Texas Government Insider
Volume 12, Issue 45 - Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

Cooperative purchasing programs seeing double-digit growth


Texas' TCPN joins two other major programs to form independent alliance

Contract Procurement through cooperative purchasing among public entities has enjoyed double-digit growth since last year. Government officials - from public schools to cities, counties, nonprofits and institutions of higher education - are leveraging the purchasing power of thousands of government entities through shared contracts that allow them to cut costs significantly and stretch taxpayer dollars. It's no small wonder that the growth of cooperative purchasing programs has exploded over the last decade.


Cooperative contracting involves one agency taking the lead on a procurement and awarding a contract to a vendor. Then, several agencies can make future purchases off that single contract.


In Texas, one of the largest and most successful cooperative purchasing programs is The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN). The organization has the backing of the Region IV Education Service Center (ESC), one of the largest ESC's in the Andrea Scobie nation, which serves as the lead agency for TCPN. Region IV ESC awards all the contracts for TCPN using a competitive bid process. All bidders are advised that their contract may be used by other government entities across the country. More than 37,000 entities currently use at least one TCPN contract.


TCPN recently joined two other of the largest cooperative procurement programs in the country - National IPA and NJPA - to form an independent alliance whose goal is to promote excellence in cooperative procurement practices and to vet other interests of those who are part of public procurements. 


The trio of programs seeks to involve industry representatives such as procurement officials, agencies, vendors, cooperative programs and professional associations. Organizers hope to be able to assist these individuals in achieving their purchasing goals.


Saying cooperative purchasing programs have become a "best practice in public procurement," National IPA's Andrea Scobie (pictured), vice president of marketing, said the alliance is hopeful that those who specialize in public procurement will become part of the group. "We want this group to consist of all facets that cooperative programs touch, so that everyone feels that they have a voice.


The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), hailed the formation of the alliance of the three cooperative programs "in support of sound public procurement practice and a commitment to the profession's values." NIGP officials called cooperative procurement a "valuable option" being utilized by public entities to stretch tax dollars.


"This is an historic period for cooperative procurement and cooperative programs supporting the public sector," said an NIGP statement. "Through our collective efforts and commitments, we preserve a contracting practice that expands agency capacity to provide the many services desired and expected by their communities."


Leadership teams announced: 

Veteran faces in other legislative offices in new spots with Patrick, Hegar
Logan Spence Mike Morrisey Fruit basket turnover has begun at the Texas State Capitol as the smoke has cleared following the Nov. 4 election and the state will have a new governor, lieutenant governor and state comptroller. Gov.-elect Gregg Abbott has already named his leadership staff and this week, newly elected state officials were picking up staff with long legislative resumes.

This week, Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick put names on the faces of his leadership team. Logan Spence (top left), Patrick's Senate office chief of staff, will follow Patrick to the lieutenant governor's office in that same capacity. He is a veteran Capitol worker in the Texas House, Senate and Governor's Office.

Longtime Senate Parliamentarian Walter Fisher will bring his 20-plus years of legislative service to the role of senior advisor to Patrick. Fisher previously served both the House and Senate as parliamentarian during his legislative career.

Veteran budget guru Mike Morrissey (top right), who has been on the staff of Gov. Rick Perry's office since Mike Reissig Tom Currah 2001, most recently as deputy chief of staff, will be Patrick's budget director and senior advisor for fiscal policy.

State Comptroller-elect Glenn Hegar has tabbed Mike Reissig (bottom right) to serve as Deputy Comptroller and Chief Clerk. Chief of staff will be Lisa Craven, who has served in that same capacity in Hegar's House office. She will advise Hegar on state issues and agency administration and will be the liaison with business organizations, associations and advocacy groups statewide.

Liz White has been named Hegar's senior strategy officer at the Comptroller's Office. She is former legislative director for two Senate offices. In addition to being a key advisor to Hegar, she will also be liaison with stakeholders on the Comptroller's priorities.

Other key appointments include Karey Barton as associate deputy for tax, Phillip Ashley as associate deputy for fiscal matters and Robert Wood as associate deputy for operations and support. Current Chief Revenue Estimator John Heleman will be replaced at that position by Tom Currah (bottom left). Other appointments include Brook Paup as director of legislative affairs and Elisabeth Spring and Kimberley Buzard as executive assistants. David White will serve as interim spokesperson for the agency until he is sworn in Jan. 1, 2015.

