Cart Before the Vote
Backroom deals at City Hall? Couldn’t be, right? But Fort Worth City Council member Kathleen Hicks pointed out the evidence — in a document that perhaps wasn’t properly proofread before it was put out for public consumption.
On March 23, council members, who had earlier dissolved the citizen-board of the Crime Control and Prevention District and appointed themselves the keepers of that lucrative pot of tax money, held their first official meeting and posted the agenda. The agenda items included a swearing-in ceremony to make them all official, followed by: “Election of Officers, A. President, B. Vice-President.” Not a surprising item — this was their first meeting wasn’t it?
Well, in that case, why did the same agenda list Mayor Mike Moncrief as president already, and “Zim” Zimmerman as vice-president? Not pro tem, not acting, but actual. Of course, when the board did hold its first public vote that morning, you guessed it, Moncrief and Zimmerman were duly elected, just as the agenda had prophesied. There were no other nominees.
“I was horrified,” Hicks said, when she saw the agenda and realized the whole deal had been arranged somewhere out of her sight and, more importantly, the public’s. “This was so blatant,” she said. It only confirmed her fears that the public’s business is being conducted behind closed doors. And that ain’t legal, folks.
On a happier note, Static can report more good news for the administration and students of Polytechnic High School, whose combined hard work, under the leadership of Principal Gary Braudaway, paid off last year when the 76-year-old school raised its state test scores dramatically, saving it from being closed or renamed because of its prior years of poor performance. Now there’s another payoff in real money.
Braudaway has just been named a finalist for Principal of the Year in the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award, sponsored by the grocery store chain. In a ceremony on Monday — a surprise to both the principal and his students — Braudaway was handed a $1,000 check for himself and another for $2,500 for Poly from H-E-B representatives. If he moves from finalist to winner, he and the school will be eligible for prizes ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
The award and the “Poly miracle” that it recognizes could mean more than money to other educators around the state, since it will publicize Braudaway’s blueprint for turning around failing schools. The modest Braudaway, however, was a reluctant entrant in the competition, Fort Worth schools spokesperson Barbara Griffith said: “We had to work to get him to agree to enter.”