Houston City Councilman C.O. Bradford will represent Councilwoman Jolanda Jones at a three-member panel hearing to decide if the full Council will discipline or clear her of complaints related to an Office of Inspector General investigation.
Bradford's office confirmed today that the former police chief accepted Jones's request; now we're waiting to hear who will represent Councilman Mike Sullivan, who filed the formal complaint against Jones last week. (Mayor Annise Parker is the third person on the panel). Sullivan planned on sitting on the panel, but in a weird twist, the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday asked City Attorney David Feldman to review the ordinance regarding the make-up of the panel, and it turns out that the complaining council member can't personally sit in.
The panel will review Sullivan's complaint, which hasn't been released, but was filed after an OIG investigation determined that Jones used city resources for her private law practice, and that she was uncooperative and untruthful during the investigation. Jones has denied the findings, saying earlier this week that she will be vindicated "when all the facts come to light."
Jones had until 5 p.m. today to pick a representative; Feldman told the Chron that Sullivan would probably get another day to pick his proxy.
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Jones's spokeswoman Kelly Cripe told Hair Balls in an e-mail that Jones's attorney "has asked Mr. Feldman if what is being stated by media about the extension is correct. We are waiting on a response. Obviously, we would have a concern about the rules of this process being spontaneously rewritten." (We're waiting to hear back from Feldman as well. Sullivan hasn't returned our phone calls all week).
Per the recently adopted ordinance, the three-member panel "shall review the complaint and any documentation submitted therewith, and shall determine by majority vote if the evidence, when viewed as a whole, establishes reasonable cause to believe that a violation of one or more standards of conduct has occurred, and that as a consequence, the complaint should be considered by city council."
If it goes to the full council, and the council believes action is warranted, they can vote for a verbal reprimand, a written letter of reprimand, official censure, or impeachment.
Of course, it's always possible that the city's legal department might find other stuff they missed in the ordinance between now and then.