Bagheri challenges City Council to be more transparent, runs for office

Bagheri challenges City Council to be more transparent, runs for office

Bagheri challenges City Council to be more transparent, runs for office
March 24
01:08 2016

Jynn Schubert | Staff Writer

@JynnWasHere

Sara Bagheri wants to replace Greg Johnson in May for the At Large Place 6 position on the Denton City Council.

Bagheri hopes to focus first and foremost on hiring an auditor, one of four positions City Council has the authority to hire. The auditor position, whose job is to balance City Council’s budget and manage how much is spent, hasn’t been filled since 2011. Bagheri said Denton’s government is not accessible enough for her constituents.

“The city says they’re saving money by not having an auditor,” Bagheri said. “What actually happens is there is a $900 million budget, and there’s not actually anybody in charge of auditing it.”

With nobody auditing the budget, there is no check on city council spending, Bagheri said.

“Everything needs to be disclosed, whether or not it falls under the state rubric, and specifically what I would do is implement a stronger ethics and disclosure policy than we have,” Bagheri said. “I would ensure that it was something we would keep, like implement fines for noncompliance.”

Bagheri’s decision to run follows Johnson’s remarks on Joey Hawkins’ recall. He posted on Facebook, talking about the residents who petitioned to have Hawkins removed, saying he hopes “those who are behind it will become so disenfranchised by it that they will move.”

“Greg represents things that I dislike about politics,” Bagheri said. “[He] doesn’t appear to have a moral compass. Greg appears to use the office to enhance his personal gain.”

Though originally from Dallas, Bagheri graduated in Denton before getting her bachelor’s of arts in politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

She’s also a Juris Doctor certified in Natural Resources and Environmental Law from Lewis and Clark Law School. Bagheri has been back in Denton for almost eight years, and has served on the human resources advisors committee. The committee allocates city and privately matched funds to various nonprofit organizations, giving Bagheri an understanding of budget management.

“I had been involved in some local issues prior, and that led me to learn more about how the city operates,” Bagheri said.  “And the more I learned the more I thought that we needed better government on the city level.”

Bagheri is currently self-employed at Bagheri and Upshaw, P. C. where she’s worked with business partner Mike Upshaw as an attorney since July of last year. She hopes to be a part of a new generation of lawyers, “One that works tirelessly and does what is right, so that every client can have fair and just representation before the law,” according to the firm’s website.

“We need somebody in a government position who wants to do diligence,” Bagheri said. “I don’t think we’ve had that for a very long time. It’s okay to go into details and demand the best possible deal for the city and the taxpayers.”

Featured Image: Courtesy | Sara Bagheri

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