Officials plan May 17 event to celebrate completion of Phase Two
The first section of the Manor Expressway shows the new toll lanes (left) and the nont
-tolled lanes (right) that are part of Phase One. Phase Two will be completed in May and CTRMA officials are planning a celebration.
The commute from Manor to Austin on US 290 East is about to become less frustrating. The Manor Expressway, a new 6.2 mile road that will feature three tolled and three non-tolled lanes in each direction, is preparing for a May opening. The new roadway, which began construction in 2010, is expected to triple the current capacity of US 290 East between US183 and the new, tolled State Highway130.
A project of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), the opening of the second phase of the Manor Expressway will be celebrated on Saturday, May 17. Authority officials are planning a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. community-wide festival. The event will be staged in the middle of the tollway, along a one-mile stretch of highway between Giles Road and Harris Branch Parkway.
Dubbed the "On the Road Again" celebration, the event will culminate with the opening of the completed Manor Expressway to motor vehicle traffic. Local, state and federal officials will be on hand for the event, which will also feature food and refreshments, music and a parade.
The project, originally estimated to cost more than $425 million, is funded by state and federal highway funds and borrowed money that will be paid back with future toll revenues.
The existing US 290 roadway was widened and improved and motorists can use those lanes without paying tolls. Phase One of the project, which is already open, includes director connectors to US 183 and 1.5 miles of the new toll road. Also part of Phase One that includes federal funding is the flyover direct connect interchange between US 183 and the Manor Expressway. Phase One was open to traffic in 2012. The second phase of the project includes Manor Expressway from Chimney Hill Blvd. to east of Parmer Lane. That part of the project began in July 2011.
Tolls for using the new expressway will be paid electronically, either through a transponder linked to a TxTag or other such account, or by mail, when a toll bill is mailed to the registered owner of vehicles using the toll road, determined through the use of a digital photo of the vehicle license plate.
After Carstarphen leaves for Atlanta...
Cruz chosen as interim superintendent for Austin schools
Paul Cruz (pictured), previously the Chief Schools Officer for the Austin Independent School District, has been chosen by the AISD Board of Trustees to serve as interim superintendent for the district. He will take over for former Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who resigned recently from AISD to become superintendent of the Atlanta (Georgia) Public Schools. Cruz has indicated that he will not seek the superintendent's job on a permanent basis.
In addition to his role as Chief Schools Officer, Cruz has served AISD in the past as associate superintendent for middle schools and as assistant superintendent for educational services. His education career also includes having worked as a teacher, campus administrator and central office administrator in schools in Corpus Christi, San Antonio and South Texas. He is also a former superintendent of the Laredo ISD, a former assistant superintendent in Round Rock and was a deputy commissioner at the Texas Education Agency.
Cruz holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin, a master's from Corpus Christi State University and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.
LCRA to seek state loan to help pay for reservoir
The board of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) this week approved making application to the state for up to a $250 million loan to help defray the costs of construction of a new reservoir. The Austin American-Statesman reports that the reservoir will be in Wharton County. The cost is expected to be $215 million and the Statesman reports the loan not only would cover construction costs, but also administrative costs and debt servicing. The reservoir, according to LCRA officials, would yield about 90,000 acre-feet of water per year during drought conditions. The LCRA is seeking a loan from the state because its interest rate would be lower than a conventional loan.
$1M gift to help establish center at Tech's College of Engineering
A new student recruitment and support center in the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering at Texas Tech University will be built with the help of a $1 million ConocoPhillips gift. The center will be named the ConocoPhillips Center for Engineering Enrichment and Diversity for a period of five years.
The goal of the center is to enhance recruiting efforts among historically underrepresented groups and to serve as a central location for student academic support services within the College of Engineering. With hopes of increasing student diversity over the next five years, the center also is expected to bring existing programs together to better serve the engineering students at Texas Tech.
