Featured: Lizette Leal, International Programs specialist in the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Office of Global Engagement, shown here with baby Mia, makes full use of the university’s Mother-Friendly Worksite suites. The program provides nursing mothers with specially designated rooms that allow staff, faculty or student moms a safe, clean, private place to breastfeed or pump breast milk. Leal says being able to pump onsite during a workday eases her stress, helps her bonding process with her 5-month-old daughter, and has substantial benefits for the baby. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city.
Photograph by PAUL CHOUY
In-depth retail marketing analysis, projects for upcoming year, Santana Textiles, LLC set for review and possible action by Edinburg EDC Board of Directors beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, at Edinburg City Hall
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
At least 15 items, including possible in-depth retail market analysis and real estate consulting services, along with projects for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2018, are scheduled for review and possible action by the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday evening, June 26, 2018, the Edinburg EDC has announced.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Edinburg City Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 W. University Drive, beginning at 6 p.m.
In Executive Session, as allowed by state law, among the issues to be reviewed include deliberating possible action regarding the contractual obligations with Santana Textiles, LLC.
The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, 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 Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.
The Edinburg EDC agenda packet, which contains all the information that is open to the public, is available online by logging on to the Edinburg EDC website at:
The agenda for the Tuesday, June 26, 2018 regular meeting of the Board of Director follows:
• Call meeting to Order, Establish Quorum;
• Roll Call and Certification of Posting of Meeting;
• Consider approval of Board of Directors’ Minutes for the May 29, 2018 Board Meeting;
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an Agreement with The Canvass Group for Retail Market Analysis and Real Estate Consulting;
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an Agreement with NAI Rio Grande Valley to provide brokerage services;
• Presentation of Monthly Financial Reports by Mr. Cris Villarreal, CPA;
• Discuss proposed projects for upcoming fiscal year;
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an Agreement with Armando’s Pizza & Subs for the participation in the Small Business Renovation and Improvement Grant Program;
• Discuss and consider entries received for the EEDC Logo Community Contest and possible approval of the EEDC Logo;
• Discuss and consider approving the transfer of Lease Agreement with Rogali Int. Foods, LLC., d/b/a Regalia New & Used Clothing, to JCM Export, LLC;
• Discuss and consider ratifying the Employment Contract for the EEDC Executive Director; and
• Executive Director’s Report: Monthly Activities and Meetings, and Sales Tax Report;
The EEDC Board 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, Exceptions to Requirements that Meetings be Open, to deliberate under the following Subsections:
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:
• Deliberate the offers of financial or other incentives to business prospects;
• Deliberate the sale of Lot 6, E.E.D.C. No. 1 Subdivision, Hidalgo County, Texas;
• Deliberate possible action regarding the Lease Agreement and Option to Purchase with Nu-Co Tools, Inc.;
• Deliberate possible action regarding the contractual obligations with Santana Textiles, LLC;
• Deliberate the goals, objectives and evaluation of the EEDC Executive Director; and
• Consultation with Attorney: Other Legal Matters.
Following Executive Session, the Board of Directors will reconvene and consider taking appropriate action on the Executive Session items.
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.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY PROVIDES SUITES FOR NURSING MOTHERS IN SUPPORT OF MOTHER-FRIENDLY WORKSITE STATE HEALTH INITIATIVE
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campuses support what the Department of State Health Services calls a Mother-Friendly Worksite by providing nursing mother suites, which allow working staff, faculty or student moms designated rooms to breastfeed or pump breast milk.
“The nursing mother suites are a part of UTRGV’s commitment to support working or student moms and one of their needs is for them to be able to take care of their kids,” said Carla López, Wellness Coordinator in the university’s Human Resources department. “That’s why the university sets aside some spaces, to encourage the use of the nursing mother suites.”
To have access to a designated room, mothers can register with HR, who will then issue them an electronic “Mommy Card” for access.
The form for registration can be found on the university website here, along with more information on the suites and health policies.
Scattered throughout the Brownsville, Harlingen and Edinburg campuses, the nursing mother suites provide all the essentials a nursing mother might need, such as a sink to clean the pump or bottle parts, a changing table, and a quiet, discreet place.
“Having a designated place for mothers to either nurse or breastfeed their babies is important. You don’t find that in many places,” said Lizette Leal, International Programs specialist within the UTRGV International Programs and Partnerships department. “It really emphasizes the support that is available to all students, staff and faculty.”
Leal said being able to pump onsite at the Edinburg Campus eases her stress and helps her bonding process with her 5-month-old daughter, Mia. It also has benefits for the baby.
“She is really healthy, as you can see,” Leal said, laughing. “Weight wise, she’s on-par and it’s not just the health benefits, but our bonding that’s important. I wasn’t able to breastfeed directly, but being able to pump and feed her that way is beneficial to both of us.”
For Katherine Christofferson, Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, starting a new job as a breastfeeding mother was a bit stressful until she discovered how supportive the university was.
“I started my fall semester when Fitz was about 2 months old, so it was really helpful for me to be able to reach my goals with nursing him,” she said. “The fact that you can pump here, and also have a space where you can clean and sanitize, was really important for both of us.”
For more information on nursing mother suites, visit http://www.utrgv.edu/hr/wellness
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.
Amanda A. Taylor contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com.