Before Brad Neighbor could leave the City where he built a career around municipal law, the Garland City Council made him even more of a fixture. On Nov. 9, Council renamed the courts facility at 1791 W. Avenue B as the Brad Neighbor Municipal Court Building.
Neighbor served 36 years as a Garland City Attorney, leading the department for the last half of his career.
"Brad has made immeasurable contributions to this City," City Manager Bryan Bradford said. "That influence and advice has played its way out in many ways that people will never know. With every major decision in this City, Brad's been involved."
Neighbor authored numerous amicus briefs in various courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, on issues relating to local government. He is one of few governmental lawyers who is board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the State Bar of Texas.
"He has encyclopedic knowledge of even the most obscure points of municipal law," said Assistant City Attorney Mike Betz.
But after he had received a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the University of North Texas in 1980, Neighbor’s first job with the City was in code enforcement.
He nurtured a love of municipal work and gained a familiarity with Garland. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise that Neighbor wanted to return once he earned his a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University in 1985.
“What people may not appreciate about Garland is how complex the operation is,” Neighbor said. “One of the beautiful things about the municipal layout is you get your hands in so many things.”
Early in his career, Neighbor worked to secure a future for Garland’s successful landfill operations, helping the City annex the land that will serve the community for decades to come as the Hinton Landfill.
He has worked in civil rights litigation and been the City’s legal guide as the manner of police work changed dramatically over the years.
He worked to help untangle litigation between Texas Municipal Power Agency cities, saving Garland Power & Light ratepayers millions.
As the City’s lead attorney, Neighbor was a pioneer in drafting Garland’s red light camera ordinance. The cameras became persecuted politically as “gotcha” mechanisms. But in Garland, Neighbor said, the lone motive was to make streets safer.
“We were the premier model of the red light programs in Texas. I hope it mattered. I believe it saved some lives.”
Mayor Scott LeMay said "Brad has helped set the course for this City. He has counseled lots of mayors and council members. He has done a great job of keeping us out of trouble."
Neighbor said he appreciated the City Councils for allowing him to be candid. And he said it didn’t matter whether he agreed at the end; it was his duty to follow the Council’s directive and, therefore, that of the people who elected the Council.
“Everybody in this organization is trying to advance the interest of our citizens and taxpayers."