Select high school students from these diverse districts will be invited to visit the Texas Tech campus in Lubbock to experience college life firsthand, with travel costs provided by the center. "Our students often drop out of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields because they did not receive the correct background in high school for the rigors of such fields," said Al Sacco Jr. (pictured), dean of the Whitacre College of Engineering. "This center will allow us to provide the help needed to fill in those gaps and keep good students on track for a successful career in engineering."
UT grad, Exxon CEO pledges $5M to engineering building
The University of Texas at Austin's proposed Engineering Education and Research Center got a $5 million boost recently in a pledge from Exxon Mobile Chairman and CEO Rex W. Tillerson and his wife Renda. The new $310 million project, including $250 million strictly for the building, will include space for activities for both students and researchers and is expected to promote collaborations with other units of the UT campus.
The university has already raised $65 million in donations toward the project. Other funds will include campus bond proceeds, reserves and UT System bonds. "We believe UT-Austin is well positioned to produce the next generation of engineering leaders," Tillerson said in a statement.
A 1975 civil engineering graduate of UT, Tillerson began at Exxon as a production engineer shortly after his graduation. He has served as chairman and CEO since 2006. The company has contributed more than $55 million to the university since 1975, with nearly $17 million of that going to engineering programs.
Another Texas school district to be led by board of managers
Another school district in Texas will soon be taken over by a board of managers that will oversee the district. Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams (top right) said Monday that not only will he appoint a board of managers for the struggling Beaumont Independent School District, but he will also name a new superintendent to replace current superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois (bottom left).
In late 2012, Williams appointed a board of managers to take over the duties of the board of trustees of the El Paso ISD, following a cheating scandal that resulted in a prison term for the school's superintendent.
The action in the Beaumont ISD follows recent Texas Education Agency investigations in special education, finance and governance. TEA staff recommended appointment of a board of managers and the lowering of the BISD accreditation. Williams, in a letter to the BISD superintendent and board president, wrote, "The magnitude of the findings, the serious nature of the ongoing and systemic operating deficiencies facing the district, and the importance of preventing further harm to the welfare of the Beaumont ISD's students and to the public interest compel me to appoint a board of managers at this time." No timeline was set for when Williams would appoint the managers or the new superintendent. The district currently is operating under a conservator who will oversee the operations of the district and ensure the district is taking appropriate measures until a board of managers is in place.
The BISD can request a review of the findings by no later than April 24. Pending the outcome of the review, the board of managers' appointment would become effective on June 15. Once the board is appointed, they will assume the duties of the board of trustees for up to two year. A school board election would have to be called within two years of appointment of the managers.
UNT selects Brown as VP for business, administration
Bob Brown (pictured), currently serving as vice president for business and administration at Texas A&M University-Commerce, has been chosen as the new vice president for finance and administration at the University of North Texas (UNT). In his new role, which he will fill beginning May 12, Brown will be responsible for the university's budget and finance area, including treasury services, decision support, compliance, general accounting and contracts, among other duties. He also will have oversight of facilities management, risk management, safety and police.
A Certified Public Accountant, Brown has more than 30 years of experience as the chief business officer in a number of institutions of higher education. Before joining TAMU-Commerce, Brown served at Dallas County Community College District, North Harris Montgomery Community College District in Houston and Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brown holds a bachelor's degree and an MBA from UNT. He also has completed the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky and the Governor's Executive Development Program at The University of Texas.
A&M announces electronic procurement program
Buy A&M, a single electronic procurement solution that can be used throughout the A&M System by member institutions, was recently announced by TAMU System Chancellor John Sharp. In addition to streamlining the procurement process, the program will also allow for organizational management for system members.
Sharp said not only will the Buy A&M program increase the speed and efficiency of the procurement process, it will also provide small, minority and women-owned businesses in the state a better opportunity to be a part of the A&M System procurement process.
The program allows for shared contracts between members, a single vendor file shared between members and interface with current accounting systems. It also includes the ability to request and expense goods and services among members. The program will include the System's 11 universities and seven state agencies and allows for distribution of bids from all those agencies and entities.
