Mayor, ex-mayor should resign
This newspaper has been a hot commodity: in the weeks after the county’s partisan primary elections on March 4, our papers have flown off the shelves and out of the news stands in locations across the county (which, by the way, can be viewed on our interactive Google Map at elliscountypress.com).
We attribute this to great reporters who seek out the truth, but ultimately, the market will decide - and the free market has decided the truth matters.
And so it is that our coverage of little towns and big towns alike has warranted the ever-increasing presence of our Dallas-Fort Worth television news media.
Camera trucks and polished news reporters are down here in the county’s hot spots doing segments based off the stories we break and the public officials we expose.
And it is two such individuals that we will highlight here: Bardwell Mayor P.W. "Jinker" Gentry, who was elected a few short years ago and Palmer Councilman Mike Greenlee, who served as that town’s mayor in the early 90s.
Greenlee, according to hundreds of receipts this newspaper received, spent taxpayer funds on bars, strip clubs and hotels in and out of state.
He has never been prosecuted; in fact, in 2002 this very newspaper covered a portion of those receipts - and the people of Palmer re-elected Greenlee to office.
Gentry, meanwhile, derives his nickname from a slang term for a part of the male anatomy, and no, it’s not a word for "brain."
Had he used his noggin, Gentry would have never threatened this newspaper’s courageous news staff with criminal charges for recording a public council meeting on April 7.
Aside from a recent drought involving a water pump which resulted in citizens driving 10 miles to nearby Ennis for a shower, Gentry has been the target of multiple local and state investigations for alleged corruption; we can’t end that statement without a mention of a large part of the town’s corruption: Michael Chase Meissner, who recently served as the police chief and who, according to this paper’s investigation, appointed 17 officers illegally to that small town’s police force.
People often complain about the lack of participation in local government.
Everyone’s attention is focused on the presidential race, but very little effect is seen at the local level from our commander-in-chief.
However, it is the mayor and councilman whom serve us directly - or the school board trustee that votes to increase our already-high tax load.
The citizens of both Bardwell and Palmer would breathe a sigh of relief and begin to heal their civic wounds if Gentry and Greenlee were to both resign.
It’s a formidable step to be able to tell our readers that elected officials should step aside before their terms of office end, but we feel this is in the best interests of not only the taxpayers, but the press.
We will not cower to mayors. We will expose financial mismanagement.
And lastly, we will be the watchdog on our local government, just as newspapers were originally intended.
Mayor Gentry, Councilman Greenlee: do the right thing. Resign.