To Texas mayor Tim Boyd: bullying constituents in a crisis is not leadership

Tim Boyd, major of Colorado City, Texas, posted a statement on Facebook telling his frozen citizens that lack electricity to “sink or swim, it’s your choice.” Then he resigned. Apparently bullying suffering people is not the right approach for government officials.

As you’re no doubt aware, Texas is in crisis. It’s suffering through snow and near-zero temperatures that are unusual for that part of the country. Interruptions in the natural gas supply, both for power plants and for home use, along with the failure of a few wind turbines, has led to electrical outages and freezing citizens — and even some boil-water orders. Texas’ deregulated energy industry is not interconnected with the rest of the country, so it has few options. President Biden approved the governor’s emergency declaration for the state.

Tim Boyd’s message isn’t helping

Despite snarky comments from hearty Midwesterners and New Englanders, Texas residents deserve sympathy. This is an unusual weather event that the utilities, officials, and citizens were not prepared for, and as I write this, the weather and outages have led to 23 deaths.

The job of government in a crisis like this is to get help to people, provide clear instructions, and maintain shelters for those whose homes are no longer habitable.

Here’s mayor Tim Boyd’s statement on Facebook, with my commentary. Consider how you’d feel if this were your mayor.

Let me hurt some feelings while I have a minute.

No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local governments responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn hand out! If you don’t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe. If you have no water you deal with out and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family. If you were sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising! Only the strong will survive and the week will perish.

Is it really true that local governments and electrical suppliers don’t owe you anything? Shouldn’t they pave the roads, put out fires, deliver the electricity you paid for, and provide leadership and advice in a crisis?

“Come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe” and “think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family” do not qualify as useful suggestions to people who are freezing with no clean water. Surely anyone in this situation is doing everything they can to save their families, rather than sitting in the dark doing nothing.

A few tips for leaders. Don’t use multiple exclamation points. Proofread your messages (“governments responsibility,” “your lazy,” “week will parish.”) Don’t call people lazy or insult their upbringing. Don’t talk about yourself (“I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn hand out!”). You work for the citizens and taxpayers, not the other way around.

Folks, God Has given us the tools to support ourselves in times like this. This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW work and others will become dependent for handouts. Am I sorry that you have been dealing without electricity and water; yes! But I’ll be damned if I’m going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves! We have lost sight of those in need and those that take advantage of the system and mesh them into one group!! Bottom line, quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!

Bottom line – DON’T BE A PART OF A PROBLEM, BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION!

If you are capable of working in normal times and choose not to, perhaps you deserve criticism. But government has a job to do. It is not socialist for government to be the backstop in an emergency — and this is an emergency. (I don’t see Governor Abbott or Senator Ted Cruz complaining about socialism in accepting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.)

As for “We have lost sight of those in need and those that take advantage of the system and mesh them into one group!!”, this is strange time to complain about that, when everyone is freezing and many have no power. Are those without electricity “taking advantage of the system,” or is it the reverse?

There is, potentially, a message to be shared about taking care of yourself and helping your neighbors in need. But screaming about laziness in a deadly weather event doesn’t tend to motivate people.

Stupidity has consequences

Mr. Boyd quit as mayor and suffered withering criticism for his statement, and for good reason. So he tried to walk things back without walking anything back. Here’s his second post.

All, I have set back and watched all this escalating and have tried to keep my mouth shut! I won’t deny for one minute what I said in my post this morning. Believe me when I say that many of the things I said were taken out of context and some of which were said without putting much thought in to it. I would never want to hurt the elderly or anyone that is in true need of help to be left to fend for themselves. I was only making the statement that those folks that are too lazy to get up and fend for themselves but are capable should not be dealt a handout. I apologize for the wording and some of the phrases that were used! I had already turned in my resignation and had not signed up to run for mayor again on the deadline that was February 12th! I spoke some of this out of the anger that the city and county was catching for situations which were out of their control. Please understand if I had it to do over again I would have just kept my words to myself and if I did say them I would have used better wording and been more descriptive.

