Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Dallas, he could get a year in jail

By RICK CASEY - Houston Chronicle - June 20, 2009

Here’s an idea: Public officials should not be permitted to work on sideline businesses in any way related to their public work.

If a guy is in charge of supervising voter registration and needs more money, he should wait tables — not do political work on the side for candidates.

If a guy is district clerk, in charge of handling all filings relating to lawsuits but needs more money, he should mow lawns — not hire out to a process serving company.

The problem is that anyone holding public office who does outside work related to that office gives the appearance of selling the office.

To start with the second example first, when he was district clerk, Charles Bacarisse hired out as a $4,500-a-month consultant to a courier service and a company that served court papers on parents who failed to make child-support payments.

Apparently, the $135,000 a year we paid him wasn’t enough.

Bacarisse said there was nothing unethical about the arrangement, but a competing process server said she had turned down his offer (for a price) to help her by recommending her to lawyers who need those services.

He denied it, but the sense lingered that we had a district clerk who was on the take.

Read the rest of the story:
In Dallas, he could get a year in jail


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