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Farenthold keeps job at Calhoun Port Authority in midst of lawsuit

Posted: 10:12 PM, May 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-24 23:12:39-04

Despite a legal dispute over his hiring at the Calhoun Port Authority, Blake Farenthold is still in on the job. 

The Authority’s board met Thursday to discuss the lawsuit and the former congressman’s new position. Following two closed sessions and a tense vote, Farenthold keeps his job as a lobbyist, earning a $160,000 salary. But not everyone on the Port Authority’s board wanted him to stay.

The Victoria Advocate filed a lawsuit on May 21, accusing the Calhoun Port Authority of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act when it hired Farenthold. The newspaper argues that the statute requires the Port to adequately and sufficiently notify the public that it was considering hiring the former congressman, and the notice on the agenda of the May 9 meeting was too vague.

"This isn’t about whether the Port should or shouldn’t have hired Blake Farenthold. People have all sorts of opinions about that, but that’s not our issue," Chris Cobbler, editor-in-chief of the Victoria Advocate, told KRIS 6 News. "Our issue is open government. Our issue is they’ve got to do it the right way. So we will go before a district judge and ask that judge to do that."

Just 3 days later after the lawsuit was filed, the Port Authority’s board called a special meeting to discuss that lawsuit behind closed doors. After voting on a procedural change to require board approval for Farenthold’s hiring, one board member moved to terminate Farenthold.

However, the motion failed on a 3-3 deadlocked vote.

The Calhoun Port Authority’s attorney and board members made no comments after Thursday’s meeting. Farenthold was not in attendance.