Did City violate Open Meetings Act?

Did City violate Open Meetings Act?

POSTED: Friday, December 21, 2012 - 6:27pm

UPDATED: Friday, December 21, 2012 - 6:31pm

An attorney for an El Paso lawyer who filed an open records request with the City of El Paso seeking e-mails sent from council members' personal e-mails regarding the Triple-A ballpark decision says the City violated the Open Meetings Act when it authorized an outside attorney to file a lawsuit without voting on it during a council meeting.

It all started with a public records request from El Paso lawyer Stephanie Townsend Allala, who has been an outspoken opponent of city council's plans to build a Triple A baseball stadium since day one. She's still fighting, now demanding that all emails and notes exchanged by city officials since January 1st be made public

On November 29, the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, gave an opinion that said the City should make those documents public.

Now, the City of El Paso is suing Abbott in a petition seeking a judge's opinion on whether they must comply with Abbott's opinion.

Bill Aleshire, attorney for lawyer Stephanie Townsend Allala, filed a petition to make the City's outside attorney Greg Hyde "show under what authority the City of El Paso initiated its lawsuit against the Texas Attorney General (AG) Gregg Abbott."

Aleshire also filed another open records request with the City to see when city council members voted to support the lawsuit against Abbott.

City Rep. Susie Byrd says city council did authorize the City Attorney authority to take broad "offensive or defensive" actions on the case in the Dec. 4th council meeting.

Not every single legal action must be voted on by council, said Byrd.

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