Duncanville Is Suing Its Own Mayor

Categories: Legal Battles

MayorDeborahHodge.jpg
Mayor Deborah Hodge
There's something rotten in Duncanville city government. Twenty-four of the past 30 months spent without a permanent city manager, a City Council bitterly divided, and now this: The city of Duncanville is suing Mayor Deborah Hodge.

Yes, that is a thing that can happen. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by the city attorney. The claim? That Hodge was arbitrarily requiring a two-thirds super-majority for basic council actions.

See also: Duncanville City Councilman Mark Cooks Was Arrested for Assaulting His Wife

The squabble is best explained using the U.S. Senate as an analogy. For decades, the Senate has had a rule that, in effect, means you need a 60-vote supermajority to get anything done. The rule itself, though, could be changed by a simple majority, which is what finally happened when Democrats grew sufficiently frustrated with the slow progress of Obama's nominations.

Duncanville City Council rules also require a supermajority for certain things: closing debate, deviating from the agenda and removing the mayor pro-tem. In Hodge's view, changing the rules is also on that list, an insurmountable task when the council is immovably split 4-3.

Three times a majority of council members have voted to change the rules, and three times Hodge has declared the vote invalid -- illegally, says the lawsuit.

"Basically, we've had enough," says Councilman Patrick Harvey.

Harvey says the council's schism goes back years but that it has intensified under Hodge. He attributes it to a basic misunderstanding of the council-manager form of government.

"Every time [the motion to change the council's rules] comes up, she says 'I require a 2/3 vote,'" he says. "You're in a council-manager form of government, but you have a mayor who's acting like a strong mayor."

Hodge hasn't yet returned a call or emails seeking comment, but it's clear her opponents aren't the only ones who can toss out allegations of rule-breaking. At Tuesday's meeting, the council convened closed hearings to investigate complaints that Harvey and his three allies were violating the city charter.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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30 comments
none
none

Get it straight. Duncanville isn't suing it's esteemed mayor. Some sleazy people on the council are. Bottom lime. You want to keep Jameson, Jones, and Hodge. Do not elect Green or Smithey. Not sure about the others, but you definitely want to keep the good guys on the council. There should never have been a lawsuit. It is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. I cannot believe the depts to which these types of people will stoop. Scary.

Paideia
Paideia

Anyone who will take the time required to sit through a couple of City Council Meetings will have no difficulty seeing the reality of what is going on in Duncanville.


Bottom line; a concerted effort, by 4 City Council Members, to bleed the Citizens/Taxpayers for the benefit of the private Contractors, and Consultants who bill inordinate fees and concoct various projects (usually roads, streets, business development on highway access etc.); and hire an Interim City Manager at $120. per hour plus benefits, to demonstrate their keen Management skills!!

These are the Tax and Spend guys, that, out of one side of their mouth, are always expressing righteous indignation, and then from the other side of their mouth, denying Citizens Public Input and Debate before key policy/spending decisions are made.


The Giant Vampire Squid Machine, extending its tentacles as it continues its inexorable march throughout South Dallas County.

pjayharvey
pjayharvey

I am pointing attention to my opinion that me and my fellow councilmembers, and the voters that elected us are being victimized by an abuse of executive power by the current officeholder of Mayor.  It not only happens in Washington DC, it happens here deep in the heart of Texas.

factsforfive
factsforfive

A lot to comment on here, but I will limit it to the last article.  Four councilmembers voted to investigate the entire council for violation under Section 2.10 of the City Charter.  The very familiar Paul Coggins of the well known law firm of Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell will conduct the investigation.

To summarize, this investigation will look into whether any council member or the mayor is guilty of abuse of power.

Mayor Hodge, along with Councilman Stephen Jones and Councilwoman Johnette Jameson voted against the investigation with no comment.  An investigation in to abuse of power of the entire council and three people silently vote against it?  That speaks volumes.

The ensuing complaints (mentioned in the last paragraph of this article) made against the other four members of the council came after this investigation was approved.  This was simply retaliatory against the other four for approving the investigation.

The initial results of the investigation will begin coming out on March 18th, 2014. 


I wonder if Mayor Hodge will still have no comment... 


www.factsforfive.com

wcvemail
wcvemail

There should be a "rinky-dink" formula showing that the smaller the town, the pettier the squabbles. As someone smarter than me put it, "Faculty senate discussions are so intense because there's so little at stake." Aren't small-town leaders supposed to be real-world, local citizens with their own jobs and lives to lead?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Eric, the Senate cloture rule required 2/3. Till change to 60 during Ford admin. Rockefeller, as President of Senate, cast deciding vote. So, technically u r right..decades. but that is a recent change.