UTSA to share $800,000 cybersecurity grant from FEMA
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recently received a share of a three-year, $800,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help develop training courses to improve cybersecurity awareness, policy, monitoring and disaster recovery, noted Greg White (pictured), director of the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at UTSA.
The UTSA center will participate in the newly created National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC) along with the Criminal Justice Institute of the University of Arkansas System, the Center for Information Assurance at the University of Memphis, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and the Norwich University Applied Research Institutes on the three-year project to improve cybersecurity, White said.
Consortium members also will create a course, Developing a Community Cyber Security Program, that will provide community leaders, network/security technical personnel and individuals a guide to what it takes to develop a coordinated approach to securing networks and computers, he said. Each participating university will work a different piece of the model.
DFPS making plans to expand privatization of foster care
John Specia (pictured), commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, recently announced plans to further expand privatization of foster care in Texas.
The plan to privatize some foster care began in West Texas and this summer will enter the Fort Worth area. Specia's plan changes procurement and payments by placing one vendor in charge of managing all other contractors providing foster care in a region. The plan also includes financial incentives to the vendor in charge for providing better performance in the contract. Some child advocates reminded of the increased number of deaths of foster children last year. They said the proposed contract to one private company in a region to manage foster care lacks incentives to encourage providers to move abused and neglected children more quickly to reunite with birth families, to be adopted or move into more stable foster care.
Specia defended his decision to expand the privatization program to two other regions this summer. His agency has 300 vendors, but some vendors are not located in places where they are needed, so children in foster care can remain in touch with relatives and friends or stay in the same school.
Texas A&M-Kingsville selects Walker as foundation director
Texas A&M University-Kingsville officials recently selected Brad Walker (pictured) as executive director and chief executive officer for the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation. Walker also will serve as chief development officer for the alumni and development office of the university.
Previously the director of an Oklahoma-based foundation serving several hospital campuses in that state, Walker began his career as a sports writer, moved into public information and then development at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He also was the associate director for a major fundraising campaign at the main campus of Texas Tech, an associate director of the Red Raider Club, assistant director for the Arkansas division of the March of Dimes and a vice president for Oklahoma State University Foundation.
Walker has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Texas Tech University and earned certification in fundraising management from The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Ector County selects architect for proposed courthouse project
On the recommendation of Ector County Judge Susan Redford (pictured), county commissioners recently selected an Austin-based architecture firm to assess the needs of the county courthouse and prepare a master plan and began negotiations with the firm. Redford also has urged commissioners to appoint a citizen's group that will be more transparent in its activities in developing plans for a new courthouse.
Voters in November 2013 rejected a $95 million bond proposal to build a new courthouse recommended by a committee that met privately and made recommendations based on four-year-old reports, Redford said.
The architectural firm would begin a process of data collection, meeting with county departments, determining space needs and then developing options and pricing.
Longview ISD seeking proposals for private bus management
Longview Independent School District trustees recently authorized district personnel to seek proposals from companies to manage transportation services for the school district. Trustees are set next month to hear a presentation from a private company that offers janitorial and custodial services throughout the United States.
The goal of privatization is to save money and provide more efficient service to parents and students in the district, said Assistant Superintendent Lynn Marshall, who cited the example of Mount Pleasant ISD, which contracted with a private company in 2012 to manage its bus system.
Longview ISD now has 77 employees in the transportation department, which had a $2.83 million budget in 2012-2013. Of the $2.83 million, the district contributed $2.13 million after receiving a state allotment and Title I reimbursement for summer school transportation, Marshall said.
Houston ISD ranks in top 40 on list of 100 best fleets
The Transportation Services Department of Houston Independent School District recently ranked 39th on a list of "100 Best Fleets" in North America published by Governing magazine. The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD also made the 100 best list and Austin ISD received an honorable mention at the announcement at the NAFA Institute and Expo sponsored by the NAFA Fleet Management Association.
