Meeting on October 22,1998
October 22, 1998
The Board of Trustees of the Houston Community College System held a Regular Meeting on October
22,1998, at the Central Administrative Center, 22 Waugh Drive, Houston, Texas.
M. James Henderson, Chairman
Christopher W. Oliver, Vice-Chairman
John Fonteno, Jr. Secretary
Bruce A. Austin
Abel Davila
Herlinda Garcia
James R. Murphy
W. F. Russell
Carol H. Smith, Deputy Secretary
Ruth Burgos-Sasscer, Chancellor
Sue Cox, President, HCC-Southwest
Patricia Fairchild, Vice-Chancellor,
Workforce Development
Margaret Forde, President, HCC-Northeast
Zachary Hodges, President, HCC-Northwest
Bob Mulcahy, Interim Chief Operations Officer
Sylvia Ramos, President, HCC-Southeast
Patricia Williamson, Vice-Chancellor,
Institutional Development
Arturo Michel, Bracewell and Patterson
Other administrators, staff, representatives of the news media and interested citizens
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Meeting on October 22,1998
Mr. Henderson called the Meeting to order at 3:20 p.m. and declared the Board convened to consider
matters pertaining to the Houston Community College System as listed on the duly posted meeting
Mr. Murphy announced he attended a press conference at Bellaire High School where a number of
Republicans along with himself teamed up to endorse the H.I.S.D. Bond Issue. H.I.S.D. has done a great
job of putting together a solid plan which is supported by their entire board. He wanted to encourage our
board and staff to go out and support it for the good of our children.
Mr. Fonteno reported he attended the Republican Party's vote analysis with Rod Paige at the Houston
Country Club. He would share a few ideas with the Board at a later time.
Motion No. 843 - Mr. Fonteno moved to approve the minutes as submitted from the Regular Meeting of
September 17, 1998. Mr. Davila seconded the motion. Motion carried 6-0.
Dr. Burgos-Sasscer welcomed and introduced Dr. Charles Hines, President of Prairie View University,
Mr. Ronald Jones, Vice-President for Student and Enrollment Services and Ms. Pamela Owens Freeman,
Admissions Counselor and Coordinator for Student Transfers and Articulation. They were present for
the signing of an articulation agreement between HCCS and Prairie View University. The Chancellor
hailed this articulation agreement as being one of the most detailed she has ever seen, and felt it should
be almost painless for our students. She lauded Mark Tengler and others from our academic staff who
worked diligently with the staff of Prairie View to articulate course by course, program by program,
with no glitches. Our students will be able to go from HCC to Prairie View without losing any credit.
Dr. Hines acknowledged his gratitude for the work done and indicated it was a great day for Prairie
View and for the State of Texas, and for the Texas Legislature that had encouraged this action. Dr. Hines
announced he is committing a great deal of money to scholarships for students who will transfer from
HCCS to Prairie View University. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity of working with one of the
largest community college systems in the country. And, he pledged his continued commitment to
"mining" this gold field and doing everything in his power to make the dreams of young people come
Dr. Burgos-Sasscer presented the Chancellor's Medallion to Marion Cole, who is with the Emergency
Medical Services program at Southeast College. She started her career at HCCS as a part-time instructor,
and two years later, became full time clinical coordinator. The quality of her work led to her recognition
for professionalism by the Emergency Nurses Association. Marion has received nation-wide recognition
for her work by Family Time Foundation, a crisis intervention group. She is also the recipient of the
Edith Rust Medical Award presented by the Texas Association against Sexual Assault. Marion Cole has
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Meeting on October 22,1998
rendered outstanding service to the college and has exhibited dedication and compassion to the
a. No appearances
Motion No. 844 - Mr. Austin moved approval of the consent agenda, with the exception of certain items
set aside for discussion or consideration following executive session. Mr. Murphy seconded the motion.
Motion carried 7-0, Mr. Oliver had not yet arrived.