This is poor. You don’t start by saying “I won’t deny for one minute what I said in my post this morning” when your original post was hateful and abusive. “I apologize for the wording and some of the phrases that were used!” is not much of an apology, as it is not specific enough and does not recognize who was harmed. “I should have shut up or spoken better” is true, but doesn’t make up for what he said.

As for being out context, the full text is right there in the post. The context is, you are a leader in a community in an emergency and you are choosing to insult your constituents rather than helping. That context doesn’t make what you said any better.

Boyd continues with:

The anger and harassment you have caused my wife and family is so undeserved….my wife was laid off of her job based off the association people gave to her and the business she worked for. She’s a very good person and was only defending me! But her to have to get fired from her job over things I said out of context is so horrible. I admit, there are things that are said all the time that I don’t agree with; but I would never harass you or your family to the point that they would lose there livelihood such as a form of income.

It’s good to know, now that Mayor Boyd has suffered some consequences for his actions, that he he would never harass people to the point of losing income. (Based on his previous post, he is fine with harassing people in general.)

I ask that you each understand I never meant to speak for the city of Colorado City or Mitchell county! I was speaking as a citizen as I am NOT THE MAYOR anymore. I apologize for the wording and ask that you please not harass myself or my family anymore!

Threatening our lives with comments and messages is a horrible thing to have to wonder about. I won’t share any of those messages from those names as I feel they know who they are and hope after they see this they will retract the hateful things they have said!

Thank you

Tim Boyd(citizen)

Dude, if you’re the mayor, you speak for the government. Are you seriously asking us to believe when you said “the city owes you nothing” that you were not speaking as the mayor?

If you find it upsetting when people insult you and want them to retract the hateful things they have said, perhaps you could start by retracting the specific hateful things you have said. You started this.

Here’s a tip. If you’re dealing with suffering people, show compassion and put politics aside. If you’re in a position of authority, and you consider writing something that’s full of insults and exclamation points, don’t post it.

I’m puzzled. Whose example could former mayor Boyd possibly be following with behavior like this? Got any ideas?

15 responses to “To Texas mayor Tim Boyd: bullying constituents in a crisis is not leadership

  1. I don’t live in his city, but have just spent two days with no electricity in freezing temperatures. My indoor plants are now dying. This morning, thankfully, we have electricity again, but just lost water. So, from where I sit, his words are very cold. This is a textbook case of how NOT to do crisis communication. But maybe it’s also a wake-up call for those who voted for him thinking he had their backs. Everything that’s happened recently is due to our country’s struggle with the question: What is the role of government? Is it here to serve and protect citizens, or business? All citizens, or just the wealthy?

  2. Not sure what acceptable response he’s hoping for from “capable” citizens in this case. Put on your garden gloves and bike helmet and go fix/DIY the power grid instead of waiting for the utility companies to do it? Band together to erect a new wind turbine, barnraising-style? Set a major building on fire, to help keep your neighborhood warm? Holy schmoly.

  3. This is what happens when elected officials think they were elected to be war chieftains or petty kings rather than government officials. Earth to Tim Boyd: kings are not elected. Nor are chieftains. This is not medieval Germanic society, and we are long past the Dark Ages. We live, theoretically at least, in a democracy. If you don’t like it, I hear North Korea is looking for more Americans.

    Government officials, at least mayors and upward, are paid to do a job serving others. If you paid a restaurant to serve you food and they pocketed your money, and the owner or manager of the restaurant then came out and said, “Get out of here, ya lazy weakling! I’ll be damned if I have to serve food to people who can do it themselves! Only the strong survive, not those who pay me to serve them food!” and then that manager’s wife came out and defended him publicly…. would you be all like “man, that poor restaurant owner’s wife. I need to make sure she’s being fed!”? It’s gaslighting, bro. Your wife lost her income? Sink or swim, it’s your choice! I’m sure you’ll figure out a way to take care of your family or perish, just as you insisted others do. These A-holes just think they deserve the world on a silver platter and anyone who doesn’t wash their feet for them is weak and should perish.