Mark Swackhamer (pictured), senior manager of fleet operations for Houston ISD, noted the district has moved up on the list for the fourth consecutive year. Last year, the district ranked 47th, he noted.
NAFA rates transportation services on the use of technology, quick and efficient vehicle repair and scheduling vehicle repairs at the right time, Swackhamer said. Among the improvements that help boost Houston ISD were the use of new GPS systems that reduced idle time and improve pick-up time, alerts for low batteries, installation of silent alarms, increased use of biofuels and improved training for drivers, Swackhamer said.
Hidalgo gets first look at proposed design for new courthouse
Hidalgo County commissioners recently got their first look at an architectural plan for a new county courthouse that could be developed using a public-private partnership. The proposed plan included floor plans, exterior designs and a three-dimensional illustration of the proposed new courthouse, but a final cost estimate for the project will not be available for another two to three weeks.
At least one commissioner supported joining with a private developer to build a new 10-story courthouse next to the current 70-year-old courthouse with the private developer paying much of the construction cost in return for a stake in the new facility. An earlier estimate placed a $114 million price tag on the new courthouse. While the county paid for the architectural plan, commissioners have not allotted any other funding for the project, said Commissioner A.C. Cuellar. Commissioners also could ask voters to approve bonds if a public-private partnership is not used to fund the new courthouse, he said.
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PACE - new collaborative program for Texas is seeking input
"PACE in a Box," a tool kit of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program designed for local governments, is issuing a request for information (RFI) hoping to get comments and feedback from potential users in the future.
PACE is a program that provides low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades for existing commercial and industrial properties. Through loans, provided by the PACE program, property owners can realize significant reductions in operating costs and get low-cost 100 percent loans for investments in qualifying energy saving equipment. Cities and counties will also realize additional tax dollars as a result of property value increases. Additionally, local citizens will benefit from the loan programs. Organizers note that the PACE in a Box program provides everything a local government needs to help design and implement local PACE programs.
Any owner of commercial, industrial, or residential property in Texas with five or more dwelling units in a PACE region is eligible to participate in PACE financing. Some of the improvements that can qualify for funding are HVAC upgrades, high-efficiency chillers, boilers and furnaces, water conservation services, wastewater recovery and reuse systems, high-efficiency lighting upgrades, renewable energy systems and more. The final draft of PACE in a Box and the RFI are posted on the PACE Web site. Comments are due by May 15, with a targeted date of May 31for launch of the program.
Project Connect in North Corridor announces service plans
Providing more connectivity in Central Texas is the goal of Project Connect in the North Corridor. This week, the team announced its Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) plans for several different types of services. Among them are the extension of current MetroRapid lines to Round Rock, Georgetown and Pflugerville; Express service that will link Hutto and Pflugerville to Austin via the MoKan Corridor; Connect bus service from Hutto to Round Rock, Round Rock to Cedar Park and Manor to Tech Ridge and the growing transit hub of Highland Mall; New Park and Ride facilities in Rond Rock, Hutto, Pflugerville and Webberville.
"We now have a plan to develop real, attainable, high-capacity transit tools that can give North Corridor commuters more options for getting around within this most congested area in our region," said Linda Watson, Capital Metro president and CEO. The projects can be completed in phases as funding is available. Officials say if the LPA is fully completed, the cost would be about $164 million.
Capital Metro and the Project Connect team plan to work with communities and local governments to identify funding sources, conduct the necessary environmental studies and establish project timelines.
Milano ISD panel pushes for new junior high school, ag building
Milano Independent School District officials recently requested proposals from architects to design a new junior high school and agricultural vocational building, noted Superintendent Robert Westbrook (pictured).
The 11-member facilities committee comprised of parents, school employees and community members toured all district facilities before making a decision on the priority projects, Westbrook said. The junior high school is now located in a portable building built behind the high school in 1985.
An alternative to building a new junior high school would be to move the junior high school into the current elementary school and build a new elementary school, said the superintendent. If trustees decide to construct a new building, the board most likely will ask voters to approve bonds to pay for any new facilities, he added.