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Darron Leiker Darron Leiker, city manager, city of Wichita Falls


Career highlights and education: I currently lead 1,200 employees and oversee a budget of $165 million in Wichita Falls. I have served as Wichita Falls city manager for nine years, and previously worked as an assistant city manager here for three years. Prior to this, I served in management positions in small, medium and large municipalities in Kansas. I received my undergraduate degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. I am a graduate of the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia. I am also a Credentialed Manager with the International City/County Management Association.  

What I like best about my job is: I enjoy working on large, complex projects from the conceptual stage to completion. I also like the breadth and challenges of being a city manager.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Surround yourself with the smartest, most talented people you can. Also, never be afraid to ask questions and challenge the status quo.  

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Don't be a micro-manager and always treat your employees with respect and dignity.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: working out on the elliptical machine.

People would be surprised to know that I: love to hunt pheasant and quail.

One thing I wish more people knew about my city: Wichita Falls plays host to the largest sanctioned century bicycle ride in the country each year, with over 12,000 participants. We are also home to Sheppard Air Force Base, which includes the Euro-Nato Joint Jet Training Program, the only one of its kind in the world.  

Khator appointed chair of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Renu Khator University of Houston President and System Chancellor Renu Khator (pictured) has been appointed the 2015 chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Khator currently serves as deputy chair. Succeeding her as deputy chair for 2015 will be Matthew K. Rose, executive chair of BNSF Railway Co. in Fort Worth.


Each of the nation's Reserve Banks has a nine-member board of directors. Khator began her service with the Reserve after being appointed as a director by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in January 2011.


As board chair, Khator will oversee and lead the administration by board members of the Reserve Bank's operations, corporate governance and internal auditing procedures and controls system.


Khator was named the UH president and UH System chancellor in January 2008. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Kanpur and a master's degree and Ph.D. in political science from Purdue University.

AACOG chooses Diane Rath as new executive director
Diane Rath Former Texas Workforce Commission Chair Diane Rath (pictured) has been chosen as the new executive director of the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG).

Rath was chosen over three others who were being considered for the director post: Tim Trevino, acting director of AACOG; Tom Shaw of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce; and retired Brigadier Gen. Robert Murdock, the City of San Antonio's military transformation director. Rath currently is a senior vice president for ResCare Workforce Services in San Antonio. A licensed physical therapist, Rath attended Texas Christian University and earned a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

The new executive director will step into an agency that lost two of its top leaders following a dust-up over an arrangement with a foundation that promised, but did not deliver, millions in grant funds as well as to lease space in the AACOG building.

PEGA Texas Conference 2014

TWDB announces financial assistance for water projects in Texas

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has approved more than $45 million in financial assistance for water and wastewater infrastructure projects in the state. Of the $45.19 million allocated, $3.665 million went to rural water projects.


Included in the funding are:

  • Greater Texoma Utility Authority on behalf of the city of Sherman - $2.525 million for water treatment plant improvements finance the planning, acquisition and design costs associated with upgrading and expanding the city's water treatment plant.
  • City of Fort Worth (Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Parker, and Wise counties) - $39 million for improvements at the Big Fossil Creek Drainage Basin and the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility. Funds will replace wastewater infrastructure and complete a 340-million-gallon-peak flow storage basin.
  • City of Winnsboro - $1.04 million for wastewater treatment plant renovations including renovation of several components that will help extend the life of the wastewater treatment plant by 20 years. 
  • Sol Y Mar Water System (Hidalgo County) - $200,000 for water system improvements to connect to the City of San Juan water system for improved potable water. Some 1,335 linear feet of 8-inch water line will be installed with meters and service connections to 29 residences in the project area.
  • Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District (Williamson County) - $2.425 million for water system improvements that include the replacement of valves, fire hydrants, water service connections and piping.

Daughtry takes on management role in DPS division

Lisa Daughtry Twelve-year Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) veteran Lisa J. Daughtry (pictured) of Manor has been promoted to Driver License Division regional manager. In her new position, she will be responsible for driver license office operations throughout a 14-county region in Central Texas.


Daughtry began her career with DPS as a clerical supervisor. She most recently served as assistant manager in the DPS Driver License Division's License and Record Service. She said that as regional manager, she will continue to help the agency in its efforts to find ways to create a "faster, easier and friendlier driver license experience and a safer Texas."


The new regional manager is a United States Military veteran, having served in the U.S. Air Force as a wideband communications equipment specialist in the 609th Tactical Control Squadron/5th Combat Communications Group and the White House Communications Agency. After fulfilling her military obligation, she worked in the private sector as a customer service trainer for one of the world's largest hotel chains.

