Another exercise in opacity
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 17:04
The district withheld ballot applications for candidates for the board of trustees in the May 12 election until after the filing period ended and board liaison Sandra Mora would not release the applications without an Open Records request.
The board liaison is acting as election administrator until the board hires a new general counsel.
The Ranger submitted a request March 5 and received the ballot applications March 6 for the two incumbents and two additional candidates who filed for trustee positions in three districts. The period for filing was Feb. 6 to March 5.
The applications contain clearly public information, such as the candidate’s full name, office sought, permanent resident address, email address, occupation, telephone number, date of birth, county of residence and signature.
Traditionally, public institutions make the applications available to the public as soon as they are received.
In turn, media report on candidates as they file to inform the public of who has filed for each race while other potential candidates still have the opportunity to throw their hats in the ring.
While the board liaison supplied the names of candidates when asked by The Ranger, she withheld the applications, which forced a delay in contacting the candidates for interviews and verification.
It is absurd to attempt withholding public information.
Furthermore, it is a nuisance to require everyone to invoke the Texas Public Information Act to learn who has applied to become a public official.
Let’s hope the new general counsel will be discerning enough to avoid twarting the public’s right to know.
Even better, perhaps a new general counsel will school our district officials on the Open Records law.