Rockwall County – Flagpole Controversy Heats Up

County officials recently arrived to work at our new courthouse (“that Masonic looking building along I-30”) to discover an unauthorized modification to a flagpole at the Veterans Memorial and a revised arrangement of the three flags: U.S., Texas and POW-MIA.

Precinct-1 Commissioner Jerry Wimpee took upon himself the self-appointed task of righting what he perceived to be a wrong. Following modification of the center pole, Commissioner Wimpee presented a bill for charges incurred by a contractor to lop off five feet to make it equal in height to the other two poles.

For the record, a select committee, the Design Jury and the Dedication Committee for the Veterans Memorial, invested considerable time in the planning and execution of the most minute of details in our memorial. View the “before and after” pictures below. Find Commissioner Wimpee’s defense in a letter to the editor of the Rockwall Herald Banner at the end of this posting.

Before Alterations - US Flag center and highest
After Alterations - US Flag at left and equal height

Connie Christensen transmitted the following public appeal.

I’m not sure if you have heard about this or not, so I wanted to let you know about it and to ask for your help.

This matter will be brought before the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. at the Old Courthouse on the 2nd floor and we need as many concerned citizens and Veterans to pack that courtroom as we can get.  We need standing room only – to let it be heard and known that this was unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated by this arrogant, ELECTED official.  Talk about an abuse of power!

On January 28, 2012, a cherry-picker appeared at the new Rockwall County Veterans Memorial and proceeded to cut 5 feet off the center flag pole bearing the American flag, and to rearrange the order in which the three flags flew on the three flag poles.  This is a very serious situation and the vandalism is currently being investigated by the Texas Rangers.  It was recently boldly declared at the County Commissioners Court by Commissioner Jerry Wimpee that he was, in fact, the person who took it upon himself and ordered the flag pole to be CUT OFF and the flags to be rearranged, and he brazenly presented the bill for it being done to the Court for payment (which has not yet been approved for payment – and shouldn’t be)!  Mr. Wimpee was not authorized to do this!  I understand Mr. Wimpee has an email campaign going saying it was done to correct a “mistake” made during major construction – there was no “mistake.”  The flag pole placement was done per US Flag Code (US Flag Code, 4 US, Section 7(e), Position and Manner of Display)!

(e)The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

You can read the attached letter I wrote to the Court and Sheriff on February 3rd – and that was published in the Rockwall County News – to get some details.   Please make a point to come to the Commissioners Court session on February 28th at 9:00 a.m. – and bring a friend You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to – just your presence will speak volumes.  AND feel free to write to these officials or call them and let them hear your thoughts on the matter!  (I have listed their email addresses for you below.)Mr. Wimpee took it upon himself to change the flag pole and placement to suit his personal preference and belief – all of which is incorrect according to US flag protocol.  The design of the Memorial – including the flag poles – was presented to the Court on July 22, 2010 to be approved and voted upon – and it WAS UNANIMOUSLY VOTED UPON by ALL of the Commissioners – Mr. Wimpee included.

Spread the word – forward this email – call and bring a friend.  I hope to see you on February 28th

Thank you.

Connie Christensen

The Honorable Jerry Hogan – jhogan@rockwallcountytexas.com

Lori Grinnan – lgrinnan@rockwallcountytexas.com

Dennis Bailey – dbailey@rockwallcountytexas.com

David Magness – dmagness@rockwallcountytexas.com

Jerry Wimpee – jwimpee@rockwallcountytexas.com

Rockwall Herald Banner Opinion: Wimpee defends flagpole decision

4 thoughts on “Rockwall County – Flagpole Controversy Heats Up

  1. Tx. gov. code revision of 2011 is confusing, as it conflicts with federal flag etiquette code. Federal states US flag to be higher and center. Tx code (Not penal) reads, in 3100.54 a flag or pennant OTHER THEN THE U.S. FLAG displayed with State…, 1. should not be flown higher.. 2. should not be to observers left, if Both are displayed at same location, they are to be same height. 3. US is to be to the left. r Reading the ENTIRE code, it is evident not “maalice intent”, rather error in judgement acting before approval to reevaluate which law takes presidant as both guidelines for flag display on federal guidelines set by VFW vs. state etiquette codes should be followed. Judge Whimpy acted hastily, that is true, but has served the community well. Having him eat the cost to restore pole to original plan should Tx. code overide federal.seems just. Decide whether flag gov./ Texas codes are VFW guidelines, directives or options, not law?..The judge did not desecrate the flag, it is clear he overstepped plans to adjust to Tx 2011 code revision into a pile of viglanty manure. Veterans will accept “no malice ” if corrected.

    1. I agree flag codes conflict, but I believe the more important issue at play was the independent action of one County Commissioner without authority of the Court. This commissioner previously APPROVED every detail of the memorial, including flag arrangement. Due process requires he bring the issue before the court as an agenda item for action.

      Thank you for you comment.

  2. Arrogance on the part of the person who did this. The American flag SHOULD be flown higher. This is just another slap in the face of our freedoms.

    1. As I replied to another comment, the issue at play here is not the placement of flags, but the independent, unauthorized action of one County Commissioner. This is why the Texas Rangers investigate the matter.

      Thanks for your comment.

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