Tag Archives: Jerry Hodge

Texas Tech regents headed for a big shakeup?

Might it be that a former Amarillo mayor, Jerry Hodge, managed to exert enough pressure on the chairman of the Texas Tech University Board of Regents to surrender his chairmanship?

Hodge is angry at the Tech board over the way it handled the ouster — and let’s call it what it was — of former Tech Chancellor Bob Duncan. Frankly, I’m angry, too. So are a lot of Tech partisans throughout the state and beyond.

Hodge launched an effort to get rid of former Tech Regents Chairman Rick Francis, on whose watch the board conducted what it called an “informal vote” in executive, or secret, session. The informal vote said regents no longer had confidence in Duncan’s leadership as chancellor.

Duncan then announced his retirement … and was gone!

To their credit, regents have approved more money for an upcoming college of veterinary medicine that Tech wants to build in Amarillo.

Francis remains on the Tech board. He’s just no longer the chairman. I hope Gov. Greg Abbott chooses not to reappoint him. I believe — and this is just my view only, as someone who didn’t attend Tech, but who got to know Duncan over the years — that Francis and four of the nine regents disserved the university with their no-confidence vote.

What’s more, they well might have acted illegally. That issue needs examination, too. Regents said they had their informal vote in closed session. I’ve always understood that the Texas Open Meetings Law prohibits secret votes. Regents or any governing body aren’t allowed to vote in executive session; they’re supposed to cast those votes in the open.

I don’t know what the appropriate sanction ought to be. Perhaps a public letter of reprimand from the governor’s office might suffice.

At least the chairmanship has been handed over to someone else. If the former Amarillo mayor had a hand in that happening, then I applaud him.

Go for it, Jerry Hodge, in your effort to oust regents chair!

I hereby endorse former Amarillo Mayor Jerry Hodge’s effort to oust the chairman of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents, Rick Francis.

Hodge is steamed over the way the Tech board treated former Chancellor Bob Duncan. I am, too. Angry, that is. Duncan got the shaft, the bum’s rush and was shown the door after what well might have been an illegal meeting of the Tech regents.

Regents took what was called an “informal vote” in executive sessions to deliver a no-confidence decision against Duncan, who then announced his “retirement” from a post he had held for the past six years.

State law prohibits governing bodies from voting in private, but the Tech regents did so anyway. Thus, we might have a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Law.

Hodge also is miffed that Francis might have sought to undermine Tech’s decision to build a college of veterinary medicine in Amarillo, which has drawn full-throated support from the Amarillo City Council, the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and a number of corporate donors who have pledged money to help finance the project.

Committee targets Tech chairman

Will the campaign succeed? That remains a wide-open question. The committee that Hodge leads wants Gov. Greg Abbott to take action. Count me as one who doubts the governor will jump to the committee’s cadence.

Still, as a Texas resident with strong sentimental attachments to Amarillo, the Panhandle and a deep and abiding respect for the long public service career of the former Texas Tech chancellor, I want to endorse Jerry Hodge’s effort to raise as much of a ruckus as he can.