On Feb. 6, Humble ISD Board of Trustees member Heath Rushing officially left his CEO job at Memorial Hermann Northeast and took responsibility as CEO of Memorial Hermann Cypress and Memorial Hermann Katy hospitals.
Rushing’s trustee term expires in 2019, and he is expected to move away from the Kingwood area and likely give up his board seat in summer of 2017, after the May election for four board positions. Per the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), a board member must reside in the district they serve.
According to Barbara Williams, communications representative for the TASB, there are three options available to school boards in the event of a resignation:
The vacant seat can be filled by appointment until the next regular trustee election. An appointed trustee serves until the next regular trustee election in May 2019.
A special election can be held to fill the vacancy, but can only be held on the two uniform election dates in Texas – May or November.
The position can be left vacant. If less than one year remains in the term, the position can be left vacant until the next election because at that time the term would have expired and voters would elect a full-term replacement. However, if more than a year remains on the vacated term, then the position can be left vacant for six months but then must be filled.
A board member may submit a resignation for a future specified date, and the board member is entitled to serve until that date. Any replacement must wait until after that date to begin serving in the seat, and the resigning board member cannot participate in any board vote to appoint a successor. Only the remaining trustees can vote.
The board can meet in closed session to discuss the appointment of a person to fill the vacancy. This is one allowable exception, called the personnel exception, to the Texas Open Meetings Act that would allow a board to interview and discuss appointees, but the vote must be in an open session.
The Tribune invited each of the current board members, including Rushing, to comment or provide information on a potential resignation. None of the board members responded to The Tribune’s request. The issue of the effects of Rushing’s expected resignation on the current board race was first published in a Tribune article on candidate Deborah Yocham’s sudden withdrawal from the race for Position 3. Some school board members posted their discontent about the article on a Facebook forum, and without directly referring to The Tribune, have openly criticized the article in open meetings.
The Tribune has requested, under the Texas Public Information Act, Humble ISD board decisions regarding vacancies for the last 20 years. In particular, The Tribune has asked for the following:
Name of person holding the seat and year vacated
Reason for vacating the seat (illness, death, moving, etc.)
How seat was filled: appointed, special election or other
Name of person filling the seat
If appointed, who did the appointing (.e.g appointed by)
The information has been requested from the district by March 10. The Tribune will post a revision to this story once that information is received.