First off, I would like to thank the council, in keeping with the spirit of the original charter and the intent of the charter commission, for appointing the Mayor Pro-Tem as Mayor.
Secondly, I would like to thank Brian Johnson for his many years of dedication and service to the City of Kennedale. It would be very remiss for anyone not to acknowledge his commitment as Mayor. He truly has big shoes to fill.
Lastly, I do not even pretend to try to fill his shoes, but rather to fulfill the duty, to the best of my ability, as your Mayor. As our city is undergoing so many major changes and is in the midst of uncertainty, I want to encourage each of you to stay strong, positive, and to keep an open mind. Let’s pause for a moment to take a look at some very positive things going on in our city departments at the moment:
- Police Department- Darrell Hull was recently promoted from Captain to our Chief of Police.
- Fire Department- I am hearing, in spite of recent events in city leadership, morale has improved in this department. This is largely in part due to the recent salary adjustments.
- Admin- Leslie Galloway, in her role as City Secretary, recently completed her Texas Registered Municipal Clerk. This TRMC designation is a 3-year process (at a minimum) and then a person is required to re-certify every 5 years.
- Amanda King, Director of Library Services, has been working diligently behind the scenes on a re-open plan for the Senior Citizens Center. I am excited to hear we are getting closer to re-opening the center, including some much needed improvements.
- Lakiesha and her finance team- gearing up for the budget process as well as keeping up with CO issuance processes in an effort to keep the city moving forward by obtaining funding for much needed projects that will minimally effect the tax rate.
- HR remains strong and has been extremely busy trying to keep up with recent employee status changes due to retirements, resignations, and promotions.
- Public Works Department, Permits, Animal Control, etc.- All other departments and employees continue to faithfully service our citizens and are acknowledged and appreciated as well.
As a reminder, or for those that may not know my background, not only am I a life-long resident and Kennedale Alumni, I have over 39 years municipal experience. In 1982, I started my career working for the City of Kennedale. I worked in the finance and water departments as well as served as the Board of Adjustment Secretary from the time of its inception. In 2002, due to financial reasons, I left for a better paying position at the City of Lake Worth, which resulted as City Secretary. I worked there until my retirement in 2017, at such time to be able to watch my grandchild. During my employment at both cities, I had the privilege of working with our City Attorneys TOASE. When I retired in 2017, I made it known that I was going to keep up my certification as City Secretary…just in case I ever had to go back to work. I have continued to maintain that goal. Part of the re-cert criteria is educational-based; therefore, I chose to go through the CPM course to not only gain re-cert credit for my TRMC but also to gain a Certified Public Manager certification. I graduated last month with my CPM. Certifications I hold are TRMC, CMC, MMC, and CPM. Professional organizations I hold memberships in are TMCA, NTMCA, IIMC, ICMA, and ASPA. In 2018, I was elected as Council Place #4, last month I was selected as Mayor Pro-Tem, and tonight I have been appointed as the Mayor. History has been made in Kennedale this evening- it now has its very first female Mayor! Over the years, I have been very involved with many local, regional, and international organizations; including serving on various committees and board positions within the role as City Secretary. With that being said, I anticipate opportunities will arise that will necessitate me (or my designee) to be involved with different types of organizations within the role of Mayor.
In closing, in 2018 my platform was to try to bridge an ever-present division in our council/city by bringing my background knowledge and experience to the table. Evidently, my job here is not done. One person alone cannot build a bridge. It takes the ability, patience, collaboration, and cooperation of all persons involved. So, even though I did not necessarily sign up for it, I am willing and capable to take on the role that has been dealt for me as your Mayor. Now, I would like to challenge and encourage each of you (as a citizen, a board member, a staff person, as a Councilperson, or whatever stakeholder position you may possess) to be a partner in building the much-needed bridge to maintain the integrity of our great city. We are told by a very reliable source that every city divided against itself shall not stand. I do not want to be in that city. It is up to each of us to make an effort to work together, be kind to each other, and continually pray for wisdom. Thank you for listening; now let’s get started.