Friday, January 27, 2017


By Juan Montoya
You could see Brownsville Independent School District trustee Joe Rodriguez visibly agitated at the board's last meeting when items he cared for deeply were contested by three trustees.

With trustee Carlos Elizondo absent from the meeting, Rodriguez could only marshal two other votes (BISD board president Cesar Lopez and Phil Cowen) to go along with his grandiose vision to make BISD  a mecca for pampered jocks. While other trustees focused on student-teacher ratios and compensation schedules for the district employees, Rodriguez was pushing for championship rings for athletes and a new $600,000-to $800,000 "multi-media panel scoreboard" for aging Sams Stadium. With a 3-3 vote, that scheme died on arrival.

The item on the BISD board agenda was styled: 16. Discussion, consideration and possible action to direct the Administration to formulate a plan to acquire a New Multi-Media Panel for Sam’s Stadium.
But with the district cutting back on everything from classroom supplies for teachers, compensation issues, and other instruction resources, three trustees (Dr. Sylvia Atkinson, Laura Perez-Reyes and Minerva Peña) didn't take the bait.

They wanted to know why Rodriguez wanted to sink more than half a million dollars on a scoreboard when the aging stadium was showing the wear and tear of more than 50 years of hosting athletic, academic, and community events.

Rodriguez countered that the superintendent could go out and seek sponsors in the community just as they did in Weslaco and McAllen.
"There have a waiting list of sponsors who are willing to pay to appear on the board," Rodriguez said lamely. "The superintendent could look for sponsors so that they can pay at least a  portion of the cost."

Rodriguez pushing for more athletic-oriented expenditures is nothing new. He has been both a coach and athletic director and has steered millions toward the installation of artificial turf fields in high schools and even middle schools. And at Rivera High School, where his protege (and former AD) Tom Chavez is head coach, he has been the force behind the construction of an indoor training facility that costs well over $1.5 million.

At the same time, he has been a vendor with Varsity Brands subsidiary BNS Sports that sells athletic uniforms and equipment. Another subsidiary of that firm is Herrf Jones, a vendor of graduation rings and equipment. Locally, the BISD suffers from the same malady affecting other Brownsville public entities. The state code (or BISD) of ethics doesn't seem to apply.

The Texas Local Government Code is a subset of the Texas Statutes adopted by the Texas Legislature. They apply to all elected officials (city commissioners, school board members, appointed board members, Economic Development Corporations, Housing Authorities etc.). Employees are covered by locally adopted Ethics Policies & Procedures.

The BISD requires a Conflict Disclosure Statement for members of the Board, the Superintendent, and, as applicable, other District employees by Local Government Code 176.00

Vendors are also governed by the Texas Local Government Code; more specifically Section 176.006:

Section 176.006 requires a vendor who enters or seeks to enter into a contract for the sale or purchase of property, goods, or services with the local governmental entity and any of their agents involved in the business with the entity to file a conflict of interest questionnaire if the vendor has a business relationship with the local governmental entity..."

Is "Coach" Joe complying with the code of ethics requirements? During the meeting where the acceptance of a $25,000 "donation" from Herrf Jones of 28 rings for coaches and athletes at Porter High School, no one said that Rodriguez was a vendor for BSN Sports, a sister company of Herrf Jones under the Varsity Brands umbrella.

The three trustees named above voted to, as trustee Pres-Reyes said, "to do things right" and have the district pay for the rings that "somebody" ordered from Herrf Jones without board or administration approval. Now the district – as Rodriguez wanted Zendejas to do – will have to hustle to find the $25,000 to pay the company.  


Anonymous said...

Mark Sossi the city attorney has been there too long and in my opinion is very unethical and exagerrates spins justice and his rhetorick sounda convincing but is WRONG

CC Taxpayer! said...

What the hell is wrong with the people in BISD? This crook, Joe Rodriguez has been making money hand over fist for years and you people keep voting him in, doing business or let him do business with BISD? What the hell is wrong with you all? He's made a killing ripping off your children! When does it stop people? When are the Feds going to step in and stop this corruption within BISD?

Anonymous said...

Coaches are among the lowest academically performing teachers. A waste of money and time.

chief cool arrow said...

pure caca este joe rod since the 1960's

Anonymous said...

A scoreboard? Que tienen en la Cabeza? Really Cesar, en tu vida as tocado Un Balon. Hahaha
Joe Rod the has been jock.

Anonymous said...

Joe Rodriguez is a dinasuar and should be put in a museum. He is loyal to himself and those that are paying him....not to the taxpayer, the students or even to BISD. Corruption in BISD is rampant and needs to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

And they one to close schools. Joe and Cesar must go