Former Double Oak Councilwoman Ginger Brittain said concerns over the town’s direction and leadership prompted her to submit her resignation last week.
Brittain, who was appointed to her seat in 2018 and secured a second term when she ran unopposed in May, said she carefully considered her decision before making her announcement at the July 1 council meeting.
Brittain said Double Oak is an elder community, and younger residents often return to take care of their aging parents. She said the town’s ordinances need to be accommodating to that, such as allowing for “mother-in-law suites.”
“We need to stay abreast of what residents may need in the future,” Brittain said.
Brittain said another concern is what she calls a lack of transparency in the town.
One example of that, she said, is the perceived conflict of interest on the council. Scott Whisenhunt, the chief for the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department, was recently named mayor pro tem, and Joe Dent, a former chief for the department was named the deputy mayor pro tem.
“They are a true asset to this town,” Brittain said. “But it’s not a good perception for some people, especially when they’re dealing with money for the organization they lead. It’s nothing against the chief or the department. I would feel the same way about anyone who holds that position.”
Brittain said she would also like to see the town communicate with its residents better.
“I want to serve to the best of my ability,” Brittain said. “And if I can’t be proactive then I need to find another way to serve the residents.”
Brittain’s resignation comes after Councilman Andrew Wills resigned May 20. He ran unopposed for re-election in 2018.
Wills said while he primarily left for professional and personal reasons, he, too, had concerns over transparency in the town. That includes the current appointment of the mayor pro tem and deputy mayor pro tem.
He also pointed to the process in which the town appointed a replacement for Charlotte Allen, the longtime town secretary in March. He said the job wasn’t posted sufficiently to allow more residents to apply for it.
“Posting the job is a fair and transparent process,” Wills said. “We owe that to our citizens. I was told it’s not required to be posted, but I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Wills said the job opening was ultimately posted on the Texas Municipal League (TML) website but said that wasn’t visible enough for those who may be interested.
“In today’s society we need more diversity and inclusiveness,” Brittain said. “We should be more open to being transparent.”
Mayor Mike Donnelly did not comment on Brittain’s concerns but said, “Double Oak thanks Mrs. Brittain for her service.”