When Local Government Possibly Violates the Texas Open Meetings Act # 2 (Somervell County)


When Local Government Possibly Violates the Texas Open Meetings Act # 2 (Somervell County)

4 February 2019 at 10:27:22 AM

Agenda items should be clear and specific enough that any citizen reading knows what is going to happen when commissioners deliberate, discuss and then vote on a given line item. Otherwise, voting on an action that is not spelled out on the agenda risks the vote being negated. 

Here is an example from the April 9, 2018 Somervell County Commissioners Court meeting(Item 10) . The line item is to discuss and take action on declaring bunker gear as surplus. When you listen to the audio embedded in the following video clip, there is a second action taken which is to give that surplus bunker gear to Walnut Springs fire department. In fact, the motion spoken by John Curtis, then Precinct 2 Commissioner incorporated both actions into one. 

But here's the problem. There is no line item or description that indicates that once this bunker gear has been created as surplus, it's going to go to Walnut Springs. In fact, usually there is a procedure to list surplus items that come into the county for whatever reason or are then declared as surplus, to go out for auction. I don't know if there is an issue with declaring items to be surplus and then voting to give them to some other entity. But there is one if citizens cannot know BEFORE THE MEETING that that action is going to take place. Has nothing, incidentally, with whether donating them to Walnut Springs FD is a good idea or not, this is strictly about the importance of upholding the Texas Open Meetings Act. 



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