Oh, the Hypocrisy.

I guess you heard that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the El Paso County Historical Commission were not reappointed.

From the El Paso Times:

Two longtime leading members of the El Paso County Historical Commission who are under investigation over possible open meetings violations were among those denied reappointment to the board Monday.

Former Chairman Bernie Sargent and former Vice Chairman Max Grossman were not among the 25 members appointed to the board by the El Paso County Commissioners Court. The decision came after the Commissioners Court met behind closed doors for more than three hours Monday afternoon.

Wait a minute. Isn’t meeting behind closed doors a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act?

According to the Texas Government Code, government bodies like the Commissioners Court may not meet in private except under certain circumstances, to wit:

Section 551.071
CONSULTATION WITH ATTORNEY
Sec. 551.0725.
COMMISSIONERS COURTS: DELIBERATION REGARDING CONTRACT BEING NEGOTIATED
Section 551.072
DELIBERATION REGARDING REAL PROPERTY
Section 551.073
DELIBERATION REGARDING PROSPECTIVE GIFTS
Section 551.074
PERSONNEL MATTERS
Section 551.076
DELIBERATION REGARDING SECURITY DEVICES
Section 551.087
DELIBERATION REGARDING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEGOTIATIONS

It’s hard to see where appointing volunteer members of the County Historical Commission would fall into any of those.

Maybe consultation with attorney?

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.

It would take an attorney to shoehorn Historical Commission appointments into that exemption.

Maybe we should get the Texas Rangers to investigate.

4 comments

  1. They could probably claim it was good under the Personnel Matters BUT the point is that they may have already voted in secret BEFORE the meeting. The word is that all of them made lists of the 34 nominees they most wanted on the Commission, then took the top 25 on the consolidated list. THAT would probably be a violation of the Open Meetings Act AND a meeting that was NOT posted 72 hours in advance.

      1. It says Personnel. No definition of which personnel, could go either way if the lawyers get hold of it.

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