Sunday, November 21, 2010

 

Seven Points names new police chief, again
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–A press release Tuesday was the first hint that something else was brewing in Seven Points.
The press release said the “city of Seven Points” was announcing the resignation of Police Chief Jack Nelson.
Mayor John “Joe” Dobbs added his personal thanks for Nelson’s service and accomplishments.
SPPDNelson.jpg (43672 bytes)Seven Points police chief Jack Nelson re-retires midst allegations of sexual harrassment. SPPDKroger.jpg (45164 bytes)Reserve officer Curt Koger named Nelson’s replacement as police chief.

Dobbs hired Nelson, soon after firing former police chief Brad McConahay in July.
The reason given in the statement for Nelson’s resignation was that he wanted to re-enter retirement.
Dobbs announced Reserve Officer Curt Koger as Nelson’s successor.
The press release stated Koger has 27 years in law enforcement. He was the assistant chief and later chief of the Tarrant County Hospital District from October, 2004, through October, 2009.
Nelson’s resignation was tainted with claims that he made sexual and racial slurs to a female officer.
A call to Dobbs seeking comment was not returned.
In the press release Dobbs stated he is confident Koger will lead the department in a favorable direction, with the goal of being more community-minded.
Nelson had started a Citizens Police Academy with that purpose in mind, wanting more citizens taking an active part in controlling crime and drug-related problems in Kemp.
The first class graduation took place Oct. 19 at the VFW hall.
Other Seven Points officers have had their own set of troubles.
Officer Raymond Wennerstrom was placed on administrative paid leave Nov. 1 for reasons that have not been officially revealed. He remains on a 21-day leave, pending an investigation.
Officer Wayne Nutt is also on paid administrative leave, and recently hired officer Jason Perini was fired by Nelson before Nelson’s resignation.
A Seven Points reserve officer, Walter Clifton, reportedly is conducting the internal investigation.
The citizens of Seven Points are critically watching the events taking place at city hall.
In addition to the police department’s problems, the city itself has been almost at a standstill since May. The Nov. 9 regular scheduled council meeting passed with nothing being accomplished.
A 30-day injunction that should have bound both the mayor and all five council members to holding meetings, taking no personnel actions and signing checks for city bills apparently has been ignored.
The city continues to have no council meetings, no checks are being countersigned and the recent firings are without council approval.
Two council members, Claudette Allsup and Tommy Taylor, have appeared at meetings, but “the missing three” – mayor pro tem Hank Laywell and council members Cheryl Jones and Jeremy “Bubba” Powell – have chosen to boycott most called meetings since the May city election.
Citizens attempted to get the Henderson County Commissioners to call a special election to replace “vacant” seats (citizens claimed the seats held by Laywell, Powell and Jones should be declared vacant because they did not attend meetings), but the commissioners have not taken any actions, on the advice of county attorney Clint Davis.
Davis pointed out ongoing litigation involving the city council when recommending to the commissioners that they table the election request.
The Secretary of State’s office says there is a policy allowing citizens to seek court action to call an election, but they interpret that policy to mean at least a district court, not the county commissioners’ court.
Attorneys for the group believed a commissioners’ court request was sufficient, Davis explained.

 

Former city judge pleads guilty to lie
Monica Corker waives rights to appeal; faces sentencing soon
Monitor Staff Reports
TYLER–Former Seven Points municipal judge Monica Lynn Corker, 48, pled guilty Wednesday to a charge that she intentionally made a false statement to an FBI agent.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported Thursday that she also waived her rights to an indictment by a federal grand jury and an appeal before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie.
Sentencing is expected in several months in Judge Michael Schneider’s courtroom. She faces up to five years in federal prison for the felony charge.
On Sept. 17, 2009, the FBI asked Corker about whether she had deleted any information from the municipal computer system concerning criminal misdemeanor investigations.
Corker said she only deleted duplicate records.
The Telegraph reported that according to court documents, she is charged with knowingly tampering with the city of Seven Points’ computer server database, which was part of the FBI probe, with the intent to influence the investigation and administration of a matter under FBI oversight.
The plea agreement is the result of a continuing investigation by state and federal agencies into corruption of public offices in Seven Points.
The investigation has named Corker, city council members Jeremy “Bubba” Powell and former mayor Gerald Taylor for abuse of official capacity for cashing two-party checks through the court funds.
Council member Tommy Taylor (no relation) was also indicted last week by a Henderson County grand jury for receiving housecleaning services at his residence by a community worker in lieu of payment of a traffic fine.

 

East Cedar Creek closes Trinidad raw water purchase
Monitor Staff Reports
TRINIDAD–After approximately two years of staying the course, both the City of Trinidad and East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District have successfully come to an agreement on the purchase of wholesale water with the state’s approval.
The two parties have worked with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) to pave the way for the city to sell raw water to ECCFWSD, utility general manager Bill Goheen said in a press release.
Tarrant Regional approved the withdrawal of raw water awarded to the city when Cedar Creek Lake impeded the natural watershed which existed prior to the lake impoundment. Creation of the reservoir altered the natural drainage terrain to Trinidad, Goheen explained.
Trinidad’s engineer, Mike Tibbets of Hayter Engineering, was instrumental in assisting the city in achieving approved changes from TCEQ to its existing Certificate of Adjudication of water rights dating back to Sept. 4, 1986.
This approved change allows the city to sell a portion of its allocation as wholesale water, benefitting the city with another revenue source it didn’t have previously.
The contract allows ECCFWSD to purchase 288 million gallons of additional raw water a year at a negotiated price 10 percent cheaper per 1,000 gallons than it currently pays to Tarrant Regional Water District.
A progressive percentage increase will take place over the next three years and for the remainder of the 50-year contract, the utility will pay a flat 75 percent of what Tarrant Regional charges, saving the district 25 percent over current raw water costs.
The estimated savings is in excess of $50,000 annually, once the contract enters its fifth year.
An estimated savings totaling $4 million by the end of the contract in 2060 is anticipated.



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