Months after he was put on paid administrative leave amid an investigation into the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's contracting procedures, Cody Cazares, the former chief of staff to the commission's top lawyer, has left the agency.
Cazares, the former chief of staff to Jack Stick, resigned Aug. 7 — after being placed on leave for more than six months and taking a 50 percent pay cut. At a time when the commission was under fire for awarding a Medicaid fraud software deal to a relatively unknown company called 21CT, Cazares came under scrutiny after his annual salary grew from $52,000 to $112,200 between 2011 and 2014.
“In December 2014, the commission placed Mr. Cazares on administrative leave to ensure an ongoing, broad investigation was fair and neutral in both fact and appearance,” Karen Ray, the commission’s chief counsel, said in a written statement. “Mr. Cazares was not the subject of any disciplinary action while employed by the commission and on Aug. 7, 2015, he voluntarily resigned from the agency.”
Cazares is eligible for rehire, Ray said.
His move follows several other high-profile departures at the commission. Stick resigned over the contracting scandal on Dec. 12, and his wife Erica, chief of staff to the former head of the commission, Kyle Janek, resigned a month later after being placed on administrative leave. On Dec. 19, then-Gov. Rick Perry asked for and received the resignation of Doug Wilson, the commission’s inspector general.
Janek stepped down as commissioner July 1.
Frianita Wilson, the third state employee put on paid administrative leave and the wife of the former inspector general, remains on leave, a spokesman for the commission said. She works in purchasing at the Department of Family and Protective Services.
In January, Stuart Bowen took over as inspector general, and he heads the agency as it implements a sweeping reform law passed by the Legislature this year.