Thursday, August 16, 2012

ZAP! #98: Power Outage?

ZAP! #98

     Does anyone have a clue as to what may be currently motivating Irving ISD board president Ronda Huffstetler to take the action she is proposing?  Can anyone determine if she may have had any clandestine conversations with anyone to chart this incomprehensible and flawed action?  Does she realize that her action could be contrary to all that might be prudent and beneficial to the Irving ISD?

     Oh, you are in the dark, too?  You are not aware of what is about to transpire and be pawned off as acceptable and trustworthy action by the Irving ISD board president?  Well, sit down dear reader and see if you can help probe the cause for the Special Meeting of the Irving ISD that Ronda Huffstetler has called for Monday, August 20th.

     According to the agenda that has been posted, the meeting is supposed to consider “amending the agreement with legal counsel.”  But realistically, there has to be a deeper and more sinister purpose afoot.  By the way, the current agreement with the district’s legal counsel isn’t set to expire until 2014.  That’s two whole years away!  Why this action now?

     Here’s what staff of the CCR thinks.  Huffstetler recently appointed a board committee to survey and collect information concerning the utilization of in-house legal representation to replace their current counsel.  If you recall from the July 26, 2012 CCR report, the district has spent the following for their current legal services: 2010 = $807,087; 2011 = $654,785 and 2012 = $523,534 through June leaving two more months of billings to accrue.  (Be reminded, these are your tax dollars being spent with very little oversight or review.)

     The board committee has been working diligently to explore all possibilities to ensure that the district has good legal representation, but isn’t paying Wall Street fees as they have the past several years.  Additionally, the committee she appointed is set to inform the board of its findings at the regular August 27, 2012 board meeting.  

     So, the first question to be asked is: Why is Huffstetler attempting to change the current agreement on such short notice without foresight of what could be a better and more cost effective consideration for the district?  Has she consulted with any other board member in her attempt to slide this action through?  Even if the “amended” agreement with current counsel reflects a pittance of a reduction in cost, shouldn’t this proposal be placed in the hopper with ALL the other information that the board committee has collected?  Wouldn’t reviewing ALL the possible proposals and cost be the proper, correct and judicious thing to do for the sake of the district and the tax paying public?  Is she fearful that the board committee information will reflect that there is a better and more cost effective way to handle the district’s legal activities and still have good representation?  Or, is all this some sort of perverted power play that the board president is engaging in to appease current legal counsel -- that has been riding the gravy train fee structure -- since she may choose to not run for re-election in the next election cycle?  

     Staff of the CCR is at a loss as to how the board president can honestly believe that her action of calling a Special Meeting to amend the current agreement with the current legal counsel is beneficial for the board, the tax paying public or dare we say...the “kids.”  There is just no sane motivation for her usurpation of perceived authority to engage in this surreptitious and stealthy plan unless her chain has been pulled by unnamed sources.

     Another important consideration in this discussion of reviewing in-house legal representation is: board member Craig previously did not want to move forward on considering in-house representation until “more information was available.”  In fact, Craig made the suggestion that a committee be formed by the board president to study the issue and bring all their findings back to the full board for review and consideration.  As she stated, it would be premature to vote on in-house representation without full benefit of obtaining all information. Was this just political hyperbolism on Craig’s part to grandstand before an audience?  If not, then Craig should note that the full committee report and recommendation is scheduled for August 27th, NOT August 20th.  

     Maybe if you contact board president Huffstetler, she could provide you with whatever flimsy rationale she has bouncing around her cranium as to why this action is being handled without the benefit of waiting and reviewing the board committee’s recommendations of what will be presented on August 27th.  Was her initial appointment of the board committee just another political ruse that she imposed on all the other board members?  Are the other board members going to fall for this scheme to circumvent the legitimate and unbiased work the appointed committee has performed? 

     Huffstetler can probably be reached at the following listings.  However, she might not want to respond to your request for clarification or state what her true intentions are in this matter.  But, give it a try anyway.

Ronda Huffstetler
Phone: (214) 663-8979