Bardwell official resigns, boil order lifted, suit to be filed
The Ellis County Press
BARDWELL- Following months of controversy surrounding the City of Bardwell and it's water system, City Water Superintendent Wade Rhoades has submitted his resignation to the Mayor and City Council. This comes after the boil order in place for the past couple of weeks in Bardwell has been rescinded. In a letter addressed to Mayor P.W. "Jinker" Gentry, Rhoades submitted his intent to resign. Gentry in turn, mailed the letter to councilman Alvie Hollingsworth.
Neither Gentry, nor Rhoades could be reached for comment. Councilwoman Maggie Walker, when contacted had not learned of the letter, stating she had never been sent a copy of the resignation, and referred all calls to Gentry. Gentry recently appointed himself Bardwell City Secretary in addition to being the mayor of the small town west of Ennis.
Bardwell is once again under a midst of controversy, with a suit pending against the City of Bardwell and Mayor P.W. Gentry for Gentry's failure to comply with the Texas Public Information Act. The Texas Attorney General's Office, on May 9th ordered the release of all records requested by The Ellis County Press. Gentry failed to comply with that order, and an additional request prior to a suit being filed. According to ECP Attorney Todd Phillippe, the suit, known as a Writ of Mandamus will be filed against the Mayor and City, compelling the production of the documents requested on April 7th, which requested citation information, court records, fund information, and information regarding water accounts, which many questioned as to why Shannon Spurgeon, wife of Chief of Police Michael Spurgeon is collecting fees at City Hall. Shannon Spurgeon can not be bonded, and has been denied being bonded by at least 3 bonding companies.
The suit will be filed in the 40th District Court of Ellis County. The AG Ruling ordering the release of the documents can be found at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/openrecords/50abbott/orl/2008/pdf/or200806165.pdf . The ruling also states that not only can The Ellis County Press file suit against Gentry and the city, but Attorney General Greg Abbott may also intervene on behalf of The Ellis County Press for Gentry's failure to comply with the Public Information Act.
The City of Bardwell, according to state law is liable for all attorney fees and court costs as a result of the suit, due to Gentry blatantly refusing to comply with the act. The basis of the request was to get the records from the City which may prove illegal conduct and wrongdoing, and to expose to the citizens the true state of the City. From all appearances, it appears Gentry has things to hide in City Hall, and there may in fact, be more than a few skeletons in the closets of the building.
The resignation of Water Superintendent Rhoades is only one part of the controversy that continues to swirl in Bardwell. Once the suit is prepared and filed, it will be scanned and uploaded to this site.