Dallas County OKs $10M for water line to Wilmer, Lancaster
Dallas County commissioners recently approved $10 million to build a new water line to Wilmer and Lancaster. City officials, however, must approve an agreement with the county to repay a combined $5 million over a 20-year period.
The new water line is designed to provide water to 2,200 acres that are a part of the International Inland Port area in the two rural cities. Water pressure in that area is so low that it is insufficient for sprinkler systems and other uses, county officials said.
A 2012 report from the North Central Council of Governments said the water system in Wilmer does not have sufficient capacity to fight a large fire for three hours and should be expanded to meet current use and provide opportunity for growth, noted Denny Wheat, city administrator in Wilmer. Work on the project could begin in early 2015, county officials said.
Walker Co. omits Huntsville in seeking grant for new radio system
Walker County commissioners recently decided not to partner with the city of Huntsville in an application for a $700,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for new radios for volunteer fire departments.
The Huntsville Fire Department received a grant last year to update its radio system along with notice that it would be best to combine its application with the county because a majority of wildfires happen outside of city limits, noted Andrew Isbell, director of planning and development for Walker County. Isbel also told commissioners that Huntsville city officials had agreed to provide grant funds to the county, if commissioners decided to partner with the city in seeking the grant. The grant that would require city and county officials to provide justifications when applying for renewal each of the three years of the grant.
The county judge and two commissioners, however, expressed concern that combining the application could hurt the county's chances to be awarded the grant. Commissioners voted to apply for the grant from the Texas Widfire Disaster Recovery Fund without participation by the city. The county has been unsuccessful in the last three years in winning the grant.
E-Learning Symposium scheduled for May 14-15 in Austin
The E-Learning Symposium, an interactive conference hosted by the E-Learning Council and the Department of Information Resources (DIR), is designed to help professionals and key decision-makers learn how to execute E-Learning programs within their organizations. This year's event is set for May 14 and 15 at OMNI Southpark Hotel, 4140 Governor's Row, Austin, 78744. Industry experts from Texas and beyond will be on hand to share their knowledge regarding E-Learning topics, processes and technology. This event is especially important for professionals who manage and design Web-based education programs in health care, government, higher education, energy and corporate settings. In addition to a variety of speakers, a panel discussion is also planned on "Training the Mobile Workforce." The panel will discuss how training strategy and tactics need to evolve to accommodate the movement "away from the desk." Registration is now open and the program is available for viewing.
21st Annual HUB/Small Business Vendor Fair set for April 22
The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas System will host their 21st HUB/SB vendor fair April 22 at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, 1701 Red River, Austin, TX 78701. The vendor fair is designed to give Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) owners an opportunity to market their products and/or services to the many departmental purchasing representatives on The University of Texas campus, UT System component institutions and to other State of Texas agencies. HUB and small business vendors will exhibit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Workshops and other networking opportunities will occur throughout the day. This year's HUB/SB Vendor Fair will also include a business-matchmaking session where HUB and SB vendors can present their qualifications to prime firms and agency representatives in one-on-one meetings. The vendor fair is FREE for exhibiting vendors and open to the public. More information is available here.
Eagle Ford Consortium planning third annual conference
The Third Annual Conference of the Eagle Ford Consortium is planned for April 21-23 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. "Driving the 21st Century Texas Economy: Sustainable Oil and Gas Communities" is the theme for this third annual event. Consortium members address issues that are the result of the economic impact of the oil and gas exploration that is taking place within the Eagle Ford Shale. The event features keynote speakers at conference luncheons, informative breakout sessions, power networking, receptions and more. Sponsorship opportunities are available and exhibitor reservations are being accepted. Online registration is now open. For more information or for sponsorships, contact Cindy Taylor at email@example.com or 210-912-5868.
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Texans seek water relief!
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
The buzz in Texas is all about water. Citizens and taxpayers are worried. How can we solve our water shortage problems? Where do we find funding? What short-term and long-term options are best?
