Cochran-May Threatens Legal Action to Enforce Open Meetings Act

SINTON, Texas – San Patricio County Attorney Tamara Cochran-May said she may seek misdemeanor charges against San Patricio County commissioners for Open Meetings Act violations. Her statements came shortly before the court approved hiring a public relations and legal advisor.

According to Cochran-May, open meetings statutes have not been followed, on several occasions. She explained items on the court’s agenda do not “fully disclose” to the public what the court is going to consider, including those items discussed in executive session.

Cochran-May cited numerous instances including contract discussions with several large companies including Exxon-Mobile, TPCO, and Cheniere. Cochran-May said these things have been listed on the court’s agenda as “economic development” and the listing never gives details regarding what the discussion will be about.

“Simply saying we are going to discuss economic development is not legal, you must put what you are discussing about,” said Cochran-May. “If you say economic development-contract negotiation, with the name of the company, this would be adequate under the law,” she added.

Cochran-May went on to say items on the agenda such as personnel issues, planned roadway construction, and several other things discussed in executive session must be labeled.

“The public has the right to know what exactly is going to be discussed in executive session,” stated Cochran-May. “Furthermore, once Commissioners go into the executive session they are only allowed to talk about the items listed on the executive session agenda,” she said.

Read the rest of the story at the Coastal Bend Chronicle website by clicking here.