  4. Here in Europe it’s incomprehensible to hear something like this from public official… least from the mayor or government. However, I found something utterly idiotic in article from the British Ultra-Left The Independent – – “Yet this notion of “rugged individualism,” of each person taking care of themselves without any sort of assistance from the government, is at the heart of conservative ideology. It is what got Texas into this mess to begin with” – – Conservatism or Leftism has nothing to do in such cases… it’s all about deregulated nasty Corporativism… be it Real Industry or Financial or IT “industries”

  5. WHAT A KING! Thank you Tim Boyd for saying it how it is! Everyone in this country needs a serious dose of reality and mother nature is providing!

    If you have lived this long without thinking, “can I survive without others?” then you surely wouldn’t have made it back in the day. That is no ones issue but your own. Sure, ask neighbors for help, no harm in that, but to be dependent and subservient to the system, is weakness.

    Take it from millions of northerners that’s lived with far worse weather than that and experienced multiple power outages for many days, you need to adapt and overcome. Emotion is weakness, stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something.

    1. Take it from this former northerner who’s lived half of her life in snow country (2 hours south of the Canadian border) — I don’t know what you’re talking about. In the north, everyone prepares for winter because you live 9 months out of the year with it. You buy snow tires and snow shovels. Government takes care of keeping the roads salted/sanded/grated because they have to — that’s the role of government. Here, the government doesn’t believe in climate change realities, and their identity is wrapped up in arrogant promotion of non-regulated fossil fuel industry. They’re stuck in the status quo. So the roads are impassable — slick with black ice or snow — that even you, without snow tires, wouldn’t be able to drive on, much less being on the road with people who’ve never driven on ice. No one owns snow tires or even a shovel. Pipes and houses aren’t insulated the same way. I have a next door neighbor right now who is trying to live without electricity or water with a new baby — imagine what that’s like. People aren’t feeling sorry for themselves — they’re doing what they can. And they expect government to do the job officials were elected to do for the people. Emotion isn’t weakness; it’s human. They have a right to be angry. The government was warned the last time this happened that they needed to weatherize their equipment, but they didn’t want to spend the money. Well, they’re going to spend it now. We’ve got power today, but it may not last. We’re about to use up the rest of our food and plan on taking a chance on the icy, dangerous roads tomorrow to see if we can get some groceries — if any are left. And in a couple of days, we’ll be out of bottled water. I remember visiting the south eons ago and feeling the pang of hurt from a bumper sticker that read: “Let the damn Yankees freeze in the dark!” That’s what you’re saying now, and it’s just as crude.

      1. Reality can be crude. It’s just that most people are just not ready to hear it.

        You’re partly right, emotion is human, however emotions unchecked is chaos and creates illogical responses. Most people do not have discipline to control them, and that is a problem.

        Tim was very blunt, and people don’t like that. To take your example, if I had a neighbor without power and they had a baby to take care of, guess what, mi casa su casa. I think ahead, I have a generator, I have standby food supplies. That’s community, and that’s what the socialist left is tearing apart in this country.

        Furthermore you seem to be confused on the role of Government. The government is and was always supposed to be checks and balances, not a babysitter. So it MAY BE the job of the Gov to plow/salt roads, however it SHOULDN’T BE. Taxation is theft, I don’t care what they use it for. I mean you pay taxes (I assume) and where does that money go? Do you even know? Personally, I removed myself from the system because guess what? I never had faith for the Gov to protect me or take care of me, trust me I know what they do (Flint, Michigan anyone?).

        Remove yourself from the system and provide for yourself, help others, and think proactively. If this weren’t a country which revolved around capitalism, there would be no issue in Texas right now. But everyone has been taught to fend for themselves and they need to make their God Almighty paychecks to pay their bills and debt which further strengthen the chains that bind them to the system.

