The second and final Candidate Forum sponsored by the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to take place on Monday night at Grayson College’s South Campus.
The key word here is “scheduled.” The actual event did not take place despite all the candidates actually vying for a council seat (Robert Jaska was not present but is running unopposed) in attendance and a packed room of concerned citizens looking forward to the question and answer session.
However, the concern that with more than two incumbent council members present — Jim Smith and Kaaren Teuber are running for re-election while Billy Plake was in the audience — at the meeting would create a problem related to the Open Meetings Act halted the event in its tracks. The issue concerned a quorum of officials present as Chamber president Wendelyn Tilleman nervously informed those assembled that something would have to be done. After conferring with the candidates — including James Lewis, Timmerle Kelly and Larry Cooper — Tilleman announced that the forum would be rescheduled to a date the following week.
Whether or not the forum needed to be rescheduled was up for some debate. The main purpose of the Open Meetings Act is to insure that the public is properly informed of when and where a meeting of public officials is to be held and what the topic of conversation will be. To head the problem off at the pass city staff posted an agenda for the forum on its website Friday. When this was brought up at the forum on Monday, it was stated that the agenda needed to list the topics to be discussed, which it did not list. Whether or not that is accurate is not clear.
Regardless, the decision was made to err on the side of caution and reschedule the meeting. The Candidate Forum then will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 in Room 212 at Grayson College. The public is invited.