Texas Government Insider
Volume 13, Issue 19 - Friday, May 15, 2015

Voters approve $3.9 billion in city, county, school, hospital bonds


New construction, system upgrades, technology, security projects to benefit

New construction opportunities as well as technology, security, renovation and system upgrade projects will result from last week's bond elections in Texas.

The dust had hardly settled from a failed $450 million West Texas school bond issue before the superintendent of schools announced that he would ask the school board to resurrect the bond issue again for November.


That unsuccessful bond vote was among fewer than 20 of the more than $5.4 billion worth of bond referendums that failed when put before voters last Saturday. At the end of the day, more than 70 of the 93 bond issues, worth a total of more than $3.9 billion, won voter approval. Those bond issues were in Texas public school districts, cities, counties and hospital districts.


Strategic Partnerships, Inc. has researched all of the bond proposals and has documented contracting opportunities that are available among those that passed. There is also information that lists bond elections under consideration for November of this year and beyond.The Bond Package Research is available for purchase now.  


For school districts, the successful bond votes mean new construction and renovation of existing facilities to help meet growing student population needs. Bond proceeds will also go toward such issues as security, technology infrastructure and upgrades, system upgrades such as to HVAC and fire systems and athletic facility renovations and rehab. 


There will be contracting opportunities at many campuses for projects that include lighting, parking, drainage, landscaping, plumbing, roofing, bus purchases and more.


One of two county hospitals issues passed, and will result in upgrades and expansions worth $35 million.


Cities and counties with successful bond issues will see the addition of public safety facilities and road and street projects, parks improvements and hike and bike trails. One Central Texas city approved a $105 million bond referendum for road projects and a Dallas-area city passed a $267 million bond issue that will result in new fire and police department facilities, a new parks department administration building and a new senior center.



Rural areas of Texas to share $30M for water, wastewater projects

Water Line Nearly $30 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funds have been distributed to 15 Texas water supply corporations, counties, cities and special utility districts to help defray the costs of water and wastewater projects in Texas. The funds are part of the Build Out Texas program of USDA, which is designed to improve infrastructure in rural areas with population of 10,000 or less. 


The largest amount of funding was awarded to the city of Floresville. The city will benefit from a $7.495 million loan and a grant of $1.798 million. The community also contributed $180,000 toward the project. The funds will be used to replace and upgrade the existing sewer system. The sewage treatment plan is close to 35 years old and because of its age and a growing population, it serves, is in need of replacement. 

El Paso County was awarded more than $8.5 million - $1.334 million of which was a loan and $7.193 million was a colonias grant. The funds will be used to construct a sewer collection system. In all, six cities were awarded funding, from a $30,000 grant to the city of Poteet to conduct a preliminary engineering report and environmental report, to the city of Breckenridge, which won an $846,000 loan and $358,000 grant to replace water and sewer lines under city streets. Some of the recipients were awarded USDA SEARCH grants. These grants, such as one for $30,000 to the Batesville Water Supply Corp. and one for $27,500 to the city of Patton Village, are used for pre-development feasibility studies and technical assistance on proposed water and waste disposal projects. 


Some of the other funding allocated included a $940,000 loan to the G&W Water Supply Corp. for constructing a 150,000 gallon elevated storage tank and to buy two generators. The Rio Water Supply Corp. was awarded a $293,000 loan, a $1,005, 500 grant and a $3,356,500 colonias grant to install approximately 12 miles of 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch lines. The funds also will be used to build a 500,000 gallon elevated tank. To view the entire list of recipients, funding amounts and a project description, click here


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars

Erik Steavens Erik Steavens, Rail Division Director, Texas Department of Transportation

Career highlights and education: Twenty years' experience at federal, state and local governments across the United States. Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology

What I like best about my job is: being on the forefront of rail in the United States. Texas has more than 40 railroads and a unique environment where freight rail is such an important part of the economy. The Texas Department of Transportation is working on innovative projects like Tower 55 and the Neches River Bridge where we are truly leveraging the power of the public and private sectors.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Communication is the key. Railroads and governmental agencies have different views, process and planning horizons. Making sure everyone has the same expectations is essential for success.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  Enjoy your job, learn, have fun and be safe while doing it.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: hiking or biking.