        Also, when it comes to anyone promoting climate change the only thing that needs to ever be said is that we’ve been on this earth for a blink of an eye in respect to Earths existence. How arrogant to say that its just us causing weather change when this could very well be the lifecycle of the planet. Maybe our time is coming? We are a species, not Gods, and we cannot stop what is to come.

        1. I’m so glad you have it all figured out, and I appreciate the mansplaining. But I’m not confused; I disagree with your views. There’s a difference. Climate change is only a problem for humans and animals. The earth may have already “decided” we are a bad idea because we soil our nest. There are certainly enough crude, uncaring people around who are proving that we are a bad idea. And by the way, Tim wasn’t blunt. Tim had no control over his emotions.

          1. “Mansplaining” tells me all I need to know. Many of the ideas that I’ve implemented in my life were my wifes. But yeah, Joanne you go girl. I will also say I disagree with your views as they promote indentured servitude.

            What amazes me more than anything is that with all the technology we have in this world in regards to weather forecasting, and people STILL get caught with their pants down. If you are too busy staring at your steering wheel, you have no right to complain when you get t-boned for not seeing the stop sign.

            Good luck to all and I hope some valuable lessons have been learned. Enjoy your precious government. Next will be complaining on how your tax money is getting used to buy salt trucks and plow trucks that will get used once a century.

  6. Sounds like every cent that guy was paid as mayor was a government hand out. Must be a liberterian. Ever hear the story about the liberterian fishing guide ??? Cut to the punchline….you paid the money, but your not going fishing…because he doesn’t believe in fishing.

  7. Former mayor Boyd’s error was in succumbing to the pressure of the situation and venting his frustrations. I know exactly how he felt. I held an elected municipal government position for many years in the Northeast. My “salary” amounted to $25 a month. It wasn’t a job you took on to make money, considering I often spent 60 hours or more every month to “earn” my $25.

    We had our share of nasty weather, complete with long-term power outages, washed out highways, and emptied store shelves. We used multiple methods to advise constituents of impending foul weather. We provided bottled water and MRE’s for folks who couldn’t afford to purchase food, and we delivered the same to people who couldn’t get out on their own. We offered our facilities powered by back-up generators for shelter. And remember, I willingly did all of this essentially as a volunteer.

    Every time, and I mean every time, we had a significant event that we had prepared for and issued timely advisories for, there was always a certain percentage of our population that did not prepare when they were more than capable of doing so, complained publicly that not enough was done to see that they were provided for, and more than once put our first responders in harm’s way to rescue them from situations they brought on themselves by ignoring repeated public warnings.

    After one significant winter storm, I had to deal with the usual obnoxious critics who were more than happy to inform me it was my fault they had no heat or electricity. But it was a 3AM bedside phone call and the ranting, screaming voice on the other end that finally convinced me to throw in the towel after 26 years.

    Would I have liked to rip into the folks that were ripping into me? You bet. Did I? Just to my wife and the cows in the barn. (My wife usually forgave me. Not sure the cows ever did.)

    So, as I said earlier, I understand Boyd’s frustration. I’m sure he was getting pummeled, and there wasn’t much he could do to fix the problem. Was he wrong publishing his rant? Absolutely, and that was his downfall. But I still have empathy for his situation, and I think his critics should examine things from Boyd’s perspective, not just from a distance. Walk a mile in his shoes. Literally. I used to tell people that liked to complain, “If you have all the answers, and you know a better way to do this job, then run for this office and show us.” In my 26 years, that never happened. Not once.

  8. His lack of empathy for people is disturbing, he sounds like a sociopath. It’s interesting though that he believes that people wanting the services that they pay for is them expecting a hand out. I suspect his resignation wasn’t by choice (especially since his wife no longer has job), that he was given two options…resign or be fired.

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