At last week’s board meeting, without a single vote being made, the Republicans lost control of the Harris County Department of Education Board. With a supposed five to two board majority at the first of 2019, how could this have been possible?
It all began in January when Eric Dick, the sitting vice president was passed over for promotion to president when the prior president did not run for re-election. Instead, the newly elected Josh Flynn, upon his assurance to be actively involved in directing the department, was selected as president.
Eric Dick, as the committee chairman, had been involved in a discredited effort to replace the department’s attorney, who was thought to favor the superintendent over the board. The controversy lead to the abandonment of the effort.
Needless to say this action did not sit well with Eric who had been anxiously anticipating becoming president. Throughout the balance of 2019 he often displayed his resentment through displaying uncivil behavior and sometimes siding with the two Democrats at board meetings.
Everything began falling apart when George Moore, a soft, often compromising Republican board member, resigned because he moved out of his district. Under the rules George Moore continued to serve on the board until his replacement, which he was not allowed to vote on. With Eric Dick now openly siding with the Democrats, the three Republicans were unable to appoint George Moore’s replacement.
The standoff continued until Josh Flynn, having served on the board for less than a year, made the fateful decision to run for state representative in 2020. This brought about the controversy as to whether Josh Flynn had to resign from the board and whether he was even eligible to run for the legislature. He later resigned from the board, but would continue to serve on the board until his replacement.
Fearing the worst many Republicans urged Josh Flynn to rescind his resignation, which he had the ability to do for eight days. Josh Flynn subsequently submitted a rescission to George Moore the acting officer, but George Moore explained he had made it conditional on his attending Wednesday’s board meeting.
Josh Flynn did not show up for Wednesday’s board meeting where replacement of resigning board members was on the agenda. The department’s attorney ruled that Josh Flynn’s rescission was ineffective because he had made it conditional upon his attending the meeting. This left only two Republican board members capable of voting on George Moore’s replacement. The two Democrats, together with Eric Dick, first voted to replace George Moore with a Democrat applicant. Then the three proceeded to replace Josh Flynn with his Democrat opponent in the 2018 election, who now can serve out Josh Flynn’s remaining five years without election.
George Moore, being the compliant member that he was, elected to call a recess so the two new board members could be sworn in. Upon reconvening the new board proceeded to elect Eric Dick president.
Thus, the coup was complete. The Democrats were in complete control and the two Republicans both of which terms expire in 2020 are left totally ineffective. And, the Republican defeat was totally self inflicted by the irresponsible self indulgent actions of its own board members.
It was a sad day.
About the author:
Don Sumners serves as trustee for Harris County Department of Education Position 7.
Sumners is a certified public accountant and the former Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector.
He serves on the Audit and Budget Board committees for HCDE and is the Board representative to the Head Start Policy Council.
Sumners began his term January 2015 with the term expiring December 2020.
Lump of coal for Harris County Rs. Rep majority HCDE Board flips to the Dems due to Rep Trustees Dick and Moore voting with Dems and former Pres Flynn a no show. New D majority immediately gives 25% raise to Superintendent. #txlege @ValoreeforTexas @paulfsimpson @HarrisCountyRP
— Team Bettencourt (@TeamBettencourt) December 20, 2019