People would be surprised to know that I: got into transportation because I could not afford to study meteorology. 

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: TxDOT is a great organization filled with passionate people wanting to make sure you have a safe way to get to and from the demands in your life.

May 2015 Texas Bond Results

Goodman leaving communications job at HHSC for TDI
Stephanie Goodman Stephanie Goodman (pictured), who has been the face of communications at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for nearly a dozen years, will leave the agency later this month to take a job with the Texas Department of Insurance.

Goodman is a former newspaper journalist and before entering the public sector, spent seven years at the Austin American-Statesman and was news editor when she left the local newspaper in 1998.

Her first job in state government was as communications director for the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. She moved from that job to the role of assistant press secretary in the Texas Governor's Office, where she spent almost two years before being hired at HHSC.  

Goodman holds a bachelor's degree from Baylor University.

2040 Regional Transportation Plan adopted by CAMPO

CAMPO Logo A plan prioritizing the region's transportation funding that will also serve as a guide for transportation planning for the next quarter century was recently approved by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO). 


The CAMPO 2040 Regional Transportation Plan includes proposed funding for everything from system maintenance to specific projects to safety and efficiency improvements.

The plan has been a two-year endeavor, beginning in 2013. The public was heavily involved in the process, which was facilitated by goal-setting, setting performance measures, transportation modeling and development. CAMPO officials held public meetings, interactive online sessions and community outreach. The input shared by the public was integral to developing the plan and making revisions along the way.

CAMPO, the region's Metropolitan Planning Organization, must update its Regional Transportation Plan every five years. CAMPO coordinates regional transportation planning with local governments, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Capital Area Rural Transportation System, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, Texas Department of Transportation and other transportation providers in the region. 


Austin ISD superintendent plans reorganization of some positions
Paul Cruz Change is in the air at the Austin Independent School District. First-year Superintendent Paul Cruz (pictured) has announced changes to the district administration's organizational structure, according to the Austin Chronicle. Cruz said the changes are intended to make the organization "much more efficient, much more aligned and that teachers and principals get the same messages."

Cruz is hopeful that the changes will address duplication and division of tasks between departments while saving money. The cuts in administrative costs as a result of the reorganization are expected to save $801,000.

Among the changes, the superintendent's chief of staff will be eliminated and replaced by the general counsel. The chief academic officer and chief schools officer (which was the position Cruz held before becoming superintendent) will also be eliminated and replaced by a chief teaching and learning officer. The chief operations officer post, currently held by Lawrence Fryer, will be eliminated and its responsibilities split between the chief financial officer and chief human capital officer. And, lastly among the major changes, the currently vacant position of chief performance officer is being eliminated and its responsibilities spread across other departments.

Cruz indicated there will be other changes below these major levels of administration. One new position will be the chief officer for learning systems, which will implement the AISD technology plan. All AISD staff will be allowed to apply for new positions. Those who apply and are not selected, but are still under current three-year contracts, will be reassigned.

UT regents approve plan for housing, parking garage, tennis courts

A previously discussed plan to spend $166.4 million for student housing, a parking garage and a tennis center was approved Thursday by The University of Texas System Board of Regents. The facilities will be built on land owned by the System on the east side of Interstate 35. The governing board of the University of Texas signed off Thursday on a $166.4 million plan to build graduate student housing, a parking garage and a tennis center on UT-owned land just east of Interstate 35.

The construction will include a $62.4 million, 2,000-space parking garage, an $89 million student housing facility for graduate students and a $15 million, 12-court tennis center. Regents also approved additional land in East Austin, which officials said would likely be used for additional graduate student housing.  

UT-San Antonio selects Barea-Rodriguez as vice provost

Edwin Barea-Rodriguez Officials at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recently selected Edwin Barea-Rodriguez (pictured) as the vice provost for resource management and instructional innovation, effective Sept. 1.


In that position, Barea-Rodriguez will manage operating and capital budgets in academic affairs, university space utilization, sustainability initiatives and engaging faculty in innovative approaches to teaching and learning.


Barea-Rodriguez joined UTSA in 1995 as a faculty member in the biology department. He has served as chair of that department since 2007. 

