Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
by David Stanowski
27 September 2013
The Galveston County Daily News believes that City Attorney Dorothy Palumbo is running this city.
Three Councilmembers believe that her performance is so bad that she should be replaced.
What are some of their complaints?
1. The three Councilmembers and the GCDN believe that she has pushed the Council towards far too much secrecy. They point to the excessive use of executive sessions and her attempts to withhold documents on many Open Records Requests.
What is the need for this level of secrecy?
2. There is a fierce political struggle going on within the City Council and the Minority believes that she supports the Majority's wishes over their's so that she is not acting as an unbiased legal adviser.
3. She pursues her own agenda by pushing certain issues often cloaking them in the guise of legal necessities. Her demand to spend $30,000 of taxpayers’ money on a futile search for the Deep Throat that leaked the secret memo that she had commissioned is the most obvious example.
4. She gives very questionable legal advice. Her “interpretation” of Houston v HUD and her indifference to Dr. McClure’s findings that the City is failing to AFFH were cited as examples.
The support for the City Attorney by the other four Councilmembers makes it very clear where the divide lies between the two factions. These four have formed a very comfortable "working relationship" with the City Attorney, because she supports what they want to do and often frustrates the wishes of the other Councilmembers which interferes with the democratic process.
This often manifests itself in the issue of rebuilding Public Housing. The Gang of Five wants it built, so she will find "legal reasons” to help them move forward, and ignore reasons for them not to. The numerous attempts to get legal advice and challenge the GLO for withholding money from the City is an obvious example.
However, when the Council is presented with the fact that their plan does NOT Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, they remain silent, as if not responding will make the truth disappear, and she raises no questions about the wisdom and legality of continuing on their unlawful path by sitting in silent support. She ignored what Dr. McClure said just like the Gang of Five did.
This is dysfunctional government!
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