The following items were approved:
I. Instructional Programs
Approved the 1998-99 National Literacy Act (NLA) contracts with an increase for the Adult
Literacy Program under NLA (federal) funding;
Approved new Affiliation Agreement for Health Careers Clinical Program;
II. Purchasing of Materials and Services
Approved contract with Houston Aeros Hockey Team to promote the college system through a
partnership in HISD and other school districts in our service area;
Approved payment to Bracewell and Patterson for professional services;
Approved printing of direct mail publication "Movin On" a recruitment magazine targeted toward
high school juniors and seniors throughout the great Houston area;
Approved appointment of firms for media buying services for the 1998-99 academic year;
Approved printing of registration forms for the 1998-99 academic year;
Approved continued participation in the Gulf Coast Consortium Marketing Initiative;
Approved membership fee and STARLINK Telecommunications membership fee to the Texas
Association of Community Colleges;
Approved purchase of the Plato Reading Strategies Program Software, English Studies Program,
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Meeting on October 22,1998
Southeast College;
Approve Automotive Technology Consulting Services;
Approved renewal of vehicle liability insurance; and
III. Fiscal Matters
Accepted Investment Report for the month of September, 1998.
Motion No. 845 - Mr. Fonteno moved approval and ratification of expenditures paid for Critical
Thinking Conference. Mr. Davila seconded the motion. Motion carried 8-0.
Mr. Austin commented that there seemed to be ample time to have these items pre-approved for
consideration by the Board. He was concerned that a pattern of activity is emerging that could be a
potential audit finding since there is a continuation of ratifying amounts not presented to the Board
properly before they are executed. He cautioned this procedure is not one found in government. When
you have a governing board, you get approval for an action. This was not done on two occasions and he
felt there was ample time to come before the Board for approval, even if there was only an estimate of
the costs.
Mr. Davila indicated he had concerns also and wanted clarification of the response he received when he
asked for an explanation- even though it is grant-funded and providing some flexibility, he felt the Board
needed to approve the expenditures even with a contingency plan.
Mr. Austin indicated that he felt the conference was a good one and he supports it. He, however, wants
an understanding of whether the board is regarded as a tacit board or whether they are taken seriously.
Items should go before the Board prior to executing-that should be the procedure and the rule. He stated
only in an emergency situation, defined in the Open Meetings Act, should we do something separate
from that.
Mrs. Garcia pointed out that this should serve as a directive from the Board beginning with the next
meeting that the Administration look at this carefully and prevent it from happening again.
Motion No 846 - Mr. Murphy moved approval of the emergency repairs and electrical work at Central
College. Ms. Garcia seconded the motion. Motion carried 8-0.
Mr. Davila expressed his support of Central Campus totally; however, he recalled sending an inquiry to
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Meeting on October 22,1998
the Chancellor in January dealing with facilities being brought up to standards. He felt the Facilities
Committee is doing a good job also but hopes we can avoid other emergencies such as this one in the
Mr. Austin asked if there is a planned maintenance system. The Chancellor responded that we are
presently developing one.
Mrs. Garcia indicated that the Board has always been concerned about maintenance at Central College.
She added that she would like to make the recommendation that the Board be presented a plan by the
next meeting to include safety, security and budget for plant maintenance everything that involves
operation and maintenance of that college so that we can take a good look at the budget expenditures
and can make necessary decisions involving the safety of that institution and the students, who are the
Board's top priority. She reminded the Administration that this issue has been addressed many times;
thus she would like a plan to be submitted to the Board.
Mr. Murphy reported that the plan is being worked on and his committee is a part of its development.
The plan will not only include Central campus but all facilities of HCC. Central is the first one that was
targeted for the review, and people are looking at the roof, mechanical system and electrical system as
well. He does know it is on a system-wide basis and Ken Leach can expound on the plan in more details.
Mrs. Garcia indicated she has not had an opportunity to attend a Facilities Committee meeting but she
feels we cannot wait for planning and coordination accomplished by any committee. She stressed it is an
issue of safety and security in planned maintenance for one of the oldest buildings that this college has.
She respects the work of the committee but is asking that the Administration bring to this Board a strong
recommendation of what needs to be done immediately. Ms. Garcia said that from the very legitimate
information she has, Central College has an urgent need and we cannot wait.
Mr. Henderson recommended that at the next board agenda a status report with a specific plan of action
for what is considered acute needs, be presented. That would not preclude a more detailed report that
would follow at a subsequent time, but at least the concerns for critical elements that need to be
addressed immediately would be prioritized.