Grow your business

Waco approves $3.9 million to replace tunnel under school track

Waco City Council members recently approved spending up to $3.9 million to replace a tunnel under a middle school track with a concrete box culvert.


The goal is to complete the project in two sections, with the first section completed in August when students return to school and second phase of the project to be completed in two to three months, city officials said. 

McKinney selects design for $11.8M downtown parking garage

Parking Garage McKinney city officials recently selected a site and design for a new $11.8 million, six-level, downtown parking garage (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering).


Designed to provide 413 parking spaces on six floors, the new parking garage will be located between Virginia and Louisiana streets. In addition to $3 million in bonds approved by voters in 2010, city officials also plan to ask voters in November to approve an additional $10 million for the parking garage in a proposed $160.3 million bond proposal.


City officials expect to spend another six to eight months on planning and design. If voters approve the proposed bonds, the new downtown garage could be open for business in early 2017, city officials said.

SPI Training Services

Another bond proposal could be in future for Caldwell ISD
Caldwell ISD school officials are hoping that three years is a long enough period of time to pass before asking voters once again to approve a bond issue. Three years ago, voters said "no" to a $52 million bond vote.

This time around, school official are likely to make the bond amount smaller than the previous $52 million.

Superintendent Timothy Cuff says the district needs a new high school, upgrades to the middle school and to do away with all the portable buildings on campus. He expects a bond issue to meet the district needs will be in the range of $35 million to $45 million.

Garcia resigns to run for mayor...


Constable Ron Hickman chosen by court as Harris County Sheriff

Ron Hickman A law enforcement veteran of 32 years, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman (pictured) probably never saw himself wearing a sheriff's badge. But, with former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia recently resigning his post to run for mayor of Houston, the Harris County Commissioners Court pinned a new badge and a new title on Hickman - Harris County Sheriff


Hickman joined the Houston Police Department in 1971. His work history with the department includes accident investigation, radio patrol, bomb squad and search and recovery. He eventually rose to dive master and coordinator in search and recovery. Hickman began his job as Precinct 4 constable in 1983.


Hickman will manage the largest sheriff's office in Texas and the third largest in the United States. The department has more than 4,000 employees.


Attorney Stephanie Silvas chosen as Bee County Judge
Stephanie Silvas  A list of 15 candidates to replace former Bee County Judge David Silva, who died in March, was recently pared down by the county commissioners and two finalists were chosen. The commissioners had narrowed the finalists down to two before deciding after several meetings not to choose either of the finalists for the judge spot.

Instead, the court voted to name Stephanie Silvas (pictured) as Bee County Judge. Silvas, an attorney who has worked for the Texas Attorney General's Office as an Assistant Attorney General since 2013, was sworn in this week.

Silvas holds a bachelor's degree from Texas State University and a law degree from Western New England University School of Law.
Research Analysts

Texas Tech gift to help defray costs of engineering center upgrade 
Part of a recent $7.5 million gift to Texas Tech University will be used to renovate the university's Engineering and Materials Research Center. The gift from the J.F. Maddox Foundation will also support research activities of the Jack Maddox and Donovan Maddox Distinguished Engineering Chairs. In recognition of the gift, the Engineering and Materials Research Center will be renamed the Maddox Engineering Research Center.

The research facility is located on Memorial Circle and will occupy the former Media and Communications building, which has been vacant since 2012. The traditional Spanish Renaissance exterior will be preserved and the interior will feature lab spaces with bright, modern interiors. Not only will the center mean additional research capacity for the university, but it also is eligible for state matching funds through the Texas Research Incentive Program.

Robert Duncan, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, said the Maddox Foundation has a longstanding tradition of philanthropy that has benefitted Texas Tech. "We are grateful for their legacy of generosity and commitment to higher education," said the chancellor.
Ysleta ISD superintendent wants bond vote back in November
Xavier De La Torre Officials in the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso are wasting little time in getting back on track after a $451.5 million bond issue failed in that city last weekend. Although back at square one, Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said the results of the election will be analyzed and he will ask the school board to bring a bond issue back up for a November vote.

"Anything you do to retreat may be misinterpreted," said De La Torre, who said he still has faith in the master plan that led officials to call the bond vote. In fact, he said, he is likely to increase the bond amount. The district has been setting aside about $3 million per year for repairs and maintenance until the community gets behind a bond vote.

