Several days after the last general board meeting (March 17, 2015), I learned of some very disturbing news. This news was that sitting board members Heath Rushing, Robert Scarfo, Brent Engelage and Robert Sitton voted to name a Humble ISD baseball field after David Sitton who is current board member Robert Sitton’s brother. Both Charles Cunningham and Angela Conrad voted against this, citing that this move may potentially violate policy and that this may set a bad precedent for upcoming facilities naming recommendations. After speaking to several individuals, I could not find any evidence that there was a formal process followed to consider the naming of this field, which means that this was potentially and arbitrary decision made by only a few individuals. This concerned me because I am sure there are many other deserving individuals who should have at least been considered for such an honor. I was dismayed that Robert Sitton would actually take part in this vote, being that it involved his brother! With all of this I begin to search policy: the State of Texas has the following policy for employment matters (DBE(LEGAL). The policy states the following: If an employee continues in a position under this exception, the public official to whom the employee is related in a prohibited degree may not participate in any deliberation or voting on the appointment, reappointment, employment, reemployment, change in status, compensation or dismissal of employee, if the action applies only to the employee and it not taken regarding a bona fide class or category of employees. Govt Code 573.062(b) A “change in status” includes a reassignment within an organization, whether or not a change in salary level accompanies the reassignment. Atty. Gen. Op JC193 (2000) In summary, a board member must not participate in a vote when considering employment matters related to his or her relatives. I am disturbed that this state policy would not serve as a guide for governing nepotism in other matters that the Humble ISD board considers.
It’s not about the person; it’s about transparency and integrity in the process: who did we elect?
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