Jesse Brown moves from campus leader to city leader

Withdraws from county election

Jesse Brown, graduate student, talking to head football coach Bill Maskill at the homecoming bonfire on Oct. 27. Photo by Izziel Latour

Jesse Brown is more than just a coordinator of student organizations and leadership programming. He’s also a city councilor, former student regent, former student government president — and now, a former candidate for county treasurer.

After announcing his campaign for Wichita County treasurer on Oct. 10, Brown suspended his candidacy exactly one month later on Friday, Nov. 10, according to the Times Record News and Texoma’s Homepage.

The district four city councilor and Kappa Alpha Order alumnus said in a press release received Dec. 1 he withdrew from the race due to potential conflict with his employment at MSU. Ethics policy 3.314, Section F(7) states that any MSU employee who intends to run for any public office, outside of local offices with no payment of any kind, must resign prior to announcing his or her candidacy.

“After further discussions with administration at the university, it now appears that there could be a potential conflict by me remaining employed at MSU and running for a countywide office,” Brown said in the press release.

City council members, however, elected Brown as mayor pro tem in late November.

The ethics policy for employees of MSU adopted in 2015 reads: “MSU employees may run for election and serve as members of the governing bodies of school districts, cities, towns or other local governmental districts. No campaign activities may be conducted during official business hours unless the employee has requested and received permission to use leave time for such purpose. Any employee elected to such a position may not receive any salary for serving as a member of such governing bodies. It is the policy of MSU that an employee who intends to be a candidate for any public office, other than a local office for which no emolument of any kind is received, must resign unconditionally from employment with MSU prior to announcing his or her candidacy.”

Brown would have faced Bob Hampton, incumbent treasurer, who has held the paid position since November 2004, earning $197,699 in 2017.

“I want to be reelected because we have a variety of things going on in this office I want to see through,” Hampton said. “We’re trying to get a $70 million renovation of the jail going right now.”

He also said there is an “interesting difference of philosophy” between the commissioner’s court and county treasurer, because there has been discussion of dissolving the county treasurer’s office.

“Nine counties in Texas do not have a county treasurer, and I’ve talked to eight of those nine counties. They dissolve the office to save money, but there’s no savings really, because they have to hire someone to do the job instead of being elected for it,” Hampton said. “When you have an individual that’s elected, we answer to the taxpayers, whereas a hired employee only answers to their boss. They are not a spokesperson for the people.”

Hampton, also a Kappa Alpha Order alumnus, did not say much about Brown’s withdrawal from the race.

“It was his decision and I support him,” Hampton said. “He’s a good guy. Both he and his brother [Clayton] are good friends of mine.”

Brown filed, as per university policy, a disclosure of outside employment or activity form for his employment as city councilor on Aug. 8. Matthew Park, dean of students, and Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, signed and approved this request on Oct. 19 — Brown did not file this form for his campaign for county treasurer, but he had filed for candidacy with the county on Oct. 17.

“The records I sent are the only records the university has on file,” Julie Gaynor, director of marketing and public information, said in an email on Nov. 2 received after a Freedom of Information request filed 14 days earlier.

Brown said there is an exception in this policy that allows him to continue serving on City Council, but his position on campus fosters an unethical environment to run as county treasurer.

“I value my relationship with Midwestern State University and the Wichita community too greatly to operate in an ethical gray area,” Brown said in the press release. “As such, I believe this is the best decision for all parties involved. I stand committed to bring innovative ideas, energy, dedication and accountability to our community. I still believe we need good people to stand up and be willing to shoulder responsibility. I want to thank all of my family, friends and supporters for their continued trust in me. We will move forward and we will better our community.”

Despite multiple attempts to contact Brown regarding this issue beginning the day he withdrew, he said he would not discuss this matter with staff members unless emailed the questions beforehand.

“Thank you for the invitation, but I am going to uphold my previous stance on interviewing with the Wichitan concerning my political involvements/activity,” Brown said in an email on Dec. 1.

Jesse Brown

Jesse Brown, a candidate for student body president, appears on Campus Watch. 2015 File photo by Bradley Wilson
Jesse Brown, a candidate for student body president, appears on Campus Watch. 2015 File photo by Bradley Wilson
Jesse Brown, MSU graduate, waits for the trial to begin regarding his campaign procedures to the Election Board Committee at the Student Government Association Presidential Trial in the Clark Student Center Thursday, April 16, 2015. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Jesse Brown, MSU graduate, waits for the trial to begin regarding his campaign procedures to the Election Board Committee at the Student Government Association Presidential Trial in the Clark Student Center Thursday, April 16, 2015. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Jesse Brown, Student Government Association president, criminal justice senior, works at his desk, August 24, 2015. Photo taken by Francisco Martinez
Jesse Brown, Student Government Association president, criminal justice senior, works at his desk, August 24, 2015. Photo taken by Francisco Martinez
Jesse Brown, Student Government Association president, criminal justice senior, works at his desk, August 24, 2015. Photo taken by Francisco Martinez
Jesse Brown, Student Government Association president, criminal justice senior, works at his desk, August 24, 2015. Photo taken by Francisco Martinez
Student Body President Jesse Brown at the inauguration of Suzanne Shipley, university president, Midwestern State University, Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Student Body President Jesse Brown at the inauguration of Suzanne Shipley, university president, Midwestern State University, Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Jesse Brown, criminal justice senior, hugs Suzanne Shipley after his "Greetings from the students" speech about President Suzanne Shipley at the inauguration of Shipley, the eleventh president, held in Fain Fine Arts Auditorium, Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Jesse Brown, criminal justice senior, hugs Suzanne Shipley after his "Greetings from the students" speech about President Suzanne Shipley at the inauguration of Shipley, the eleventh president, held in Fain Fine Arts Auditorium, Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Jessie Brown, graduate student, talking to head football coach Bill Maskill at the homecoming bonfire on Oct. 27, 2016. Photo by Izziel Latour
Jessie Brown, graduate student, talking to head football coach Bill Maskill at the homecoming bonfire on Oct. 27, 2016. Photo by Izziel Latour

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