Texas is not the only state with water resource issues. In fact, only one in seven citizens throughout the world has access to safe drinking water. And, the Global Economic Forum says that water shortages are the third most serious risk the world currently faces. But, those facts don't make us feel any better about our state's current situation.
Many communities, in either drought-stricken or water-poor areas, are discussing desalination plants as a way to increase local water supply. Desalinization is a process that produces fresh water either from seawater or from brackish water. The plants are not cheap and construction projects are not quick - good reasons for not delaying if this is the way to get relief.
The International Desalination Association reports that in the decade from 2000-2010, there were 117 municipal desalination plants built in America. The Texas Water Development Board reports that Texas is home to 40 desalination plants, most of which turn brackish groundwater into fresh water.
El Paso has the largest inland municipal desalination plant in the world. The plant, which was named after former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, began producing fresh water in 2007 and it has a design capacity of approximately 27.5 million gallons of water per day. And, it is also the largest public-public project of its kind in the United States.
Livingston retiring as city
manager in University Park
City Manager Bob Livingston (pictured) of University Park recently announced plans to retire at the end of this month. Council members also selected Robbie Corder as the new city manager to replace Livingston.
Serving as city manager in University Park since 1991, Livingston also was a city manager in Dodge City, Kansas, and in Santa Paula, California. He also was an assistant city manager in Lincoln City, Oregon; Lompoc, California; and Highland Park, Illinois.
Corder currently is director of community development for University Park and previously was an assistant to the town manager in Prescott Valley. He has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Kansas.
TGI publishes day early today
because of Good Friday holiday
The offices of Strategic Partnerships Inc. will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and the Texas Government Insider is being published a day early this week. Because it is a short week, our popular Lone Star column will not be featured this week.
We will return to our regular Friday publication date on April 25, and our Lone Star column will return then as well. The SPI offices will open again at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April 21.
Schneider to retire from Tyler Economic Development Council
Phyllis Schneider, the vice president of finance for the Tyler Economic Development Council, recently notified directors she plans to retire from that post on April 30.
A 25-year employee of the Tyler EDC, Schneider previously worked for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth before joining the newly created council as a secretary in June 1989. She has a bachelor's degree from Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma.
Cronin planning to retire as superintendent of Shepherd ISD
Superintendent Jody Cronin (pictured) of Shepherd Independent School District recently notified board members he plans to retire on Aug. 31.
Before returning to the Shepherd school district in 1994 to teach agriculture, Cronin worked for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and the Coldspring-Oakhurst school district. His first job was as a teacher in 1981 in the Shepherd school district. Cronin has a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University.
Strategic Partnerships seeking additional outside consultants
SPI is seeking additional outside consultants who have experience in county/city government in Texas.
Currently, there is a need for procurement consultants who are retired or former county or municipal elected officials, experts in health care, K-12 in the DFW, Houston, El Paso, Corpus Christi and South Texas/Lower Rio Grande Valley areas. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rockdale ISD taps Monzingo as lone finalist for superintendent
Rockdale Independent School District board members recently selected Denise Monzingo (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent.
Currently a director of accountability and special programs at Pflugerville ISD, Monzingo previously served as an elementary and middle school principal for the Pflugerville district.
Monzingo has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree from Texas State University. She is completing a Ph.D. at Texas A&M University.
Copperas Cove to spend $4.6 million on capital upgrades
Copperas Cove City Council members recently approved $4.6 million to pay for renovating a fire station, upgrading the water system and relocating utilities.
Council allotted an additional $450,000 to the $3.25 million already allocated to pay for renovations to Fire Station #2 by adding a bay and improving facilities to accommodate more staff.
City officials also approved $2.052 million to improve the water system to provide utilities west of the city and $2.164 million to relocate utilities along FM116 as part of an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to widen FM116.
