KC Board Retreat 1

KC board trustees and administrators listen to a presentation by attorney Leigh Porter Saturday, Aug. 3. The presentation covered legal responsibilities of trustees, including disclosing conflicts of interest and legal statues governing how board meetings must be conducted. The presentation was a review for trustees who have served for years, as well as two new trustees appointed in June.

Kilgore College board trustees held a board retreat meeting Saturday, August 3, to review board procedures for continually serving members, as well as getting new trustees up to speed on proper protocols.

Attorney Leigh Porter, who has provided legal services to KC for two years, conducted the presentation.

“We met over a year ago. Since that point in time, we’ve had new board members actually join the board and this was actually an attorney update that (Porter) gave us, and I think it was very helpful, and I believe it would be helpful for our newest board members,” said KC President Dr. Brenda Kays.

“It never hurts to be reminded of some of these things.”

Two new KC trustees were sworn into office June 27. Janice Bagley, of Overton and Jon Rowe, of Gladewater, were unanimously appointed by the board in June after winning election to the two vacated seats.

Porter said the presentation would keep board members aware of important subjects and she would provide additional information if needed.

“Hopefully, it’s an opportunity to reinforce certain things and if you have some questions, I can try to answer,” Porter said.

Porter’s presentation focused on reviewing proper procedure for situations board members may encounter, such as conflicts of interest, disclosures and recording board meetings.

Board members may be required to disclose conflicts of interest if they have business dealings or family relationships with vendors who work with the college. Separate forms, required by statute, may need to be completed for a business relationship with a vendor or a family relationship.

“You have to always disclose the interest before you vote. That’s important. Don’t do it after you vote,” Porter said.

While the college can work with vendors who have connections to board members, those members must make a disclosure and abstain from any board votes or decisions regarding those vendors. Failure to disclose a conflict of interest may result in misdemeanor criminal charges and can render actions voidable if they are taken under a conflict of interest.

Porter also addressed nepotism, or the practice of favoring relatives or friends by giving them jobs. Board members are specifically disallowed from engaging in this practice.

“You can’t just abstain and you can’t just not participate in it. It’s a prohibition,” Porter said.

She explained the board could have a working relationship with a vendor for whom a trustee’s spouse or relative worked but they could not hire such a person as an employee of the college.

Engaging in this practice could result in criminal penalties and removal from the board.

Porter also covered the rules for hosting meetings, including the requirement to have at least five board members (called a ‘quorum’) present to hold a meeting and the practice of keeping meetings open to the public.

“The public has a right to be here. They don’t necessarily have the right to ask questions. That’s up to you all. Sometimes a member of the public will say something that’s not on the agenda. The basic rule there is you either say nothing or…you can state current policy or you can refer them to a person who can tell them what the answer is. You can’t really engage in conversation about it,” Porter said, adding board members would be allowed to discuss items on the agenda with members of the public if they so chose.

KC trustees will have a regular board meeting Monday, Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the McLaurin Administration Building on the KC campus before classes begin for the 2019 fall semester on Monday, Aug.  26.

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