The Houston Chronicle reports that Land Commissioner and Bush family scion George P. doesn’t seem very interested in following the law when it comes to hiring for the General Land Office. Either that, or the latest Texas Bush is more interested in rewarding Bush family friends and sycophants. The Houston Chronicle reports that Bush has failed to follow Texas law in remaking the agency in the Bush family image.
Less than a year after being elected to lead the oldest state agency in Texas, Land Commissioner George P. Bush has dramatically remade the General Land Office by ousting a majority of its longtime leaders and replacing many of them with people with ties to his campaign and family.
Eleven of the top 18 officials on the agency’s organizational chart a year ago have been fired, forced out or quit, and more could leave soon under an ongoing overhaul that Bush has described as a “reboot.”
In their place, Bush has given top jobs to two of his law school classmates, two relatives of members of two Bush presidential administrations and at least three others with ties to the family or other political leaders.
In all, Bush has hired at least 29 people who worked on his campaign or have political connections, according to a review of thousands of pages of personnel records. The agency did not advertise any of the openings publicly.
State law requires all agencies considering external candidates for a job to post the opening with the Texas Workforce Commission. Newly elected statewide officials often ignore the requirement for some core positions – Attorney General Ken Paxton and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller already have been publicly criticized for doing it a handful of times this year – but Bush’s hiring differs because of how far-reaching it has been, with the hires ranging from a temporary transition director to five campaign veterans hired permanently for the new position of “regional outreach coordinator.”
Another Bush ignoring the law is no big deal, but it seems especially blatant in the case of George P.
Chapter 656 of Title 6B of the Texas Government Code prohibits appointments from outside of the agency except in cases of reorganization ordered by the Legislature.
“Any agency, board, bureau, commission, committee, council, court, department, institution, or office in the executive or judicial branch of state government that has an employment opening for which persons from outside the agency will be considered shall list the opening with the Texas Workforce Commission,” the law states.
Workforce Commission spokeswoman Lisa Givens said she did not know who was responsible for enforcing that law. The commission does not check to ensure that jobs are posted, she said.
The Attorney General’s Office referred questions about the law to the Workforce Commission.
Personnel records show that Bush has directed at least 40 external hires between November 2014 and July 2015 but listed only four of those with the Workforce Commission.