As of this morning, we are 112 days away from the End of the Pat Lykos Era at the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Whether the new District Attorney will be former Judge Mike Anderson or former indictee Lloyd Oliver will be decided in November, but the fact that Patricia R. Lykos is now an official Lame Duck politician has long been decided.
It is an interesting phenomenon when a politician becomes a Lame Duck. Some use their short time remaining in Office to prepare for a clean and seamless transition. Others try to rally their troops to execute one last piece of policy that will become their Legacy. Some simply do nothing and just wait for the end to come, patiently drawing a paycheck.
And then others seem to want to treat the office like a hotel room being occupied by Motley Crue and Quiet Riot on a bender.
Ever since Pat Lykos lost the Republican Primary, she has been making regular trips to the Commissioners' Court, tinkering with the personnel roster, and toying with the budget. All of these things are designed to leave the Harris County District Attorney's Office in a much weaker position when whoever takes over on January 1, 2013.
She's dropped the maximum salary slots on several positions in favor of handing out some raises to her chosen few. She's been hiring both new investigators and new prosecutors of political allies.
And she's been raiding the Office's Budget fund like it was King Midas' piggy bank.
Apparently, Lykos now has an item on the Commissioners' Court agenda for Tuesday where she is going to be asking for about $365,000 for payment for a three day CLE seminar for about 160 or so junior prosecutors. It is mandatory training for them and she wants to take the funds out of the D.A.'s Discretionary account.
The CLE is to be hosted by the National District Attorney's Association (on which Lykos is a Board Member).
The idea that a CLE would cost well over a quarter of a million dollars is staggering -- especially when it isn't in Hawaii (where she sent herself for a CLE last year). The idea that there is some sort of rush to get it done before she leaves office is foolish, as well. Unless there has been a sudden and massive change in the law or the way that prosecutors handle their jobs, I fail to see the urgency.
It would seem to me that the decision on how the money should be spent would be better decided by the new Administration. They will have to operate under budget for the next several years to come. Frivolously throwing away $365,000 to an organization where you serve as a Board Member seems, well, unseemly.
When I was a kid, my parents taught me that I should always leave a place where I visited in better shape than how I found it -- or at least not in worse shape.
Too bad that Lykos doesn't follow that same principle.