Monday, April 22, 2013

Whitmire: Appointment of chairman's business associate to TDCJ board 'not smart'

Grits last week raised questions about the appointment to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice of Annette Raggette, a woman whose LinkedIn profile listed her as an employee of board chairman Oliver Bell. Raggette has now altered her profile to say she quit working for Bell in 2010 (it had previously said she'd worked for him for more than nine years, now it says seven, ending in 2010). Also, the website for Oliver Bell, Inc., has removed the page that listed her as a vice president of the company as of last week. (Grits' lesson: Always get a screen shot.) The changes appear to have been made after Mike Ward at the Austin Statesman's story yesterday in which Senate Criminal Justice Chairman John Whitmire said the appointment was "not smart" and "Without knowing anything else, the perception is certainly bad." The article ("Prison board appointee's business connection questioned," April 21) opened:
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.

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LinkedIn profile indicates she is vice president of Bell’s company, but prison officials said the online résumé is out of date.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.
The Senate Nominations Committee is scheduled to consider her appointment today.

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.

“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.
FWIW, these questions actually arose Thursday, not Friday, when this blog broke the story of Raggette's employment links to the TDCJ board chairman.


Anonymous said...

If you don't get a screen shot your plan b should be the wayback machine which last caught it in March 2012 as still listing her.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't very smart for Demetria Pope to be appointed as the Executive Director of TYC given her "relationship" between her and Whitmire.....Yet it happened.
And it's not very smart for Whitmire to use the babe in the woods routine when he crows about youth, who have been violated between five to ten times by their respective county juvenile probation departments, being locked up alongside other youth with adult court detainers on them....Oh wait, he's pushing for a TDCJ facility for young offenders in his own district.
It suddenly makes sense now.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well, so this tells me how honest TDCJ officials are. I know they lie to cover their tracks. To think both of them could alter the websites and profiles and the public could be so easily fooled. Now we tax payers will be able to see if there is any honesty in the Governor's office. This tells me they are both corrupted by trying to hide or change their connections. Now we know there is no such thing as an honest investigation by TDCJ officials and the need for TDCJ oversight. The proof is in the cache. TDCJ officials should just throw the towel in on this one because you tell one lie; you end up telling 50 lies. Now it is time to passed TDCJ oversight bills and signed them into law. Then no one who is connected to TDCJ should be on this Commission and especially no one that gives money to elected officials. My god how did these people get voted into office and how can they look themselves in the mirror. I have always suspected this but now I know the people in charge of TDCJ is worse than anyone sitting in the prisons. The only difference between the two is the TDCJ officials have not been caught yet. I would say our elected officials have not been caught but they are starting to show their true colors with all the recent arrests of elected officials, judges, and DA. Priceless!

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely nothing that TDCJ or the "real criminals" in charge of TDCJ do,that surprises me. Every day I read the Texas News and am so thankful that 1. I don't live in Texas, because I would surely be in prison 2. These people would be in charge of my every waking moment 3. I am far more afraid of the "management team" than I am the inmates.
When will this corruption and greed slow down to match the acceptable pace of other states? Come on, 111 prisons in one state? How in the world can a governor justify locking up so many of his citizens and how in the world can he and his henchmen continue to be elected? I do not believe the people in the state of Texas are properly educated on what is really happening. Obviously, the citizens are not in charge.

Anonymous said...

You or I could have a PhD and not get these types of takes pull from some "name"...and that just ain't right.

Anonymous said...

It’s obvious that this woman is not just a friend, former employee, or even business partner. The good people of Texas are not as stupid as our elected and appointed state officials think we are. There is something between these two and I doubt it is business unless there is a new scam to defraud tax payers by both of these people to be on the same board. He should have secured her a board seat at a state university. 9 out of 10 of those university higher ups have no back ground in education either. It could have probably slid under the radar. This reeks of more than narcissism and cronyism. Something is there just out the dirty laundry in the washer machine and stand back and watch the dirt go down the drain.

P.S. Maybe if I could get one of these jobs, I would not have the time to sit around and read this great stuff on Grits!!!