Sunday, April 7, 2013

CCR 04-07-13: Beam 'em up, Scottie

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

     Are they really at it again?!  The IISD Quandary Quartet (board members Craig, Huffstetler, V. Jones and Christian) seem to be as resolute as a dog chasing a car tire.  (Would they know what to do with the tire if they actually caught it?)  As you may recall, this group recently passed an inane resolution to censure board member Steven Jones during their April 1st meeting.  This meeting, by the way, was duly posted for public notification!

     Could this group believe that some laws should be for others to follow and that they are free to bend, flex or fracture any policy or law they might deem unimportant if it gets in the way of a good political lynching, character assassination or personal vendetta?  And in particular, board president Huffstetler who seems to be doing everything in, or beyond her limitations to accomplish this before she leaves the board in May. (If only May would hurry and arrive!)

     While it might seem unbelievable to a normal follower of the IISD, the Quandary Quartet appears, in our untrained legal opinion, to have seriously stepped on or significantly trod on provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act.  And this IS NOT the first time that this group has been investigative for such an activity!  Review the following detail closely, since the political fallout for the Quandary Quartet is in the process of being subjected to a formal investigation.  The wheels are turning to have this issue fully investigated by the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, and hopefully those responsible for this apparent civic travesty will receive the full penalty of the law for any violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act upon conclusion.

  • ISD Board (meaning the Quandary Quartet) passes, on a 4 - 3 vote, a resolution to censure Steven Jones.
  • The action to “investigate” Steven Jones by the TEA WAS NOT a part of the resolution passed by the Quandary Quartet.
  • Huffstetler then proceeds to have a letter drafted to the TEA to initiate an “investigation” of Steven Jones even though the board has not met to approve this IISD action, a board meeting has not been posted, and the entire board was not notified that an official district action was about to be taken.
  • Disregarding any information she may have received about her proposed letter or, perhaps, needing to have the full board meet and vote on this item to have the TEA “investigate,” Huffstetler has the letter written requesting that the TEA “investigate” Steven Jones. (Wonder who paid for this?  Will the district be charge for any legal services?  Or was the Austin attorney repaying any local favors, or acting pro bono for assisting Huffstetler by writing the letter?)
  • The other members of the Quandary Quartet are contacted (Craig, V. Jones and Christian) to advise them that the “investigation” letter is ready for signing at the administrative building.  (Could contacting and discussing district business with three additional board members -- making this signing event a board quorum -- be considered ‘polling’ board members to take action on an IISD matter?)
  • The entire Quandary Quartet, at some point in time, shuttles to the IISD administrative offices and signs the “investigative” letter to TEA that was produced on official IISD letterhead utilizing staff time and materials, signed by Huffstetler as president of the IISD Board of Trustees with the other board members signing as official members of the IISD board of trustees.
  • There was no media announcement that a majority of the IISD board was in agreement to take an action on a district matter that had not been duly posted.  Additionally, not all members of the board were contacted to come by the administrative offices to sign or refuse to sign the letter.
  • And to sprinkle additional salt in the wounding or trampling of the Open Meetings Act, two of the Quandary Quartet (Huffstetler, V. Jones) saw to it that a signifiant portions of their letter to TEA be published as a “Letter to the Editor” in the Dallas Morning News.  And it was!  (Was this the finale performance of the Quandary Quartet Vindictive Tour?)

     While there was no official meeting posted for what certainly appears to be an official board action taken by the Irving Independent School District board of trustees and ALL board members were not contacted, Huffstetler pompously forged ahead with her tin foil hat cronies and had the letter mailed to TEA.

     The questions that need to be resolved with this potential travesty of public service is: Should this action by the Quandary Quartet be considered a violation under the Texas Open Meetings Act for -- 1) a Walking (or drive-by in this case) Quorum; or 2) a Gathering as identified in the OMA Handbook, VI Meetings, C, (x); or 3) conducting official IISD business without benefit of posting a meeting/gathering notice in order to commit the IISD to an actionable item?  Since no member of the CCR staff is a licensed attorney, we’ll leave these determinations to the individuals who will hopefully and ultimately investigate the actions of the Quandary Quartet.

     Sadly, one conclusion that can be arrived from the activities of the Quandary Quartet...this WAS NOT done for the “kids.”  After all, the CCR actually believes that IISD teachers instill a higher degree of morality, integrity and honesty in the “kids” they instruct.

…………………..Mark Holbrook