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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Press Secretary Darian Ward Resigns

Turner appointed Mary Benton to serve as interim press secretary

Photo via Twitter @dwardlove ‏
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and former press secretary Darian Ward.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has accepted the resignation of Press Secretary Darian Ward Friday, January 26, who used city resources to promote personal projects, including a proposed reality show.

Officials said in a statement Friday that Darian Ward submitted her resignation as press secretary to Mayor Sylvester Turner.

According to thousands of emails released last week, Ward used her city email account over the last four years to discuss a reality series she was pitching to television networks.

Ward described the program in emails as “the Apprentice meets Shark Tank in stilettos.”

Ward also interviewed six women who were set to be contestants on her program on a 2015 episode of “Press Pass to the City,” which is produced by the city’s television studio.

Ward was suspended last month for two weeks without pay.

Turner appointed Mary Benton to serve as interim press secretary, according to a press release from the Mayor’s office.

"Darian Ward served the city as a key communicator for many years and has our thanks for working in public service," the mayor said. "I hope she is successful in her next endeavors."

Mary Benton

After working as a news reporter for KPRC for 20 years, Benton has served the public since 2014 as a communications director, manager and aide at Harris County government agencies. She is experienced in media relations, community outreach, crisis management, intergovernmental relations and strategic media engagements.

"The addition of Mary Benton to our team brings even more experience and expertise to our work of keeping Houstonians informed about their government's many actions on their behalf, such as reducing flooding, restoring the city's financial health, leveraging our status as a welcoming community that is the nation's most diverse, and much, much more," the mayor said.


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