Super secret sessions

We had an incident in last week’s city council meeting where one of the city representatives made it known that the city had culpability in the problems in the ongoing San Jacinto Plaza disgrace.

City council has been discussing the problems with the quality of life project in executive session for many weeks now.  They use executive session so that the public will not know what is going on.

At one point the city representative started to discuss an aspect of the problems with the project and the mayor interrupted in a manner that indicated she should not continue disclosing information.

Executive session discussions are not required to be kept secret

The Texas Open Meetings act makes it illegal to disclose to the public a certified agenda or tape of an executive session.  Participants in executive center are allowed to discuss and make statements about what occurred.

Why not?

Council’s discussions about the project do not need to be conducted in executive session.  They could instead have a status report made during the open session each week telling us what the current situation is.  They would not have to discuss the city’s potential liabilities to the contractor.

Council had indications that this project would be a problem when they approved the contractor.  Unsuccessful bidders stood in front of council and the public and told us that the project could not be done for the money being discussed.  Council ignored the information and gave the contract to the firm that did much of the remodeling needed to move city hall.  Those contracts were on a no-bid basis.

The city representative was trying to do the right thing.

City staff resisted.  It looked like another railroad job.

Thankfully council prevailed.

We deserve better

Brutus

 

5 Responses to Super secret sessions

  1. 🐍 says:

    Ordaz’s actions should not be minimized and protrayed as falling on the sword for the betterment of the city.

    She was willingly manipulated to set events in place for appointement to the board for the sole purpose of providing the county control over the board. And participated in the back stabbing of Niland. She did it for personal political gain. To push her goal of being Mayor.

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    • Reality Checker says:

      I didn’t portray it that way. Ordaz spilled the beans for purposes of her own agenda. The actions of both are suspect. City council is comprised of people with their own personal agendas. They are manipulative political hacks. The only swords these people will fall on are those of the special interests who support them.

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  2. Reality Checker says:

    Maybe this city rep is just taking a page from Ordaz’s playbook, which is amusing given the criticism Ordaz took from other members of council when she spilled the beans about the transportation funding problems.

    The city rep you refer to was originally a passionate supporter of Basic IDIQ and called for the vote to award them the plaza contract. At that time, she also made a big speech about how involved she was going to be in overseeing the San Jacinto construction process from start to finish. I guess she was too busy filling out the city manager’s review form. Oh, wait, she didn’t do that either.

    Readers should refer back to the comments section of your May 15 post about this subject.

    https://elpasospeak.com/2015/05/15/san-jacinto-default/

    This rep has a way of being behind a decision and later trying to distance herself and act outraged when things turn to &@#!. This is no different that her acting surprised and outraged when it became clear that the city could not build the new stadium for the price that was sold to taxpayers. Just remember how she dressed down Alan Shubert for publicly acknowledging the budget problems.

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  3. Rodney Fender says:

    Hmmm – we elect city council to represent us and our money but they do not have to tell us what they are liable for in improperly spending it??? Maybe we should take a lesson from some of the Sunland Park residents and start a petition to disband our city and county governments since they are as corrupt as that in Sunland Park.

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    • carlosinelpaso says:

      You guys.

      Council executive sessions are not held to keep city business private, although I admit that is abused. Their purpose is to present material that, if mishandled, could cost the City (ergo, the taxpayers) money, sometimes large sums of it. Which is what Niland’s comments have probably done.

      It is precisely because of Niland’s comments (that the City has culpability – even if it’s true, it is sheer lunacy to say that in an open Council meeting) that led Joyce Wilson to give them the mushroom treatment. Those windbags will sacrifice the City’s legal position to score political points without regard for consequences to taxpayers for their comments.

      carlos

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