Corpus Christi approves study on cost of desalination plant
Corpus Christi City Council members recently agreed to help fund a $300,000 study of the cost to build a desalination plant to serve industry in the Coastal Bend area.

The agreement is between the city, the Port of Corpus Christi, the San Patricio County Water Management District and 11 industrial plants in that area. The pact calls for the city to pay any costs of the study over $300,000 not to exceed $50,000.

Current plans are for industrial customers to pay for the new plant, if it is built, which is expected to produce 10 million to 15 million gallons of water per day for industrial use. The city would gain ownership of the desalination plant in 10 to 20 years, a council member said.

Corps recommends deepening of Port of Brownsville

Eduardo Campirano A plan has been approved that calls for the deepening of the Port of Brownsville by 10 feet. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers Thomas Bostick recommended the project in a report to the Secretary of the Army. Bostick said the deepening of the port would lead to increased commercial navigation in South Texas, which would positively impact the economy. 


The Port of Brownsville, the only deepwater port on the United States-Mexico border, currently only has a depth of 42 feet on its Brazos Island Harbor Channel. The project is expected to cost $251 million, with $116 million of that total coming from the federal government.


Port of Brownsville Director and CEO Eduardo Campirano (pictured) said deepening of the port will not be an immediate action following the recommendation, but said it at least moves the project one step forward.

Bridge City hires engineers for project to upgrade sewer system

The City Council of Bridge City recently agreed to hire engineers and consultants for a $327,245 project to repair sewer lines serving about 225 homes owned by low-income residents.


Rainwater is now spilling into the old sewer lines serving the homes and negatively impacting the filtration process at the treatment plant, which is causing costly repairs, said City Manager Jerry Jones.


A federal Community Development Block Grant is providing $272,700 for the project to upgrade sewer lines and the city will pay the remaining cost, Jones said.

November 2014 Texas Bond Results

TxDOT awards $20 million contract for engineering services
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials recently awarded a contract to Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. to provide services for projects developed under design/build and public-private partnership agreements.

The contract is an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) agreement with a maximum limit of $20 million over a six-year period. The contract calls for the company to oversee implementation of design/build and public-private partnership projects throughout the state, but with a focus on the Austin/San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley areas.

The engineering firm agreed to include design, construction oversight and owner verification testing services to TxDOT on projects ranging from $50 million to $500 million in construction costs.
Frisco bond panel kicks off planning for $200 million bond election
Nell Lange A Frisco Citizen Bond Committee recently began planning for a $200 million or more bond election in May 2015.

City staff submitted so many needed projects to be prioritized that Assistant City Manager Neil Lange (pictured) told committee members that keeping the total at $200 million would be a difficult task.

Among projects committee members will consider are a cultural arts center and projects for the fire department, parks and recreation and library and upgrades and maintenance of several roads, Lange said
Travis County gets new $294M estimate for new civil courthouse
After backing away from an earlier estimate of $350 million to build a new Travis County civil courthouse, county officials recently began considering a $294 million estimate for the courthouse project that could be included in a May 2015 bond election.

County staff is still working to find ways to reduce the cost of building and furnishing the new courthouse featuring 28 courtrooms for civil and family cases, said George Tapas, project director. If voters approve the bond proposal, county officials plan to complete construction on the civil courthouse in 2018. Once that project is complete, county officials will begin looking into renovating the existing courthouse, Tapas said.
Grow your business

Klein ISD bond panel planning for $498.1M bond election in 2015
Bond steering committee members for Klein Independent School District recently held community meetings to outline possible projects for a proposed $498.1 million bond election in 2015 and to gather public opinion about projects to include in the bond proposal.

Panel members noted the district has about $65 million remaining from a 2008 bond proposition to pay for the district's fifth high school. However, the district most likely will need an additional $100 million to $115 million from the 2015 bond proposal to complete the new high school supported by residents at the public meeting.

Many at the meeting also called for building more schools to meet growing enrollment, upgrading and expanding technology, adding more buses and renovating existing campuses. Committee members plan to present the proposal for a bond election in May 2015 to trustees at a meeting in December.
Keller ISD selects architect to convert former intermediate campus
Hudson Huff Keller Independent School District board members recently selected an architect to design the renovation of an intermediate school to serve as a new career and technical education center (CTE). Current plans call for adding 50,000 square feet and other improvements to the South Keller Intermediate campus at a cost of about $37.3 million for the new CTE facility.

Trustees also agreed to use the construction manager-at-risk method for completing several projects approved in a bond election earlier this month. These projects include upgrades and additions to Keller High School and a new campus for fifth- through eighth-grade students, noted Hudson Huff (pictured), executive director of facility services. Under this process, the contractor has the ability to select options to stay on budget and deliver the facility on time, Huff added.

