Top DPS Executive Who Oversaw Data Production in Flawed Noncitizen Voter Investigation to Step Down

AUSTIN -- A top executive with the Department of Public Safety who oversaw the production of data for the Secretary of State’s botched noncitizen voter investigation will step down at the end of August. Skylor Hearn, who oversees law enforcement services at DPS, is one of director Steve McCraw’s three deputy directors and was promoted to a newly created position on that leadership team in October 2017.In recent weeks, the department has taken harsh criticism from Gov. Greg Abbott who has blamed the department and McCraw for including thousands of U.S. citizens in a list of nearly 100,000 potential noncitizen voters the secretary of state sent to counties for investigation. In a second public scolding of DPS’ role in the citizenship review of Texas voters, Abbott singled out Hearn’s testimony to a Senate committee on the issue and called it “disturbing.”But a department spokeswoman said Hearn’s upcoming departure is unrelated.“Last year Deputy Director Hearn told DPS leadership about his intentions to retire at the end of this fiscal year,” said Katherine Cesinger, the department’s communications chief.Hearn has not submitted a formal notice of his retirement to the agency but began telling McCraw and the other deputy directors last fall that he intended to retire at the end of the fiscal year, Cesinger said. Hearn verbally notified them as “a courtesy” so McCraw and his team could begin considering a succession plan. Hearn has also notified his direct reports of his plan.Hearn’s departure would continue a shift at the top of the Department of Public Safety. Last year, two other deputy directors, Robert J. Bodisch Sr. and David Baker, announced their retirement, leaving Hearn as the only holdover in McCraw’s leadership team. Bodisch now serves as commander of the Texas State Guard.  Continue reading...

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