It has not taken long for the “new” Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) to get interesting.
This past November, voters in Harris County elected new members to this governing agency. As Big Jolly Politics has pointed out before, there always seems to be something amiss at the HCDE board meetings, and it appears that at last months’s meeting, the Harris County Department of Education Trustees took a big swing and a miss, yet again.
Political blogger, and someone with a very intimate relationship of HCDE’s goings-on, Colleen Vera, wrote in her Texas Trash Talk Blog following the meeting about the lack of transparency at HCDE and even more troubling, the blatant violation of Texas Open Meetings Act. In that article, there is video of the agenda item that seemed to scare the Democrats, the current board attorney, the superintendent, and apparently newly elected Trustee George Moore, as there was a rush to get to a closed session even if it violated the Open Meetings Act.
It was quite strange to see Trustee Moore so eager to side with the Democrats on this issue, especially since based on his performance at the last meeting, taxpayers thought they had found a great conservative advocate. Boy, were we wrong. If you watch the entire board meeting from that day, one thing that was consistent was that Moore and Democrat Trustees Diane Trautman and Erica Lee Carter seemed to be on the same page and overly complimentary to each other.
From the agenda, it appeared the Republican Trustee Don Sumners had made some requests to try and rein in the out of control spending by the Superintendent and also make changes so that the superintendent couldn’t continue to take positions on behalf of HCDE that he wasn’t authorized to take. As you can see over and over throughout the meeting, Moore seems to oppose putting these type of taxpayer savings measures in place, and goes as far as to chide Trustee Sumners as being a micro-manager and going too far. Maybe Mr. Moore didn’t get the memo that Don Sumners is one of the most fiscally conservative office holders in the county and has a history of championing against wasteful taxpayer spending.
Evidently, Dave Jennings was right in the past when he said this is twiddlywinks versus graduate level politics, and the two Democrats are having their way with Trustee Moore. Another take away from this last meeting was that newly elected Trustee, Eric Dick seems to have taken to heart the criticism he received after the last meetings, because unlike Moore, he voted consistently for the conservative agenda items, and based on his own recount, fought against the lack of transparency of the board when it came to the agenda item dealing with selecting a new board attorney. According to Trustee Dick, he “fought like hell and wasn’t backing down until Moore turned (weak) and turned on the conservatives and sided with the democrats.” If this is true, then taxpayers need to know, what happened to get Moore to turn on his conservative board mates and build an alliance with the two democrats and the super liberal board attorney and superintendent?
Well, now that Ms. Vera has demanded the that the DA’s office investigate the criminal conduct of Moore and company, we may get our answers sooner rather than later. This is just another reminder that transparency seems to be an empty campaign promise from a lot of those on the right, because when it is time to shine the light, some of our conservatives are quick to take out the light bulbs.
We are witnessing right now in Washington D.C. what keeping campaign promises looks like. If only we were witnessing that from all of the new members of the Harris County Department of Education.
Karen Mullinax is a Harris County Republican precinct chair in precinct 323.