TYC Scandal of the Day: Pope Resigns

Dimitria Pope, the troubled acting executive director of the Texas Youth Commission, resigned late last night. As the Houston Chronicle reports,

Pope has been a lightning rod for controversy since her appointment last spring to an agency that was then being ripped apart by one of the worst abuse scandals to ever hit juvenile corrections.

Clashing frequently with so-called reformers, she was criticized for stepping up the use of pepper spray against unruly youth, ignoring reports that more youths were being kept in isolation as punishment for poor behavior and for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on office furniture and remodeling meant for hiring correctional staff.

Charming, eh? But of course, because this is the TYC we’re talking about, even the resignation of a leader as incompetent and problematic as Pope comes with a little scandal of its own. Conservator Richard Nedelkoff, who pushed Pope to step down, “was lambasted by one key legislator for his failure to alert lawmakers in advance of the leadership change,” the Chronicle reports.

“I would like to think the public is entitled to know what direction Nedelkoff intends to take TYC,” said Democratic State Representative Sylvester Turner. “We got into [this situation] because of the lack of transparency and people operating behind closed doors. That is not what we want to return to.”

UPDATE: Looks like Pope had to be dragged out of that expensive chair she bought for her office. Check out this article from the Dallas Morning News about her last-ditch efforts to stave off her resignation. The news was supposed to drop Friday afternoon, but she didn’t show up that day, and as late as Monday, after rumors had spread that the sharks were circling, she told the press, “I’m still employed. You can put an exclamation point on that.” OK, how’s this: You’re fired!

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