There have been some interesting things going on over at the Harris County District Attorney's Office as Pat Lykos' tenure as a one-term District Attorney comes to a close.
As we approach the November election when Republican Mike Anderson will face off against Democrat and former multiple-indictee Lloyd Oliver, we have yet to see Lykos come out and lend her support and encouragement to Judge Anderson's campaign. That's kind of interesting, seeing as how Lykos touted her loyalty to the Republican Party as her chief strong suit in the May primary. I suppose that her loyalty to the Republican Party only lasted as long as she was the candidate elected.
However, rather than doing all she can to support the Republican Candidate for District Attorney, Lykos has been busy doing, um . . . other things -- none of which seem to make much sense.
Last week, I received notice from several different sources that Lykos had done an outsource hiring of a company known as Shred Pro to shred some documents for the Office. At first, I didn't think all that much of it -- it isn't so unusual for large entities to do some shredding from time to time. Then again, most "large entities" aren't the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the vast majority of their documents aren't per se government records.
Rather than be an alarmist, I did a little checking around to see if, in the past, it was common practice for the District Attorney's Office to shred documents in such bulk as to require an outside vendor to do the shredding. I learned that doing a little shredding from time to time did happen, but never in mass quantities and only after seeking the approval of the Texas Attorney General.
The next thing I did was file an open records request for anything referencing my name and/or Don Hooper's blog. I was curious to know if the upper administration had ever actually put anything in writing about me or the Donner. I'm pretty sure that they committed nothing to writing, but if they did, I wanted a copy of it before it hit the shredder.
However, the funny thing is that when I was talking to someone in upper admin about my request, I mentioned that I had heard there was some shredding going on. That person said that they had heard the rumors of shredding happening, but had no idea where it had come from and didn't believe it to be true.
That kind of flew of in the face of this picture (which I had received about an hour earlier) of this machine on the 6th Floor. NOTE: For those of you who are out of the loop, the 6th Floor is where Pat Lykos and her upper administration reside.
And this picture taken in the back sallyport.
Lykos' upper Administration is dropping like flies right now. Former General Counsel John Barnhill left a month or so ago, as did Bureau Chief Steve Morris. Chief Investigator Don McWilliams has turned in his notice that he'll be retiring on October 31st. Special Crimes Head Joni Vollman has taken a job with the Texas Attorney General's Office that will begin in early November. Additionally, Lykos' chief Administrative Assistant, Angela Salazar, left abruptly on October 5th for a job at the Medical Examiner's Office, but nobody is supposed to know about that.
And of course, we have the daily rumor that today really and truly is Jim Leitner's last day. We really really mean it this time.
It isn't entirely unusual for an outgoing administration to start breaking apart and leaving before the end of their actual term of office, but things seem to look a little, well, unseemly, when all those departures are coupled with a shredding party.
I don't know what is going on over on the 6th Floor of the D.A.'s Office, but something tells me that the Rule of Law and the Administration of Justice left the building a long time ago.