Shortly after his election as governor of Texas in January 1995, George W. Bush appointed Alphonso Jackson to chair the Texas General Services Commission, which handles facility maintenance and is in charge of awarding more than $5 billion in contracts for goods and services annually for the state of Texas.
In February 1996, according to the Dallas Morning News, Texas state Rep. Dawnna Dukes accused Jackson of trying to steer a contract for a new $45 million state office building to an unnamed supporter of then-Gov. Bush. Jackson counterattacked, saying Dukes was getting consulting fees from another firm competing for the job.
Jackson also generated controversy when he backed a change in procedure for selecting contractors for state jobs. “The new rule would allow the executive director and two hand-picked assistants to make the final decision on contracts,” the Dallas Morning News reported. Previously, the paper said, a panel of technical employees had handled the task.
Some staffers and board members charged that the change would inject politics into the bidding process, but Jackson said that decisions on contracts were too important to be left to lower-level employees, according to the newspaper.
Dallas newspaper archives are unclear about when and how Jackson left the agency, but there were a series of critical audits of the General Services Commission in the late ‘90s, and in 2001, the Texas Legislature decided to terminate the agency and replace it with the Texas Building and Procurement Commission.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Jackson also had a role as a member of the state’s Council on Competitive Government in choosing the contractor for a massive database and computer system to manage the caseload for several of the state’s largest social service programs.