Texas AG Forces City of Forney to Release Public Documents

The Forney City Council is elected at large by the voters who live within the city limits of Forney, and the City Charter declares Forney to be a Home Charter municipal designed to be led by a city manager whose job description assures him considerable authority over all city operations.

Currently the top two positions at Forney City Hall are occupied by City Manager Anthony (Tony) Carson Jr. with the direct legal assistance of City Attorney Jon Thatcher.

These individuals manage daily operations, negotiate all the vendor and developer contracts and most importantly advise the city council on the legalities surrounding their voted upon decisions.

Having closely reported upon the City Council search for a new city manager, on June 20, 2018 The Forney Post requested the city release public records describes as “a complete copy of any and all employment applications and resume's submitted for consideration to the City of Forney City Manager position”.

City attorney Jon Thatcher did not believe the public had the right to review all the applications for city manager that were provided the council for consideration. And subsequently he spent more than three months trying to convince the Texas Attorney General’s Open Records Division to block their public release.

However in the end the Texas Attorney General’s Office ruled; “we find that public money was spent for the purpose of writing, producing, collecting, assembling or maintaining the information. Furthermore, the information pertains to the transaction of official city business. Accordingly, the information at issue constitutes “public information” as defined by Section 552.002 (a)(2)(c).”

Because the Forney City Council continues to be secretive, it’s important that the taxpayers understand who is managing city hall. And it’s important that they understand exactly what they have a right to know.

 

 

A very nice reception was held to welcome new City Manager Anthony Carson Jr. before his first council meeting on September 4, 2018.

After first thanking the council for the new opportunity in Forney, Carson jokingly said “This past weekend we ventured out and around town and one thing I did notice, I’ve lived and worked in five different states, so I see things a little bit differently, is that blinkers are optional. Going at any miles per hours, blinkers are not really required so that’s something I’ll have to get used to. But we’re just very happy to be here.”

New City Manager Anthony Carson Jr. earns $167,500 a year, and the council provided him $7,000 in relocation expenses so that he and his wife Lori could relocate to Forney. Similar to Forney's two previous city manager’s, if the city council were to terminate Carson they would owe him a full year’s salary in severance pay.

A basic Internet search easily provided a considerable amount of personal and professional information on Anthony Carson Jr., including that his son Adam Carson has been convicted and incarcerated on federal bank robbery charges.

 

  


City Attorney Jon Thatcher was hired on August 22, 2016 as Forney's first ever staff attorney after the City Council voted 6-1 to terminate the city’s long time attorney Kent Hofmeister. Thatcher was also chosen by the city council upon the recommendation of the employment search firm Strategic Government Resources (SGR).

Attorney Thatcher has a council approved employment contract that provides him with a $128,000 annual salary and benefits. And his employment contract guarantees him six month’s salary in severance pay should the city council terminate his services.

At the time of his hiring, attorney Jon Thatcher was a politician serving as Mayor Pro-tem for the City of Fate, Texas where he resides with his family.

Attorney Thatcher resigned from the Fate city council shortly after accepting the staff attorney position in Forney, however he is still heavily involved in the political arena and was recently appointed to serve on the newly formed City of Fate Charter Review Commission. 

The taxpayers of Forney are encouraged to review the below documents and all the links within this article.

Texas Attorney General Ruling OR-2018-23249

City Manager Anthony Carson Jr. Employment Contract

"Perkins New City Manager Has Worked in Three States"

 

AG Releases all 36 City Manager Applications Submitted to the Forney City Council (156 pages)

CM Applications Pages 1-25

CM Applications Pages 26-50

CM Applications Pages 51-75

CM Applications Pages 76-100

CM Applications Pages 101-125

CM Applications Pages 126-156

 

City Attorney Jon Thatcher Employment Contract

"Forney Council Selects Jon Thatcher as new City Attorney"

“Fate Approves Seven member Charter Review Commission”

 

Written by: Denise Bell 

 

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