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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
May 30, 2008

Comptroller Susan Combs Announces Senior Staff Changes

(AUSTIN) —Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today announced she has hired Chris Kadas to be her new Special Counsel for Tax Hearings. He replaces Ashley Harden, who was named Chief Deputy General Counsel. Combs also announced that Special Counsel Pete Slover will now serve as Special Counsel and Director of Criminal Investigations, and Senior Advisor Sarah Whitley is the newly appointed Chief of Staff.

“I am delighted to make these appointments,” Combs said. “These outstanding individuals have a proven record of innovation and achievement and they share my commitment to making state government more efficient, transparent and accountable. In their new positions, these appointees will help sharpen our focus on the agency’s primary mission, collecting and managing tax revenue in a fair, efficient and cost-effective way.”

Chris Kadas joins the Comptroller’s office after six years as General Counsel for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Before that, he worked with Combs as Assistant General Counsel at the Texas Department of Agriculture. As the Comptroller’s Special Counsel for Tax Hearings, he will be responsible for the final review of all contested tax cases. Kadas is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Oregon; earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs; and earned a law degree from Seattle University School of Law.

Ashley Harden, the new Chief Deputy General Counsel, will assist General Counsel Martin Cherry in managing the Comptroller’s General Counsel Division, which is responsible for the agency’s legal functions, including litigation, administrative hearings, agency and statewide contracts and public information. Harden is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and earned a law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law. Harden began work at the Comptroller’s office in 2007 as the Special Counsel for Tax Hearings. He has also served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the Texas Attorney General and General Counsel of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

In his new position as Special Counsel to the Comptroller and Director of Criminal Investigations, Pete Slover will continue his current duties as Special Counsel and will direct the Comptroller’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID), which investigates areas such as tobacco, motor fuels and sales tax fraud. Slover will coordinate and work with CID command staff and other agency divisions to enhance the Comptroller’s cooperative efforts with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. In addition, he will continue to serve as the agency’s liaison to Congress on Texas fiscal and taxation issues. Before being appointed as Special Counsel to the Comptroller in January 2007, Slover was an attorney in private practice. He previously worked as an investigative newspaper reporter specializing in Texas government and legal coverage.

Newly named Chief of Staff Sarah Whitley will expand the role she has held as Senior Advisor to the Comptroller. Whitley advises the Comptroller on state issues and agency policy, as well as serving as the agency’s liaison with associations, business groups, advocacy organizations and business leaders around the state. Her responsibilities also include strategic planning and driving new agency initiatives. Whitley graduated from the University of Texas in 2001 and has worked with Combs since that time.

The Comptroller’s staff changes take effect June 2.

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Find details on all the services of the Comptroller’s office at www.window.state.tx.us, including a transparent look at state spending at www.window.state.tx.us/wherethemoneygoes.

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