Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dallas ISD Search Code of Ethics not listed on public notice or agenda

Tuesday evening Board President Lew Blackburn presented a so-called Dallas ISD Search Code of Ethics to Trustees for the first time.  This was done at the last minute or right before we were scheduled to go into a closed session to receive the candidates presented by PROACT Search.  There was no prior discussion or disclosure. Trustees had no part in creating the document.

The Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) requires that items for adoption at a Board meeting  be listed on the agenda in order to give notice to the public.  There was no public notice or listing of a Dallas ISD Search Code of Ethics.

The President quickly read the ethics code and asked Trustees to sign it and return to him.

After expressing  concern about this surprise action by the Board President, I clearly stated that I was not going to sign the document; so, the meeting could have moved on.  However, the meeting was delayed when  other trustees such as Nancy Bingham and Lew Blackburn refused to accept what I had already stated.  They indicated they did not want to move on or were uncomfortable with continuing until I signed this newly created document demanded by the Board President.

Then, and even more so now, I believe this was totally inappropriate because no such action was authorized to be taken at this meeting.  The agenda said there was to be a Discussion of the Superintendent Search Process, not an adoption of an ethics policy.

The Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) does not allow a Board President to do whatever he wants. If an item is to be adopted, it is posted and placed on the agenda as an action item for adoption.  That did not happen.

"Recess" was called by  the President.  I did not request a recess.  The recess was called because Lew Blackburn and Trustee Bingham wanted to force me to sign this so-called ethics document.

Also, it appears the recess occurred, in part, because one of our outside attorneys was called and asked to come to the meeting  to speak to me.  I did speak with the attorney and again stated that I would not sign the document. And I didn't.

The Board President then resumed the meeting but without disclosing that I would not be signing the document. The meeting continued as scheduled after the delay which was caused solely by the Board President and those who wanted to force me to sign.

I am glad I did not sign it.  Those who did sign it might have violated the Open Meetings Act. Moreover,  I believe this action by the President was totally inappropriate. 

Dallas ISD is not a herd following cattle over a cliff.  It is a public institution.  Board members are elected Trustees.  I will do my very best to make independent decisions. 

The agenda is below.  There is no Dallas ISD Search Code of Ethics listed on the agenda; yet Board members signed this unposted document.  

Trustees had no role in creating, contributing to or developing the document.  In fact, Trustees were given no opportunity to even discuss it. 

All parts of the Superintendent Search process, large and small, should be handled properly, in keeping with our policies and procedures.

For Trustees to do otherwise could taint the process.


Called Board Meeting Agenda and Notice
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Board Room or the Ada L. Williams Auditorium
3700 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204