NEISD police chief admonished after job recommendation for staffer who resigned amid scandal

Chief Wally McCampbell instructed to be more accurate when giving references, report states

Records show Chief Wally McCampbell gave Jessica Clary a job recommendation three days after her resignation from North East ISD.
Records show Chief Wally McCampbell gave Jessica Clary a job recommendation three days after her resignation from North East ISD. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – The police chief of North East Independent School District will remain in his position, but has been told to be more careful when giving references weeks after a Defenders investigation showed him recommending an employee for a job with another agency days after she resigned amid scandal.

Chief Wally McCampbell’s decision to recommend security access technician Jessica Clary for a job with the San Antonio Police Department just three days after her resignation took effect last year called “his professional judgment into question,” an investigation completed May 21 by NEISD’s Human Resources department concluded.

McCampbell has served as the district’s police chief since October 2013, a spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

Clary resigned effective Sept. 30, after a separate NEISD investigation revealed that she and a district police officer, Josue “Josh” Terrazas, used their school district email accounts to arrange late-night meetups.

Terrazas was on duty during at least one of the hookups, district officials previously said.

NEISD police officer, civilian employee used district email to coordinate hook up while officer was on duty, records show

A copy of emails obtained by the Defenders earlier this year showed the duo arranged the meet ups, often in emails sent late at night and early in the morning, off and on for more than a year.

Terrazas, who had served as an NEISD police officer since early 2013, resigned effective Oct. 1 and was given a “General Discharge” on his license separation paperwork. This type of designation makes it more difficult for an officer to be hired somewhere else, since it means he or she resigned while under investigation or because of a documented performance problem.

Clary, however, received significant internal assistance in trying to find another job after her forced resignation, records obtained by the Defenders showed.

Three days after Clary’s resignation took effect, McCampbell emailed a civilian supervisor with the San Antonio Police Department’s Juvenile Processing/Missing Persons Unit and recommended Clary for a position.

“She is reliable and a self-motivator. She learned the Access Control System really fast and was very accurate. If given the opportunity, I feel she would be an asset to you and the Unit,” wrote McCampbell in an Oct. 3 email to Michelle Willingham sent from his district email account. The email was obtained by the Defenders through a public records request.

After Willingham days later responded that Clary’s lack of work with juveniles could prevent her application from moving forward, McCampbell forwarded the thread to the district email address of Ron Clary, Jessica Clary’s father and at the time an associate superintendent for NEISD.

Ron Clary that same day responded, and asked McCampbell via email if his daughter could say that she had frequent interaction with juveniles as part of her former position, records show.

Email records also show Jessica Clary reached out directly to Willingham and wrote, “Wally McCampbell let me know that you had some questions on my resume.”

The same records show that Jessica Clary later updated her resume, and after Willingham confirmed she received the updated resume Oct. 9, Jessica Clary forwarded the exchange to her father’s work email address.

SAPD officials confirm Jessica Clary was interviewed Oct. 14, but was ultimately not offered a position.

Ron Clary resigned last month, after the district released the emails to the Defenders.

An online biography of Ron Clary, which has since been taken off of the district’s website, stated that he oversaw operations including the district’s police department.

A spokeswoman confirmed district leadership, including NEISD’s superintendent, was not aware of the Chief McCampbell-Ron Clary communications regarding Jessica Clary’s job application with SAPD until after the Defenders requested the records earlier this year.

HR’s investigation of McCampbell, however, determined that Ron Clary at no point pressured or directed McCampbell to make a job recommendation on behalf of his daughter.

“Chief needs to ensure that he is as accurate as possible should he decide to provide references for anyone,” the HR report states.

The report also stated that McCampbell made the recommendation even after knowing that Jessica Clary had resigned in the midst of an investigation into her conduct with Terrazas.


About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. He provides restaurant health reports for KSAT's "Behind the Kitchen Door." Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.