Mr. Royal's is not a new name in the TYC saga. He was the point man charged with being the Governor's "eyes and ears" when the Pyote scandal was first reported. The Dallas News investigation put Royal at the center of whatever information flow existed between TYC and state officials about the West Texas sex scandal, but he apparently did not pass on the hot-button information, the News reported last March ("Mistakes, mismanagement wrecked TYC," March 13, 2007):
In February 2005, when the governor's office learned of the Ranger's sex-abuse investigation in Pyote, a 36-year-old junior staffer named Alfonso Royal was Mr. Perry's liaison to TYC. He had been on the job just over three months.
One of 32 analysts in the governor's budget office, Mr. Royal has refused to comment. His office calendar and e-mail records show more than 20 contacts with TYC officials or board members between February 2005 and February 2007.
Mr. Royal's job was to be the governor's eyes and ears with TYC, said Robert Black, Mr. Perry's press secretary. "The governor expects the budget, planning and policy folks to be problem solvers. They have some latitude - a lot of latitude, actually - to work with the state agencies to solve problems to implement law, to govern," he said.
During that two-year period, records show, Mr. Royal had two one-on-one meetings with TYC executive director Harris. He also met with unnamed TYC staff members, visited two TYC units and attended 11 TYC board meetings.
From June 2005 until October 2006, press secretary Black said, Mr. Royal learned no new information on the West Texas investigation, and the governor's office believed it was proceeding.
But around Nov. 1, 2006, Alison Brock, chief of staff for Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, told Mr. Royal that there had been no movement on the case and provide him with a copy of Ranger Brian Burzynski's graphic 229-page report. "He was concerned," she recalled.
The governor's spokesman said that when Mr. Royal found out, "he did what he thought was the right thing to do and that was to call the D.A. and call the Ranger, call the A.G. He did what he thought was actionable and what we would expect him to do."
It was not clear whom in the governor's office Mr. Royal told about the West Texas investigation, or when. Mr. Black at first said he told no one, then said he assumed Mr. Royal had informed senior staff during the 2005 legislative session and again late last year.
Gov. Perry was never informed, Mr Black said.
Can the list of advisers Gov. Perry trusts on this matter be so short that he couldn't find somebody whose name wasn't at the center of covering up the original sex scandal that caused this mess? To my mind, the appointment makes little sense. Mr. Royal already had the chance to be the Governor's eyes and ears on this topic, and he failed to pass critical information up the ladder. It seems crazy to assign him that same role again.