AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The embattled state agency that supervises high-risk sex offenders after they finish serving their prison sentences got a new executive director on Saturday.
Marsha McLane was appointed to head the Office of Violent Sex Offender Management during a meeting of the agency's three-member board, the Houston Chronicle reported (http://bit.ly/1iPpQfM ).
The agency's former executive director, Allison Taylor, stepped down Thursday. The board unanimously accepted Taylor's resignation Saturday. She had led the agency since 2003.
Taylor had been under criticism by lawmakers and others after the Chronicle reported that offenders were relocated to neighborhoods in Austin and Houston without notifying residents. She later moved about two dozen offenders to a minimum-security halfway house.
Drawing further scrutiny was a plan to build a detention facility in Liberty County, in southeastern Texas, without any advance notice to local officials.
The State Comptroller's Office ruled the contract was void because the bidder was not an incorporated company in Texas at the time it submitted its proposal.
During Saturday's meeting, board members unanimously voted to terminate the contract.
McLane, a program specialist for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, has more than 30 years of experience working in Texas' criminal justice system, the newspaper reported.
Late last month, the agency's former board chair, Dan Powers, resigned amid the controversy.
The agency is also under investigation by the state auditor's office, Texas' attorney general and the Travis County Public Integrity Unit for alleged irregularities in operations and contracting.
Over the program's 15 years of existence, not one sex offender has completed the treatment program aimed at rehabilitating offenders with a "behavioral abnormality" and been released.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com