Mrs. Garcia also requested that at the next board meeting information on what has been appropriated or
not appropriated, and what should be appropriated for maintenance and operation of Central be
Mr. Henderson confirmed that the Administration will proceed with a sort of emergency short term
report on the status of Central at the next meeting, including budgetary considerations as to what is in
the current budget and/or what might be initial funding that would be required. And, at the same time the
Facilities Committee will continue its work on developing a long term plant maintenance program which
we will hear more about in the future.
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Mr. Austin stated that this Board is here for public policy reasons and we should get a good handle on
what our governmental responsibilities are. As public institutions we have statutory responsibilities as
well as common law legal problems. He hoped our counsel would have a session with the Board to go
over the governmental responsibilities that we have statutorily.
Mr. Henderson mentioned we have had well prepared materials on this subject and Mr. Austin's
admonition to all board members is well taken. Mr. Henderson encouraged all board members to read
and comprehend the fiduciary responsibilities appropriated to the Board.
Mr. Austin moved approval of the purchase and installation of a new boiler for the Administrative
Center at 22 Waugh Drive. Mr. Davila seconded the motion. Motion carried 8-0.
Mr. Austin expressed support for a new boiler but directed questions to the Chancellor regarding the
development of a defensible risk management program. Dr. Burgos responded that presently there is a
person handling the facilities piece; however, she understands that the Board expects a full-time risk
management person and a plan will be presented to them in the near future.
Mr. Davila asked if there were any bids taken on the boiler purchase. Mr. Russell noted that since the
paperwork states it was a contract service provider, there would normally be a bid. If there was not a bid,
it is because this was an emergency.
Ms. Garcia asked for a clarification. Mr. Mulcahy, Interim Chief Operations Officer responded that this
company is the provider for the maintenance and HBAC system here at the administrative center, and
under that contract we are allowed to purchase items over $10,000 without bidding them out. The
company has already gone through a bid process approved by the Board to provide the maintenance
Mrs. Garcia wanted to know if we could have selected someone else. Mr. Winston Dahse, Executive
Director of Materials Management, explained that under the provisions of the contract , the company
provides maintenance and service throughout the course of the year, and if there is extra work to be
done, it can be done under the contract. We could have gone out for bids but because there was an
urgent need to get a boiler ordered for the winter, the contract provisions allowing this action were
Mr. Austin recommended that this item be held until after Executive Session since he will be discussing
issues dealing with fiscal integrity and related issues. Mr. Henderson said this motion will stand as an
open motion until after Executive Session.
Motion No. 847 - Mr. Murphy made a motion to approve the purchase of the Plato Reading Strategies
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Program Software, English Studies Program, Southeast College. Mr. Oliver seconded the motion.
Motion carried 7-1, Mr. Fonteno opposed.
Mr. Murphy had a question relating to the way we purchase software. If we're purchasing software for
Southeast College and if it is software we're using system-wide, shouldn't we be licensing it for the
entire system or, are other campuses employing a different program.
The Chancellor responded that this is a site license and asked Dr. Ramos to explain the purchase. Dr.
Ramos, President of Southeast College, reported that her faculty requested the upgrading of their Plato
equipment which they've had for a while.
Mr. Murphy expressed support of this purchase and indicated that his question was simply to clarify how
software is purchased - whether by individual campuses or system-wide. He thought of the student
taking classes at different places from time to time who might not be using the same program. The
Chancellor stated she will investigate how computer software is purchased and licensed on a systemwide basis, and will report her findings to the Board.
Motion No. 848 Mrs. Garcia moved to approve the acceptance of the Investment Report for the month of
September, 1998. Mr. Oliver seconded the motion. Motion carried 8-0.
Mr. Murphy moved to approve the designation of Unreserved Fund Balance. Mr. Davila seconded the
motion. Mr. Murphy noted that various funds are being apportioned and asked how we ended the 199798 fiscal year. Mr. Austin stated that since he has an accounting question that relates to Mr. Murphy's
question, he suggested they be taken together. Mr. Austin wanted to know how funds that are
encumbered from one year to the next are accounted for. He cautioned that money can get misplaced
when taken from one fund and it is placed into another. He noted that if this million dollars is what
we've earned this year, it should be deposited in a particular place first, develop the audit trail, then
move it when necessary.
