KELLER Longtime Keller Planning & Zoning chairperson Jay Brown is stepping down from the commission, saying he wants “to leave on top rather than get mixed up in controversies.”
His resignation comes in the wake of the City Council’s recent decision to “realign” volunteer boards and commissions to better match newly elected councils. Terms will now end June 30 instead of November 30, forcing all current board and commission members to reapply for their spots.
Brown said he resigned from the commission because of the changes and because he felt it was “just time.”
“The new leadership in Keller made it clear that they would like to bring in new members to more closely align to the new board,” he said. “But it was just my time to go, to pass the torch.”
Brown joined the commission in 2001 and served as the chairperson for eight years. Brown had also served on the Technical Review Committee, the Capital Improvements Advisory Committee and the Future Land Use Plan Advisory Committee.
In a June 5 news release, Mayor Mark Mathews said the new term-ending dates “will allow councils now and in the future to ensure that those appointed to these groups reflect the latest expectations of our citizens and align well with the overall goals and vision of the council as our community grows and evolves.”
Brown, who owns Keller Tahoe Custom Builders, said he looks forward to continuing work at his company and volunteering for Meals on Wheels, which he has done for more than 20 years. He is also a part of the Fort Worth Builders Association and Keller Business Connections.
Mayor pro tem Gary Reaves said Brown is an exceptional person and played a critical role in the city.
“He’s a great example of the many citizens who have given many hours over the years providing help to the city,” Reaves said.
Reaves said he generally agrees with realignment, but wanted the process to start next year so “no member feels politically targeted.” He said the city is taking applications for seats that aren’t yet vacant, and that terminating current members’ terms “without cause” is disrespectful.
Mathews said he believes the realignment will be good policy for future councils and that starting the process now is “not because [council] was having problems with any of the boards.”
“We went through the choices and there were a number of small incremental changes to make,” Mathews said. “We have three brand new council members and one who has been there a year, and most of us don’t know any of the commissioners and have nothing to do with their appointments. One, we can actually get to know [the board members], and two, future councils won’t be faced with the same type of timing issues.”
Mathews said all Parks & Recreation and Keller Development Corporation commissioners and two from Planning & Zoning re-applied for their positions as of June 17. He credits this to an understanding of the realignment process, and says he appreciates council’s way of working peacefully together despite differences in views.
The interview process for new commissioners started June 19, and new members will be appointed July 1. Other boards and commissions will start the process in August.