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Pressure mounts for Dallas to cut ties with pastor after controversial comments

By: Staff

Pressure is mounting for Dallas’ mayor and police chief to cut ties with the controversial head pastor of First Baptist Dallas.

On Friday, Mayor Mike Rawlings finally weighed in on pastor Robert Jeffress’ comment about gay-friendly businesses who are against so-called “religious freedom laws” and had compared them to ISIS.

“I’ve said often the greatest threat to freedom of religion in America is not ISIS, it’s the chamber of commerce,” Jeffress said in a May 16 interview with a radio station. “I mean, it’s the businesses that say to our representatives, ‘Oh, don’t pass laws like that, Don’t pass these religious freedom laws because people will interpret that as anti-gay and we’ll lose business.’”

The mayor, along with Dallas’ police chief, appeared with Jeffress to announce a Back the Blue partnership in April.

While the mayor now says Jeffress’ words hurt, he didn’t go as far as cutting ties with the pastor who’s also criticized Islam, Mormonism and same sex marriage.

“This is a tricky thing,” said Mayor Rawlings. “There are a lot of restaurants that will give free hamburgers to our police officers and you know sometimes those restaurants might do things that are weird.  And so, I think the chief will lead and resolve that for the police officers.”

Cece Cox of the Dallas Resource Center says the actions betray a community already dealing with a string of unsolved attacks in and around Oak Lawn.

“I think the mayor is not leading in this situation. He’s not making any decisions and he’s punting to Chief Brown,” said Cox. “You have that in combination with the DPD saying, “Oh, we’re going to send our officers to First Baptist Church where the pastor is saying anti-LGBT things.’ We’ve just had enough.”

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It’s not about the person; it’s about transparency and integrity in the process: who did we elect?

It’s not about the person; it’s about transparency and integrity in the process: who did we elect?

Dear Editor:
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.

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Principal charges Sitton brothers with retaliation

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cynthia Calvert

Reassignment, demotion result of discovery

An Humble ISD principal is charging retaliation in a situation involving her demotion and reassignment. Diaka Carter was an associate principal at Humble High School (HHS) last year when she was suddenly notified she was being demoted and transferred to Summer Creek High School for the 2013-14 school year. Carter had previously discovered that Humble head baseball coach David Sitton, brother of Humble ISD School Board Member Robert Sitton, was “violating campus and district policies concerning his athletic periods,” according to a complaint filed with the district. Carter contends that when she reported this and reassigned David Sitton, his brother, Robert, complained, prodded and eventually succeeded in having district administrators reassign her to a different school and at a lesser position. Robert Sitton denies this. Although Carter has an exemplary personnel record, Assistant Superintendent Trey Kraemer notified her she was losing her job at HHS, being demoted to an assistant principal, reassigned to SCHS and would be paid thousands of dollars less per year. According to Carter, Kraemer’s explanation was that the actions were “political” and were not “job performance related.” Carter, astonished, filed two grievances with Humble ISD over what she says is retaliation, copies of which were obtained by the Tribune. According to the complaints, in early May 2012, Carter found out that David Sitton was not reporting to his assigned fifth period baseball class. He was “in essence being afforded an additional off period,” was “leaving campus every day and could not be located.” Carter attempted to discuss the situation with Athletic Director Troy Kite but he referred her back to the campus administrators. Carter reported David Sitton’s unauthorized daily absences to her superiors and eventually reassigned David Sitton (from U.S. History to World History) and compelled him to teach a full load of courses. Carter says David Sitton confronted her and expressed his anger at her actions. According to Carter, Humble ISD Board Member Robert Sitton then became involved. Over the course of several months, he persistently demanded that leadership change at the high school and repeatedly asked HHS Principal Dr. Charles Ned “what he was going to do about it.'” After reassigning David Sitton, another incident occurred during graduation. Robert Sitton came to the ceremony and was angry to discover that he, as a board member, had no seat on the stage marked with his name. Robert Sitton then asked for a meeting with Ned the next week where he said others were complaining about Carter’s “strong personality” and suggested a change of leadership was needed, according to the grievance. Kraemer was promoted to assistant superintendent the next month, in June of 2012. Robert Sitton met with him soon after to complain about the “lack of leadership” at HHS and about Carter’s personality. During the 2012-13 year, Kraemer had several meetings with Ned and board members concerning Carter and a general concern about HHS. According to Carter’s grievance, Kraemer even told Ned that he had too many African Americans as teachers to which Ned responded that his hiring tried to match the campus demographics. In March 2013, Robert Sitton met with Kraemer and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Tommy Price to say that he was still getting complaints about HHS and asked “what the plan was” for the next year. Kraemer then met with Ned again and asked what members of his leadership team he wanted to retain…

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LGBT leaders meet with Chief Brown over DPD links to First Baptist Dallas

By: Staff

LGBT activists met with Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Tuesday about the department’s links and programming with First Baptist Dallas and its controversial lead pastor.

Pastor Robert Jeffress has been on the record criticizing gay marriage, Mormons and Islam.

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said Brown acknowledged their concern but did not regret his April appearance with Jeffress. The department says attending the event was not an endorsement, rather acceptance of support that the church was offering officers.

“Associating DPD with a large institution in Dallas that goes against the ordinances and the charter and the policies of the city are something that he can’t step away from – that’s his choice,” Cox said. “We don’t have to agree on everything, but I do hope that DPD will commit itself to seeking other resources for providing officers with counseling — which is what First Baptist offered.”

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