Mr. Austin stated that we should move the million dollars into the fund balance and so authorize the
Administration to take from the fund balance $2.9 million to cover the cost of the items listed in the
Amended Motion 849 - Mr. Henderson summarized the discussion points and stated the amended
motion proposes the transfer of unexpended funds out of FY 97-98 budget into the unrestricted fund
balance, and designates one million dollars to equip and furnish the administration complex, 320
Jackson Hill, 22 Waugh Drive and 3800 Washington Avenue, out of the unrestricted fund balance. The
amended motion was approved by Mr. Murphy, and seconded by Mr. Davila. Motion carried 8-0.
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Mr. Russell moved to wait to consider with vote the approval of mandatory transfer until after closed
session. Mr. Davila seconded the motion.
Approval of Mrs. Garcia to attend educational workshops at the Mexican American Legal Defense
Education Fund Conference in Los Angeles, Calif., November 12-14, 1998.
Motion No. 850- Mr. Murphy moved to approve; Mr. Austin seconded the motion. Motion carried 8-0.
a. Financial Activity Report - Dr. Burgos indicated that this report details the end of the fiscal year
and that this report was prepared by the business office. Celia Gee was present to answer any
questions. Mr. Murphy confirmed the amount that was moved to the fund balance this fiscal year;
it was $7.8 million.
b. Institute for Excellence- We are initiating new institutes at Central, Northeast and Southeast
Colleges, and everything is going as planned. The Board will soon receive reports on the
outcome of our efforts to increase diversity. Dr. Burgos commented that the Board has been
involved and informed of this project since the very beginning and wanted them to know it's on
Mr. Henderson encouraged the Board to utilize electronic mail as it is of tremendous value to them. It is
a mechanism by which all nine members can communicate effectively on an ongoing basis.
a. Enrollment Enhancement Mrs. Garcia reported the committee has not had another meeting but a
final one is forthcoming. She plans to present a final report at the next board meeting. She is
reading quite a bit of literature on enrollment enhancement as well as literature from the
Association of Community College Trustees. She will present some interesting items at the next
committee meeting. She also hopes this committee can come to closure when all research is
Mrs. Garcia reminded all committee members that their role is to formulate policy as it relates to
the various committees such as enrollment enhancement, facilities, finance, budget. Therefore,
they should stay on track and not lose sight of the intent of the committees. She expressed her
concern about committee work. She pointed out that the Administration's job is to understand our
policy on enrollment enhancement, facilities, finance, etc., and to implement that policy.
Mrs. Garcia noted that these committees were formed as ad hoc committees and we should look
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Meeting on October 22,1998
at bringing closure to them after they make recommendations to the Board by this December. We
should then delegate to the Administration what they have to do based on what is formulated.
Mrs. Garcia expressed concerns that the Board is getting too involved and might even be crossing
some lines with the administrative function. She believes that the Finance Committee is in
transition and there is a critical situation right now in the area of finance leadership. She felt the
Finance Committee should remain in existence longer because of this situation.
Mr. Henderson felt that the Board is pretty clear on committee roles. He indicated he does not
disagree with anything Ms. Garcia said. He reiterated that the Board has a responsibility for
policy and should be proactively pursuing that function. The Board also has a role in terms of
being a sounding board and responder to the Administration on programs as they're being
developed and brought forward. But it is not a formal role until it comes to this Board for a vote.
Mr. Henderson further stated that ad hoc committees were created on an "as needed" basis but
when the work is completed, they should cease to exist. As the year ends we should decide which
committees need to continue in to the new calendar year.
Mr. Austin commented that the purpose of committees is to avoid six hours of discussions at a
board meeting. With regards to finance, Mr. Austin interjected that he doesn't think some of the
more critical issues relating to fiscal integrity of the college and our future fiscal integrity have
been dealt with.
Mr. Henderson remarked that there are solid arguments on both sides of the committee issue. He
pointed out that there can be more efficiency in terms of dealing with issues in a more detailed
format outside the board agenda in a committee structure. However, the counter argument to that
is there will only be a subset of the Board dealing with those issues. Therefore, it is a trade-off.
