BANGS — Citing differences with some council members, Carrol Wells resigned Monday as mayor of Bangs after 18 months in office.
Wells is the second person to resign as Bangs’ mayor since November 2005, when Noble Erler resigned the post.
“Understanding that a great sense of accomplishment is what has happened over the past two years, the direction that appears to be coming forth is one of backsliding,” Wells stated in her letter of resignation, which was addressed to Mayor Pro-Tem Waymond Sheppard. “I cannot and will not be a part of it.
“Some of the current council have a different vision of how the leadership for the future should be than I and the rest of the council have. I have tried to understand and work with the situation, but have finally come to the conclusion that my time for our city is completed.”
Wells said in a phone interview that her differences were with “two or three” council members. She declined to name them but said, “they know who they are.”
“It was a very hard decision to make,” Wells said. “It’s certainly not because of the people that I resigned. … I’m done. I am done.”
She said she met with city employees Monday “and that was the hardest part.”
Councilwoman Marisa Craddock said she knows she is one of the council members Wells was referring to when she cited disagreements.
Craddock said Wells was a “very good mayor” but that some of the council disagreed with Wells’ decision to start trying to run daily City Hall business after City Secretary Anita Purcell retired earlier this year, and a water department clerk resigned. The city has since filled both vacancies.
Craddock said Wells did a good job performing city secretary duties, but that Wells had taken on more than she could manage in trying to do both jobs.
“It’s two very different positions,” Craddock said.
Craddock read a written statement over the phone. “I know a few council members have questioned the mayor’s action in which she was conducting city business,” Craddock said in the statement. “Her resignation is her choice.
“ … The council at hand will do all possible to make sure that regular city business will continue as it should.”
Wells said in the absence of a city secretary and water department clerk, she had worked “day and night at City Hall to keep it afloat.”
City Attorney Mark Bessent said he had not had a chance to formally research the city’s options for a successor. He said, however, as he understands it, three scenarios could occur: Sheppard can act as mayor for the remainder of Wells’ term, the council can appoint a mayor from the council ranks or the council can call a special election.
Bessent said he was surprised at Wells’ resignation. “I just had no idea this was coming down the pike,” he said. “I haven’t talked to her.”
Council member Dawn Garen said she thought she might be one of those Wells was referring to when the mayor cited differences with some of the council.
Garen said in the end, Wells hadn’t done a good job communicating with the council so it was hard to know what direction she wanted to go.
But Garen said Wells “did more good things for the city of Bangs than any one individual has ever done, I think. … There were a lot of things I did not agree with.”
Sheppard said Wells did “a very good job” and he is sorry she resigned. “It’s a bad situation,” Sheppard said.
“We have a councilman or two that’s after everybody … I don’t know what they’re after. I’ve held back and held back, and I’m not going to hold back any more.
“They want it done their way and no other way. … We’re going to have to get rid of a councilman or two, or they’re going to have to change their ways. You can only take so much.”
Craddock said she knew those comments were directed at her, but she said she likes Sheppard and doesn’t mind. “You can tell we’re a split council right now,” Craddock said.
But she said the city has a good council. “No, we don’t always agree, by no means,” she said. “One way or another, it will work its way out.”
While Wells’ resignation letter cited some of her frustrations, it also highlighted numerous accomplishments.
“Two years ago I thought that with the proper leadership … our town could grow and the city and Business Association could be united,” Wells stated in the letter. “I thought that I could help to make the negativity go away by bringing a positive attitude to City Hall.
“ … Most of the issues that I heard about were related to office personnel, finances and police department presence. And last but not least, I thought that we must have some semblance of order at the council meetings.
“ … Many good things have come about in the last two years.” The letter cited the presence of new businesses and the city’s joint venture with the Texas Department of Transportation, the Bangs Business Association and the school district.
“The growth of employee morale has been awesome,” Wells stated in the letter. “Our employees are what drive our community.”
The letter also cited improvements in the police department and city’s finances, establishing order at council meetings and the improvement of water and wastewater infrastructure as among the city’s accomplishments.
“There will always be some who are not happy with whatever is done, but overall I am proud to say that all of the above mentioned situations, as well as many other good things, have happened in the last two years,” Wells’ letter stated.
“There is not any of these things that could have happened without the cooperation and unity of many.”
Wells, a 1972 graduate of Bangs High School and owner of Honey Bee Natural Foods in Brownwood, was elected mayor in May 2006 to fill the unexpired term of Noble Erler. She was elected to a full term in May 2007.
Erler cited family concerns when he resigned as mayor in November 2005.