Much of the bond money would have been for closing some schools, repurposing some and building new schools that could accommodate the student population of two schools. Declining student population in recent years has led to the underuse of some schools.
Collaboration Nation

Kubota move to Texas supported by Texas Enterprise Fund grant

Kubota Tractor and Credit Corporation will relocate its corporate headquarters from California to Texas, with support from a $3.8 million Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant from the state. The relocation to Grapevine is expected to create at least 344 new jobs and $51 million in capital investment in the state. 


Construction on the Grapevine facility will begin this year, with a completion date set for the first quarter of 2017. The TEF offer is contingent upon final execution of the contract between TEF and Kubota and upon Kubota meeting jobs and capital investment projections, as well as the receipt of offered local incentives.

Texas shoppers can save big on appliance sales tax holiday
Air Conditioner Texas shoppers could save up to a total of $3.8 million during next weekend's (May 23-25) ENERGY STAR® Sales Tax Holiday. The annual event waives state and local sales taxes on certain energy-efficient appliances.

As summer approaches, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said families in Texas seek ways to cut their electric bills, which sometimes skyrocket during the summer. "We are pleased to give Texas shoppers a break from state and local sales and use taxes on the purchase of certain energy efficient products," he said.

Held during the Memorial Day weekend, the sales tax holiday applies to ENERGY STAR® qualified air conditioners that cost $6,000 or less, refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less, ceiling fans, fluorescent light bulbs, dishwashers, dehumidifiers and clothes washers. Clothes dryers are not ENERGY STAR® rated. For more information on the program, click here.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR® central air conditioners record a 15 percent energy savings over conventional air conditioners, room and window air conditioners save 15 percent, refrigerators save 10 percent, ceiling fans save 10 percent, compact fluorescent light bulbs can save 80 percent and clothes washers save up to 25 percent on energy savings and 40 percent on water. Dishwashers save 5 percent on energy and 15 percent on water, while dehumidifiers save 15 percent.
Waxahachie ISD approves funding to construct new ag facility
Waxahachie Independent School District officials don't have a price total yet, but they have approved the addition of new agricultural and animal science facilities to the school district. They are hopeful to be able to locate the facility on the 310 acres of land purchased for the new high school that is expected to be built and ready for use by 2018. 

To be paid for out of the school district's general funds, the new facility will be used mostly for projects, and will not have classrooms. It is expected to be built within walking distance of the new high school.


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Dozens of public-sector jobs available. New jobs added this week: Ector County - Auditor II; Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Financial Reporting Analyst, Accountant V, Auditor III, IV, V; Texas General Land Office - Program Specialist V; Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs - Auditor III - Compliance Monitor. Click here to view jobs. Free job postings for state and local governments, nonprofits and other public-sector entities. Send your posting to editor@spartnerships.com


Cucolo joins UT System as associate vice chancellor
Tony Cucolo Retired U.S. Army Major General Tony Cucolo (pictured) has been selected as associate vice chancellor for leadership development and veterans' affairs in The University of Texas System's Office of Academic Affairs. A veteran of more than 35 years of military service in the U.S. Army, Cucolo retired in September of last year.

His experience includes more than 20 years of senior management experience in leading large organizations in the United States and in international settings. He spent his final year of military service leading the U.S. Army War College. He holds a bachelor's degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a master's degree from the University of San Francisco.

Cucolo will work with all of the institutions in the UT System to identify leadership development opportunities for students, faculty, administrators and staff. He will establish an executive-level leadership institute.

Cherokee County Airport wins $981,000 grant for runway, taxiways

The Aviation Facilities Grant program of the Texas Department of Transportation recently awarded a $981,000 grant to the Cherokee County Airport to make improvements.  

Airport officials plan to use the grant to perform maintenance on the runway, taxiways and aircraft parking areas. County officials agreed to contribute $98,169, or 10 percent, of the total of the grant to qualify for the funding.

San Juan economic development group taps Rodriguez as director

Bobby Rodriguez San Juan Economic Development Corporation board members recently appointed Bobby Rodriguez (pictured) as the new executive director of the group.


A former city secretary, Rodriguez also has been the interim director of the economic development corporation for the last five months.  He was selected from a pool of six applicants.