Mrs. Garcia reaffirmed her position that as chairman, Mr. Henderson can set those parameters for
committees in terms of timelines. She has done her research and a small board of nine need not
be involved with so much committee work. Therefore, she would like to discuss this further as a
personal issue in another executive session. Mrs. Garcia said that by December the Board should
be prepared to let the Administration do the job they were hired to do. Once policy is formulated,
the Administration should do their part and the committee work should end. Although she has
enjoyed working with her committee, Mrs. Garcia felt it important to speak to the issue that
committee work cannot go on forever.
Mr. Oliver suggested that we wait until the beginning of the year and as a whole, evaluate and
make the decision concerning which committees need to go forward into the new calendar year.
Mrs. Garcia's reported to the chairman that she will finalize her committee work by the next
Board meeting.
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Mr. Henderson requested that each chair of ad hoc committees include in their reports the
rationale for terminating or continuing their ad hoc committee at the final Board meeting of this
b. Facilities - Mr. Murphy announced an extensive presentation is planned for the Board. He also
mentioned that the Facilities Committee has had a large charge, and facilities is a topic that
everyone, whether student or teacher, feel they have some input and ties to. Therefore, they feel it
necessary to have some input in making decisions.
Mr. Murphy described the process for preparing the facilities plan. There have been inspections
of every campus, every building, architectural reviews and mechanical reviews. Committees at
the various colleges have discussed problematic elements, demographics and enrollment issues as
well. The Board's role is to provide input to the drafts of the plan and to review, amend, and
approve the final plan. And, after the plan is approved, the Board must determine how it will be
Thomas McCarthy and Kirk Enbecker from Page Sutherland Page, a firm of architects, engineers
and consultants who specializes in educational facilities planning, were the presenters. They
indicated the process began in June of 1998. This will be the first of several presentations.
The purpose of today's presentation was to cover the process. The contents will be presented at a
later meeting.
The purpose of a 10 year system-wide facilities plan like this one is to meet the recommendation
of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools (SACS) reviews, and to provide a basis for making informed decisions
regarding the needs of our communities. The overview process includes four phases: Establish
Vision and Guidelines, Determine Needs, Assess Options, and Develop the Plan. Throughout the
process, colleges and system representatives will have input as well as the community.
Benchmarks and guidelines are to be established according to the THECB and Council of
Educational Facilities Planners International. Our Texas peers were identified and contacted.
Page Sutherland Page has secured good information about numbers dealing with their square
footage, square feet per student and enrollment. There are also national comparables that have
been identified at other large metro-communities with community colleges.
Mr. Enbecker expounded on each phase of the process and answered questions presented by the
Mr. Austin asked if the Chancellor worked with them and the college presidents in developing
the plan. The Chancellor is on the Facilities Committee and presides over meetings with college
presidents at executive team meetings when these priorities and vision for the facilities were
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studied and discussed. However, she has not sat in on any meetings when the architects and
college presidents met.
A board workshop is being proposed for January where input would be secured from board
A discussion ensued relating to community forums and what information should be presented to
the community. Mr. Austin stressed we have an obligation to tell people about our educational
mission first, and then discuss the facilities we have to offer.
Mrs. Garcia stated that they're all elected board members who represent single member districts
as well as the system as a whole. She believes it is critical that the community forums include an
agenda that is both political and public. She stressed she wants to meet before any presentation is
made to the community she represents. She would want to be present at the forums along with
other community leaders. She pointed out that the message sent to the communities must be one
that we can substantiate and one that has the Board's support. Mrs. Garcia supports community
forums but emphasized the need to proceed with caution as it relates to the message sent,
especially if the college system is contemplating a bond election in the future.
Mr. Austin concurred with Mrs. Garcia and stated that we are a public institution with the real
problem being facilities. He noted that this plan has to be wrapped into an overall strategic plan.
He mentioned that he's asked for information concerning specific things we're going to do, for
example, a public relations plan or a capital improvements plan update. He feels that all of these
elements need to be included in an overall strategic plan. He complimented Mr. Murphy for his
work in laying out a good method for gathering input, but felt this information must be put
together in a continuum that makes sense. Mr. Austin concluded that the Board is only about
policy making - someone has to implement the policy and that is the Chancellor's responsibility.
Mr. Murphy responded to Mrs. Garcia's concern that community forums would be held at each of
the colleges to discuss plans being formulated for facilities.
