Kudos to Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan for avoiding a circumstance that might have created the appearance of impropriety in the Tax Office. Revealed within one page of a recent document drop is an email in which Sullivan reprimands a former Tax Office employee for creating the appearance of using Mr. Sullivan to get a job for the daughter of an elected official.
In an email with the subject line Re: Rep Gilbert Pena’s daughter , Sullivan’s’ former employee—current House District 150 State Rep candidate Valoree Swanson—- discloses that Rep. Gilbert Pena’s daughter was laid off from her job.
Swanson asks Sullivan if he has any ideas she can pass onto Rep. Pena:
Sullivan’s’ response to Swanson suggests this is not the first time Swanson indirectly inquired about a job for someone close to her:
“I remember you introducing me to one of your neighbors. Let me tell you that I don’t like being asked for work, directly or indirectly….I don’t do political patronage.”
The disclosure of this information represents a potential circumstance that could have created an appearance of impropriety in the Tax Office—in direct conflict with Section 2.02 of the Harris County Ethics Policy.