If you feel the ground seeming to tremor, it isn’t an unexpected earthquake shaking the tectonic plates in Irving. No, it just may be the former Quandary Four of the Irving ISD school board (Valerie Jones, Ronda Huffstetler, Jerry Christian, and Gwen Craig) shaking in their boots.
When the CCR last visited this group, they were attempting -- before the school board election of 2013 -- to censure and staple fellow board member Steven Jones to a blackboard. While the group did manage to pass a non-binding, non-enforceable and meaningless resolution of “censure,” their skullduggery was not done. No, later the board president, Ronda Huffstetler, had an attorney draft a letter which was subsequently signed by the Quandary Four requesting that TEA “investigate” board member Steven Jones. You read this correctly...censure and investigate Steven Jones for doing, as his supporters expected, his job as a conscientious board member. (Remember, the censure item was posted as a board agenda item, but nothing (repeating that: nothing) regarding an “investigation” of Steven Jones by TEA was ever included in what the Quandary Four approved during the meeting.)
For a complete recap of these details and the chronology of events, see the CCR report, 04-07-13, located at: controversialcommittee.blogspot.com Or, if you prefer real facts and information, see the links to the DMN articles listed below. Either way, you will have a better understanding of what the “old” board (Quandary Four) was up to and the devious methods they chose to implement their narrow-minded political agenda.
And herein lies the rub. The noted “investigation” letter, initiated by Huffstetler, was signed by the above four board members on district letterhead requesting TEA perform an actionable item on behalf of the district. One very small problem: There was never a meeting, discussion or vote taken in a board meeting -- open to the public -- to request that this action be taken on behalf of the district. With this being the case, board member Steven Jones filed a notice of violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act (OMA) -- rightfully so -- with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office against the four board members. Violation of the OMA is deemed to be a criminal offense.
If karma can really spin and bite one in the posterior, then it appears that the Quandary Four’s rears are currently being nibbled on by the Dallas County DA’s office. Apparently, each of the Quandary Four has been contacted by a prosecutor from the DA’s office investigating the apparent OMA violation filed by Steven Jones. While it has taken some time for the wheels of justice to start rolling, there is no denying that the Quandary Four should be concerned. Conducting school district business outside the legal limits as prescribed by Texas law is unconscionable and detrimental to the orderly operations of the district. Plus, violation of the law to appease an apparent political agenda is underhanded and dishonest!
At this stage a real investigation is being conducted by the Dallas County DA’s office and the determination will be made as to the validity of the violation as filed by Steven Jones. That is: Did the four board members violate the OMA by signing the letter to TEA that was printed on official district letterhead and signed by each of the disgruntled board members in their official capacity as a member of the IISD school board? Was the OMA violated via a Walking Quorum, or by a Gathering as identified in the Texas Open Meetings Act handbook -- VI Meetings, C, (x); or by conducting official Irving ISD business without benefit of posting a meeting/gathering notice in order to commit the ISD to an actionable item by TEA? Also, in doing all of this, it appears that board president Huffstetler failed to inform ALL duly elected board members that this action of sending a letter to TEA was pending or taking place.
Since the Dallas County DA’s office has no axe to grind or political agenda to satisfy, it will be interesting to observe if charges are presented to a grand jury for prosecution purposes. The time is ripe for the political agendas of the “old” board to be legally exposed and the district allowed to progress in a sane and orderly manner. And this can only be achieved when those responsible (Quandary Four) for much of the turmoil, chaos and reckless spending of the past are recognized or penalized for what their actions perpetrated on the Irving ISD and tax payers in general.
If later next month you happen to witness the Quandary Four members walking around town still quaking, then rest assured that the Dallas County DA’s office is performing their task properly and the fur is about to be kicked off the cats.
And watching cats being kicked is almost as satisfying as butchering sacred cows by the CCR!
Detailed information and articles:
DMN, Avi Selk, March 28, 2013
DMN, Avi Selk, April 5, 2013
DMN, Avi Selk, April 4, 2013