Accusations of being secretive and working behind closed doors have dogged the Tarrant Regional Water District and its board of directors ever since they began overseeing the controversial Trinity River Vision project 10 years ago. So some residents might have felt a glimmer of hope when water district general manager Jim Oliver told board members last week that the former chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission had been hired to help handle the district’s growing number of requests for public information and to provide consultations on ethics-related matters.
Gov. Rick Perry appointed Austin attorney Ross Fischer to the Texas Ethics Commission in 2005, where Fischer helped regulate political campaigns, lobbyists, and political action committees for five years. He has also lectured on legal ethics for the State Bar of Texas and the University of Texas’ continuing legal education program.
Water district board member Mary Kelleher is among those who initially felt encouraged by Oliver’s announcement. Fischer is joining the agency charged with supplying water to almost 2 million people in the area.