That said, suing the mayor...hmmmmmm, anyone come up with grounds here?

none
none

@Paideia  You nailed it. Except should have added whiny babies.

Catbird
Catbird

@Paideia I am laughing out loud as I'm typing this. Which Hubener are you Paideia? Ann, Katy or the young, soft, tender boy/girl with no name or face.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@factsforfive  Who's paying for all this high-powered investigation and litigation? Citizens of Duncanville, right? What are the costs so far, and what is budgeted for the future? You've already planned a budget to pay for all this, right?

factsforfive
factsforfive

@wcvemail

Mayor Hodge admittedly doesn't get out of bed until close to noon.  I guess she doesn't have much of a life except to tinker with being mayor in Duncanville.

gtp1jft
gtp1jft

There is much more here than has been written. There is intimidation and bullying of city employees. Citizens wishing to voice opinions in Public Forum at Council Meetings have been refused their First Amendment rights, and the list goes on and on.

jennpenn928
jennpenn928

@ozonelarryb The grounds are listed in the article.  Repeatedly, she declares votes invalid even though the city charter states the rules quite clearly.  I was at the city council meeting where she argued with the city attorney, who wrote the charter and has amended it many times over many years due to votes from the council.  She argued with an attorney who we pay upwards of $250 an hour.  She's a dictator.  Also, it should be noted that after a ridiculous about of time spent at that meeting arguing, she wrapped it up by saying, "I'm the mayor and I don't agree with this vote.  You are welcome to sue me."  She INVITED this lawsuit on herself. 

Catbird
Catbird

@wcvemail This is crazy ;-)

factsforfive
factsforfive

@wcvemail $25,000 is budgeted. 

Over the past few years Mayor Hodge took Duncanville on a wild goose chase of an ill-advised lawsuit and investigation that eventually cost the payer payers hundreds-of-thousands in the investigation and litigation, and upwards of over $800,000 in the eventual total including settlement.  She was advised against this.

Hodge then balked about spending $25,000 to have herself and the rest of the council investigated, but pursued this other $800,000 cause under the mantra of "Justice At Any Cost!


none
none

@factsforfive @wcvemail  How do you know what time she gets out of bed?  Who are you, anyway? You went to the trouble of defaming her by putting up a website. How obsessive. Who do you speak for? You intimated that there are five of you so shouldn't we know who you are? If I were her, I would be afraid of you. I know I am.

none
none

@gtp1jft  Yes, and people have been falsely imprisoned and harassed for doing nothing wrong. There is a lot of corruption and a few have a strange stronghold on the town. Mayor Hodge was trying to stop it and has succeeded somewhat. That is wny these sleazy, to put it lightly, people are trying to stop her. This type of thing was going on long before she was mayor. She is a good mayor, possibly the best Duncancille has had. 

none
none

not a very persuasive attorney. Not worth 250 an hour. 

none
none

@jennpenn928  $250 and hour? Good Lord, what dufus would pay that much? That is too much. Scams to the left and scams to the right. 

none
none

and hateful!!!

wcvemail
wcvemail

@factsforfive  Since you put it that way, then $25K is a relatively cheap investment to cut out a cancer. Good luck to you all.

none
none

@factsforfive @wcvem I doubt you have any clout and that is why you hide behind your little webpage anonymous person.

d_bro2001
d_bro2001

"facts for five" claims to be a reporting entity for the 5 council districts of Duncanville, when in actuality its nothing but a self absorbed propaganda soapbox set up as a public opposition to the city council district 5  councilwoman johnette jameson.  she, and I say she because every time she posts comments, I get a cold chill similar to hearing my ex wifes voice, so its a woman.  and take for instance the above posting she states that "over the past few years" mayor Hodge took Duncanville on a wild goose chase" regarding the investigation, and the resulting settlement with Anderson.  first and foremost "facts"

Mayor Hodge has only been the mayor for less than 2 years.  these issues were already being danced around from the previous mayors term. Mayor Hodge did not initiate these investigations, did not support paying off monte Anderson, nor did she support increasing taxes.  but bless your little heat, it almost looks like you believe the tripe you write

george
george

@gtp1jft  who are you talking about? The mayor or some of the other creeps on the council. This is the best mayor Duncanville has ever had. 

gtp1jft
gtp1jft

Let's wait for the results of the internal investigation. Then we will know for certain.

none
none

@jennpenn928  've got some land in Florida I'll sell you. The going rate is 100,000 per acre.  

jennpenn928
jennpenn928

@none that's about the going rate for a municipal attorney.

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