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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 28 years."


 

It just gets weirder and weirder.....I wanted to interview the lawyer that FBISD hired to investigate the internal audits, Lloyd Kelley who is the former Houston city councilman and one term Houston city comptroller who was defeated after he was video-taped, among other things, taking his children to Splashtown, along with his female assistant, during business hours.

However, he never returned my call, so I decided to get myself to his office. I had a hard time finding his address in the phone book but finally found an address on his letterhead he used in communicating with the FBISD board.

I drove up and down the 2700 block of Bissonnet for about thirty minutes before I finally realized that his office consists of a mail box at one of those companies which have printing and mailing services, in addition to private mail boxes.

Mr. Kelley’s office, according to his communication with FBISD, is nothing more than a private postal box.

Now of all the lawyers in Houston, it is a mystery to me why Fort Bend ISD has to go out and hire one that doesn’t even have an office, unless he has one that is not the one listed on his letterhead.

Why do you think the board would do that? I asked some of the members and I was informed that Lloyd Kelley was the only one that Lisa Rickert and Ken Bryant would even consider. Since they have the majority, the district hired Lloyd Kelley. When Kelley et al didn’t come up with much except what had already been revealed in the internal audits, he was given $20,000 more (the original contract was for $25,000) to find some more stuff. I suspect that Rickert/Bryant/Magee/Caldwell wanted an attorney who would take marching orders from the terrible four about what he found. No other attorney would touch it with a ten foot pole.

Other legal troubles....Then before the end of the “workshop” meeting last week, the board fired long-time attorney David Feldman.

A little background here: FBISD used to have more than one attorney, in addition to its in-house attorney, Bernadette Gonzales. They had David Feldman to handle legal matters concerning the school board and Bracewell, Patterson to handle all the other stuff.

Then several years ago, in a move to save the district money, Feldman was hired to handle all legal matters.

When Rickert/Bryant were elected, they didn’t want the in-house attorney handling the board’s business and insisted on Feldman being present, at $250 an hour, at all closed meetings to advise the board on what they could and couldn’t do.

So Feldman’s fees skyrocketed because he has spent countless hours at board meetings. I’ve asked for a comparison of those legal figures which I will bring to you next week.

I guess they didn’t like his advice because last week after another marathon 1:30 a.m. meeting, he was fired, but not before he cautioned the board to quit calling meetings “workshops” then taking actions during the meetings.

Even I, a casual observer who doesn’t know much about legal matters, pointed out a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t think that was fair. Maybe they fired him because he inadvertently agreed with me.

So many jobs to fill.....Now, in addition to a superintendent, an associate superintendent of achievement/development, and an associate superintendent of business and finance, the district will have to hire a new attorney.

About the associate superintendent of business and finance: this is the previous office held by Charles Dupre who has resigned to accept a deputy superintendent’s position in Pflugerville. His job is being advertised on the district’s web site as a “chief financial officer” and now requires a CPA.

By the way, Mr. Dupre was offered the opportunity to leave early (before his two weeks notice was up) after the story of his resignation was printed in the Star last week.

TEA results in....The TEA has decided that the complaints made by current and former school board members about the governance of the current board majority, most particularly that they were overstepping their duties as school board members by interfering with the running of the district, were not substantiated.

The TEA decided this after threatening letters from the board members and after some of the district employees were allegedly pressured to back off from their earlier claims.

One would have thought the board members were accused of murder when they were only accused of doing the things that we have reported week after week they have done. They named a temporary superintendent who they could tell exactly what to do. They found a lawyer that would do their bidding about the internal audits. Now they are going to hire a board attorney who will tell them that everything they are doing is perfectly all right.

Some of the actions taken by the current board majority--Rickert/Bryant/Magee/Caldwell--may have been overdue. But the way they have accomplished these goals have served to cause fear and dissention, which does nothing to advance the education of our children. Many of the things they have accomplished could have been done without the sturm und drang. It seems they want to make a statement and don’t care what or who they tear up to do so.

These people are completely out of control and don’t care who they hurt or what professional reputations they destroy. They can be controlled by one means--the ballot box! I hope their actions will serve to energize the electorate to pay attention to the school board races and I also hope the current situation will encourage decent, honest people without a personal agenda, to run for the board.

Hush up.......First Tom Campbell issued a press release, then not to be outdone, Pat Baig got up at the Republican executive committee meeting and complained, then she also issued a press release.

What has made these candidates for Tom DeLay’s congressional seats cry foul? They want lame duck Republican County Chairman Eric Thode to keep his mouth shut about them having little chance of beating DeLay.

And the recent Chronicle poll has emboldened them as it shows that DeLay may have a hard time keeping his seat. I guess they think Thode is whistling in the dark. They are tired of him telling all the news media that a resolution was passed at the Sept. meeting that supported DeLay.

Well, I don’t blame them. I’m tired of hearing that old saw myself. I was out of town for the September meeting or there certainly would not have been a resolution that received unanimous support. And I know many of those precinct chairs. They do not support Tom DeLay but many are nervous about publicly saying so.

The Chronicle poll showed that Nick Lampson would very likely beat DeLay if the election were held today. So if the Republicans want to keep DeLay’s seat on the Republican side of the aisle, they had better support a Republican that doesn’t have DeLay’s baggage.

 

Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006