District officials plan to use the competitive sealed bid process when building the security entry projects at a high school, a middle school and two intermediate schools and when constructing a new elementary school. Design work on most of the building projects will begin in early 2015, Huff said.

TWU Regents OK planning, design funding for new parking lot

Funding for the planning and design phase of a new parking garage for Texas Woman's University (TWU) was recently approved by the TWU Board of Regents. The $1 million project is the precursor to a new 600-car garage facility to be built on campus. The additional spaces will push the number of parking spots on campus to more than 4,000.


A design and architectural firm will work with the university to design the garage and then bids will be sought for the construction. The construction portion of the project is estimated at between $12 million and $15 million. The project will be funded through university reserves. The new garage could be completed in 18-24 months.


Another future expansion could include either renovation or replacement of the current student union. TWU officials say they hope to have a student referendum to raise the student fee to help fund the project.


Need Federal Contracting?

Blinn College to charge students for dual-credit courses
Blinn College trustees recently approved a plan to charge $150 per class in tuition and fees to Washington County high school students enrolling in dual-credit courses in fall 2015.

High school students in Washington County currently can attend dual-credit classes at the Brenham campus free of charge and receive college credit for the course. In fall 2015, however, high school students will pay $36 per credit hour for a three-hour class along with a $14 general fee per credit hour. The new tuition and fees are expected to generate about $51,400 a semester in additional revenue, according to college officials. The college currently operates with a deficit of about $74,000 a semester.

Currently about 341 students from Brenham High School, Burton High School and the Brenham Christian Academy are enrolled in free dual-credit classes at the Brenham campus. Trustees also said they expect students who pay tuition and fees will take the classes more seriously and improve attendance.
Brownwood wastewater pipeline to cost about $11.2 million
Bobby Rountree Brownwood city officials recently learned a proposed pipeline to pump 2.5 million gallons of treated wastewater daily into Lake Brownwood carries a price tag of about $11.8 million. Both city council members and the Brown County Water Improvement District would need to approve the pipeline project for it to proceed.

If approved, the proposed wastewater pipeline would take four years to complete and provide water to the lake, which is now at 46 percent capacity after reaching only 38 percent capacity in 2011, noted City Manager Bobby Rountree (pictured).

Residents of Bangs, Brownwood, Early and water districts in Brookesmith and Zephyr who are customers of the Brown County water district would pay the cost of building the pipeline, Rountree said.
Royse City leaning toward $10 million bond election in May
Officials in Royse City recently began discussing the possibility of asking voters to approve $10 million in bonds to pay for the city's 2014 Street Rehabilitation Program.

While council members discussed the possibility of adding projects such as a new fire station and building an overpass on Interstate 30 and FM2642 to the bond proposal, City Manager Carl Alsabrook said he planned to present a proposal including only street improvement projects in the bond proposal council members will vote on later this month. His report to council members will include an engineering study that will prioritize the list of road projects considered most necessary, Alsabrook said.
Contracting Opportunities

Calhoun County ISD approves $6M upgrade to football stadium
Trustees for Calhoun County Independent School District recently approved a $6 million plan to expand Sandcrab Stadium by adding 1,500 new bleacher seats. The cost is $1.5 million higher than the original estimate of $4.5 million included in the $65 million bond proposition, noted Acting Superintendent Jim Story.

Board members rejected the first bids for the stadium upgrade when the lowest bid came in at $10 million, more than double the original cost estimate of the stadium improvements.

District officials also are in the process of designing a new middle school approved in the bond election and must retain sufficient funding to complete that project, noted trustees.
Rockwell asking for public opinion on new park project
Rick Crowley Rockwell city officials recently scheduled a public hearing on Dec. 2 to hear public comment on a $492,077 proposal to upgrade Yellowjacket Park with an inclusive playground designed for persons with mental and physical disabilities.

City Manager Rick Crowley (pictured) urged council to consider upgrading Yellowjacket park with its accessible restrooms and parking by building a barrier-free playground rather than retrofitting two other city parks to make them more accessible to persons with disabilities.

Funding for the project comes from 2006 bond funding, dedicated fees for mandatory park land and the Recreational Development Fund, Crowley said.

Collaboration Nation

San Marcos to begin $6.7M renovations of municipal airport
San Marcos City Council members recently approved $667,050 to pay the city's share of a $5.7 million project to upgrade the San Marcos Municipal Airport. State and federal grants are paying the majority of the cost of the airport project.

