Report On HCC's Police Chief: Why The Secrecy?
Months ago, amidst a flood of internal complaints and accusations against Houston Community College police chief Gregory Cunningham, including discrimination and retaliatory discipline against officers, the college administration hired Houston attorney Kathy Butler to investigate the claims and write up a report .
Butler interviewed HCC police officers, conducted her investigation, and wrote up her report. Officers who claim that Butler interviewed them believe that the report is quite damning to Cunningham, but when one of them asked to see a copy of it under the state open records law, the college refused, claiming attorney-client privilege, a decision later upheld by the Texas Attorney General.
Now, here's where things start to get a bit more interesting.
In mid-June, HCC Board of Trustees Chairman Michael P. Williams told the Houston Press that the board would view Butler's report at its next meeting, which was scheduled for the end of the month.
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So far, sources tell Hair Balls, members of the board other than Williams have not been allowed to see the report.
Of note is that, according to a letter from the AG's office to a member of the HCC general counsel's office, an HCC attorney told the AG that the board of trustees was among those who had seen a copy of the report. The AG's letter is dated mid-May, nearly a month and a half before Williams told the Press that the board had not seen it but soon would.
This leaves several questions: Why has the entire board apparently not seen Butler's report? And what happened to Williams' assurances in June that the board would see the report at its next meeting?
Destinee Waiters, the HCC attorney who corresponded with the AG, says there is an innocent explanation as to why the AG's letter states that she claimed the board had seen the report. She says the AG was mistaken in its letter and that she never wrote that the board had seen Butler's report. She said she may have told the AG that the board was made aware of the report.
Of course, the big question is still, what does Butler's report say? But there's not likely to be an answer to that one any time soon.
In fact, there may not be answers to the other questions, either. Williams has not responded to a request to talk and HCC spokesman Dan Arguijo will not answer questions about what's going on with the report and why it appears that the board has not yet seen it, claiming the matter is an HR issue and therefore he cannot talk about it.
We'll keep trying to get to the bottom of this. But it seems strange that the board has apparently not been able to see Butler's report, which was presumably paid for with taxpayer money. How bad could the darn thing be? And if it's good news, why not share it, at least with the board?
Someone has to know.
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