Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ZAP! #146: mayor BVDs HireGate

ZAP! #146

     When is an apparent illegal Irving city council meeting considered to be legal?  If you want a valid answer to this inquiry, then staff of the CCR might suggest that you contact Texas AG Abbott and not council member Gerald Farris.

     Having sipped mayor BVDs vintage Kool-Aid and pledged undying fealty, Farris seems to have contacted the dreaded mumbling, spin and dumbstruck disease while attempting to justify the actions the council recently took on January 17, 2004.

     A “Special Meeting” or Executive Session (mayor BVDs preferred approach to avoiding transparency.  Remember the recent Texas Stadium wreck ‘deal’ with OliverMcMillan when her ‘transparency van’ overturned?) was posted for January 17, 2014.  The title of the agenda item reflects: Personnel Matters - City Manager Interviews; Open Meetings Act §551.074.  That’s all that was stated.  This meeting was to interview (this needs to be restated: interview) the three city manager finalist as determined by the city’s search firm.  Period!  End of discussion!  Not select, not consider which individual to hire.  And certainly not to start drafting a contractual agreement for any of them. 

     However, without the issue being on a formal council agenda for public discussion, consideration or vote, mayor BVD and her furless minions seem to have taken a few additional steps at this meeting beyond interviewing.  It appears that the city attorney was directed to begin drafting a contractual agreement for one of the candidates for a possible March 1, 2014 start date.  What?  Doesn’t this sound like a decision was made by some members of the council contrary to what was posted?  When was this individual’s potential hiring formally approved by the entire council?  Has the individual been notified that he might be approved at the February 6, 2014 city council meeting BEFORE a vote is even taken?

     Review the posted agenda item again.  And when you re-read the meeting posting, please advise staff of the CCR where the January 17, 2014 Special Meeting reflects that some council members will discuss, apparently select and probably inform a candidate that he is the chosen one and can move his pencils and iPad into his new 4th floor city hall office digs?

     Of course, when the city is blessed with an attorney that can count to five to know how his bread is buttered, then it stands to reason that not only will he be giving mayor BVD and her furless minions the answers they want to hear, but also immediately start dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” for a contractual agreement that the entire city council has approved in an open, public meeting as directed under the city charter and Open Meetings Act.

     While staff of the CCR is not trained in all the legal nuances of the Open Meetings Act, we do understand that unless posted, council members cannot take any formal action on an item that has not been posted.  And sadly, not even the full council was available for the action that was taken by certain council members on January 17, 2014.  (All council member names provided upon request.)  Therefore, by this action, mayor BVD and her furless minions believe that the public and the entire council is not necessary to run an autocratic regime...especially one that lacks transparency.  But then, isn’t this her style?  Many in the community believe that mayor BVD couldn’t spell TEAM when spotted the T-E-A-( ).

     Be sure to take your noxious pill, because the spin and blathering to sweep the ‘transparency trail’ clean on this council action by mayor BVD will soon begin. 

     And while political apathy seems to be pervasive in Irving, readers should be advised that when the dark cloak of non-transparency covers a meeting, formal action and decisions that are apparently made without benefit of the entire council or public awareness, then maybe it’s time to recruit the corpse of Richard Nixon for the next mayoral election.  This action by mayor BVD and some members of the current Irving city council really should be considered HireGate. 

     After all, Tricky Dicky has been studying (we know where, don’t we?) how to erase eighteen minutes on “digital files” and not fool with those messy tape recorders any more...thereby directing folks to follow his dictates without leaving a trail.

     Only two questions remain: Why the rush and does mayor BVDs new city manager selection play tennis?

…………………………..Mark Holbrook