The renovations include installation of new avionics equipment and improvements to a major runway, noted Daniel Benson, airport planner for the Aviation Division of the Texas Department of Transportation.

The upgrade also includes two new Precision Approach Path indicators to assist pilots when landing, he said.
Conroe approves $25M for new police, municipal court facility
Jeff Christy Conroe City Council members recently approved $25 million to build a new, 76,000-square-foot police and municipal court facility. The original estimate for the new facility was about $21 million, noted Assistant Police Chief Jeff Christy (pictured).

The cost increase for the new police facility is due to the underground detention area and geothermal HVAC system being installed to increase energy efficiency, Christy said.

Council members also encouraged the general contractor to work closely with local companies when working with subcontractors.

Wink seeks bids for electronic water metering system 

Wink city officials recently agreed to seek bids to install a radio-operated water meter system. The goal is to reduce the time now spent by city employees to travel to read each individual meter. 


The new system would allow the meters to be read remotely.

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El Paso eyeing 10 years to complete $475M in bond projects
A request by an El Paso Council member, City Rep. Ann Morgan Lily, recently prompted city officials to begin preparing a report on benefits of completing the $475 million quality of life bond program in 10 years rather than the 15 years originally planned.

The largest projects included in the bond proposition are the Hispanic cultural center, a multipurpose facility and a children's museum.

While former City Manager Joyce Wilson questioned whether completing so many large projects in such a short time period is possible, City Rep. Emma Acosta of District 3 said she wants information on how much the debt service rate would increase with a 10-year implementation plan. She also expressed concern that inflation and rising construction costs could translate into smaller facilities if the city stays with a 15-year schedule for completing projects on the bond proposal.
Mesquite ISD weighing facility needs for upgrades, renovations
Michael Coffey With the remaining funding from a 2007 bond election allotted to renovate an elementary school, Mesquite Independent School District officials recently began a review of 18 campuses to identify those in most need of maintenance, renovation and other upgrades.

The report will be sent to a bond steering committee to prioritize projects for board members to consider when deciding whether to schedule a possible bond election in 2015, noted Michael Coffey (pictured), assistant superintendent of administrative services.

The updated review includes plans to expand libraries, cafeterias, gymnasiums and kitchens at several campuses, as well as expanding classrooms space, Coffey said. The proposed projects also include building new campuses and renovating others, he noted.
P3 will lead to development of Federal Inspection Station
A public-private partnership will facilitate development of a new general aviation Federal Inspection Station at the San Antonio International Airport. The city of San Antonio and Smart Traveling Inc. (STI) will collaborate on a multi-million-dollar, 5,000-square-foot facility on the northern end of the airport property.

STI has committed to invest more than $2 million for the design and construction of the building. The city will construct the access taxiway and ramp. The project is expected to facilitate both private and corporate aviation and provide economic opportunities in the city. The project is designed to separate commercial and general aviation aircraft and to improve passenger experience when clearing customs.

The project could begin within the next few weeks, with an anticipated completion date late next year.
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Bryan reviewing $43 million in proposed parks projects
Bryan City Council members recently began a review of a $43 million proposal to upgrade and improve parks and recreation facilities, with a focus on enlarging and improving the Regional Athletic Complex.

Proposed projects include developing five new parks, building new hiking trails, buying new playground equipment, upgrading and replacing restrooms at existing parks and upgrading the Regional Athletic Complex into a "super park," noted Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker.

The proposal sets aside $797,475 for maintenance. However, the regional athletic complex takes a large share of the proposed upgrades with $4.26 million requested for new turf installed at four softball and two soccer fields, $1.5 million to develop 12 more acres of the park, $120,000 to replace play structures and $250 to repair the concession stand.

The proposal also includes a recommendation to upgrade the athletic complex with improved lighting, water fountains, upgraded restrooms, a new amphitheater, restaurants and a hiking trail as population grows in the future, Walker said. Council took no action on the proposal.
Denton Co. OK's 10-year plan for capital improvement projects
Donna Stewart Denton County commissioners recently approved a 10-year plan recommended by the capital improvement committee for upgrades and improvements during the next 10 years.

Included in the recommendations are plans to upgrade technology and security at the jail along with technology upgrades for emergency management services and records management, advised Donna Stewart (pictured), the county's budget officer. Stewart also reminded commissioners that the 10-year plan is flexible and subject to change through the coming years.

Commissioners approved a majority of the recommendations, but omitted plans for a new building expected to cost more than $42 million that was requested for the emergency management department and the county clerk..

