What's the state of the county?

January 16, 2008 2:24:46 PM PST
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett admitted Wednesday that 'ethics' is one of the biggest challenges facing Harris County. Emmett held his state of the country address, but he didn't talk specifically about the recent email scandals and questionable campaign spending. Letters are going out this week, says the county judge, to both the state attorney general and the ethics commission asking that ethics training seminars be arranged for both elected and appointed county officials. It is the fallout from spotty campaign finance reporting by Commissioner Jerry Eversole, questions about private work by county contractors for public officials and the district attorney, who's being investigated for questionable emails involving everything from fundraising on county equipment to racially offensive jokes on his office computer.

So in a packed ballroom of business leaders Emmett also announced a citizens advisory panel to look at ethics reform.

"That's the purpose of the task force is to find people in the private sector from organizations like the League of Women Voters, and say come in and tell us what we could do better and what laws need to be changed," said Emmett.

Despite its size, Emmett says Harris County has been run in some ways like a sleepy county government. Those days may be soon be over.

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