Houston public works director placed on leave amid bribery case involving HCC trustee Chris Oliver

HOUSTON — The public works and engineering director for Houston has been placed on administrative leave after a federal indictment listed him as a victim in a bribery case involving a Houston Community College trustee, according to a news release Wednesday from the Houston Mayor’s Office.

Director Karun Sreerama will receive pay during his time out of office.

“I am taking this action so that I may thoroughly review the information to make sure there are no further related implications for the city and him,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.  “It is against everyone’s best interest for a public servant to have to operate under a cloud, as Mr. Sreerama and I have discussed in a brief telephone call. ”

Chris Oliver was convicted of bribery and extortion in a federal courtroom after entering a guilty plea March 15, according to an HCC news release. The trustee admitted he accepted bribes in exchange for the promise of official actions related to his duties as a board member, according to authorities.

Oliver will remain out of jail on bond until sentencing, which is scheduled for Aug. 28.

Deputy Director Carol Haddock of Houston Public Works and Engineering will serve as interim for the time being. Haddock has held the position in the past.

“I continue to have confidence in Karun and look forward to his return,” the mayor said.