14th Bexar County Contracting Conference set for Dec. 10

The Bexar County Contracting Conference, linking small, minority, women and veteran-owned business owners to federal, state and local government contracting opportunities, will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Freeman Expo Hall in San Antonio. Representatives of state, local and federal agencies will be on hand to discuss billions of dollars' worth of contracting opportunities. This free, one-day conference features free parking and will provide public- and private-sector organizations an opportunity to connect with vendors while also featuring workshops, vendor education and access to the Microsoft Procurement Technology Center. Now in its 14th year, this event has grown to be the largest event of its kind in South Texas. Last year, there were more than 3,500 attendees and 140 exhibitors. Among the workshop topics are "Doing Business with the Healthcare Industry," "Strategic Planning for Business Success," "Starting or Growing a Veteran-Owned Business," and "Hire the Best - Hire a Vet." Among the speakers will be U.S Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, John McKinney of San Antonio Goodwill Industries and Cathy Maras, Bexar County Chief Information Officer. Seating is limited so register now at www.Bexar.org/smwbe or by calling 210.335.2478 

TSABAA planning Mid-Winter Conference in December in Kerrville
The Texas State Agency Business Administrators' Association will host its 35th Mid-Winter Conference on Dec. 3-5 at Inn of the Hills in Kerrville. With the 84th Texas Legislature to meet in January 2015, attendees will hear from a legislative panel regarding the upcoming session. An employee benefits update will also be among the discussion topics. Some of the other topics on the agenda include "How Internal Audits Can Worth with/for Your Agency," "Why Invest in IT" and more. Ample time has also been set aside for networking opportunities. Continuing education credits may be earned by attending the conference. Registration is open and the agenda is available.

EWTG plans 28th Annual Professional Development Conference
The Executive Women in Texas Government 28th Annual Professional Development Conference, "Building Careers and Developing Leaders" will be held Monday, Nov. 24, at the Embassy Suite -SanMarcos Hotel, Spa, and Conference Center. The conference is the premier educational forum for government professionals interested in developing practical, comprehensive and real-world solutions for managing changing rules and standards, new business practices and technological advances and bring greater efficiency to government operations. Experts from state government, higher education and industry experts will discuss topics relevant to leadership trends, governance practices and emerging management models in the public sector. The evening before the conference, a networking reception will be held to commemorate ETWG's 30th anniversary. Keynote speakers will include Amy Henry, the "last woman standing" on NBC's first season of "The Apprentice" and author of What it Takes: Speak Up, Stand Up and Move Up, and Ambassador Karen Hughes, Worldwide Vice-Chair of Burson-Marsteller communications strategists. For more information on the conference and registration is available here.

Texas EMS Conference set in Fort Worth Nov. 23-26
Texas EMS Conference, one of the largest EMS conferences in the nation, kicks off Nov. 23 in Fort Worth. Texas EMS Conference draws emergency medical services personnel for three days of emergency medical education, including continuing education for EMS, nurses, firefighters and physicians. The conference also features a 170,000-square-foot exhibit hall filled with state-of-the-art medical equipment, EMS supplies and services, job opportunities, ambulances and helicopters. Preconference classes, ranging in length from four hours to three days, feature cadaver anatomy labs, wilderness rescue and response to bombing incidents. For more information, go to www.texasemsconference.com.
Media Notice

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Public officials finding 
new revenue sources


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


Local government executives throughout the country are sending out "Help Wanted" messages. Because property tax revenues have declined and budgets are stretched to the breaking point, there is an immediate need for new revenue options for critical projects.


As a result, cities and counties are hiring advisors who offer assistance in the area of "alternative financing." Contracting with financial advisors to provide guidance like this is relatively new - but a growing trend.

Here are some examples:

  • Proposals are due later this month to the Nevada County Transportation Commission for firms to help update the five-year Western Nevada County Transit Development Plan.  The objective is to make adjustments for recent changes in funding levels and to recommend ways to fill the gaps with alternative funding options;
  • The city of Denison, Texas, is discussing solicitation of proposals for alternative revenue consulting services for various projects;
  • The city of Huntington Beach, California, sought assistance for the development of financing alternatives for its Poseidon Resources desalination project; and
  • Memorial City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 17 in Texas has hired consultants to seek federal and/or alternative funding option for projects in its capital improvement plan. 

In Austin this week at the National League of Cities Annual Congress of Cities and Exposition, I participated in a three-hour session titled "Developing Public-Private Partnerships" (P3s).  These types of collaborative partnerships offer an alternative funding option. 

