Top Staff For A Texas Senator Resign, Citing A Hostile Environment And Unethical Behavior

Democrat Jolanda Jones of Houston’s top aides have resigned after being accused of creating a hostile work environment, engaging in unethical behavior, and tolerating an inappropriate relationship between Jones’ son and a staff intern.

The four-page statement from Jones’ chief of staff, district director, and legislative director stated: “We, as a collective of senior staff, have repeatedly attempted to control your behavior and address the type of work environment you have nurtured over the last month.”

You have continued to support, encourage, and foster an unfriendly work atmosphere without taking responsibility for your own or your family’s conduct, but to no avail; we haven’t seen any success.

Jones declined to address the letter during a brief talk as she was exiting her office in the Texas Capitol’s underground annex. She announced that she was in route to an unnamed meeting.

Jones, who was elected to represent House District 147 in November, stated, “I’m trying to gain money for House District 147.”

Jones did not address the claims in the letter in a formal statement, but she did wish the departing employees “good luck and success in their upcoming pursuits.”

According to Jones’ statement, “serving in the Texas Legislature is a taxing and demanding profession, especially when you are fighting every day to defend your constituents from attacks on their families, civil rights, educational opportunities, and self-control.” Several of my staff members have chosen not to accept this position.

The letter details several allegations that Jones “involved staff in the affairs of (her) personal and family life, without regard for work-life boundaries and the scope of staff’s employment,” that she “called staff at all hours of the night and on weekends to discuss work,” and that she used them to drive her “from place to place.”

The letter was first published in an online newsletter focused on the Capitol, the Quorum Report.

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The letter stated that “you have engaged in physically threatening behavior in public view that has impaired staff members’ capacity to do their tasks and made them feel insecure.” Witnesses and other staff members have been distracted by this behavior as well.

Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan’s spokesman issued a statement stating that her office had been informed of “complaints against a member of the Texas House of Representatives.”

According to the Texas House regulations, the appropriate agencies are currently reviewing the charges, according to press secretary Cassi Pollock. “The Speaker’s office takes all claims seriously and anticipates that this problem will be addressed and resolved as quickly as possible,” the office said.

The employees said that Jones had “actively covered up” her son’s “inappropriate connection” with an intern and had used her “position to coerce and quiet” her employees. This particular incident, the employees stated, really worries them.

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