Lubbock chooses Campbell as new airport manager
Lubbock city officials recently selected Kelly Campbell (pictured) as the new manager of the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. Previously the deputy director of finance and administration, Campbell replaced the former director, James Loomis, who is now the city manager in Lubbock. Campbell has a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University.
Cleburne taps James as head
of economic development
Cleburne city officials recently tapped Jessica James as the new manager of economic development and marketing. She replaces Jerry Cash, the former director of Cleburne Economic Development, who left that post in January.
James has a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and has 15 years experience in marketing and economic development, most recently in the cities of Richardson, Denton and Graham.
Vann picked as lone finalist for superintendent at Comfort ISD
Leslie Vann (pictured) recently won selection as the lone finalist for superintendent at Comfort Independent School District.
Currently the assistant superintendent for finance and operations for Lamesa ISD, Vann expects to finalize his contract with Comfort ISD on May 1.
Vann began his career as a teacher for Klondike ISD and Sands ISD, and also served as a superintendent at school districts in Lometa, Gorman and Wellman-Union before joining the Lamesa school district four years ago.
TSTA elects Candelaria
as association's new president
Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) members recently elected Noel Candelaria, who was a special education teacher at Ysleta Independent School District, as the new president of that group. TSTA delegates also elected Ovidia Molina, a teacher for Alief ISD, as vice president.
A vice president for TSTA since 2011, Candelaria will replace Rita Haecker, who has served as president of TSTA since 2008, when he begins his term as president on July 15.
TSTA is an affiliate of the National Education Association, which has about 3 million members who are teachers or education support professionals.
Overton selects Cunningham
as its new city manager
Overton City Council members recently selected Charles Cunningham (pictured) as the new city manager, effective on April 25. He will replace City Manager Joe Cantu when he begins his new duties.
With 35 years experience in public service, Cunningham was an assistant city manager in Kyle and a director of administrative support services for the East Texas Council of Governments.
Cunningham has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and attended Texas Christian University and the University of Southern California for graduate studies.
Brownsville postpones vote on
$111M capital improvement plan
Brownsville city commissioners recently agreed to postpone a planned vote on a proposed $111 million capital improvement plan presented by Deputy City Manager Pete Gonzalez.
Citing the need for more time to discuss and study the proposed plan, commissioners agreed to hold a special meeting soon to further discuss the proposed capital improvement plan. The proposed plan calls for purchasing new equipment and upgrades to fire, police, aviation and recreation facilities.
Willis Mackey to retire as
superintendent of Judson ISD
Willis Mackey (pictured), superintendent of Judson Independent School District, recently told trustees he has decided to retire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.
A 30-year veteran in public education, Mackey has been superintendent at Judson ISD since December 2007. He also was a superintendent for Port Arthur ISD and an assistant superintendent for Beaumont ISD.
Mackey is credited with helping win passage last year of a bond proposal that paid for a new elementary school to be completed in August and construction of a new high school in 2016.
Dawson to retire from N. Lamar
Superintendent James A. Dawson (pictured) of North Lamar Independent School District recently told trustees he plans to retire after 25 years with the district.
Dawson began working as a principal in 1987 and became superintendent in 1989. He plans to retire in June after spending 46 years in public education.
Trustees plan to meet next week to develop a plan for finding a new superintendent.
City of Taft selects Cotroneo
as new city attorney
Taft City Council members recently selected Roxann Cotroneo as the new city attorney. She won selection from a field of three finalists for the job that calls for the city attorney to work on an as-needed basis rather than in a full-time position.
Cotroneo, who has 18 years experience in municipal law, recently withdrew her acceptance for a job as city attorney in Corpus Christi following an investigation into comments she made to city legal staff.
Texas Government Insider Archives
College Station ISD appoints
Ealy as superintendent
College Station Independent School District trustees recently selected Clark Ealy (pictured) as superintendent.
Ealy has been the deputy superintendent for administrative services for the College Station district since 2000.
He begins his new duties as superintendent on June 27 when he replaces Eddie Coulson, who is retiring from that post after 17 years with the College Station district.
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