AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) — The former general counsel for the University of Texas System says there's an "epidemic" of employees fearing for their jobs if they conflict with regents.
Barry Burgdorf testified Wednesday before a House panel conducting an impeachment hearing of Regent Wallace Hall.
Burgdorf says he left his job in May after he was told Hall and three other board members wanted him fired. Burgdorf said Hall thought a review of a University of Texas law school loan program should have been more critical of Austin campus President Bill Powers.
Some lawmakers have accused Hall of misusing his authority on the board to try to get Powers fired or force him to resign.
Burgdorf testified he saw a "clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers."
Hall did not attend Wednesday's hearing.
Tuesday's testimony focused on Hall's massive open records requests that have resulted in school officials providing more than 800,000 pages of documents. House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, who filed a resolution to begin the impeachment proceedings, told the panel "enough is enough" and said Hall should not continue in his regent role.
"His vendetta is hurting the credibility and prestige of one of our state’s best assets," Pitts told the panel.
Hall's attorney has questioned whether two lawmakers on the panel can be impartial after accepting free tickets from Powers to a recent Texas football game. The university has long offered tickets to football games to all members of the Legislature.
"Clearly [Rep. Pitts] is out to get Regent Hall whom I believe his greatest fault is doing his job too carefully and not being a part of the good 'ole boy's club," said Hall's attorney, Allan Van Fleet.
Wednesday's testimony is expected to include former University of Texas System general counsel Barry Burgdorf and could include staff from Gov. Rick Perry's office.
Perry appointed Hall and every other member of the nine-person governing board. Some lawmakers have said Hall's clashes with Powers are politically motivated.
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