Letter to the Editor | "Re: Groundwater Conservation District Public Meeting" by Linda Holzman

There were a total of 8 private citizens, the new County Commissioner for Precinct 3, Betty Stiles (County Commissioner for Precinct 4), and three GCD directors in attendance at tonight’s meeting [12/08/16]. Absent were Directors John Alexander and Lynn Wildman. There was no recording secretary present.

The meeting was called to order and minutes from the August meeting were passed around to those in attendance. In addition to the points discussed in the August 17th workshop, the minutes included additional input from Tom Callan to support his opinion that approving a Groundwater Conservation district has no effect on the current law regarding Rule of Capture.

Steve Meinhausen brought up the fact that he had made several points during the 8/17/2016 workshop and none of them were included in the minutes. There was discussion of amending the minutes. Meantime, the minutes were approved.

Tom Callan called for opening the “Citizens to be Heard” segment of the meeting.

Wendy Laubach addressed the directors regarding why they don’t just dissolve the board and end this, in the face of the overwhelming election defeat of the creation of a GCD in Aransas County.

Response from Tom Callan, “That is not going to happen.” I’ll note here that Tom Callan was the only one of the 3 directors who spoke during the meeting other than to make motions to approve minutes and to adjourn and ‘aye’ votes.

Linda Holzman asked that people attending the meeting be informed regarding any actions taken by the board since the August meeting, any meetings (local or out-of-town) attended by the board members in relation to the GCD, etc. even though the GCD had been soundly defeated by the voters.

Linda Holzman was informed by Chairman Tom Callan that the segment of the meeting was “Citizens to be Heard” and the board was not under any obligation to answer the question.

Linda Holzman further asked how the public could obtain documentation of county monies spent for the creation and activities of the GCD.

Linda Holzman was informed that no moneys were spent since August except to print minutes because the board has no money.

After some discussion, back and forth between attendees regarding refusing to answer queries by taxpayers, Tom Callan stated that there had been no meetings or other activities since the August meeting. When asked if any were planned, such as meeting with the Region (15), they said that Betty ALWAYS attends those and that Tom attends as well. I asked who pays them for that and Betty said she gets paid mileage to go. I found that interesting.

Linda Holzman asked about further expenses for their consultant and for any attorney and we were informed the consultant is no longer working with the GCD so is no longer an expense item.

The board did not address the question of how citizens could get an accounting of monies spent in total for all activities of the GCD. Again, they didn’t have to answer questions.

Tom announced the segment of the agenda for a “closed meeting” regarding a ‘personnel’ matter. The public was invited to leave the meeting room and were told we could go on home because nothing would be announced regarding any actions taken as a result of the closed meeting, or we could stay. Wendy Laubach informed the board that there is no law against the board informing the public of matters discussed in a closed meeting; that the choice of informing the public was purely at the discretion of the board.

Most of us stayed on site and awaited the return of the board. We were summoned back in to be told again that nothing would be announced regarding the closed session. A motion was made and seconded to adjourn.

_Linda Holzman_

Now that was my objective report of the meeting.
My subjective opinion is that the attitude with which attendees were addressed was quite evasive and somewhat condescending...
Opinion pieces/submitted articles and comments are the thoughts of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the WWN.

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