Rodriguez also served five years on the board of directors of the economic development corporation.

Echols named interim director of Brazos County IS department

Denise Echols, a longtime Information Systems employee for Brazoria County, has been named interim director for the department. Echols was chosen for the interim spot when the former director retired.

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TSABAA planning 46th Annual Summer Conference for July 29-31

Registration is now open for the Texas State Agency Business Administrators' Association (TSABAA) Summer Conference, set for July 29-31 at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio. This will be the 46th year for the annual event and will once again feature the announcement of the TSABBA Administrator of the Year. Newly retired state employees will also be recognized. TSABBA membership includes business administrators from state agencies. It was founded in 1969 as a means for individuals to get together and discuss mutual goals and objectives for more effectively carrying out the state's business administrative functions. The annual summer conference provides for discussions and focus on issues affecting the business operations of Texas state government.


Annual Aging in Texas Conference (AiTC) slated July 29-31
The 2015 Aging in Texas Conference (AiTC) will be held July 29-31, 2015 in Austin. The AiTC is an annual gathering of individuals who work within the aging community to promote excellence in service delivery for the aging population by sharing technical assistance, best practices and management tools with educational programming covering a variety of areas. The conference is beneficial to everyone involved with caring for Texas seniors- from administrators to service providers. Hosted by the Texas Association of Regional Councils, the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the Department of Aging and Disability Services, this event builds on the momentum from previous successful conferences and recent initiatives focusing on healthy aging in the community as Texas strives to better serve the growing senior population. The AiTC supports professionals in the field of aging with the most current research, unparalleled trainings and tools and resources. For additional conference details or to register as an attendee, exhibitor or sponsor visit www.txregionalcouncil.org. Questions? Contact tarc@txregionalcouncil.org.

TxPPA to host Summer Momentum Conference in June
The Texas Public Purchasing Association (TxPPA) will host its Summer Momentum Conference on June 24-26 at La Toretta Resort on Lake Conroe near Montgomery. The 2015 conference will feature informative general sessions, breakout sessions on specific topics requested by members and ample time to network with other attendees. There will be a variety of vendor displays and those attending the conference can earn CPU credits. Early bird registration cost is $300 for members through June 5. The price will increase to $350 after that date. Information on registration and sponsorships is now available. TxPPA is an independent multi-agency organization for public purchasing professionals in Texas. Its members represent cities, counties, schools, colleges, universities, special districts and state agencies.

2015 DIR Information Security Forum dates announced for May
The 2015 Department of Information Resources Information Security Forum (ISF) is planned for Wednesday and Thursday, May 20 and 21, at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin, 78704. The forum is a free educational conference for public sector Information Security Officers, Information Resources Managers and IT staff throughout Texas. The ISF event will feature two days of educational presentations, multiple breakout tracks, inclusion of all levels of Texas government instead of only state, more attendees and more space for exhibitors. Registration opens March 20. The event is free, but requires pre-registration. The event will provide six contact hours of general continuing education credit (six CPEs for Texas IRMs) each day. Already, the Platinum sponsorship level has sold out and gold and silver sponsorships are going fast. Register to become an exhibitor here. Contact isf@dir.texas.gov for more information.

Eagle Ford Consortium Conference accepting registrations
Online registration has opened and sponsorships are being accepted for the upcoming 4th Annual Eagle Ford Consortium Conference. This year's event will be May 27-29 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 600 E. Market Street in San Antonio. The conference will feature local and international speakers. Confirmed as one of the speakers is Texas Railroad Commission Chair Christi Craddick. Those attending will hear about how others have turned the challenges in the Eagle Ford Shale into opportunities. Other discussions will include how small and medium businesses can be connected to the Mexican Energy Reform and address real time information directly from the oil and gas industry. Speakers will discuss the impact oil and gas exploration within the Eagle Ford Shale will have on local business, industry, communities and public entities. The agenda and complete list of speakers will be announced as the date of the conference approaches. Exhibitor information is also available. For more info, contact info@eaglefordconsortium.org.
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Walk, don't drive! Really?


Mary Scott NabersBy Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.


Will drivers ever give up their automobiles? Maybe not, but thousands will limit the time spent in cars if a mixed-use development trend continues to grow.

