Jay Kimbrough, given new power yesterday as “conservator” of the Texas Youth Commission, vowed to clean house at the embattled agency, beginning with the likely firings of perhaps dozens of convicted felons working there, reports the Houston Chronicle. He will ask a number of high-level agency executives and state school superintendents to reapply for their jobs. Kimbrough has inspected several facilities since Gov. Rick Perry appointed him special master on March 2 to oversee the TYC investigation. “We want a fresh start, and we’re going to have a fresh start,” he said.
Eventually, the agency will be headed by a single commissioner appointed by the governor and advised by a board. The previous governing board, which resigned under pressure, was appointed by Perry, but he had little direct control over agency operations. News that the agency’s 4,800 employees included a number of felons infuriated legislators. Questions were raised about whether they could be dismissed without a specific cause; agency policy allowed convicts to be hired with the approval of top officials. Some 101 employees have been charged with, arrested for, or convicted of felonies, and 437 workers have been arrested for or convicted of one of more misdemeanors.