Texas Watchdog: Senior county attorney official resigns amidst ethics queries

Texas Watchdog is teasing their latest story, which apparently involves the resignation of a senior official in Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan's office:

A top lieutenant of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has resigned his post in the wake of questions from Texas Watchdog about a conflict of interest.

This top-level county attorney -- a political appointee-- had been hired by Ryan at the beginning of the year.

He announced his resignation late today as Texas Watchdog was on the verge of publishing a story detailing how the attorney -- while on the county payroll -- had continued to represent clients against the county.

His clients won a six-figure judgment from the county. And he made a nice slice of the cash.

We're very much looking forward to the full story, which Texas Watchdog says is coming soon.

So far, we haven't seen any mention of the resignation on other local news sites, including Chron.com. Then again, they may still be looking for that county reporter, which would seem to be important to covering the beat effectively.

Way back in November 2008, the Chronicle wrote the following about newly elected county attorney Ryan:

Ryan, a lawyer, said he is the right person to be coming into government now. The County Attorney's Office, he said, can play the role of watchdog and try to insist that county officials and employees take the ethical high road.

"What county government needs is a group of watchdogs, not lapdogs," Ryan said. "The County Attorney's Office is an absolute key to the checks and balances on county government."

It sounds like the county watchdog may have had a little trouble watching his own office after less than a year in power!

Indeed, the county attorney hasn't exactly been the biggest supporter of the modest ethics reform proposals from Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who has been a strong advocate of ethics reform and transparency in Harris County government.

UPDATE (10-15-2009): The full story is now posted here.

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 10/14/09 08:44 PM | Print |

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