Close personal relations with lobbyist of successful contractor
This time however the stories did not involve either Jack Stick or the 21 CT contract but instead revolved around HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek and the proposed contract for privatization of Terrell State Hospital that was canceled this past month due to contracting improprieties. It appears that Jack Stick was not the only one in HHSC with close personal connections to a successful contractor’s lobbyist or have allegations they skirted state contracting laws.
Gave verbal approval of contract before bids were evaluated
The Tribune reported:
The state auditor report’s last month on the Terrell State Hospital contract found that the commission went with a contractor — GEO — who did not present the best value for the state, and failed to get the approval from the Texas Attorney General’s office as required.
But the report also pointed to how the agency’s executive commissioner — Janek — gave verbal approval to awarding the Terrell project to Geo before the bids from Geo and Green Oaks could be evaluated, raising more questions, particularly with the disclosures about Geo’s lobbying efforts, about whether Janek had made his mind up months ahead of time.
The Statesman added more details:
GEO Care lobbyist Frank Santos, a longtime friend of Janek’s, laid out the company’s vision: GEO would take
over a state psychiatric hospital, improve care and drive down costs. Even though no state officials had yet
proposed privatization, the lobbyist’s pitch to Janek, the Health and Human Services Commission chief,
included a road map showing the state how to make the lucrative deal happen – including which legislators to
woo and a timetable for the job.
It again looks very black for Janek remaining at the helm of HHSC.
Has the limit been reached?
However, even though his term is up as executive commissioner, previous calls for Janek’s resignation by Texas legislators over the 21CT scandal and his lavish treatment of political aides at taxpayer expense have gone nowhere. The Tribune points out that “newspaper editorial boards in Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio have also called for Janek to resign.” Even the report of the Governor’s own HHSC Strike Force which called into question Janek’s management style and capability of leading Texas’s largest government bureaucracy has led to no action on Janek’s future.
But has that proverbial last straw now been placed on Janek’s career as HHSC chief?