West Texas Town Becomes Unraveled

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

We reported back in June, there were no Grandfalls city employees.  This summer, a city administrator and secretary stepped in to help out.  That's when the drama began. 

Arguments between the city leaders has the people in Grandfalls caught right in the middle, and some fear this fight could take the city down.

"It's more like a soap opera," said Charles, a Grandfalls native. "It's been going on since I was a kid."

And in the latest episode of this drama, the Mayor claims the City Administrator and a Council Member are conducting illegal activity, like holding meetings without notifying the Mayor and residents and using city equipment for personal use.

"He's making up rules as he goes along," Mayor Mandy Brandenburg, said. "He's not abiding by the policies of this city."

The Council and Administrator are planning a municipal court, something Brandenburg says isn't possible.

"The city does not have the funds for a municipal court," she said.

Then after a series of heated meetings, Mayor Brandenburg decided to resign in July.

"That's why I'm stepping out, because I'm not going down with them," Brandenburg said. "When they take the city under, I don't have the support from the citizens to come in here and fight against the Council for me."

But the problems didn't stop there. After the mayor requested copies of city utility bills, the secretary was fired. City Administrator Joe Gilbert declined to comment, but the secretary told us her side.

"Mandy asked for the invoice, any citizen can as long as they sign the open book policy," Former City Secretary Olivia Annaya, said . "The administrator walked in, started hollering and said, 'what does she want it for?' I said, 'that's not my job to ask what she wants it for. If she needs it, she can have it.'"

Brandenburg says, these issues will eventually lead to the end of Grandfalls.

"I see it going downhill really fast," Mayor Brandenburg said. "I see our city will probably un-incorporate in the near future."

The former secretary plans to take her case to court. The City Council has scheduled a special meeting Saturday night to appoint a new Mayor.