When scandal rolls in Austin, it’s hard for anyone involved to get away from it.
That’s the case for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and its executive commissioner, Kyle Janek, mired in controversy since December after legal and ethical questions were raised about one company’s software contracts worth $110 million.
Now the Austin American-Statesman and the Texas Tribune have published stories on a contract for private operation of the Terrell State Hospital.
Janek had extensive communications with the winning company’s lobbyists for months before the Terrell contract was awarded.
The Texas state auditor has harshly criticized the procurement process.
For Janek and the company, this might be a case in which things just look bad. State law gives a lot of leeway to negotiate on such “public-private partnership” deals.
Both Janek and the company have been open about their dealings and have said it was all according to law.
But it’s a bad time for any more things to look bad for Janek and HHSC.
The agency handles more contracts than any other in the state, about $60 billion worth.