Follow Mary on Twitter Like Mary on Facebook View Mary's profile on LinkedIn View Mary's YouTube Videos
Texas Government Insider

will not publish next week
In observance of the Thanksgiving holidays, the Texas Government Insider will not publish next  Friday, Nov. 28. We will resume our regular Friday publication dates on Friday, Dec. 5.

The offices of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 27 and 28, for the holiday. Our office will reopen on Monday, Dec. 1, at 8:30 a.m.

Have a safe and happy holiday!
TxDOT OK's contingency 
fund for Harbor Bridge
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) this week approved a $175 million contingency fund to help ensure construction of a new Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi. The money will be set aside to help pay for costs above what officials have anticipated for the project.

The new bridge will be at least 205 feet above the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, which is approximately 67 feet higher than the current bridge. It will also have wider lanes and better highway access. Corpus Christ State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said the new bridge will bring jobs to the region and "further strengthen the economy for years to come," while enhancing safety components of the new bridge.
Your Ad Here!

Colbert to take on role as HCDE County School Superintendent
James Colbert Jr. West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent James Colbert, Jr. (pictured) is the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) choice for County School Superintendent.

HCDE provides services to children, adult learners, educators, local governments, charter schools and taxpayers in school districts in Harris County. It has more than 20 divisions to offer services for students from Pre-K to adult.

Colbert began his education career as a special education teacher in the Pflugerville Independent School District. He later served the district as assistant high school principal. He also is a former administrator for a 4-A high school in the Dallas Independent School District. Colbert has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree from Texas State University and is certified as a superintendent and administrator in both Texas and Tennessee.

City of Kyle selects Sellers 
as its new city manager
Scott Sellers Kyle City Council members recently selected Scott Sellers (pictured) as the new city manager. Sellers, who was selected from a field of 46 applicants, currently serves as city manager in Kilgore.

Previously an interim city manager in Montrose, Colorado, Sellers also has been an assistant city manager in Centralia, Illinois, and a finance intern in Lehi, Utah. He became city manager in Kilgore in spring 2011. Sellers earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Brigham Young University.

Strategic Partnerships Inc. 

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Dalhart approves $9.6 million 
loan for new water system
Dalhart City Council members recently approved a $9.6 million loan to build a new water system with four wells and a pumping station to serve southern areas of the city.
Two local banks are participating in the loan to be issued by Texas Independent Bank, city officials said.
Calhoun County ISD selects Cowley superintendent finalist
James Cowley Trustees for Calhoun County Independent School District recently selected James Cowley (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent.

Currently superintendent at Linden-Kildare Consolidated Independent School District, Cowley also was an assistant superintendent at Sunnyvale ISD, an administrator for Saltillo ISD and teacher at Sulphur Springs ISD, Mount Vernon ISD and Lone Star ISD.

Cowley has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from East Texas State University and an Ed.D from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
HDI Solutions

Alice to sell COBs for $4.1M 
for variety of city projects
The city of Alice recently approved the sale of $4.1 million in certificates of obligation, the proceeds of which will be used for a variety of projects in the city. Among the projects are: Highland Bridge soil erosion, King Street bridge drainage, Palm Mobile Home Park sewer line, CC Forbes sewer line, Josephine Drive sidewalk, curb and gutter, College Street drainage improvement, Aransas from Third Street waterline and Third Street curb and gutter.

The two big-ticket items are more than $1.148 million to address other water and sewer line needs in the city and $2 million that will go toward Landfill Cell D.
LeFleur Transportation

Weslaco terminates Leo
Olivares as city manager
Leo Olivares In a 4-3 vote, Weslaco city commissioners recently terminated the employment of City Administrator Leo Olivares (pictured), effective immediately.

Commissioners also selected City Secretary Elizabeth Walker as the interim city administrator. City officials declined to reveal the terms of the agreement with Olivares.
Sergio Ramirez also resigned as interim police chief earlier this month.
Health Information Designs

Wells wins $1.38 million federal grant for water and sewer lines
Wells city officials recently received notice of winning a $1.38 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) to pay for relocating water and sewer lines in that city. The USDA also approved a $1.699 million low-interest loan to the city to repay over a 40-year period. Relocating the water and wastewater lines is necessary because of a project to widen US 69 that runs through the city.
Janda lone finalist for chief financial officer at Leander ISD
Lucas Janda Lucas Janda (pictured) recently won selection as the lone finalist for chief financial officer (CFO) at Leander ISD. He will replace Ellen Skoviera, the assistant superintendent of business and operations, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Now the CFO at Forney ISD, Janda also was CFO for the Stafford Municipal School District. Janda has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University.
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Stephenville to narrow down 
city administrator candidates
After receiving 60 applications for the post of city administrator, Stephenville City Council members recently agreed to meet in executive session to select up to six candidates to bring in for personal interviews. The new city administrator will replace Mark Kaiser, who resigned in August. City officials also appointed Police Chief Pat Bridges to be the interim city administrator a permanent administrator is hired.Council members set a goal of filling the position in early 2015.
Arnold Adair retiring as superintendent for Deer Park 
Arnold Adair Superintendent Arnold Adair (pictured) of Deer Park Independent School District recently gave notice he is retiring when the school year ends this summer.