Mr. Murphy wrapped the presentation up by thanking the Page Sutherland Page staff and the
facilities work group. He mentioned that the community forums are standard operating
procedures in developing facilities plans. There are many audiences for those forums. Staff,
students and faculty who are not happy about some things based on the surveys completed, make
up part of those audiences. Mr. Murphy suggested that these forums might send a good message
to them that their institution is preparing a plan that will address some of their concerns as it
relates to facilities. Mr. Murphy emphasized that we will not go out into the community to hold
these forums without the Board's consensus. The scope of the Facilities Committee is limited and
many messages must be carried out. We need to inform principally these three audiences:
students, faculty and the Administration. Input should then be gathered while informing people
that the process is underway.
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Mr. Henderson called for a consensus so that Mr. Murphy can go forward with the Board's
approval. Mr. Murphy's committee will move ahead taking into consideration information
obtained from the Board's discussion.
Mr. Fonteno expressed his concern that emergency items such as the ones submitted to the Board
by Central Campus have not been resolved and wanted to know who is responsible for their
action. The Chancellor responded it was her responsibility, and his concern would be included in
the facilities plan presently being prioritized.
Mr. Austin recommended that the Chancellor have her information system people develop a data
base of all agenda items indicating what action has or has not been taken. A report could than be
generated reflecting what action needs to be taken. An agenda-tracking data base could be
created in either Access or any other data base program. We have skilled people at HCC to
accomplish this. An access code can then be assigned to board members for their use in obtaining
status updates.
c. Finance Committee - Mr. Austin stated a Finance Committee meeting has to be held to deal with
the issues the committee was created for. He mentioned that the Finance Committee must get
back on track.
d. Revenue Enhancement - Ms. Smith was not present for a report.
Mrs. Garcia expressed gratitude to Houston Community College for being very supportive of the East
End Chamber efforts. Tonight will be the first time that they will be awarding two scholarships. She is
honored to be their honorary chair and she thanked the board members who will be joining her for the
dinner and program.
Although Mrs. Garcia needed to depart the meeting early, she had some very strong concerns about
items on the executive agenda which she discussed with some of her colleagues. She also mentioned an
item dealing with real estate that had been on the table for two years which she hopes will be given
serious consideration because it affects the southeast campus there. She apologized for leaving early but
appreciated the time given.Mr. Henderson again commended Mrs. Garcia on the great honor bestowed
to her by the East End Chamber.
Mr. Henderson adjourned the meeting to Executive Session at 5:20 p.m., notice having been previously
given, and reiterated by him in accordance with the Open Meetings Law. He stated any final action,
vote, or decision on any item discussed in Executive Session would be taken up in Open Session or in a
subsequent Public Meeting. Mr. Henderson reconvened the meeting in Open Session at 7:00 p.m., and
entertained motions on matters discussed in closed or executive session.
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Motion No. 851 - Mr. Austin moved amendment of the motion regarding agenda item 6.B.8 to approve
payment only for those items which are within the legal expenditure authority of HCCS. Mr. Fonteno
seconded the motion. Mr. Davila opposed. Motion carried 6-1.
Motion No. 852 - Mr. Austin moved approval of the purchase of a new boiler for the Administrative
Center at 22 Waugh Drive. Mr. Davila seconded the motion. Motion carried 7-0.
Motion No. 853 - Mr. Russell moved to amend his motion to read, "subject to the Chancellor providing
the Board evidence of a grant covering the funds that are indicated". Mr. Oliver seconded the motion.
Motion carried 7-0.
Motion No. 854 - Mr. Murphy moved approval of the Personnel Agenda. Mr. Oliver seconded the
motion. Motion carried 5-0, with Mr. Austin and Mr. Davila abstaining.
Motion No. 855 - Mr. Oliver moved to approve the settlement in C.A.- H-97-3719 on the terms
discussed in the Executive Session. Mr. Russell seconded the motion. Motion passed 7-0.
The Board agreed to schedule the next regular meeting on December 10, 1998 at 4:00 p.m.
With no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Minutes Prepared By:
Grace Moolchan, Administrative Assistant
Board Services Office
Reviewed, Finalized and Submitted By:
John Fonteno, Jr., Secretary
Minutes Approved as Corrected:
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