New Houston Public Works director named to replace bribery scandal suspect

The casket of famed pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey at City Hall Tuesday, July 15, 2008 in downtown Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

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Last week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner named an interim Public Works Director Carol Ettinger Haddock as the permanent director of the troubled department.

Haddock reportedly served as the interim director since July 2017, working in the department since 2005.

She also worked as a program manager with the Harris County Flood Control District on Project Brays, a $480 million project designed to reduce flooding in the Brays Bayou watershed.

“Along with other city departments, PWE faces the new challenge of helping to build a more flood-resistant, resilient city for future generations,” Mayor Turner wrote in a press release, “and it’s our fortune that Carol has experience in that arena, too.”

RELATED: Houston Public Works Director On Paid Leave After Bribery Allegations

Haddock is said to be replacing former director Karun Sreerama, who stepped down in July amid an FBI bribery investigation.

The FBI labeled Sreerama as a “victim” in a bribery scheme allegedly orchestrated by former Houston Community College board trustee Chris Oliver.

Records show Oliver later entered a guilty plea on charges of bribery and extortion after reportedly accepting more than $12,000 from Sreerama in exchange for more favorable contracts between HCC and Sreerama’s contracting company.

Sreerama reportedly started working with the FBI in 2015 to catch Oliver in the act.

According to court documents, the agency gave Sreerama the $12,000 and arranged for him wear a wire to record his conversations with Oliver, during which the two discussed how Oliver could help Sreerama’s company get several contract, including a pest control contract, with HCC.

RELATED: Houston Public Works Director steps down due to bribery accusations

Shortly after the allegations came to light, Turner said he asked Sreerama to step down and appointed Haddock as interim director, saying it would be “best for the city.”

Houston City Council is expected to confirm the appointment this week.

If Haddock’s confirmation goes through, she will be the first woman in the city’s history to hold the position on a permanent basis.

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