Those internships under Sylvester Turner sure have some nice perks.
Mayor Sylvester Turner’s chief rival in the upcoming election releases new information about that controversial intern.
Tony Buzbee tells KTRH that Marvin Agumagu was traveling all over the world on taxpayer money.
“This man was hired in November of 2018, and in less than a year, he’s already spent 35 days traveling to Berlin, Manila, Los Angels, and other places around the country, on our nickel,” Buzbee said.
Buzbee says he would institute a hiring freeze if he becomes mayor, with the exception of public safety professionals.
“That’s with the exception of police and fire. We will end all perks. We are going to ask for every department head to resign and re-apply. We are also going to make it impossible to hire someone secretly like this intern,” Buzbee explained.
A spokesman for the Mayor’s campaign, according to a report, has called Buzbee’s information today a “distraction.”
Tony Buzbee maintained his fire on Mayor Sylvester Turner and a $95,000-a-year intern hired at the city’s airport system on Wednesday, announcing at a news conference that the intern, Marvin Agumagu, has spent more than $35,000 in city funds to travel to conferences and for other trips.
Records obtained this week by the Chronicle show Agumagu took nine trips covering 34 days between late November 2018 and mid-September. The cost of those trips totaled $39,400, paid out of Houston Airport System funds. Nearly 60 percent of that cost came from just two international business-class flights, one to Germany last November and one to the Philippines last March.
I was curious about those two international trips, so I got a copy of the records from the Tony Buzbee campaign. You can view them here(warning – 160 pages).
The first one, to Berlin, was for an aviation conference. You can click here to see the page detailing it. The purpose listed in the travel document is:
Purpose of travel: To understand and promote air routes for Houston; develop and strengthen International relations and explore areas of mutual interest to promote passenger air cargo transport through Houston Airport System.
Fairly boring stuff but wow, what a cost. Here is the breakdown:
|Berlin, Germany November 25 – 30, 2018|
They did pretty good on the budget. I still have no idea why they would send an intern at that cost to a conference but at least it looks fairly legit.
But that other one? The one to the Philippines? Wow. Here is the stated purpose of the trip:
Purpose of travel: To understand and promote air routes between Houston and Southeast Asia via Philippine Airlines in Manila, Philippines; to strengthen international relations and explore mutual areas of interest to promote passenger and air cargo transport through HAS.
Why you would want an intern doing this baffles me but they did, so that’s that. The more interesting thing on this one is the schedule on the budget overrun. From the original travel request:
POTENTIAL MEETiNG DATE(S)
HDQ Meeting: March 14 or 15,2019
Excursion outside of Manila w/ CEO: March 15,16,17
Doesn’t look like they planned to do much work to begin with, does it? But look at the actual travel times and work days and cost overruns.
|Manila, Philippines March 13 – 17, 2019|
|Wednesday||Leaves Houston at 11:15 AM|
|Thursday||Arrives Manilla at 9:30 PM|
|Sunday||Leaves Manilla at 9:45 AM|
|Monday||Arrives Houston at 3:00 PM|
They never made that excursion as hotel records have the intern all three nights in Manila. And look at that cost overrun! Now, look at the schedule again and see that you have one workday in there. One day of work for $13,495.98. And of course a day for the intern to explore Manila.
Nice job if you can get it. Right Slyvester?