The city of Glen Rose has a new mayor — just a bit ahead of schedule.
Pam Miller, who was already set to become mayor in May, was appointed to fill the role a little early by unanimous vote (5-0) during the March meeting of the Glen Rose City Council. Miller was sworn in by City Secretary Stephannie Ritchie Wednesday at City Hall.
Glen Rose lost a City Council member when Robert Marquez submitted his resignation Monday. Marquez indicated he was concerned about maintaining enough time with his family, while balancing his changing duties in his full-time job as an emergency planner at Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.
Miller previously served as mayor of Glen Rose for three terms and part of another, ending in 2010.
Miller said she is excited to get started working with the City Council, which will include Johnny Martin, Chris Bryant, Julia Douglas and newcomer Rhonda Hawthorne.
“I think it will be a good group to work with,” Miller said. “They’re all concerned about the city and I think everybody will work toward what’s best for the city.”
Miller’s regular job is with Region 12 Service Center in Waco, but she is stationed out of Cranfills Gap, about 15 miles from Meridian. Her residence remains in Glen Rose. She moved here in 1961, but also attended Tarleton State University and lived in Eulogy in Bosque County, from 1976-79.
“I think the most important thing we need to do is continue to be transparent, and listen to the citizens and continue to make us the best town,” Miller said. “I think it’s a great place to live and raise a family but I also think Glen Rose has lots of things for tourists.”
Miller, 65, said that the city has some “unique” aspects that “make it that much more special.”
Marquez read his resignation letter aloud during Monday’’s meeting, stating in part:
“As a council member, I knew the challenge and accepted it just like all of those that came before me, as well as the current board seated. But I also knew that my family, work and public service must not overlap each other. This can be a delicate balance and I knew my limits. My family and I agreed when I was elected that when these areas overlapped, I would have to make a decision.”
The letter continued, “My decision to resign is due to personal reasons and not for any differences with other council members or the city staff. As a Marine Corps veteran, believe me, if I had a problem with you I would tell you. I have enjoyed representing the people of Glen Rose and helping the city move forward.”
Miller was the only person who filed for the vacant mayor position in the May election. The election for the City Council was canceled because both of the expiring spots are uncontested, with only Hawthorne and Johnny Martin running. Martin was appointed late last year to an at-large spot after the resignation of Linda James. Council member and acting Mayor Dennis Moore is not running for reelection.
There will still be a vote on May 7, however, on a local city proposition. Glen Rose voters will decide whether of not to abolish the one-half percent sales and use tax for the Economic Development Corporation and increasing the municipal sales and use tax by one-half percent, to 1-1/2 percent.
The Council voted by a 4-0 margin — with Marquez abstaining — to accepted his resignation.
After the meeting, Marquez told the Glen Rose Reporter, “You want to continue to do it, but you know you can’t. It’s time management. It’s either public service or family, and I will take family every time.”
Marquez served almost 3-1/2 years, and was on the Planning and Zoning Commission for about six months prior to that.
Marquez said that considering there has been a recent shortage of people running for city offices, “I would hope this would entice other people to step up. The city always has ups and downs. No one’s encouraging them.”
The resignation will leave the City Council with four members instead of the usual count of five at-large seats. City Administrator Michael Leamons told the Reporter after Miller was sworn in that the Council has the option to appoint a fifth member, possibly during its April meeting.
Council member Chris Bryant’s motion to increase the pay of the City Council members to $100 per month, from its current level of $10 a month, and to raise the salary for mayor from $150 a month to $250.
Moore provided a handout that compared that salary to other cities in Texas, which ranged from $1,000 per month in Granbury (a city of just over 8,000 residents) and Stephenville’s (population 17,097) at $200 per month to Mexia (7,474) at just $1 per year. The Council approved the raise, 4-1, with Moore casting the only no vote.
City Attorney Brady Pendleton told the Council that the proposed raises would not take effect until 2020, when new members — who are not yet elected — will take office. Those currently serving on the council, along with the new mayor, won’t be eligible for the new pay rate unless they are elected again when their terms expire.
TRES RIOS, OTHER ITEMS
The Council once again discussed the city’s potential annexation of Tres Rios RV Park on County Road 312 “from their campground up to the city limits.” No action was taken, but public hearings on the topic will now be held on April 8 and 9.
The hiring of Tracey Brown as the part-time manager of the Oakdale Park swimming pool, from late April through the end of August, was approved by a 5-0 vote.
The council unanimously approved grant money in the amount of $5,000 for both the Somervell County Rodeo, and for the six-day Extreme Cowboy Challenge.