Sunday, December 7, 2008

Confidence Vote Discussion - Board President Again Refuses to Call the 'Special Meeting' Required by Board Policy

November 20, 2008 Board Meeting 5:30 P.M.

A part of the Board discussion is contained below.
President Jack Lowe: We will begin with the Superintendent of Schools Report.

Trustee Carla Ranger: Before you begin the meeting, I have two Points of Order.

As you know, the District operates by policy. ... 3 or 4 weeks ago, three trustees submitted a request to you about a Confidence Vote. We haven't received a response to that.

Lowe: That's not on the agenda, Ms. Ranger.

Ranger: This is a Point of Order. I'm not asking for a discussion.

Lowe: Let me ask the Parliamentarian that we just referred to.

Ranger: This is not for discussion. I am making a Point of Order about a continuing infraction of a rule or a policy. I am asking a question about ...

Lowe: You are out of order.

Ranger: Well, I appeal the ruling of the Chair.

Lowe: OK, who are you going to appeal it to?

Ranger: The full Board.

Lowe: OK. How do you do that, Ms. Parliamentarian?

Ranger: What I'm saying is, We need an answer, Mr. President.

Jack Elrod (General Counsel): I would not suggest voting on this. This is a matter of law.

Lowe: OK.

Lowe (calls for reports): Superintendent's Report.

(Superintendent gives report.)

Ranger: Point of Order, Mr. President. I must make this point -- it has to do with the continued violation of policy.

The point is ... if the president violates policy, disrespects Board members when they ask a question, states that it is not on the Agenda--corroborated by the staff--yet, the president controls the Agenda-- and will not put the item on the Agenda.

How is it that a Trustee representing a district of more than 112,000 people -- how does that Trustee ever have the opportunity to discuss with you, with this Board or for the public or her district, any question?

Trustee Edwin Flores(interrupts to give the Education Report): Thank you, Mr. President.

Ranger: I have the floor, Trustee Flores, and I asked the President a question.

Ranger (to President Lowe): I would hope that as BF Local was written in expectation that the President would follow policy, I would hope that you would at least answer.

Lowe: I will follow policy.

Ranger: Well, the policy is not being followed. BE Local is not being followed ...

BE Local states:
'The president of the board "shall call a special meeting ... at the written request of three board members."
Lowe: I've noted your comments.

Ranger: I don't want you to note them. I want you to answer my question.

Lowe: I'm not going to do it.

Ranger: You are not going to answer the question? You are ignoring a Trustee? We are all equal here.

Lowe: We are not posted to discuss this. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to violate the Open Meetings Act.

Ranger: You are already violating policy. I asked a question.

I just want you to note, and I want it to be noted in the record that I have asked you a question about BE Local, which you are violating (and) BF Local which you have for the last 3 1/2 weeks.

I would like an answer as a Trustee who followed policy. I made a request. I want an answer for me, for my district and for the people who support Dallas ISD.

Lowe: OK. We have that in the record. Now calls on Trustee Flores for Education report.

Meeting continues.
The same request had been made at the November 6, 2008 Board Briefing two weeks earlier.

No other Trustee spoke during either of the two November Board efforts to obtain a response from the Board President.

The District General Counsel interrupted a Trustee's parliamentary appeal to the full Board stating it was a matter of law.

Robert's Rules of Order clearly allows an appeal from any decision of the President to the full Board. There is no basis for denying the appeal.

So the General Counsel decided it was a matter of law. But there is no law that prevents a parliamentary appeal of a Board President's decision.