Ron Hankins Violates the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) -Somervell County Hospital District

Ron Hankins Should Have known better

Ron Hankins Violates the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) -Somervell County Hospital District

18 September 2016 at 8:52:08 AM

Is it okay for a public governmental entity to allow, on a whim, a non-agenda item? Not according to the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) 

I mentioned this the other day but was considering today just how egregious this is. Ron Hankins, who is now the Somervell County Hospital District board president, was Somervell County Attorney for almost 20 years, thus was in charge of enforcement of TOMA. HE SHOULD KNOW BETTER.  Here is the agenda for the meeting on Sept 15 2016. See anything there to allow public comments? No? 

Off camera, Gary Whittle asks if he can do a public comment. 
Griffin: Anything from the public 
Hankins: We don't, we don't, there's nothing on there to let you speak... unless y'all allow him to just make a couple of comments. 
In effect, Hankins is polling the board to see if there are enough people who won't speak up and allow him to violate TOMA. Maybe he's trying to spread around the fault for violating TOMA.
Griffn Sure!
Hankins: Thats okay
Since they were letting Whittle speak, I also asked to comment as well. However, neither of us should have been allowed to do it AS PUBLIC COMMENTS WASN'T ON THE AGENDA. 
Besides the obvious questions about why Hankins, who, as Somervell County Attorney, was the person who ENFORCED COMPLIANCE of TOMA for years and Griffin, who presumably has taken the training on TOMA and the Public Information Act, were trying to just flat go around it, what about the public? There's a meeting coming up on Tuesday, Budget Workshop, but there is not public comments on the agenda. Suppose you wanted to go speak your piece but thought, what's the point, it's not on the agenda, so you didn't go. And then you found out that, on a whim, Hankins let people make comments, where the appearance is a "good ole boy" affect, as in "Good Old Gary Whittle wants to make a comment, what do you say we let him".
Besides Hankins knowing better, he's the dang board president. He's supposed to be leading the board, lawfully.   Griffin might not have said "Sure" if Hankins had adhered to the law and said "WE CAN'T DO THIS".  How many things can Hankins get wrong before people start questioning him and his poor judgement???? 

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