December 05, 2008
Bettencourt resigning

Whoah. I did not see this coming.

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt has resigned, effective Dec. 10.

Bettencourt, who was elected to his third term last month, turned in a letter of resignation to Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Thursday, Emmett spokesman Joe Stinebaker said later Friday.

He said Bettencourt was leaving to take a job in the private sector, but was unable to elaborate.

Obviously not much detail to this now - I can't wait to see what the morning update looks like. That's an even faster post-election resignation than Robert Eckels. And as with Eckels, I have to ask: Did he not have any inkling of this before the election? I think if I were a Bettencourt supporter, I'd be a little miffed about this.

I presume his replacement will be chosen by Commissioners Court. Which leads to a question: Do you think he'd have resigned if David Mincberg had been elected County Judge, which would have meant a Democratic majority on the Court and thus (presumably) a Democratic replacement? Actually, come to think of it, he might have done the same thing, in hopes of getting someone named to take over before Mincberg got sworn in. Boy, there's a hypothetical for you.

Well, one more office for the Dems to try to win in 2010. I can't say that prospect makes me unhappy.

UPDATE: Here's his statement, from Miya:

"I have spoken with Judge Emmett and told him of my intention to tender my resignation before Christmas. I want to give the Court time to address the vacancy and ensure an orderly transition," Bettencourt said.

"Over the Thanksgiving holiday I have received an offer of a private business venture that I intend to pursue.

"I want to thank the good people of Harris County for allowing me the opportunity to serve. It has been an honor and a privilege.

"We have accomplished a great deal in the office, ushering in an era of smart government - a focus on customer service and technology," Bettencourt concluded.

A full statement will be issued next week.

Whatever. From a public service viewpoint, I think this timing is lousy, and newly-elected officials should be very reluctant to walk away from the commitment they made to the voters. From a political viewpoint, I'm more than happy to see him go. I hope we get someone who cares about voter registration in his place.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 05, 2008 to Election 2008

Thanks, Charles, for being the first Houston area blogger with comments on this story. I hope that all the local blogger and mainstream media DIG very deeply to see what the true angle is to this story.

If Paul is running for mayor of Houston, this is not an auspicious start.

Best, Elizabeth
Brazoria Co. Dems, Pearland

Posted by: Elizabeth McLane on December 6, 2008 1:15 AM

I'm going to guess the appointment will be Charles Bacarisse.

Hardly an improvement.

Posted by: PDiddie on December 6, 2008 8:15 AM

Not a chance Emmett is going to going to approve Bacarisse -- the guy who ran a nasty primary race against him -- for this position.

Posted by: houtopia on December 6, 2008 8:48 AM
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