First, a little background:
Lykos has never been very "hands on" when it comes to the day-to-day running of her office. Until last Friday, she had First Assistant and body-builder extraordinaire Jim Leitner manage the job she was elected to do. Leitner's long awaited departure created a vacancy that Lykos could not leave unfilled for any amount of time -- hence the immediate rehiring of Bill Hawkins to be interim First Assistant.
Lykos couldn't make those day-to-day decisions herself for two reasons: 1) she doesn't know how to; and 2) she has something else on her agenda.
That something is apparently the Regional Crime Lab that has been talked about even prior to the 2008 District Attorney race. Lykos has always been a proponent of it and it looks like she's using the final months of her Administration to try to push it through.
Last week, Lykos met with Fort Bend District Attorney John Healy and Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, presumably to talk about the lab (since they are in the "Region"). That, coupled with a $2 million request on the Commissioner's Agenda (see below) give a pretty clear indication that the Lame Duck District Attorney is definitely serious about getting a new Crime Lab pushed through.
Certainly the idea of a Regional Crime Lab that is independent of police agencies is a good idea that should be explored and worked toward.
However, it would appear to me that Lykos' rush to get it put together in the remaining 68 days of her tenure is nothing short of reckless.
First of all, Lykos is spending money that belongs to the Office at an absolutely astronomical rate. Between what she has been handing out on frivolous training, outside police agencies, and now this, one can't help but wonder if her goal is to help law enforcement or to just deplete the discretionary funds before her successor arrives. She certainly didn't spend at such an insane rate when she thought she was going to be serving another four years.
Second, there is no way that all of the guidelines and protocols that will affect the Regional Crime Lab can be established in the next 68 days before she leaves office. She's throwing money at a project without knowing what the parameters of it are going to be. She can't set the policy for the next D.A.'s administration so isn't it rather arrogant that she thinks she can set the policies for another agency?
Finally, isn't the whole idea behind a Regional Crime Lab that it will have neutrality and not be considered a tool of the prosecution? How does throwing $2 million towards that project indicate "neutrality?"
The bottom line is that Lykos is making decisions that her successor should be making at this point. If Harris County has any semblance of a collective brain, that successor should be Mike Anderson. What she's doing is letting the air out of his tires before he gets up for work in the morning.
There were rumors awhile back that Lykos was making such a concerted effort to get this lab project under way so that it would be named after her. I don't know whether or not that particular rumor is true.
But I am certain that whatever her motivations may be, they are all about her.