Board chair provides no means of public vetting for candidates.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
Residents of District 9 interested in applying for the interim trustee position have until Oct. 30 to apply, and a district lawyer said interviews by the board will probably be in closed session.
Interviews will be Nov. 7, board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, said.
In an interview Oct. 17, district general counsel Ross Laughead said the applications are available online. The board’s advertisement states applications may be submitted to board liaison Sandra Mora in Building A, Room 101G of Killen Center.
Laughead said the board would call a special board meeting to interview trustee candidates and to appoint a District 9 trustee.
He said the interviews will probably be conducted in closed session, but the appointment must be made in open session.
In an interview Oct. 19, Katz said the interviews would be held in closed session because “that’s how it has always been.”
When asked how the public could understand candidates’ stances on the issues, Katz said they would not be able to prior to the interview process because those questions will be asked in closed session.
In an interview Oct. 20, District 2 trustee Denver McClendon said the applications submitted for the trustee position should be public information so constituents are aware of the candidates’ stance on issues.
The Ranger asked the board liaison Sandra Mora for all applications submitted. She said to submit a public information request to public relations.
The Ranger submitted a public information request for all candidate submissions Oct. 19.
Katz said the board opted to appoint an interim trustee because special elections are expensive and the trustee would need to run for election in May for the balance of the term.
McClendon said he wasn’t sure why the interviews will be conducted in closed session, but he said the interviews for District 4 trustee Marcello Casillas’ appointment in May 2015 were in closed session.
Mora said the district received three applications for the vacated District 4 position in 2015.
According to Texas Education Code 130.001, a trustee filling a vacancy by special election would remain in office until the end of the vacated term, which in the case of District 9 is 2020.
The application requests contact information, a statement of qualifications and interest and a sworn affirmation that the candidate applying meets state law qualification requirements.
The affirmation states you must meet the qualifications set by Texas government Code 141.001 for eligibility for public office, which requires candidates be 18 years old by the date of appointment, have no court ruling deeming them fully or partially mentally incapacitated, have no felony convictions without pardon and have lived in the territory the office represents for six months prior to appointment.
The affirmation should be sworn and signed before a notary public.
The application asks candidates to submit a brief description of qualifications, including a résumé, a biography and an explanation of interest in the position.
The District 9 position became vacant when former trustee Jim Rindfuss died Aug. 15.
District 9 is one of three districts that encompass northeast Bexar County. Two of the five Alamo Colleges, Northeast Lakeview College and this college, are in District 9. The other two districts in the northeastern part of Bexar County are Districts 8 and 2.
The applicant will serve until the May election, when they will need to run for the position which will expire in 2020.