South San ISD board members call for special meeting following comments heard on open mic

A 4 minute conversation between superintendent Marc Puig and board president Ernesto Arrellano, Jr was caputured by an open mic

SAN ANTONIO – Three South San ISD board of trustees have requested a special meeting to discuss comments captured by an open mic following the end of a regular meeting and just before the start of a closed meeting on November 17th.

The four-minute conversation involved Superintendent Marc Puig and board president Ernesto Arrellano, Jr. It followed a vote that was requested by Puig to extend a contract for a professional services consulting agreement.

But the statement that was made just before the mic was shut off is what’s alarming some.

Mr. Arrellano is heard saying “I’m going to step down so you can hire my brother.” Mr. Puig responded saying, “Give me hiring authority so I can make that decision.” Both men chuckled before the mic goes silent.

Board members Homer Flores, Stacey Alderete, and Gilbert Rodriguez, have presented three memos before the superintendent requesting that a special meeting be called to discuss those comments.

“Let’s talk about it, if it was misconstrued sir please explain that to us,” Flores said outside the administrative offices.

Mr. Arrellano would not comment regarding the statements made over the open mic but said an independent company has been hired by the administration to make a transcript of that conversation.

Puig’s officer of communications sent the following statement.

“As always, per policy requirements, the board president has final authority of any and all board meeting postings. The Superintendent has collaborated with the board president to post the requested meeting by the three trustees for Monday, December 6th, at 6:00 PM.”

At least four trustees have to be in the building for there to be a quorum to hold that meeting. The board members are asking that the board consider actions to put the superintendent on paid administrative leave, discuss the appointment of an interim superintendent and censure a trustee as well as discuss the reorganization of the board officers.

This latest chapter in the district comes as the Texas Education Agency announced yet a new special investigation into the district, following complaints that board members are getting involved in the suspension of an employee and attempting to make employee recommendations to the chief financial officer.

In late August, a separate TEA investigation concluded that the board of trustees failed to collaborate with the superintendent on a district education plan and that board members were overreaching their power when they contacted vendors, consultants, and staff without the superintendent’s knowledge. That’s when former South San ISD Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra was placed as a TEA monitor to oversee the board.

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.