The Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that the Calhoun Port Authority broke the Texas open meetings law in hiring former Congressman Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist, err “legislative liaison”. The suit comes almost two weeks after a public meeting in which port authority’s executive director and board members discussed Farenthold’s hiring.
In response, also on Monday, port authority officials issued a special meeting notice for Thursday to deliberate in closed session the employment of the Farenthold. The Texas Open Meetings Act requires specific notice to the public of such a discussion. The suit, filed in the local district court, seeks to void the port authority’s hiring of Farenthold on the grounds the board acted illegally. Farenthold began work in his new position as legislative liaison on May 14, however, the district judge could issue a judgment voiding his hiring.
Chris Cobler, Advocate editor and president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, said the newspaper pursued legal action purely to preserve the public’s right to know. “This isn’t about whether the port should or shouldn’t have hired Farenthold,” Cobler said. “This is about reminding our elected officials that they work for the public.”
For more: The Victoria Advocate