What sound does a hot potato make when it gets passed to someone else?
The Harris County District Attorney has been asked to review for possible criminal prosecution allegations that Councilwoman Jolanda Jones used city resources to support her private law practice, Mayor Annise Parker confirmed this afternoon.
Shortly after the Office of Inspector General released a report last month summarizing its findings that Jones had used a city phone number, fax machine and employee time to run her practice, Parker said she did not believe Jones should face criminal prosecution. The alleged crimes are misdemeanors.
Since then, Parker has chaired numerous meetings of a three-member review panel advised by City Attorney David Feldman to determine whether Jones should face the judgment of her fellow council members. If the panel sends the matter to council, Jones could face penalties ranging from reprimand to removal.
The Inspector General, Houston’s top internal affairs official, referred the case to the district attorney independently, said Parker, but she does not disapprove of the decision.
“My concern once council member Jones started attacking the process was that it would make it very difficult to proceed” with the panel review, Parker said. “This certainly takes that out of the equation.”
The panel is scheduled to meet again Wednesday. Parker said she believes the panel should suspend its work while the district attorney’s office does its job.
All I know at this point is that this needs a resolution, one way or another. I wish I knew what went on in those meetings. It seems clear that there was no consensus, but was that a requirement under the new ordinance, or was it supposed to be up to the Mayor to make like Judge Judy and say how it was going to be? I have no idea. Whatever the case, it’s Pat Lykos’ problem now.
UPDATE: I stand corrected about one thing: There was consensus about the panel suspending deliberations until the DA concludes its investigation.