The First 100 days of a new political leader’s career is critical as to how effective they will be in governing over the people who put them in office. Is the leader committed to fulfilling their political campaign promises? Or is that person clueless as to how to navigate the new environment? The most important question is, will the political leader serve the people or will the leader serve their own self interest?
Certainly the national focus has been on the first 100 days President Donald Trump since he defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. But all politics are local so in this report we will shift to Texas House of Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, former CEO of the George Gervin Youth Center.
Gervin-Hawkins has been the President/CEO of the George Gervin Youth Center, an open-enrollment charter school since her brother, George Gervin asked her to join his nonprofit. She performed as the Superintendent of the charter school for years and is credited for expanding the education and workforce programs of the nonprofit.
While the San Antonio Observer was on the HD-120 campaign trail, we understood that Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, in order to take the position as State Representative, would need to retire from the George Gervin Youth Center. This center receives millions of dollars from federal, state, county, and city sources to run its education and workforce programs. In the transition, we are told Barbara’s sister, Frances Gervin Boynes was named President/CEO, Barbara’s son, Nathan Hawkins moved into the CFO position and her Brother George “Iceman” Gervin remains on the board as its Founder. In effect, the new starting line-up was rolled out, this time with sister Barbara as the new Texas State Representative for District 120. It is uncanny that Gervin-Hawkins is listed on the nonprofit website as the Special Projects Coordinator... an employee or contractor of the GGYC.
During the 2016 campaign, many of her political opponents stated that Barbara Gervin-Hawkins was seeking the State Rep position to put her family business in a better position. Gervin-Hawkins along with her campaign supporters denied this allegation. Many of the candidates accused Gervin-Hawkins of illegally using the George Gervin Youth Center principals, teachers, her staff, and even her students to win the election unfairly when that would appear to be a clear violation of the many Texas ethic rules. See her public school staff on the VoteBarbara.com campaign website. Under an open records search, you will note, Gervin-Hawkins had complaints filed against her campaign at the Texas Ethics Commission, the Texas Education Agency and more. Currently, we are trying to obtain the outcomes of those investigations at publishing time.
On the surface, it appears that Barbara Gervin-Hawkins is not intimidated by the Texas Education Agency that held her complaints. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins filed a bill to change the agency, it was submitted to the Public Education committee, titled HB 2767, it relates to the implementation of certain rules regarding public school accountability adopted by the commissioner of education or the Texas Education Agency. She filed this bill on March 2, 2017.
As we continue to monitor her record as a state representative, The San Antonio Observer was shocked to see the Texas State Representative has engaged directly or perhaps indirectly in serving her own self-interest and the special interest groups that paid her campaign to win, for example, the Texas Charter Schools Association.
Let’s be clear, Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins authored another bill that could directly benefit her charter school – this bill is HB 3518. What does HB 3518 do? On the Texas legislative website, HB 3518 is entitled “relating to open-enrollment charter school facilities” This bill asks for funding for open enrollment charter schools, it provides provision for “forgiveable loans” – loans that don’t have to be paid back; the bill allows the charter holder, in this example the George Gervin Youth Center founders, to be able to retain the public school property after shutting the school down for other charitable purposes. This HB 3518 bill may never reach approval by the House and the Senate, but it is the worst example of how one politician is selfish and self-serving.
As a Texas lawmaker this self-serve ice cream serves the "Iceman" empire she has built. This HB 3518 bill was authored by her solely – and the truth is many wonder if it is ethical of her considering her direct interest or indirect interest on this deal. It could cause an investigation to her overall suitability to serve as HD-120 State Representative. This bill was introduced by Gervin-Hawkins on March 9, 2017 and was referred to the Public Education committee since March 31, 2017. We don’t know why the reform of open enrollment charter school’s was her first agenda.
Again, HB 3518 is the best example of how people get elected and get caught serving their own interest, their family interest and to build more wealth. Does Barbara Gervin-Hawkins have a direct interest in the George Gervin Youth Center? Does Barbara Gervin-Hawkins have an indirect interest in the George Gervin Youth Center? What is her role as a consultant? Does she receive any money for her former employer?
