Mayor Pro Tem Todd Gottel
City Hall (delivered by hand)
April 19, 2011
Dear Mayor Pro Tem Gottel:
When Debra and I returned from South Carolina a week ago I was re-energized. I love the City of Rowlett…I am passionate about the City of Rowlett. But, I learned I have to harness that passion in more positive ways. After the haze brought on by our family emergency was dissipated, I knew I had to redouble my efforts to improve communications with the Council and with Rowlett citizens and planned to make that special effort this week with hopes that the Council would do the same.
However, late last week I was provided an advance copy of the upcoming City Council Meeting agenda which clearly showed no interest on the part of the councilmembers in curtailing the name-calling and unwarranted personal attacks on my integrity and character. Three separate agenda items are set for April 19 with a clear purpose of weakening the Rowlett Mayor. Even you refused to provide me specifics of any events you believe are violations of the Code of Ethics for which you claim I should be censured or reprimanded. That, no doubt, is because there are no violations.
Regardless, it has sadly become very certain to me that you and the majority of the City Council will not let me govern. Instead, the name-calling and nattering will continue and it will continue to injure the reputation of not only me but also the City of Rowlett. So, I will reluctantly step down from the position of Mayor of Rowlett, effective immediately.
I am very pleased that I had a major role in the transformation of the City of Rowlett over the past four years. Today, Rowlett is recognized nationally as one of the top 25 Best Small Cities in the entire United States of America! In all of Texas, the Texas State Comptroller has hailed the City of Rowlett for achieving a unique and high level of transparency and accountability. I am very proud of both of those significant achievements. And, there are others.
I wish you only good fortune in moving forward. I believe both the momentum and direction are in place for Rowlett to achieve its true destiny. I urge you to stay focused on the truth and be forthright with the citizens and friends of Rowlett. Maintain the direction that you and I, working together, set during the past four years. Do not allow any more backsliding. I will pray for your personal strength.
I regret disappointing any one of the overwhelming majority of voters who re-elected me in 2010 to lead the City. However, I will remain involved in city matters, but as a private citizen. I will continue my public service elsewhere and am exploring several opportunities to serve within the North Texas region.
I truly wish the citizens of Rowlett continued prosperity and growth.
John E. Harper
PS – I do have a request…please arrange to leave my city email account open to my access until May 2 so that I can download and keep the messages I now have filed in my local folders.