News And People

Volume 14, Issue 19 - Friday, May 20, 2016
Cancer research institute reaches midway point of 10-year life cycle
CPRIT grants total $1.5B for cancer research, product development

The Texas Legislature passed legislation in the 2007 legislative session that led to the creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) as a source of funding for research and medical commercialization. Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment that established the institute and approved its funding with $3 billion in bond money in the November 2007 election, and CPRIT was authorized to use that money over a 10-year period.

This week, CPRIT's leaders awarded 35 grants worth $79.2 million to academic researchers and product development researchers. Those grants pushed the institute's total awards past two important milestones. There have been more than 1,000 grants awarded for just more than $1.5 billion now, pushing CPRIT over the midway point in terms of its authorized funding.

"Since we began awarding grants in 2010, we've taken Texas farther and faster in the fight against cancer," said Chief Executive Officer Wayne Roberts.

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Mike Morrison, Deputy City Manager, Irving

Career highlights and education: 
  • 37 years of public service;
  • Assistant City Manager, Abilene;
  • City Manager, New Braunfels;
  • Former Chair, Brazos Region G Water Planning Group;
  • Deputy City Manager, Irving;
  • Master of Regional Planning (MRP), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and
  • Bachelor's degree in economic geography/industrial location, University of Florida.
What I like best about my job is: Working with a very talented team and the daily challenges of working in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Take a moment to enjoy the team's accomplishments.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Jump in and paddle like crazy!

If I ever decided to leave work early, I could probably be found: With my family.

People would be surprised to know that: I have a great sense of humor and that I have worked as the steam engineer for the riverboat at Walt Disney World.

One thing I wish more people knew about my city: The incredible diversity that is Irving, both in its people and economy. Also, that the city is small enough to be home to Big State Grill and large enough to be home to six Fortune 500 companies.


TWDB passes State Water Plan, appoints executive administrator 
Members of Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) this week approved two major developments. First, they formally approved the 2017 State Water Plan, which maps out the state's water needs, goals and expectations through 2070. Second, the board members appointed Jeff Walker (pictured) as the executive administrator of the TWDB.

The state must update the plan every five years, and the 2017 version is the first drawn up since the formation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program. Many of the plan's 2,400 recommended water management strategy projects will take advantage of the funding provided by the program. The announcement of the plan's approval noted that conservation strategies make up more than one-fourth of its total of 5,500 water management strategies. That emphasis arose out of the legislature's directive to prioritize conservation in considering candidates for SWIFT funding.

Walker has worked for the TWDB for more than 25 years and, until yesterday, had been deputy executive administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure. In that position, he had responsibility for state water planning, project development, financial assistance and project funds disbursement.

He has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a master's degree from Texas State University. Walker replaces Kevin Patteson, who stepped down from the water board last month.

The board members also approved funding for wastewater system improvements and a water supply project in Harris County in the amount of $4 million and another $5 million for water system improvements in Sweetwater.
Amarillo five-year plan contains $900M in improvement projects
Amarillo city officials are in the process of determining priorities among the more than $900 million in improvements included in the city's new five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Those priorities will be decided by, in part, the views of the community. Officials are planning public meetings and an online survey to receive feedback from city residents.

"June and July is when we'll be out in the community," Deputy City Manager Bob Cowell (pictured) said. "And when I say 'out in the community,' that may be in person. That may be doing interviews on TV, that may be doing things online ... social media, that type of stuff. All of those different ways, we'll do that part of it."

On the list of projects included in the plan are an expansion of the city's civic center at a cost of $166 million, utilities projects for $169 million and renovations to the airport for another $23 million. The largest category of projects are improvements to the city's streets and drainage system that amount to $276 million.

In addition to fee increases and grant funding, city leaders are considering a November bond election to pay for the projects.
Harlingen parks master plan narrowed to five priority projects
The parks master plan for the city of Harlingen has been narrowed down to five projects that will cost the city $9.85 million.

"This came out of the Harlingen Comprehensive Master Plan, 'One Vision, One Harlingen,' " said Javier Mendez, parks and recreation director. "We can look for funding in the future, whatever funding sources are out there, but at least they'll know what our priorities will be."

The top-ranked project among those five is completion of the Arroyo Colorado trail from Dixieland Drive to Hugh Ramsey Nature Park at a cost of about $3.3 million. The nature park, as well, is included on the list for major improvements.

Another included project is the creation of another trail that would use 3.2 miles of drainage corridors and streets. That project would make use of rights-of-way already owned by the Cameron County Irrigation District. City Manager Dan Serna recommended building that trail so that it connects to the city library.

"We could make it a second priority, but that connection is kind of important," Serna said. "We should be trying to connect the library to a hike-and-bike trail system to all our other trails, so that folks from TSTC (Texas State Technical College) or, in this case, from the other side of town can gain access to our library without having to drive there. They can walk or ride a bike there."

Serna noted that a connection to the library could make the project more likely to receive grant funding.
Austin task force finds flood prevention could cost $2B to $4B
A committee convened by the Austin City Council has identified almost 200 steps the city could take to combat the effects of flooding. The Flood Mitigation Task Force issued a report this week that pegged the total costs of those recommendations as ranging from $2 billion to $4 billion.

