JOINT LETTER FROM HOUSTON MINISTERS AGAINST CRIME AND HOUSTON AREA PASTOR COUNCIL
August 29, 2011
Mr. Gilbert A. Garcia
Chairman, Metropolitan Transit Authority
P.O. Box 61429
Houston, TX 77208-1429
Dear Mr. Garcia:
Thank you for taking the time to meet with a representative group of our pastors recently and we accept that you have sincerely taken what you have thought and/or been counseled are appropriate corrective actions in response to the use of public resources by Mr. Greanias in viewing pornography and obscenity. As we discussed, our position from the onset of this story becoming public – due to your commendable commitment to transparency – has been that Mr. Greanias should be terminated.
We were willing to be open to lesser penalties if all the facts of the case warranted such, including complete external investigation by other law enforcement agencies with expertise in Internet obscenity content and sites involving minors in particular. We also recommended that if that additional investigation produced no actual violations of the law, other restorative actions might be acceptable, including mandatory counseling with strict accountability to the board. We appreciate that you have been open to these options.
Regretfully, based on the list of websites provided (Memo from Mr. Thomas Brown to Mr. Tom Lambert; dated July 27, 2011; supplemental investigation report) and a cursory review of just a few (sharethatboy.com, sogayboy.com, boyfocus.blogfree.net) of those, we cannot accept the board’s light “slap on the wrist” of one week’s suspension without pay for Mr. Greanias. It appears very obvious that minors are involved in the above sites and that obscenity laws were violated in the viewing of at least some of the other sites (e.g. hardcoregaysexx.com).
The fact that Mr. Greanias knowingly violated agency policy by using executive access to breach the firewall in order to view at least a dozen sites over thirteen days between February 9, 2011 and July 26, 2011; that he accessed sites which without question meet the three-prong standard of obscenity; that he only came forward after his activities were exposed by the routine review of the agency Internet access records; and finally that at least two of the sites very clearly appear to a reasonable person to involve minors, he should have been immediately terminated from his position.
We therefore ask for a formal request from you and/or the board to the Harris County District Attorney, Houston Police Department, Texas Attorney General as well as federal agencies such as Federal Bureau of Investigation into the content of these websites to clarify whether any violations of state or federal law occurred.
Until such investigations have been completed, we must continue our insistence that Mr. Greanias be suspended from duties as President and CEO.
The principle that “to whom much is given, much is required” establishes that leaders placed in a position of great public trust be held to a higher standard of conduct. We acknowledge the reports from you and your Metro team that Mr. Greanias’ leadership has previously positively impacted operations from top to bottom at Metro. We take no pleasure in calling for his termination, nor even a suspension pending greater investigation. However, it is our conviction that moral conduct and character are the foundations for all effective leadership and once breached this severely a personal restoration must take place outside the boundaries of the existing position. We cannot at this time waiver from our call for his removal as President and CEO of Metro.
We request a written response from you to acknowledge your decisions on this matter so that we may determine our next course of action. It is clear to us that you sincerely wish to do the right thing for the taxpayers and the organization, and that as you stated, Metro is bigger than any one man. We look forward to your response in a very timely manner and thank you for your service to the citizens of the greater Metro service area.
Bishop Robert Jefferson Rev. Dave Welch
Pastor, Cullen Missionary Baptist Executive Director, HAPC
Houston Ministers Against Crime
Executive Committee, HAPC
Cc: Metro board of directors
Houston Ministers Against Crime board of directors
HAPC Executive Committee, Houston pastoral leaders
Hon. Annise Parker, Mayor, City of Houston
Hon. Ed Emmett, Harris County Judge
Hon. Pat Lykos, Harris County District Attorney