebody else. We may not have a need to appoint someone else because we are certainly looking at all our options when it comes to our involvement with TCOG,” said Bynum.
In other business, commissioners voted 4-1 to extend the county fire ban on the recommendation of Grayson County Fire Marshal Kevin Walton. Precinct 2 Commissioner David Whitlock was the dissenting vote. He did not elaborate on his decision making.
On another split vote, commissioners approved the 2014 salary order, including a 2-percent bonus for county employees, with only Precinct 1 Commissioner Jeff Whitmire voting “no.” Whitmire explained that his dissent was not specific to the bonuses, but was instead a protest of the order’s inclusion of supplements.
The county voted unanimously, however, to participate in Denison’s Tax Reinvestment Zone No. 2, which will allow Schuler Development to recoup infrastructure costs on its planned 3,000-acre development northwest of Denison. Bynum was selected to be the County’s representative on the Zone’s Board of Directors.
The court bucked a recommendation from County Purchasing Agent Jeff Schneider to renew the county’s contract for fleet maintenance with Motor Masters for another year. Commissioners instead voted to open the contract for bidding, despite Schneider’s advisement that it would likely increase costs. Bids are due to the county by Oct. 9.
Commissioners also declined a request from County Health Department Director John Teel to establish a formal appeals board for the Indigent Health Care Program. Commissioners reasoned that a formal board would not be an efficient use of time for the individuals involved, and instead opted for a less formal, two-step appeals process for citizens who are removed from the program.