TEMPLE — The former assistant to the director of the Bell County HELP Center, which has offices in Temple and Killeen, said she isn’t seeking retribution for not getting the position reportedly promised her by the former director.
Instead, Mari Paul said she wants to “shed light” on what led to an investigation into Judy Morales’ alleged misuse of the center’s staff and county resources.
Paul said she trained to replace Esther Roque as office manager after Roque said she was retiring in January.
Paul started as a triage worker, progressed to her position as caseworker, and trained for the office manager position, she said.
“It was known to all HELP Center employees that I would be in line for this position.”
Paul said she was never really given a reason for why she didn’t get the job.
County Judge John Burrows said Tuesday Paul was never promised the job and the position wasn’t filled.
Instead, the two offices were combined and the Temple office will be assigned part-time to the Killeen office manager.
Paul reported Morales because she felt what Morales was asking her to do — “delete, delete, delete information of any kind, all traces of her campaign” — was morally and ethically wrong and Paul wanted no part in it, she said.
Emails obtained by FME News Service through the Texas Public Information Act showed that Morales used Paul as a campaign worker and Morales used her county email to campaign during business hours from March 2011 through the May 31, 2013, election.
Morales won a seat on the Temple City Council and is mayor pro tem, although she is currently taking a temporary leave from her council duties.
She resigned her position as director of the HELP Center in October.
Steve Cook, Bell County human resources director, requested a detailed written statement from Paul on Nov. 12, on what led her to file a complaint against Morales and why she recorded a conversation with Morales on Nov. 11.
During that recorded phone call, Morales told Paul to delete information from her county computer that contained all brochures, voter registration, etc. — anything from her 2011 run for city council. Morales also asked for Paul’s password to her county computer so all files relating to her election could be deleted.
Although results of the Bell County Sheriff’s Department investigation have been given to Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols, no decision has been made yet on whether charges will be filed against Morales, Nichols said.