Former NLC president has 30 days to appeal judge’s decision.
By Kyle R. Cotton
After months of a legal dispute among Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Alamo Colleges and Dr. Craig Follins, former Northeast Lakeview president, the judge in the case has ruled in favor of Paxton’s motion for summary judgment.
Summary judgment means the facts in the case are not in dispute, which allows a judge to make a judgment on whether information under the Texas Public Information Act can be released to The Ranger and the San Antonio Express-News.
On Sept. 14, a Travis County judge approved Paxton’s motion, according to a source close to the case. The source expects the final paperwork to be filed by the end of the week.
Follins is alleged to have engaged in abusive behavior toward faculty and staff at Northeast Lakeview College before he was terminated as president Oct. 29, according to Follins’ affidavit to the court.
Associate general counsel Roxella Cavazos said Follins has 30 days to appeal once the final paperwork is filed in the case.
Paxton argued, “The information at issue relates to a prominent public employee’s negotiated separation agreement with a public employer. While Follins may find these records ‘embarrassing,’ none of the information at issue is of a type of information previously recognized as highly intimate or embarrassing by judicial decision or prior attorney general opinion. And the public plainly has a legitimate interest in the job performance and dismissal or resignation agreement between a public employee and employer.”
Follins’ attorney Stephen Menn told The Ranger today he doesn’t know whether Follins will appeal the judge’s ruling and doesn’t want to give his opinion on the judge’s ruling yet.
The Ranger filed its public information act request on Nov. 18 after Follins was removed from his position as Northeast Lakeview president after obtaining a termination memorandum written by Chancellor Bruce Leslie.
“You have once again violated expectations set for you and engaged in a pattern of unacceptable behavior,” Leslie wrote.
The attorney general ruled in The Ranger’s favor Feb. 24.
“Upon review we find none of the submitted information at issue is highly intimate or embarrassing information and of no legitimate public interest, and it may not be withheld …,” the attorney general’s decision said.
Follins was reassigned as special projects administrator — a position that did not exist previously — and kept his salary of $205,387.03 to “analyze and provide recommendations on the market opportunities for distance learning.”
Follins resigned from that position in August to pursue a position at Houston Community College, which pulled the offer after further investigation by the HCC district into allegations of alleged abusive behavior.
Click here for: Attorney General Ken Paxton’s motion for summary judgement.
Click here for: Dr. Craig Follin’s appeal against Paxton’s motion.
Click here for: Dr. Craig Follins’ affidavit to keep documents private.