Houston mayor's rival questioning $95,000 internship

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee has called for an investigation into Mayor Sylvester Turner and $95K year airport system intern.

Marvin Agumagu received a position as an intern in the management training program of the Houston Airport System, according to Mayor Turner.

"The mayor claims he can't find the money to pay for police, fire and floods, but based on three emails, he can hire an intern for 95K a year plus benefits," Buzbee said during a news conference Tuesday.

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Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee calls for investigation of a $95K intern he says Turner got hired.



"He created this internship during a hiring freeze, he made this up. We are going to have to ask him why," added Buzbee.

In a statement, Mayor Turner said, "Mr. Marvin Agumagu's salary is commensurate with his education and experience. He has three (3) advanced degrees, including a bachelor's degree, Master's Degree and a law degree. He also has experience in international relations and governmental affairs which is an asset for the City of Houston's 5-star international airports."

Buzbee has asked the state to investigate.

"I'm calling now for a complete investigation from the (State of Texas) Public Integrity Unit.

There should be an investigation from the Public Integrity Unit to figure out why a position was created for someone who has no experience, who obviously has some relationship, and we can all speculate on what the relationship is," said Buzbee.

Here is the entire statement from Mayor Turner:


There has been a lot of discussion, but little attention paid to the facts. I hope that everyone will review the facts and the supporting documentation that was provided to Channel 2 in advance of its story, but was not shared with its viewers, regarding the Houston Airport System's Executive Internship Program and the City of Houston's Administrative Policy 3.5 governing the hiring of Executive Level employees.

As shown in this key memo, the Houston Airport System Executive Internship Program was created by Director Mario Diaz to attract new talent in the field of aviation and to serve as an entry to the Management Training Program. The establishment of the program is within the discretion and authority of the Department Director. Please see the attached memo by Director Diaz and Administrative Procedure 3-5 7.1.2 https://www.houstontx.gov/adminpolicies/3-5.pdf

The approval sought from the administration was to approve the re-classification of the position and waiver of posting. This personnel action was done in accordance with the City of Houston's Administrative policy. The process is routine, and I have signed 122 of these reclassifications for each of the 23 city departments since taking office in January 2016.

The official job title for the Executive Intern is Senior Staff Analyst (Executive Level) with a pay grade of 28. The Department Director chose the job title and pay grade and the Human Resource Department determined both were consistent with the specified duties and responsibilities of the position.

For reference, there are a total of 94 Senior Staff Analysts positions in the City of Houston, of which 15 are at the Executive Level. The current salary range for Senior Staff Analyst s is $74,256 - $131,325.

Mr. Marvin Agumagu's salary is commensurate with his education and experience. He has three (3) advanced degrees, including a bachelor's degree, Master's Degree and a law degree. He also has experience in international relations and governmental affairs which is an asset for the City of Houston's 5-star international airports.

The City of Houston is proud of our record on recruiting, hiring and retaining qualified individuals. We are especially proud of our intentional outreach to attract millennials who bring innovative ideas and energy to our workforce. As we compete with the private sector for qualified employees willing to learn and excel, we are amazed at our good fortune to attract such talented young men and women committed to a life of public service.

Regarding my statement about Mr. Agumagu, I do know Marvin and, quite candidly the reporter's question caught me off guard as I was rushing to another scheduled city event after leaving the Houston Police Department's cadet graduation.


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