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The Non-Discussion Discussion of Election Results on 5.22.17

So … the Humble ISD school board called a special meeting this stormy Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Purpose: to “discuss” the results of the recent school board election.

The timing of the meeting (during the morning rush hour on the busiest day of the week) raised my antenna. I figured this meeting would be a formality to certify the election results; but it appeared that somebody really didn’t want an audience there. Therefore, I figured I should attend. Here’s what happened.

Three members of the public braved a blinding thunderstorm and showed up with some questions (Mia Hoyt, Patti Pinkley and I). We actually outnumbered the school board members there (Nancy Morrison and Keith Lapeze), which they say constituted a quorum for purposes of this meeting “by state law,” although they didn’t cite which law. Not one of the other board members recently up for election or re-election was present.

The meeting notice posted last Thursday evening said, “The subjects to be discussed [emphasis added] or considered or upon which any formal action might be taken are as follows: CANVASS RESULTS OF THE REGULAR BOARD OF TRUSTEE ELECTION HELD ON MAY 6, 2017. This Notice is given pursuant to Section 551.001 et. seq. of the Government Code.” Note: that law refers to open meetings, not certification of elections.

At about 7:40 a.m., Mr. Lapeze walked in, sat down, and started talking in a voice that was barely audible from where the audience sat. There was some chit chat with the legal counsel present which I could not make out. Then Mr. Lapeze proceeded to read the results of the election, although, again, it was difficult to hear the numbers.

There was:

  • No microphone.
  • No video.
  • No formal call to order.
  • No welcome to the public.
  • No acknowledgement of anyone present.
  • No eye contact with the audience.
  • No Q or A.
  • No discussion by the board.
  • No discussion with the public.
  • No formal adjournment.

After reading the results, Mr. Lapeze appeared to sign something,
and simply said, “Are we done?”
Without another word, everyone just got up and left the room
 without voting (as far as I could tell) and
without even a “thank you” to the audience for coming.

No one in the audience was invited to speak or allowed to say a word.

This morning’s meeting was a perfect example of why I campaigned for better communication and transparency during the last election. It’s also why I will continue to campaign.

The Transparent Stone Wall

At the last Board meeting I asked a series of simple informational questions about several budget items that raised issues related to financial transparency. This ad, which will appear in the Tribune starting this week, summarizes what happened. I call it the Transparent Stone Wall.

If my account seems incredulous to you, listen to my questions for yourself at http://www.boarddocs.com/tx/hisd/Board.nsf/Public#. My comments start about 44 minutes and 28 seconds into the meeting. The board’s responses start at 1 hour, 11 minutes and 50 seconds into the meeting. Would you be satisfied with the answers provided if this Board was spending $350,000,000 of your money each year?

Download a pdf of Stone Wall here.