The Robstown Independent School District Board of Trustees failed to come to an agreement on the contract for a new attorney for the district Monday, weeks after they voted to hire him.
In July, the board considered bids from three attorneys for the position of legal counsel for the district, and selected Robstown native Juan Perales in a 4-3 vote. On Monday, the board considered a proposed contract from Perales, which included an hourly rate of $180.
Board member Eva Orona questioned whether a conflict of interest existed with board member Osvaldo Romero, who acknowledged he was represented by Perales in a legal matter in 1981. Orona maintained that because Romero voted with the majority in the 4-3 decision to hire Perales, that vote should be invalidated. Citing the length of time since he was represented by Perales, Romero denied any conflict existed.
Romero's motion to approve the contract failed in a 3-3 tie vote. Board members Romero, Robert Tapia and Ernesto Gallegos voted in favor of the contract, while board members Orona, Adolfo Lopez and Richard Gonzalez voted against the motion.
Board member Pablo Avila, who voted in favor of hiring Perales in the July meeting, was not present Monday.
When asked what the status of the district's legal counsel was following the meeting, Superintendent Alfonso Obregon said the process of approving Perales was ongoing.
Following the vote on Perales' contract, Orona introduced a motion to hire the firm of former attorney for the district John Bell to represent the district in possible litigation brought as a result of the recent Federal Communications Commission audit of the district's E-Rate program. Auditors from the FCC were in the district earlier this month at the request of the Department of Justice, to review several years of funding through the program.
Orona's motion ultimately failed in a 3-3 tie.