By JOE BOCANEGRA
Special to the NEWS
Legal services provided to San Benito CISD by the Austin-based law firm of O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath have been terminated as of Tuesday following a special meeting of the Board of Trustees.
The decision came after a dialogue between Board Secretary June Aguilera and Kevin O’Hanlon of O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath. During the dialogue, Aguilera accused Leslie McCollom of O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath of being “unprofessional” during previous engagements concerning services rendered on a grievance.
O’Hanlon said McCollom would no longer participate in the meetings.
Board member Hector Leal was opposed to terminating the legal services provided by the O’Hanlon law firm, commenting that he was not aware of any problems with the services and referred to Aguilera’s concerns as “communication gaps.”
In the end, Board President Yliana G. Rodriguez and board members Julian Huerta and Fatima Huerta voted to terminate the O’Hanlon law firm’s legal services while Aguilera and Leal opted against as much – a 3-2 vote that did not include Board Vice-President Anna Cruz and board member Oscar Medrano, who were absent from the meeting. It should be noted, however, that Cruz was out of town while Medrano is still recovering from a mini-stroke brought on by vasculitis.
In the meantime, O’Hanlon, McCollom & Demerath will serve the district while the board looks for another law firm via a request for qualifications (RFQ).
Leal then asked his fellow board members how long they planned to accept bids, to which none of the trustees had an answer. “From the looks of things, it seems that you already had someone in mind,” Leal said.
Superintendent Antonio G. Limón, who expressed that he felt “more comfortable” with the O’Hanlon law firm, said, “We have several matters already needing attention.”
“We will not leave you in a lurch,” O’Hanlon said. “We are concerned about leaving you in a lurch right now. We’ll disappear the moment you find a new law firm; it’s just not ethical to leave right now.”