Rosenthal remains on county payroll

February 25, 2008 4:32:20 PM PST
He's no longer the Harris County District Attorney, but you're still paying his salary. Chuck Rosenthal resigned from office 10 days ago and today we learned he is still on the county payroll. Rosenthal stepped down in the wake of an email scandal that uncovered racist jokes and pornographic material sent from his county computer. Ten days after Rosenthal stepped down, many taxpayers are shocked to hear their tax money is still paying his check. It may not sound right, but we're told it's completely legal, and according to the county judge, it's something only the governor and the DA himself can change.

Taxpayer Louise England said, "We don't get paid if we resign."

"That is money that could be used for someone who is in the field doing their job," suggested taxpayer Lakendra Grant.

According to County Judge Ed Emmett, under the Texas constitution Rosenthal is allowed to keep his $160,000 annual salary until Governor Rick Perry names his replacement. Meaning, despite leaving the office on his own accord, Rosenthal is allowed to keep getting paid until a decision is made.

Judge Emmett said, "I think it makes no sense at all. I think if I or any public officials resigns then we should be off the payroll."

Rosenthal faced enormous pressure to resign following the email scandal which plagued his office -- emails found on his hard drive depicting sexually explicit or racist content. But Rosenthal didn't officially resign, until the attorney general opened up its inquest into whether the former DA used government computers to conduct campaign activity.

Judge Emmett says given those questions he'd hope the DA would consider severing his own pay.

He said, "I suppose there could be a way if Mr. Rosenthal said, 'I no longer want the paycheck.' I suppose he can personally turn them down."

We have calls into Rosenthal's attorney; however, a statement has not been issued.

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