Tuesday, July 10, 2018

HCDE Breaks Texas Open Meetings Act... Again!

Today, the HCDE Board held a Special Board Meeting to discuss one agenda item in closed session:
A. Discuss and obtain legal advice regarding incident between student and teacher
But 2 minutes into the meeting, AFTER the Board President has already read all the required statements and adjourned to closed session, the Board’s attorney said they didn’t have a quorum, because only three of the seven members were present in person. The fourth, attending via video conference, could not be counted for the quorum because Texas statute reads:
Sec. 551.127. VIDEOCONFERENCE CALL. (b) A meeting may be held by video conference call only if a quorum of the governmental body is physically present at one location of the meeting,…
So six minutes in, the meeting was adjourned for lack of quorum.

BUT ... just 2 weeks ago, on June 27, 2018, the HCDE Board held another Special Board Meeting for one agenda item.
A. Employment
     Principal, AB School East
Just like the meeting today, only three of the seven board members were physically present. A fourth, Erica Lee-Carter, was present via video conference. So legally, they did not have the quorum required by law.

But that didn’t stop them. Not only did they hold the meeting, they went into closed session, and later voted to approve a Principal at AB School East.

OOPS … There are at least three conflicts with the Texas Open Meetings Act:

1. First, HCDE did not have a quorum physically present, so no board meeting could take place.

2. Second, HCDE could not hold a closed session for private discussion among four board members without first convening in a legal open session.

3. Third, they approved an employment position in an illegal meeting, so the vote is voidable.

Colleen Vera


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