City of Big Spring Slapped With a Lawsuit

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING--They're accused of violating The Texas Open Meetings Act, now their being taken to court.

With help from The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and The National Freedom of Information Coalition, some Big Spring residents are hoping to the get their message through to the city.

The Big Spring City Council is under fire for a meeting held on January 6th to discuss a petition for a tax rollback election. According to some, that meeting violated The Texas Open Meetings Act.

The law says, 72 hours notice must be given before a holding meeting, unless it's an emergency, which means there is "imminent danger to public health or safety" or there is a "reasonably unforeseeable situation."

The Freedom of Information Foundation says neither of those apply in this case, since the city council had the petition for 19 days.

While many still can't believe the city would break state law, the citizens of Big Spring are asking for things to be made right.

According to Keith Elkins, the Executive Director of The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, "We think that the citizens of Big Spring are entitled to restitution, in the form of allowing that election to go forward."

Shannon Thomason, a member of the Concerned Citizens Council of Big Spring-Howard County says, "It's happened, before with other issue, but it's unfortunate that we have to go these lengths to hold the city to the law."

After it was filed, the lawsuit was delivered to Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker, who then served it to Big spring Mayor, Russ McEwen, who was unavailable for comment.

No date has been set this issue to go to court.

The Concerned Citizens Council and The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas are confident this will send a message to all city governments, that no one is above the law.