November 18, 2005
Katy ISD kerfuffle resolved for now

Back in May, there were complaints raised about improper politicking in Katy's ISD elections. Today, the Texas Ethics Commission cleared the accused of wrongdoing, but that may not be the end of it.

Fred Hink, a 2004 school board candidate, filed the complaints against Ronald Jetton, executive director for campus administrative support, and Janine Phillips, executive director for elementary education, accusing them of violating the election code. The code prohibits using district resources to distribute political advertising.


The commission declined to comment on its decision, but district spokeswoman Kris Taylor said Jetton and Phillips had been "cleared."

Hink said he received confirmation from the commission that the e-mail messages did not show direct endorsement of individual candidates.

Jetton wrote in an April 20 memo to secondary principals, "Once again we find ourselves with several people running against our present board members. ... If the votes in some races get divided between several people it would be easy for someone we might not prefer to get elected."

In e-mail responding to a question about candidates opposing incumbents Eric Duhon and Judith Snyder, Phillips wrote: "We currently have a very positive, productive and supportive board."

Neither Jetton nor Phillips returned calls for comment.

Hink thinks the actions by certain administration officials and other employees during the school board campaign exposed a serious breach of public trust.

"Taxpayers should understand that it is apparent that rampant campaigning by KISD employees should be considered highly unethical at best and that the powers that be in KISD are very serious about keeping this current board intact," Hink said. "That reeks of the worst kind of slime, in my opinion."

All three incumbents were re-elected in the May 7 election.

The Fort Bend DA is expected to file criminal complaints regarding this matter, so it's not over yet. I'm not sure what he could find that the TEC would not have considered actionable, but then at least he's likely to do some actual investigation, something for which the TEC is renowned for not doing. So stay tuned.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 18, 2005 to Election 2005 | TrackBack