Public officials, educators and taxpayers have all come to love mixed-use development. It solves many problems and appeals to the masses in a myriad of ways. In fact, mixed-use development has become one of the most attractive new ways to generate revenue, reduce traffic, cut down on emissions, more efficiently provide first responder protection and fund public projects.

Young professionals prefer a lifestyle based on "walkability." Neighborhoods where markets, restaurants, entertainment, shops and offices are all located within walking distance quickly become "hot property." Public officials benefit because of enhanced property values as well as new revenue from retail establishments. Universities have found that mixed-use development on campus property is not only a student-pleaser, but it also generates revenue that is sorely needed for university projects.

And, because public funding is inadequate or simply not available for thousands of much-needed projects, mixed-use development has become a staple to provide revenue streams that supports large public-private partnerships (P3/PPPs). 

Late last year, a study commissioned by the University of Massachusetts and the town of Amherst resulted in a recommendation that mixed-use development could accomplish two primary objectives. The university needed additional student housing and the city of Amherst needed to enhance its tax base. Mixed-use development was a solution for both and a project has been launched. 


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Severe weather results in state sales tax extension in some areas

Businesses affected by the recent severe weather, tornadoes and floods in certain Texas counties can postpone filing and paying state taxes, said State Comptroller Glenn Hegar. The affected counties are Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines, Montague and Van Zandt. Businesses needing additional time to file or pay can simply call the Comptroller's Office to request a 90-day extension.


Mattie Parker named chief of staff for Fort Worth mayor, City Council
Mattie Parker Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth City Council have a new chief of staff after City Manager David Cooke appointed Mattie J. Parker (pictured), a longtime public sector veteran, to that position. Parker will report to the city manager, but will work with the mayor and Council to facilitate coordinating between elected officials and the city's management team.

Parker, an attorney, worked for a private-sector law firm after spending 10 years in jobs related to national and state public affairs. She was district director and campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Kay Granger in Fort Worth and was chief of staff to State Rep. Phil King. She is also a former executive assistant to former Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick.

Parker holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from the Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now the Texas A&M University School of Law.
HDI Solutions

Flusche selected as new

superintendent of Canyon ISD

Darryl Flusche recently won selection as the new superintendent for Canyon Independent School District.


Currently superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Frenship ISD, Flusche will begin his new duties in Canyon on July 1. He will replace Superintendent Mike Wartes, who is retiring. Flusche also was a teacher and principal during his 27 years in public education.


Flusche has a bachelor's degree from West Texas A&M University and a master's degree from Texas Tech University. 

Officials in Hondo hope 
to name city manager in June
The field of candidates seeking to become the next Hondo city manager has been narrowed to seven. Officials in the city say they hope to have a successor for former City Manager Jeff Litchfield in place by June.

Litchfield resigned last month to accept a finance position with the city of Irving. He had been with the city of Hondo for three years. Officials said there were more than 30 applicants seeking the city manager post and seven are expected to be interviewed in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Assistant City Manager Kim David is serving as acting city manager.
Northrop Grumman

Alvin chooses Sereniah 
Breland as its new city manager
Sereniah Breland A three-year veteran city manager from Guthrie, Oklahoma, has been chosen as the new city manager in Alvin. Sereniah Breland
pictured)  will begin her job in Alvin June 15.

Breland is a 12-year veteran of city government. Prior to her stint in Guthrie, she served as city manager in Greenville and city administrator of Goliad. Other positions she has held in city government include support services director for the city of Sugar Land and recycling coordinator for the city of Denton.

The new Alvin city manager holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from The University of Texas at Dallas.
LeFleur Transportation

Edgewood ISD loses four 
more administrators from staff
Four more administrators with the Edgewood ISD have resigned in recent weeks. The latest to leave the school district are Human Resources Director Paul Abundez, Employee Relations Officer Sylvia Lopez-Shafer, Chief Financial and Operations Officer Eddie Ramirez and Edgewood Sixth Grade Academy Vice-Principal Bridget Ayala.

The four were allowed to go on paid administrative leave through the end of the current school year, according to the district's attorney. They are among multiple department heads who have left the district. 

