No More Mr. Bad Guy: Woodie Runs The Show
Three months ago, they performed their duties with all the dignity of a gang of sailors on shore leave. The nine members of the Fort Worth City Council made it quite clear they couldn’t stand each other; their meetings were always the best circus in town.
Now all that has changed. No one yells or makes obscene gestures at his fellow council members. City Councilman Dick Newkirk has not felt called upon to remove his shoe and bang it on the table recently. Meetings are, in a word, dull. The reason is simple: Woodie Woods is mayor. And he has kept the only campaign promise he made: that council meetings would be tranquil. Aided partly by the fact that most of former mayor Hugh Partner’s council allies were turned out of office in last April’s election, Woods has turned city council meetings into events pretty much like, well, city council meetings.
"We’re just not at each others’ throats any more," says Mayor Pro Tern Jim Bradshaw, Partner’s former adversary. "Council votes are no longer personal conquests. We are actually making decisions based on the issues."
"We disagree on things from time to time," says Woods of the new council, "but we just don’t have any conflicts or vendettas going." Evidence of that abounds at City Hall. Former assistant city manager Gary Gwyn, who quit when Parmer was in office, has returned to take his old job back. "Most city employees no longer feel like they need to be looking over their shoulder," says one reporter who covers City Hall.
There are, however, exceptions. Former mayoral staff assistant Danny Roberts, who once was considered by most city employees to be mayor when Parmer was away, has had a change of jobs. He can now be found in the basement of City Hall, in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act administration section. "He’s gone from vice mayor to CETA clerk," says one City Hall veteran. "I think that is pretty representative of what has happened to those who put their fortunes on Parmer."