On this Bill in particular, is Barbara Gervin-Hawkins looking for co-authors, trying to persuade others that this is a need to help her HD-120 constituents?
Also please understand the freshman representative was appointed in her first 100 days to serve on the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, Culture Recreation & Tourism Committee, and Rules & Resolution Committee. She had her first public appearance with VIA this past Monday to increase punishments for passengers who commit crimes on public transportation with her HB-2032.
Simply, we don’t see the need or understand why she is trying to introduce legislation to impact charter schools by influencing the Public Education Committee. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins has introduced bills that seem, on the surface, to benefit her financial success via her interest at the George Gervin Youth Center.
So far in the 85th Legislature, Gervin-Hawkins has initiated and authored 28 Bill proposals, and co-authored 39 Bills (co-authoring a bill is being able to add your name to someone else bill you agree with). She has zero bills that she has proposed to be sponsored. She has zero bills that have been co-sponsored.
As we study the new Texas Legislator’s action – focus on the bills that she authors directly. The 28 represent the goals she said she would do when elected. Not surprisingly, the very core areas of improving the East Side of San Antonio, and the other areas of Kirby, Windcrest, and Converse have not been addressed in any of her 28 bills.
If you look at the news, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins has been under the radar since going to Austin. We did see in the San Antonio Express-News, one of her 28 bills – HR 847 honored her brother, George “Iceman” Gervin on his 65th birthday. While we don’t have a problem with that good gesture, we do have a problem with the language used within the bill. She props up her former employer and writes, her brother, “has further benefited the city as the founder of the George Gervin Youth Center, an institution dedicated to helping educate local kids, assisting senior citizens with finding quality affordable housing, and providing young adults with the necessary resources to become productive members of the community.” Again, every step she takes is to build up her own. We hope she will take the time to recognize many more deserving people in the community not directly related to her.
Next week we will report on a joint bill HB 1245 (authored by Representative Philip Cortez) that relates to funding for public school career and technology programs. Maybe co-authors: Texas Representatives Cortez, Guillen, and Lucio II probably didn’t know Representative Gervin-Hawkins may have direct interest or indirect interest that would be criticized by her constituents. Should the freshman representative recuse herself on this bill?
The other “bad” self-serving bill of our new state representative – HB 3554 relating to funding for certain workforce development programs is another bill she has authored. Again, her nonprofit, the George Gervin Youth Center, is in center position to gain even more money and increase the family’s wealth based on this proposed bill. HR 3554 is another “bad” bill authored dealing with relating to the application for funding for certain workforce development programs. Again, if other members of the state legislature authored these types of bills we would be ok, but considering the past promises of being focused on growing the HD-120 community, we find this self-serving behavior to work against the good citizens who want a better life and opportunity for themselves, their families, their businesses, and their nonprofits. In short, it’s not all about you Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins. It should be all about the people.
Even though Barbara Gervin-Hawkins took up residency to live in the HD-120, the complaints about her residence were not able to be overcome. But now what do the people of the our HD-120 community do, now that we see Barbara Gervin-Hawkins to be selfish introducing legislation that clearly puts money and wealth in her pocket, and her family’s pocket? Is she still living within the District or return to her mansion in HD-122? What should the Texas House Speaker, Joseph Straus do about this ethical situation? Should she resign under this cloud? Sound off online on our Facebook page by clicking HERE!
Organization chart posted on: http://www.gervin-school.org/index.cfm?pID=12709
As of May 2, 2017.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: These types of situations occur all over America. In June 2011, a liberal advocacy group filed an ethics complaint against then state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, alleging he violated a state law by authoring legislation to financially benefit his wife.The complaint, filed by One Wisconsin Now with the state's Government Accountability Board, says Olsen inserted language in a bill that would allow a nonprofit headed by his wife to establish a charter school, and thus qualify for additional state funding. Olsen co-sponsored a bill that would allow cooperative educational service agencies (CESAs) to establish independent charter schools. CESAs are regional nonprofits created by the Legislature to provide educational services to school districts. Olsen's wife, Joan Wade, was the administrator of CESA 6, which served east-central Wisconsin. Olsen, who faced a recall election over his support of Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill, did not responded to the complaint.