On August 21, 2018, at their regular meeting, City Council discussed the Mexican American Cultural Center in Executive Session. Their justification for discussing the matter in Executive Session was Section 551.071 of the Texas Government Code, Consultation with Attorney, and Section 551.087, Deliberation Regarding Economic Development.
The Texas Municipal Code tells us exactly when these discussions in Executive Session are warranted:
Sec. 551.071. CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY; CLOSED MEETING. A governmental body may not conduct a private consultation with its attorney except:
(1) when the governmental body seeks the advice of its attorney about:
(A) pending or contemplated litigation; or
(B) a settlement offer; or
(2) on a matter in which the duty of the attorney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with this chapter.
. . .
Sec. 551.087. DELIBERATION REGARDING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEGOTIATIONS; CLOSED MEETING. This chapter does not require a governmental body to conduct an open meeting:
(1) to discuss or deliberate regarding commercial or financial information that the governmental body has received from a business prospect that the governmental body seeks to have locate, stay, or expand in or near the territory of the governmental body and with which the governmental body is conducting economic development negotiations; or
(2) to deliberate the offer of a financial or other incentive to a business prospect described by Subdivision (1).
Well, geez, it’s hard to see how combining the Mexican American Cultural Center with the Main Library fits either of those requirements. City Council’s decision to hold discussions in Executive Session was obviously City Government trying to illegally hide their plans from the citizens.
Of course, asking the citizens what they think is messy. Making decisions out of the public eye and informing them later is so much easier.
Hypocritical city leaders bemoaned the lack of civility from protestors who showed up at the History Museum to complain about the plan. City leaders apparently agree with Clayton William’s assessment likening bad weather to rape. When the City makes a decision, we should all just lie back and enjoy it.
If City Government wants respect, they’ll have to follow the law. They can’t bemoan the lack of civility when they violate civil statutes.
And City Council? They don’t need you and they expect the same.