Fort Worth City Council names eight new members to T board

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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FORT WORTH -- The City Council gave the Fort Worth Transportation Authority board an overhaul Tuesday night, naming eight new appointees, including two former council members and a former T director.

Mayor Betsy Price and council members said they'll ask the eight appointees to hire a senior executive with rail experience during a joint Feb. 20 meeting of the council and the T board, a move designed to shepherd the delayed TEX Rail project to completion and focus the T on a comprehensive passenger rail plan.

Councilman Dennis Shingleton said the council wasn't necessarily looking for rail expertise on the board.

"We're looking for the board to find the expertise," said Shingleton, who appointed former councilman Carter Burdette, replacing Steve Berry, a private equity investor.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, who holds the ninth board appointee, said earlier Tuesday that commissioners were waiting on the council to make its moves. County commissioners are "probably 99 percent sure" they'll name a new appointee, he said.

Councilman Joel Burns said the council felt it had no choice but to turn over the entire board.

"All of us believed we had good appointees and it was all the other appointees who were the problem," said Burns, who appointed former Councilman Jeff Davis, replacing Mike Brennan, the Fort Worth South planning director.

"In order for us to achieve wholesale change required all of us to take the action," Burns said.

Council members voted unanimously for the board changes, with no discussion.

Burns appointed Brennan to the city planning commission Tuesday night.

The board will choose its own chair and vice chair.

Here's a look at the appointees, with the council members who appointed them:

Neftali Ortiz, District 2 north side, Sal Espino. Lockheed Martin engineer, Fort Worth Zoning Commission chair, Heritage homeowner association board member who Espino said brings expertise as a commuter from far North Fort Worth, where there's a dearth of public transportation options and plans.

Scott Mahaffey, District 3 west side, Mayor Pro Tem Zim Zimmerman. Owner of an industrial pipe and valve company, Colonial Country Club member who recently headed renovations to the golf course.

Ken Newell, District 4 east/northeast, Danny Scarth. Developer who teamed with family to develop Riverbend Business Park in east Fort Worth and now is working on major mixed-use project off of Trinity Boulevard east of Loop 820.

Project has a site set aside for a planned destination-oriented commuter rail stop.

"He knows how to start a project, he knows what comes in between, and he knows how to get it to the finish line," said Scarth, a member of the city's Passenger Rail Working Group.

Dennis Dunkins, District 5 southeast, Frank Moss. Retired Fort Worth schools administrator and head of magnet program, former Fort Worth parks board member. Frequent leisure traveler by train to Chicago.

Jeff King, District 6 south, Jungus Jordan. New chief of the Fort Worth office of the Northern Trust Co., longtime JP Morgan private banker, former Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce chairman, former Fort Worth T vice chair, former Fort Worth Zoning Commission vice chair, served with Jordan on commission. Lives in council District 9. Along with his financial expertise, "I was looking for someone who has a citywide vision, and Jeff has it," said Jordan, head of the Passenger Rail group.

Carter Burdette, District 7 West Side/Northwest/Far North. Former Fort Worth City Councilman. Cantey Hanger lawyer.

Andre McEwing, District 8 southeast, Kelly Allen Gray. Former executive director, Southeast Fort Worth, Inc. "He does a lot of work in southeast Fort Worth and is really concerned about transportation and moving us forward," Gray said.

Jeff Davis, District 9 Near South/South. Chair of Fort Worth division of Republic Title Co., neighborhood leader and public transportation supporter. "I'm very much in favor of moving rail forward in addition to keeping our buses working," Davis said last week. "I think the council has a sense of urgency, and that's all I know."

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

Twitter: @JScottNishimura

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