Featured: Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush, center in red plaid shirt, was a special guest of honor at Edinburg City Hall on Friday, March 2, 2018, where he was welcomed with a performance by the Edinburg North High School Mariachi Oro. Among the area leaders in attendance for the visit, where the discussions focused on potential parternships for the future and the Mayor and Edinburg City Council’s vision for moving forward, were, from left: Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez; Land Commissioner Bush; Mayor Richard Molina; and Councilmember Jorge Salinas. “We’re looking to have a lot more projects and a lot more daily contact with our representatives up in Austin,” Molina said. “It’s very special for Mr. Bush to be here in our city hall.” Bush endorsed the direction by the mayor and the city council members: “We want to be partners for the future of this great region.”
Photograph Courtesy PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE/EDINBURG CABLE NETWORK
Mayor Molina: “The EDC will continue to run with the utmost integrity and transparency” as its Board of Directors, with three new members, meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Accountability, transparency, and utmost integrity will continue to be the hallmarks of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation following the recent appointments of three new leaders to the Edinburg EDC’s Board of Directors, which meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, says Mayor Richard Molina.
The Board of Directors’ session, which is open to the public, will be held in the Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 W. University Drive.
The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.
The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Miguel “Mike” Farías, who also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees, Edinburg Independent Consolidated Independent School District, as Vice-President; and Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro Tem David Torres, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.
On Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the Edinburg City Council appointed Molina, Torres and Salinas to the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors to succeed Isael Posadas, P.E., who was Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D., who were Members.
Molina praised the work of Posadas, Carranza and Sauceda, who had served with honor on the governing board since late 2017.
“I do thank the previous board members for the work and time they put in over the last few months. We know time away from their businesses and families is a sacrifice,” the mayor said.
Since November 2017, the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors has held a dozen meetings, many of them lasting four hours and longer, with complicated issues and far-reaching projects addressed by Posadas, Carranza and Sauceda, along with Enríquez and Farías.
Molina noted the numerous accomplishments of the three now-former Edinburg EDC board members, including the vital role they played in selecting Joey Treviño as the new Executive Director for the organization.
On Friday, February 16, 2018, the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, joined by the Mayor Molina, Mayor Pro Tem Torres, Councilmember Enríquez, and Councilmember Salinas, participated in a news conference at Edinburg City Hall to announce they had selected Plinio “Joey” Treviño as the Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC.
Treviño has numerous years of experience in economic development, including being the Executive Director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation, and most recently as the South Texas Director of Business Development for Raba Kistner Consultants, according to the city’s public information department.
Trevino also has municipality experience having served as the Director of the Planning and Code Enforcement Division for the City of Weslaco.
Additionally, he served as a City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem in Harlingen from 2009 to 2012 where he led the negotiations and approval for the Bass Pro Shop Major Retail Development.
He has also served on numerous boards and committees. He is currently active in the Red Cross South Texas Chapter, Vida, RGV Lead, and the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.
But the mayor explained that the extensive amount of time being asked of Posadas, Carranza and Sauceda, who received no financial compensation for their public service, was unfair to their businesses and families. (The mayor and city councilmembers do not receive any pay for their public service, either.)
As an example, Molina recalled a recent eight-hour joint work session of the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.
“After the March 10 (2018) meeting, the previous EDC board members began to express concerns about the time commitment to serving on the board,” the mayor reported. “Many of the board members felt they simply could not fulfill their commitment to the EDC under these conditions. That is why we had to (replace Posadas, Carranza and Sauceda).”
Molina said the city council’s “action took place publicly so that you are aware of what is happening in your city government.
“The Mayor and City Council are the people you elected to represent you. That’s why we replaced the former EDC board members,” Molina further explained. “We feel this is the best way to keep the interest of the city at the forefront and be held accountable as your representatives.”
Molina also emphasized that even though he is mayor, he would not serve as president of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.
“During my campaign for Mayor, I told you the Mayor should not also serve as President of the EDC. I gave you my word, I will never hold that seat. Councilmember Gilbert Enriquez remains the EDC President,” he said.
Molina said the “number one concern is that your tax dollars are being used honestly and legitimately for this city. The EDC will continue to run with the utmost integrity and transparency.”
The mayor continued: “The EDC leads efforts to bring new investments and new companies to Edinburg. We market the region to highlight the incredible talent here, and the quality-of-life that keeps those people here.”
The latest strategies for the Edinburg EDC will be detailed in their upcoming meeting, set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.
The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors meeting, which is posted in front of Edinburg City Hall at online at http://edinburgedc.com/meetings-agendas/, follows:
• Call meeting to Order, Establish Quorum; Roll Call and Certification of Posting of Meeting;
• Consider approval of Board of Directors’ Minutes for February 27, 2018 Board Meeting;
• Consider election of officers;
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director and other designees to the signature cards of the EEDC accounts at Plains Capitol Bank, Texas National Bank, Lone Star National Bank, and Greater State Bank;
• Discuss and Consider the preliminary draft of the EEDC’s Fiscal Year Audit for 2016-2017;
• Discuss and Consider amending the corporation’s 2017-2018 budget for the primary purpose of transferring into the Santana Manufacturing Project Refinancing, Series 2015 Reserve Fund Account of the Debt Service Reserve Fund relating to the EEDC’s outstanding Series 2015 Sales Tax Revenue Bonds in an amount sufficient to restore the required balance in such Account and authorizing the Executive Director to take all actions necessary to accomplish such transfers and approve all necessary disclosures relating thereto.
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to transfer Certificates of Deposits from Lone Star National Bank for the following amounts:
a. Account Number 45046299 ($837,150.47);
b. Account Number 45005444 ($13,554.61);
c. Account Number 45006805 ($13,903.04); and
d. Account Number 45004485 ($9,270.50).
