Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

Houston City Council is set to vote Wednesday on $400 million for home repair work after Hurricane Harvey.

Nearly a third of the money, almost $137 million, will go to subcontractors. 

So why is Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner fighting to keep their names secret until the vote is over?

We think that’s a violation of Texas law.  We also think it is typical of a culture of secrecy this Mayor routinely gets away with.

The agenda of last week’s Houston City Council meeting included attachments, including the names of the subcontractors getting a big piece of the Hurricane Harvey repair pie under affirmative action programs. One problem – the attachment didn’t open.

At first, City Secretary Anna Russell’s office invited us to come by and take a look in person. We did.

“Then suddenly the always cooperative lawyers of the City Legal Department told us we couldn’t look at a clearly public record, that we had to submit a formal request knowing they had 10 days to respond which wouldn’t happen until after the vote,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.

“Sometimes I wonder who the new Mayor should fire first, the Garbage Director or the City Attorney,” says Dolcefino. “Here’s my idea. Email them both at the same time because they help the Mayor hide public records and that cannot be the way we run this city anymore.”

A Sunday editorial in the Houston Chronicle challenged Mayor Turner to tackle ethics reform, when in fact he’s the problem. The Mayor is hiding records of his recycling deal, his phone records, his travel records, and now the details of companies getting ready to get $139 million of your money.

We already know Turner has taken $300,000 in political contributions from Hurricane Harvey contracts. Wonder how much more we will see in the new list?

The Council Housing Committee meets Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM. They should demand the names be disclosed before the final vote.

If they don’t, they are just as guilty. 

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