Bonus Gate: Four Mayor Pro Tem Employees Fired

As expected, four employees of the Houston Mayor Pro Tem's office have been fired for accepting improper bonuses totaling more than $140,000. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams has the latest on what could be an expanding investigation.

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Mayor Bill White's chief administrative officer, Anthony Hall, presided over yesterday's termination hearings and says even though some of the employees had less involvement in the bonus scandal than others, all deserved to be fired.

"Clearly some of the employees were more involved, more culpable, in the events that took place. But it was our judgment, my recommendation that the mayor ultimately sustained, that none of them could be judged to have operated appropriately under city rules and procedures."

Mayor White, who signed the letters of termination, says he's outraged that the employees took advantage of the system.

"You have a city employee who receives, the bonuses alone are about double of what some of the guys in solid waste make a year, who receives more compensation than people who manage departments well with hundreds of employees. I can tell you, I don't want that person around."

At least one of the fired employees plans to appeal. Councilwoman Carol Alvarado, who has stepped aside as mayor pro tem pending the outcome of a district attorney's investigation, says the process is working so far.

"It's unfortunate that it happened that it happened in my office but I have taken responsibility and I think the process worked and hopefully that appeal will not be granted."

City officials say the Office of Inspector General is also investigating possible improper bonuses paid to other city employees, but wouldn't be more specific.

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