• Discuss and Consider authorizing the Executive Director to open a Reserve Fund Account and Debt Service Fund Account at PlainsCapital Bank for the primary purpose of compliance with the Santana Manufacturing Project Refinancing, Series 2015 Sales Tax Revenue Bonds.
• Discuss and Consider possible action of the EEDC’s Fiscal Year 2017, 2018 Budget
• Discuss and Consider ratifying the following – February 2018 EEDC Bond Payments:
•• Ebony Hills Golf Course Projects, Series 2013A Bond ($246,286);
•• Parks and Recreations Building Project, Series 2013B Bond ($485,844);
•• Santana Manufacturing, Series 2015 Bond ($381,896.75);
•• LGFC Entertainment Center, Edinburg 15A Bond, for shortage ($190,826.88); and
•• LGDC Entertainment Center Edinburg 15B Bond Shortage ($145,333.22).
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Hilltop Securities, Inc.;
• Discuss and Consider adopting the Small Business Incentive Program for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation;
• Discuss and Consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Aaron Vela, Attorney-at-Law;
• Discuss and Consider approval of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation’s personnel compensation plan for Fiscal Year 2017-2018;
• Discuss and Consider authorizing the Executive Director to amend the Lease Agreement with Fiesta Taxi RGV dba RGV Yellow Cab;
• Discuss and Consider authorizing the Executive Director to solicit bids for the Parking Lot Project at 101 N. 1oth Avenue, Edinburg, Texas;
• Executive Director’s Report – Monthly Activities.
The EEDC will convene in Executive Session in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes Annotated, Government Code Chapter 551, Subchapter D, Exception to Requirements that meetings be open, to deliberate under the following sections:
•• Section 551.071 Consultation with Attorney;
•• Section 551.072 Deliberations regarding Real Property;
•• Section 551.074 Personnel Matters; and
•• Section 551.087 Deliberations regarding Economic Development Negotiations.
The EEDC Board may elect to go into Executive Session on any item, whether or not such item is posted as an Executive Session item, at any time during the meeting when authorized by the provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Board will deliberate the following items:
a. Deliberate the offers of financial and other incentives to business prospects;
b. Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with GRH Investments, LLC;
c. Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Haidar Properties, LLC;
d. Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Jonat Enterprises, LLC;
e. Deliberate possible action regarding the Lease Agreement and Option to Purchase with Nu-Co Tool, Inc.;
f. Deliberate the sale of Lot 7, North Industrial Park Subdivision, Hidalgo County, Texas;
g. Deliberate the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation personnel compensation plan for Fiscal Year 2017-2018;
h. Deliberate the goals, objectives and evaluation of the EEDC Executive Director; and
i. Consultation with Attorney – Potential litigation regarding Agustín “Gus” García.
TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT
The Texas Open Meetings Act is detailed in Chapter 551 of the Government Code. It states that governmental bodies must hold open meetings unless there is an authorized reason for a closed session, also known as an executive session.
Key provisions of the act are as follows:
Governing boards, commissions, agencies and other bodies created within the executive and legislative branches of government are subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. Commissioners courts, city councils, school boards and certain nonprofit corporations providing public services or spending taxpayer money are among the entities covered. Certain property owners’ associations also are subject to the law.
A quorum refers to a majority of members of a governing body, unless a quorum is defined differently by an applicable law or rule or charter of the body. A quorum must be present for the body to take action.
Posting of Notice
The governmental body must give the public notice of the date, time, place and subject of an upcoming meeting. The notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times at least 72 hours before the meeting. In case of an emergency or “urgent public necessity,” a meeting notice or addition to a meeting agenda may be posted at least two hours prior to the meeting. The governmental body must clearly identify the emergency.
Other Exceptions to Posting Law
Boards or commissions with statewide jurisdiction must have their meeting notice posted on the Internet by the secretary of state at least seven days before a meeting. Committees of the Texas Legislature are not subject to the meeting notice rules above. Their rules are set by the Texas House and Senate.
Closed, or executive, sessions may be held by a governmental body in certain situations. Executive sessions are permitted when a body is meeting with its attorney on litigation or a settlement offer; deliberating personnel matters; deliberating the purchase or lease of property; discussing certain financial contract negotiations; or discussing deployment of security devices. Several other exceptions to open meetings are also contained in the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Deliberations Between Meetings
Under a new provision of the act that took effect Sept. 1, 2013, members of a governing body are allowed to communicate with one another about public business between meetings if they do so in writing and on a publicly accessible online message board. The message board must be prominently displayed and easy for the public to find on the government entity’s website. Officials may not take action on the message board. That must wait for a posted meeting.
The Texas Open Meetings Act now allows for members of a governmental body to attend a public meeting via a video conference call. The head of the board or commission must be physically present in the designated meeting place and the public must be given access to that meeting space. The public must be able to witness the comments and actions of those officials attending the meeting remotely via audio and video equipment and be able to participate via the videoconferencing just as they would at a traditional public meeting.
Also according to its website (http://foift.org), The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas works to encourage a greater appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment and helps to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public. Since its formation in 1978, the Foundation has helped citizens access government meetings and documents.
The Foundation seeks to inform journalists, legal professionals, educators, students, public officials and individual citizens about their rights and responsibilities as participants in our democracy. With the clear objective to protect and preserve the state’s open meetings and open records laws, the non-partisan Foundation acts as a statewide information clearinghouse and offers guidance and assistance on FOI-related issues through a network of attorneys and through public seminars and conferences.
FOIFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) supported through grants and tax-deductible donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.