The joint legislative committee investigating TYC this afternoon voted “no confidence” in the agency’s board after hearing a litany of excuses about why allegations of abuse were not prosecuted.
On a motion by Sen. Chris Harris, 11 members of the House-Senate panel voted “aye” to express no confidence, while Florence Shapiro registered “present, not voting.”
The vote followed tough questioning of board members, who blamed a lack of resources for their failure to meet more than six times a year or hold their meetings on site of any TYC facilities.
Rep. Jim McReynolds, not formally a member of the panel, summed up the prevailing mood in the committee hearing with an emotional lecture.
“We’re not connecting. You are good people, but I think you have forgotten you are responsible for 5,000 children. You are reading allegations and saying we don’t have the resources to do anything. If I had heard a child had been raped…I would have acted immediately,” said McReynolds, his voice cracking.”How do you go to sleep at night?”
It’s unclear whether the vote has any legal impact, but it sends a strong message to Gov. Rick Perry that lawmakers want him to start over with new appointees. Perry recently replaced the board chairman, but named the existing board vice chairman to replace him.
Thursday’s testimony showed that board members left serious allegations of abuse to wind their way through an inner-agency disciplinary process and failed to follow up. For a sharp contrast in how they could have performed their duties, see the previous post: What Would Harry Do? Clearly, Rick Perry needs to find a new set of board members who won’t approach their job passively.