One board member described the exodus as being caused by their being uncomfortable about their positions after a special meeting was called, but eventually canceled, to discuss the superintendent and other administrators' future with the district.
Irving ISD hires Pilgrim as district's director of purchasing
Jerome Pilgrim The Irving ISD has hired a 15-year veteran in school district purchasing offices as its new director of purchasing. Jerome Pilgrim (pictured) started his new job this week as head of the purchasing department.

In addition to his purchasing background, Pilgrim also has a county government and military background. For the last three years, he served as assistant director of purchasing for the Garland ISD. Prior to that, he spent 11 years as the senior buyer for the Dallas ISD. He is also a former senior buyer for the Travis County Purchasing Office, a post he held for seven years, was a buyer for Capital Metro Transportation Authority for eight years and maintained supplies for the U.S. Army in Fort Hood for nine years.

Pilgrim holds a bachelor's degree from Hofstra University and has completed various certification courses through The University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Continuing Education.
Health Information Designs

Sole finalist named to fill Spring Branch ISD superintendent slot
Scott Muri A sole finalist has been named to succeed longtime Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Duncan Klussmann, who is retiring this summer. The school district Board of Trustees recently named Scott Muri (pictured) as sole finalist. He was one of about 30 candidates who applied for the job.

Muri currently serves as deputy superintendent for Fulton County Schools in Atlanta. He has some three decades of experience in education, beginning his public education career as an elementary school teacher in North Carolina. He has also worked for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Muri holds a bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University, a master's from Appalachian State University and a doctorate from Wingate University
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Electra City Administrator Larry Pannell submits resignation
Larry Pannell Larry Pannell (pictured), city administrator for the city of Electra, recently submitted his letter of resignation. His resignation will be effective May 27.

Pannell said because the city's budget process is about to begin, now is an opportune time for him to step down, allowing the new city commission to put its stamp on the budget, staffing levels for various departments and setting the tax rate.

Pannell holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin at Parkside and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

Trevor Rogers announces his 
resignation as head of Roxton ISD
Trevor Rogers Trevor Rogers (pictured), superintendent of the Roxton ISD, has announced that he is resigning. Rogers is in his sixth year as superintendent of the district. Prior to joining the Roxton ISD in May 2010, Rogers was a high school principal in the Harleton ISD for nearly three years.

Lisa Dick new administrator for city/county health department
A part-time employee of the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department, Lisa Dick, has been chosen as the new administrator for the department. Dick, who was recommended to the city council for the job by Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree, is a dietician and previously worked as director of support services for Brownwood Regional Medical Center and also worked as manager/clinical dietician at Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital. 

Dick will replace Alicia Long, who retired as administrator of the health department last month.

Clifton promoted to post as
Electra director of public works
Donnie Clifton has been promoted to director of Public Works with the city of Electra. Clifton previously was deputy public works director when former Director Davis Simon left last summer. Clifton began working for the city in 2003.

Wharton's public works director Marchant submits resignation

Public Works Director Kyle Marchant has submitted his resignation to Wharton city officials, which was accepted at a recent council meeting. Marchant served a little over a year in the position. The city has not yet named an interim director. 

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Three UT regents will serve 
on board of UTIMCO
Three members of The University of Texas System Board of Regents this week appointed Regent David J. Beck and reappointed two vice chairs - R. Steven Hicks and Jeffrey Hildebrand to serve on The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO).


Beck is a founding partner of Beck Redden LLP and holds a law degree from The University of Texas Law School. Hicks owns and is executive chair of Capstar Partners LLL, a private investment firm. Hildebrand is the founder, chair and chief executive officer of Hilcorp Energy Co, and independent oil and gas exploration company.

UTIMOC is a 501(c)(3) investment management corporation that manages investment assets under the fiduciary care of the UT System Board of Regents.

Texas Government Insider Archives  

Governor's appointments
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Donald R. "Dee" Margo of El Paso, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas;
  • Rodolfo "Rudy" Madrid Jr. of Kingsville, Commission on State Emergency Communication;
  • John L. Nau, III, chair, Texas Historical Commission;
  • Wallace Jefferson, Austin, Texas Historical Commission;
  • Anna Benavides Galo, Laredo, Texas Historical Commission;
  • Benjamin M. Hanson, Austin, State Cemetery Committee
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