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School trustees for the Paris Independent School District has posted an agenda for a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, at which time the board will go into executive session under Section 551.074 of the Texas Open Meetings Act, to “Hear Complaint Against Public Officer.”
Sec. 551.074. PERSONNEL MATTERS; CLOSED MEETING. (a) This chapter does not require a governmental body to conduct an open meeting: (1) to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or (2) to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee. (b) Subsection (a) does not apply if the officer or employee who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing.
If the subject of the meeting is a member of the administration or a school board member, the posting stops short of meeting the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
According to the publication, “The Texas Open Meetings Act Made Easy” … “The subject of the posted notice has to be sufficient to alert the public, in general terms, of the subjects that will be considered at the meeting.
The more important the particular subject is to the community, the more specific the posted notice must be. Thus, the phrase “employment of personnel” has been held to be a sufficient posting for hiring a school teacher. However, the same court found that this phrase was not sufficient when the school was considering hiring a key supervisor such as a principal.
Paragraph (b) of 551.074 could also come into play. The official under scrutiny can force the board to have its proceedings in the open.
The board is scheduled to come back into open session for a number of items, including a “clarification of financial condition.”