A graduate of Deer Park High School, Adair joined that district as a junior high teacher in November 1975 and later served as a principal, a director of secondary education, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent during his 30-year career with the district. Adair began serving as superintendent in 2004.
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McDougal selected lone finalist 
for city manager in Port Arthur
Brian McDougal Brian McDougal (pictured) recently won selection as the lone finalist for city manager in Port Arthur.

Currently the city manager of Shawnee, Oklahoma, McDougal was selected from a field of two finalists that included City Manager Natasha Henderson of Muskegon, Michigan. McDougal also has served as a city manager in Remerton and Royston, both in Georgia.

City officials are still negotiating a final contract with McDougal.
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Barnett resigns as election administrator in Williamson Co.
Jason Barnett, the election administrator for Williamson County, recently resigned from the job he has held since July 2013. Barnett, who offered his resignation following a meeting with the Williamson County Election Commission, said he is looking for new opportunities. Barnett previously served as deputy elections administrator in Denton County and for a company that sells voting equipment.
Carlos Villareal retires 
as city manager in Laredo
Carlos Villarreal Laredo City Manager Carlos Villarreal (pictured) recently retired, effective on Nov. 18. He had served as city manager for nearly eight years.

City officials appointed Deputy City Manager Cynthia Collazo to serve as acting city manager until an interim city manager is appointed. The mayor and a majority of council supported the voluntary retirement agreement, saying Villarreal and council members often disagreed on project goals.
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Decatur ISD studying options 
for bond election in May 2015
Rod Townsend Superintendent Rod Townsend (pictured) of Decatur Independent School District recently outlined two options for trustees to consider when planning for a possible May 2015 bond election.

The first option includes definite needs for the district and the second option includes some projects that could be considered as "wants" rather than "needs," Townsend said. One of the needs is $2.6 million to purchase 25 buses and some smaller vehicles, he added. Technology and security upgrades, including card readers installed at all district facilities, also are considered necessary, he said. The second option includes a new gym at an elementary school, upgrades to a practice field and baseball/softball facility, new turf at the stadium and an indoor multipurpose practice facility at the high school.

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Natalia, Superintendent 

Mancha parting ways

A separation agreement  has been approved with Natalia ISD Superintendent Guillermo Mancha Jr., who last month was placed on administrative leave. No reason was given for Mancha leaving the district. The agreement calls for Mancha to remain on paid leave until Jan. 31, 2015, and then resign. Assistant Superintendent Alexandro Flores, who has been serving as interim superintendent, will continue in that role.

Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Alía Ureste of El Paso, Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission;
  • Jody Anderson of Lufkin, Angelina-Neches River Authority; 
  • David King of Nacogdoches, Angelina-Neches River Authority; 
  • Tom Murphy of Crocket, Angelina-Neches River Authority; 
  • Bob Waller of Kerrville, Upper Guadalupe River Authority Board of Directors;
  • Randy Williams of Abilene, Juvenile Justice Advisory Board;
  • Robb Catalano of Fort Worth, chair, Advisory Committee to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments;
  • Denise Oncken of Houston, Advisory Committee to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments;
  • Aureka Sanders of DeSoto, Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council;
  • Andrew Crim of Fort Worth, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Mateo Delgado of El Paso, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Stephen Gersuk of Plano, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Ruth Lore Mason of Houston, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities; 
  • Brandon Pharris of Beaumont,Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Michael Peace of Poteet, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Lora Taylor of Houston, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • John Thomas of Abilene, Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities;
  • Elvia Espino of Irving, Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education;  
  • JenWylie of Tuscola, Continuing Advisory Committee for Special Education.

Shaver resigns as city administrator in Anahuac

City Administrator Deck Shaver of Anahuac recently resigned from that job effective on Dec. 9. Shaver, who had worked in Anahuac for almost a year, accepted a new job as city manager in Iowa Park.

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The Texas Government Insider is a free weekly e-newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
The Insider is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1994 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.
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