HCC trustee censured for ethics violation

May 20, 2011 3:34:06 PM PDT
There were fireworks at a meeting involving leaders from Houston Community College, and now one of those board members has been censured over allegations of unethical behavior.

HCC Board Member Yolanda Navarro Flores has represented District 1, which is on Houston's north side, for years. She says in that time, she's developed political enemies and that's what's behind the censure. She says it was wrong and she wants to get to the bottom of this.

Flores says she was the target of an expensive investigation that found no criminal wrongdoing.

"I certainly do not agree with the censure. It's unwarranted. It's undesirable. I question the timing," Flores said.

She's accused of what the HCC board calls serious ethical violations including steering HCC contracts to a family member.

On Thursday night, the board issued a censure after a lengthy private investigation, which found her conduct "inappropriate and unethical."

"The board has zero tolerance for this kind of conduct, as evidence by her actions since this matter was drawn to our attention," HCC Board President Richard Schechter said at the meeting Thursday.

But Flores says she's the target of political attacks and despite censures for previous years for other matters, she says she has done nothing wrong.

"I'm a person who takes her fiduciary duties seriously and if I do not agree with the administration that their decisions are in the best interest of the Houston Community College, I will not agree with them," Flores said.

The HCC board did forward its findings in this investigation to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, which found no criminal wrongdoing. Still, the HCC board found there were ethical violations.

As for why the board isn't removing Flores from office, it's because she's not been found guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, so they can't do it that way. They could take her to court, but the board says that's too time consuming and expensive.

Flores says she has no plans to resign. As for running for re-election in 2013, she says she's still unsure about that.

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