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Texas attorney general continued paying high-level staffers after they resigned

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The office of Attorney General Ken Paxton is formally defending his decision to continue paying two high-level staffers after they resigned, saying Paxton “acted in a compassionate, legal, and ethical manner.”

In an op-ed submitted Tuesday to a number of media outlets, the agency’s Director of Human Resources John Poole said recent reports about the situation may have conflated two types of leave employees can be granted under state law, creating the wrong perception about the appropriateness of the decision. The employees in question are Chip Roy, former first assistant attorney general, and Allison Castle, former communications director.

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“Attorney General Paxton acted in a compassionate, legal, and ethical manner when he granted paid leave to two staffers who had worked tirelessly for the State of Texas,” Poole wrote. “I stand by his decision.”

Poole’s op-ed came in response to a number of reports, first in The Dallas Morning News, about how Paxton’s office was paying thousands of dollars in salaries and benefits to Castle and Roy more than a month after they stepped down. Roy, who now works for a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, later clarified that he was using an “option for leave beyond my earned vacation and holiday time,” primarily to cover any health care costs associated with his recovery from cancer.

Paxton decided to grant Castle and Roy 64 days of paid leave upon their resignations in early March, Poole said. Paxton did so under a part of state law that allows paid leave to an employee for “good cause.”

While Castle and Roy used the term “administrative leave” in their resignation letters, they were not referring to a part of state law that deals with administrative leave, Poole said. Under state law, employees like Castle and Roy can receive up to 32 hours of administrative leave per year.

“Mr. Roy and Ms. Castle’s casual use of the term ‘administrative leave’ seems to have misled individuals into thinking that they received leave pursuant to this completely different section of the Government Code,” Poole wrote. “But that is not true.”

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By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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WATCH: New Zealand prime minister unfazed as quake hits during an interview

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A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand's North Island early Monday but failed to crack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's trademark composure as she conducted a live television interview.

The quake struck just off the coast before 8:00 am local time (2000 Sunday GMT) at a depth of about 52 kilometres (32 miles) near Levin, about 90 kilometres north of Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.

St John Ambulance and New Zealand Police both said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage. There was no tsunami warning.

But there was sustained shaking in Wellington, where Ardern was being interviewed on breakfast television from parliament's Beehive building, which is designed to absorb seismic forces by swaying slightly on its foundations.

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US farmers are starting to worry as crop prices dip during COVID-19 crisis: ‘It’s kind of glum’

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Dave Burrier steered his tractor through a field, following a GPS map as he tried to plant as much corn as possible amid the yellow and green rye covering the ground.

Striving to get a massive yield out of his crops in rural Maryland is how Burrier hopes to make it through yet another uncertain year, beset by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.

"We've had so much price erosion that we're basically at below the cost of production. We've got to figure out how to manage and turn a profit," Burrier told AFP.

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‘It’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months’: Trump makes excuses for golfing during coronavirus pandemic

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President Donald Trump was blasted on Sunday for playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic economic recession and after proclaiming churches "essential."

Instead of joining his voters sitting in the pews, Trump went for the links, which drew criticisms for the hypocrisy.

"Sleepy Joe’s representatives have just put out an ad saying that I went to play golf (exercise) today. They think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months, that Biden was constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries, & that Barack was always playing golf, doing much of his traveling in a fume spewing 747 to play golf in Hawaii - Once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!" tweeted Trump.

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