The Zoo at the Somervell County Hospital District Board MeetingsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


The Zoo at the Somervell County Hospital District Board Meetings

13 September 2014 at 6:47:27 PM

because, in my opinion, Chip Harrison, board president, doesn't control the meetings and require both the board and the audience to be professional, to be quiet or leave the room if they can't seem to exercise some self-control.  Nothing wrong with heated and spirited conversations at the board level, but this is ridiculous.  (Have said before, I have only attended one posted meeting, which was held at the school board, and a large number of the people in the audience were AWFUL, so I decided to get my information by watching the video after the fact. )

Audience thinks they're in a game show with signs to clap, cheer, whistle, call out, etc if something comes up from anyone that they don't agree with. At least one of the spouses of a board member also has exhibited that poor conduct.  Ron Hankins badgered Paul Harper and insinuated that Harper is hiding something or doing something wrong. Ron Hankins also seems to be egging on the audience, and, in one instance, taking instruction from the audience, and again, even if Hankins chooses to act like a game show host rather than a mannerly board member, Mr Harrison does nothing to maintain order and at least a modicum of respect for ALL elected representatives. I highly doubt that they would act this way in ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT MEETING and this, again, shows a lack of respect for ALL in attendance.Would it have been okay if the audience had largely been those who actually do believe contracts should be followed and had shouted, whistled, clapped, called out? No. There's a presumption at government meetings that government meetings should be orderly, that they are open meetings rather than *public meetings* and that those who cannot control themselves and are disruptive are asked to be quiet or leave the room. Chip Harrison, for some reason I cannot fathom, cannot bring himself to actually control the room.  I made a compilation video

Here's an example of decorum at a government meeting from  Madisonville, TX , see section 18 about how Madisonville city countil expects citizens to act.

Allen Sumners got in Paul Harper's face after one meeting ended and had to be pulled away by his friend Darrell Best. I can't make exactly what was said but this is part of it "Paul, you sure do think ..... Coward." Paul responds with "anything else?" to what looks like Sumners hand clenched into a fist. Even after Best starts to pull him off, Sumners moves in again. I guess Sumners can't control himself very well, or maybe he is starting to take advice from Ron Hankins who said at a previous meeting that he'd like to punch people in the mouth

Besides being one of those that ran for hospital board but didn't get enough votes, Allen Sumners seems to have a history.

He was an  Angelina county commissioner (Lufkin, TX) and was indicted by a grand jury while a commissioner for *official oppression*. 

Angelina County Grand Jury indicts 22 individuals including County Commissioner Pct. 3 Allen Sumners for official oppression.

Since this was a grand jury, this was a criminal case. What's Official Oppression? 

Sec. 39.03. OFFICIAL OPPRESSION. (a) A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he:

(1) intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;

(2) intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or

(3) intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.

(b) For purposes of this section, a public servant acts under color of his office or employment if he acts or purports to act in an official capacity or takes advantage of such actual or purported capacity.

(c) In this section, "sexual harassment" means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which is made a term or condition of a person's exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either explicitly or implicitly.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that an offense is a felony of the third degree if the public servant acted with the intent to impair the accuracy of data reported to the Texas Education Agency through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) described by Section 42.006, Education Code, under a law requiring that reporting.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1217, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 16, Sec. 19.01(34), eff. Aug. 26, 1991. Renumbered from Penal Code Sec. 39.02 by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 510 (S.B. 124), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2013.

He was acquitted in criminal court (Case # 591519, includes a mug shot)  for the *acts of oppression* but then the lady, Shelly Dorsey, filed a civil lawsuit against him for sexual harrassment

The Angelina County Commissioners' Court will meet in Special Session on ... attorney regarding pending litigation:Shelly Dorsey vs Angelina County and ...


This was a second lawsuit apparently by the same person.

 Later that same year, another county employee filed a civil lawsuit against another former commissioner, Allen Sumners, who had already been acquitted in criminal court for acts of official oppression in the same case. The woman accepted a settlement for an undisclosed amount moments before a federal court jury was to hand over its verdict in the case.

Angelina County stepped in with a settlement through the insurance company.  From the Lufkin newspaper. About a month after the settlement Shelly Dorsey was accused of murdering her husband. 

 A month before Dorsey's husband was murdered she accepted a settlement from the county's former liability insurance company in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit against then commissioner Allen Sumners and the county. Dorsey alleged that in 2001 she was harassed and later fired from her job for not complying with Sumners' requests. Sumners admitted then to having a sexual relationship with the woman but said it was consensual. The amount of her settlement was not released. The Dorseys had filed for divorce a few months before the settlement, in April

P.S. Happened to come across a video clip I did a few years back when Pam Miller was mayor of the City of Glen Rose.

Saw this during a discussion of a Glen Rose City Council meeting I recorded in May 2010.   Mayor Miller kind of puts up with the clapping a little bit but finally has enough, gavels down, tells the audience basically to be QUIET and admonishes a council member. Although I don't get why she didn't make everyone stop consistently, she at least DID and emphatically.  Part of why I KNOW that other government entities expect the people in the crowd who are there to WATCH to be orderly, respectful and quiet as well as board members. 

P.PS. While I'm on the subject of civility at meetings, I saw this EXCELLENT document  I'm tempted to paste it in, won't, but I think it makes some great points. 

In the context of democratic debate, civility is about how people treat each other. Civility involves the display of respect for those who have positions with  which one disagrees. 
Even though disagreement plays a necessary role in  governance and politics, the issue is how one expresses  that disagreement. The key is to focus on the strengths  and weakness of proposed solutions to community  problems—not to engage in personal attacks against  those who favor different solutions.1

Embrace Diverse Points of View. Local  officials are grappling with difficult policy  challenges. Bringing as many perspectives on what might be the best solution to a given  problem increases the likelihood that the solution will indeed be successful and enduring.  A goal is to create a culture of tolerance for differing points of view that credits everyone  with having the best interests of the community in mind. 
Everyone Gets a Chance to Share Their Views. Voltaire said "I may not agree with  what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." Everyone’s right to  have their view heard is a central democratic value. Conversely, a strategy that relies on  drowning other perspectives out usually results in a turning up of the volume and  corresponding decreases in civility in discussions 

Be Compassionate About the Fear Factor/ Heckling and Applause Not Allowed. 
Polls suggest many people fear public speaking.2 This fear can come from concerns about being judged negatively or having ideas that people will ridicule or reject. Allowing  cheering and booing or other forms of heckling discourages people from sharing their  views (even silence or no applause can be perceived as rejection). It also runs the risk  that those that do speak will focus more on getting applause than moving the  conversation towards addressing difficult  issues. (Eye-rolling and grimacing can be  non-verbal forms of heckling and also have  no place in communities that value mutual respect.) 

And there's more at that link. 


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