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Hidalgo anounces three senior hires

January 31, 2019

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Wednesday announced three senior hires for her administration, as she completes her first month in office.

Kathryn Kase will be the county judge’s counsel, Kiran Khalid will be director of communications and Devon Douglass will serve as director of community engagement, a new position. All will start by March.

“I am delighted to have these three highly-respected and experienced professionals join our staff,” Hidalgo said in a statement. “They not only share my vision of a more safe, fair and resilient Harris County, but they embody the values that I plan to share with the people of our community.”

Hidalgo, who is in her first elected office, said she wanted to choose staff carefully and hired several temporary employees to assist her office in the interim. A team of four consultants — two of whom bill the county at $420 per hour — helped vet candidates. Hidalgo said the outside help is needed to build a talented team and create a vision for how she wants to improve county government.

Kase has nearly 30 years of experience in criminal defense and previously worked for Precinct 1 commissioner Ellis. She has also served on the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers board and is a past president of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Kiran Khalid, a Harris County native and Pakistani-American, began her career as a journalist at the CBS affiliate in Corpus Christi. She was a producer at CNN and an executive producer of films in the Americas region for Shell International Ltd.

DeVon Douglass is a lawyer, analyst and activist who currently serves as the chief resilience officer for the mayor of Tulsa, Okla. Douglass oversaw the creation of a resilience strategy for the city, Oklahoma’s second-largest, and previously served as a policy adviser on economic opportunity, poverty and police practices. She also worked for the attorney general of New Jersey.

Hidalgo’s staff conducted a nationwide search for the positions and received more than 1,000 résumés. The trio will work with Chief of Staff Joseph Carlos Madden, whom Hidalgo hired before her inauguration. Madden previously served as an adviser to Commissioner Ellis.

zach.despart@chron.com

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