Questions are being raised about Gov. Rick Perry’s newest appointment to the Texas prison system’s governing board because she is a longtime business associate of the current chairman.The Senate Nominations Committee is scheduled to consider her appointment today.
Officials confirmed that Annette Raggette, who owns a management consulting firm, worked for years for Oliver Bell, chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice — a business tie that would be a rarity for two members of the nine-member prison board.
Though business ties between members of state boards used to be common in decades past, it has become rare in recent years, partly to avoid criticism about cronyism and to avoid the perception of voting blocks on agency boards — or that one might be beholden to another on important votes — that might compromise members’ independence in operating huge state operations such as the prison agency, the nation’s largest state corrections system with a $4 billion budget.
Raggette’s LinkedIn profile indicates she is vice president of Bell’s company, but prison officials said the online résumé is out of date. The online profile and prison officials say she worked for another Bell firm from 2003-2009.
Neither Raggette nor Bell returned phone calls seeking comment.
MORE: Nominations to the TDCJ board have been delayed while the Governor's office decides whether to withdraw her nomination. See an update from the Austin Statesman. Wrote Mike Ward:
Senate Nominations Committee Chairman Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, said a vote on Annette Raggette to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice was delayed indefinitely, along with two other reappointments to the nine-member board that oversees Texas’ corrections system, the largest in the United States.FWIW, these questions actually arose Thursday, not Friday, when this blog broke the story of Raggette's employment links to the TDCJ board chairman.
“The (Raggette) nomination has not been withdrawn, it’s just on hold right now,” Hegar said, noting he expects a decision from Perry’s office this week on whether it will move forward with Raggette.
There has been speculation among senators that Raggette’s appointment may be withdrawn, after questions surfaced Friday about whether she should serve on the board since she was as business associate for several years with board chairman Oliver Bell.