Special Feature! “A Very Texas Proposal”

Regular listeners of the podcast will know that whenever something unusual or exciting happens in the world of city council meetings, people let me know about it through The Listener’s List. Last week, I was made aware of a super-duper special occurrence:

A marriage proposal at the Flower Mound, Texas council meeting by town manager Jimmy Stathatos! I talked to him and got the play-by-play, which all of you hopeless romantics will want to experience on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM, or right here:

Photo source: Town of Flower Mound

Q: Did you have any alternative romantic spots in mind to propose, like the Kroger or the water treatment plant?

A: [Laughs] She is a huge sports fan, so I thought about going on the field at a Rangers game. But I thought that was kind of cliche-ish. That’s how I settled on town hall.

Q: I heard that pretty much the entire town was in on what you were going to do, except your fiancé.

A: It was the worst-kept secret! I was surprised she didn’t find out.

Q: Well, yeah, how did you get an entire town of Texans–who are used to shooting things off–to not shoot their mouths off?

A: I threatened them with code enforcement! I’m kidding; I got lucky.

Q: How could you stay focused when you were giving the announcements earlier in the meeting? You seemed a lot more nervous than during the site plan approval for Jerry’s Express Car Wash, but not quite as nervous as during the rezoning for Lakeside Crossing. Am I off base here?

A: No, you’re awesome. You watched! My stomach was in knots. Everytime they were talking about something else, I’m like, “just let me go!”

Q: If someone were to propose at a city council meeting, it seems like they could do it as a total surprise or they could use your method of doing everything short of getting a permit. If one of your employees wanted to do something similar, which way would you prefer?

A: Probably the surprise route. My way worked because I was able to tell the people that needed to know. But also, it is the people’s business and I didn’t want any of my bosses to be offended because I used that venue. But I think people that work for me know that I would be cool with whatever.

Q: Well, my friend, I have a little surprise for you. City Council Chronicles is going to send you on an ALL-EXPENSES PAID HONEYMOON TO–hold on, let me check my bank account….Wow, cannot do that.

New plan: one thing town council meetings are good for is issuing proclamations. And we at The Chronicles have drafted the following:

WHEREAS, Jimmy Stathatos and Michelle Dishman have been engaged since September 2017; and

WHEREAS, Jimmy Stathatos has been a faithful public servant in Flower Mound, Texas; and

WHEREAS, the town council proposal reminded people that government employees are creative, thoughtful, and mindful of their community, and that you should always be watching city or town council meetings for surprises;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT [insert marriage date] be known as Jimmy Stathatos and Michelle Dishman Day.

Now, previous podcast guest and councilman in your neighboring city of Lewisville, TJ Gilmore, will get this signed, sealed, and made the law of the land. What do you think?!

A: That is awesome! He is a good man.


Interview #33: Lewisville, TX Councilman TJ Gilmore (with podcast)

This podcast interview is available on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM and right here:

TJ Gilmore has been a city councilman since 2011. He’s also a Scoutmaster, an occasional tweeter of council meetings, and someone whose dad once came to watch him at city hall. He told me about the time someone got kicked out for using a naughty word!

Q: Some people probably don’t know that Texas has its OWN pledge of allegiance that you say at council meetings after the national Pledge of Allegiance.

A: That’s very true!

Q: When you moved to Texas and first heard the pledge, did you think, “this is cool! It’s doubly patriotic”? Or did you kind of roll your eyes and think, “this is such a quintessentially Texas thing to do”?

A: It is a totally Texas thing to do. When I was a small child, my father took a job in west Texas and I encountered it there for the first time. When we came back to live here in 2000, it popped back up and I went, “oh, there it is!”

Q: Can you remember any unruly or unexpected moments from your city council meetings?

A: The most entertaining one was almost two years ago, I think. We had a gentleman come in with his girlfriend and he decided that he wanted to talk about the Lewisville Lake Dam. We have a dam that’s run by the [Army] Corps of Engineers. It was in the news because it needed some repair.

Q: Mmhmm.

A: So he came in and was–I don’t know if he was showing off for his young lady–but he decided that he would go into a tirade about why the city was not fixing the dam. It’s run by the federal government, so when he was given those facts he decided to curse. At which point, Mayor [Rudy] Durham said, “that’s it, you’re out!”

Lewisville, TX Councilman TJ Gilmore

Q: Did they look like they were on a date? Or were they coming in because they were concerned about the dam?

A: I got the vibe that he was there to show off. Speak truth to power or something. That would be the first time I ever heard anybody drop the F-bomb in city council.

Q: I have noticed how relatively non-eventful Lewisville city council meetings are–which is what made this Facebook post of yours stand out to me:


What do you remember from that meeting?!

A: It went fine! My dad is 6’4″. He still rides horses and used to work for Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a prison guard. He tells it like it is.

Q: Well, he should be the one to kick people out if they’re f-in’ around in there!

A: There’s one thing I know in my family: I’m not ever gonna be allowed to allow my ego to overstep its bounds.

Q: One council moment I want to ask you about…in September 2011, Councilman David Thornhill died of a heart attack. The next council meeting, there was a tribute video with pictures of him and a eulogy from his son. Is it hard sometimes to be fully present in the council meeting when something like that goes on?

A: Oh, sure. Part of the importance of being up there is to relate to people and what they need. I think it’s important that we recognize the things we lose, the things we gain–what had value.

Follow Council an TJ Gilmore on Twitter: @ThomasGilmore