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Austin
512-279-6431
Harlingen
956-421-4904
San Antonio
210-227-3243

Making a government meeting open

There is a lot that goes into the everyday business of running a Texas governing body. Whether you are supporting your city or other municipality, it can seem like there is an endless list of obligations and rules for completing those tasks.

When it comes time to schedule meetings, the local residents need to have the opportunity to be involved. The Open Meetings Act is in place to make sure that everyone interested has proper notice about upcoming meetings.

What is the Open Meetings Act?

The people in your city have many different levels of interest. There may be a group that wants to be at every meeting, and there will be others that do not vote and are not interested in government business at all.

Whether your residents are interested or not, the State of Texas passed a law requiring that meetings of governmental bodies be open to the public.

City governments struggling with new state zoning law

Zoning and land use are often some of the most important issues that cities and local governments handle. 

They are also often the most debated issues. Texas landowners can be protective of their property, and that can sometimes make zoning ordinances difficult to create and enforce. However, it seems that many cities are facing even more challenges with a new state law that impacts the zoning process. 

How can public officials avoid claims of retaliation?

Federal and local governments usually encourage whistleblowers to come forward if they witness legal or ethical violations in their workplace. But what happens when employees blow the whistle on public entities?

A whistleblower report can be a challenge to deal with for any public entity. And in addition to dealing with the claims themselves, local entities must be wary of retaliation lawsuits as well. 

San Antonio's Paid Sick Leave ordinance undergoing changes

San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance was supposed to have been implemented on August 1. But Bexar County District Judge Sol Casseb approved an agreement between the City Attorney’s office and a business coalition to delay the ordinance’s by four months. The coalition had filed a lawsuit to stop the ordinance.

The coalition’s lawsuit against San Antonio was joined by the State Attorney General’s Office, which stated that the law is unconstitutional and that it violates the state’s Minimum Wage Act.

Dropping out of the race

As we enter the last half of 2019, more people are talking about the 2020 elections. While the more popular conversation tends to be about the presidential election, there are other offices up for re-election in 2020.

Running for office is expensive and difficult, no matter what office you want to win. The more people running makes the process even more challenging, and, unfortunately, not everyone makes it to the final ballot.

Your city on social media

It seems that the time where people, businesses and other entities could decide if they would exist on social media has passed. Now, there are dozens of platforms and billions of users that ensure there are mentions of even the most private entities.

All the social media options can be overwhelming. You want to portray your city with the right message, but still, minimize some of the problems other users have had with social media.

Social media and the Texas Open Meetings Act

The Texas Open Meetings Act promotes transparency between public officials and the general public. First adopted in 1967, the Act makes decisions and meetings of governing bodies more accessible, requiring explicit 72-hour notice of such meetings.

The purpose of the Act is simple: to provide Texas residents with more access to and knowledge of key decisions made by state and local government officials. However, advances in technology and social media have introduced new complications to the Act. As an official or employee of the government, what should you know?

Hiring interns: Paid versus unpaid

As spring semesters are ending, it is time to consider whether you are going to add interns to your summer and fall support staff. Internships (whether paid or unpaid) can be a mutually beneficial arrangement for both you and for student interns.

Internships are an excellent way for students to gain experience and an inside look at the way your government agency works while you get some extra help with your organization. The rules for hiring interns, however, can get complicated; especially when it comes to paid versus unpaid interns.

Can you block citizens on government social media accounts?

In a world where information can spread faster than we can keep track of, social media can be both a blessing and a curse. The government can communicate about emergencies, find out where public opinion lies on an issue and even humanize politicians and agencies in the eyes of the people. You can also upset your citizens easily with an ill-timed or poorly worded post.

If you end up with an irate comment on a government Facebook post, what can you do about it? Critics flooding official pages with anger might not look good to your citizens. Are you allowed to delete or block your constituents for any reason on social media?

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    San Antonio Office
    2517 North Main Avenue
    San Antonio, TX 78212

    Phone: 210-227-3243
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    701 East Harrison
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    Harlingen, TX 78550

    Phone: 956-421-4904
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    Suite 609
    Austin, TX 78745

    Phone: 512-279-6431
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