In Texas, staffers for state Rep. Jolanda Jones (D) resigned, accusing their former boss of creating a “hostile workplace.”
“We, as a collective of senior staff, have repeatedly attempted to curb your behavior and address the type of work environment you have bred over the last month,” the staffers’ letter to the state congresswoman states.
“But, to no avail; we haven’t seen any success,” the letter continued. “You have continued to endorse, encourage, and create an abusive and hostile work environment in the workplace without accountability for you or your relatives’ actions.”
The staffers accused Jones’s son, Jiovanni “Jio” Christian Jones, of having an inappropriate relationship with an office intern and argued that his role as general counsel for one of his mother’s lobbyists and his relationship with the intern represent a conflict of interest.
They claimed their former boss would involve them in her personal affairs, making them feel unsafe, and threatened to fire them. They added that Jones would demand airport rides in pre-dawn hours while mocking staffers’ family members.
“Public servants are meant to prioritize the public good before oneself, but you have continued to use this office as a bully pulpit to acquire more power and to protect your own self-interests,” the letter states.
Texas House Rep. Jolanda “Jo” Jones just received this letter from her staff… #texaslege #jolandajones pic.twitter.com/OLm37y754A
— TEXAS TEA (@TexasTTTT) March 30, 2023
Jones’ chief of staff, Kory Haywood, legislative director Catherine Mouser, and district director Yesenia Wences signed the letter, expressing regret over their resignations but said they had no more options.
The staffers demanded Jones “show real leadership” by addressing the issues they mentioned in the letter instead of “covering them up,” adding that they were appreciative of the opportunities they had while serving Texas House District 147 while apologizing for any difficulties their resignations caused but felt it was important to “stand up for what is right.”
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) addressed the complaints against Jones, saying that the allegations are under review by “the appropriate entities,” and that the “matter will be resolved” soon.
Jones defeated Realtor Danielle Keys Bess in May 2022 during a special election, becoming a member of the Texas House. She previously served as a Houston City Council member and Houston Independent School District trustee.