"We recognize that the cost of making the necessary improvements will require a significant expenditure by the city for the foreseeable future," the report's authors wrote. "We also recognize the real and ongoing costs in terms of quality of life, flood damage (existing and potential) and life-safety will continue to affect the city if Austin does not have the fortitude to effectively address flood mitigation."

The task force's 22 members were appointed by Mayor Steve Adler and members of city council. The city suffered from devestating flooding in 2013 and 2015 that destroyed dozens of homes and damaged many businesses. The effects come from creeks that overflow during flash flooding and from outdated and inadequate drainage infrastructure that can't handle the levels of stormwater the city has seen during heavy rains.

Among the recommendations is acquisition of houses that remain in areas of the city especially prone to flooding and that have already suffered severe damage. City officials have purchased 692 properties and expect to make offers on the remaining 163 by the end of 2016. Other recommendations include the installation of an emergency siren system and the formation of intergovernmental partnerships with entities like Hays, Travis and Blanco counties.

Members of the task force recommended paying for the projects through a voter-approved bond.

"I think the citizens should weigh in on these projects before the city takes on the substantial amounts of money that are required," Task Force Chair Matt Rienstra said.

Austin transportation group urges November rail bond vote 
Members of the city of Austin's Urban Transportation Commission recently agreed to recommend that city council ask voters to approve bonds in November to pay for an urban rail system to ease traffic congestion.

Austin voters rejected bonds for urban rail in November 2014. However, Mario Champion (pictured), a commission member, noted that proposal contained both a rail bond and road bonds and that voters may not have wanted to vote for both at the same time. Champion also said the city and Capital Metro have studied the feasibility and design of urban rail systems enough to use that information again to develop a new plan and gather input from the community.

Commission members plan to make a presentation to the mobility committee in early June. If that committee agrees, transportation commission members will make a presentation to the city council regarding a bond election in late June. City officials would have to decide to hold a bond election by August.
Sales tax holiday for water-efficient, ENERGY STAR products scheduled for end of May
The Office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts this week announced that the state will offer a sales tax holiday on water-efficient and ENERGY STAR Products. The tax-free weekend will take place May 28-30. The Texas Legislature approved the tax holiday during the 2015 legislative session.

"Anyone who has lived through a Texas summer knows that this is the time of year when our state is hit by peak demands for both water and electricity," said Comptroller Glenn Hegar. "These two sales tax holidays, both set for Memorial Day weekend, give Texans the opportunity to save some money while upgrading their homes and businesses with energy-efficient appliances and water-conserving products."

Products that display a WaterSense label - including showerheads, toilets and landscape irrigation controls - qualify for tax-free purchase for both personal and business use. The sales tax holiday also applies to water-conserving products used for conserving groundwater or decreasing ambient air temperature to limit water evaporation.

For a complete list of items and more information on the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday, go to the comptroller's website.
Victoria City Council members approve water-storage project
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires city governments to plan for municipal water needs at least 40 years into the future. In an effort to meet those requirements, members of the Victoria City Council this week approved a project to add to the city's water-storage capacity.

The project will upgrade a water well owned by the city, converting it into a full-scale aquifer storage recovery well, and install a 12-inch treated water line connected to the aquifer storage recovery well. The goal is to draw water from the Guadalupe River and store it underground in the Gulf Coast Aquifer. That would conserve more water, as surface reserves are susceptible to water-loss through evaporation.

The total cost of the project is $570,225, and it will be funded through a $285,112 grant from the Texas Water Development Board and $265,113 from the city's own water and wastewater budget. The Victoria County Groundwater Conservation District also would contribute $20,000. The city council's decision also will set in motion a study to determine the city's future water needs.

"This is a big two-year, data-gathering process that we will use to make a decision on whether or not to move forward in the future with developing - incrementally, over time - additional wells and storage facilities," said Lynn Short, the city's public works director.

Study would help smaller cities gain access to Lake Texoma water
The Board of Directors of the Greater Texoma Utility Authority (GTUA) this week agreed to allot funding for a water distribution study that will research methods of granting access to Lake Texoma to water providers.

General Manager Drew Satterwhite said the impetus for the study was a request from 15 local water providers to use their water rights on the lake in expectation of future growth. The study will help the entities determine the most efficient way to pump water from the lake and deliver it to their customers. The study will include projections of future water needs and assessments of existing facilities.

Most of the providers that have expressed interest in making use of their rights have agreed to contribute funding to the study. Satterwhite said the GTUA is willing to wait until the next budget year to pursue the project if the entities would prefer the delay.
Pflugerville City Council approves $2 million animal shelter project
Voters in Pflugerville declined to approve a $10.7 million bond proposition that would have funded construction of a new animal shelter. That project would have built a new facility that could have housed 110 dogs and 78 cats, doubling the capacity of the current shelter.

The voters' decision didn't end the city's needs for a new, larger animal shelter, however. And, so, the Pflugerville City Council last week approved a project that will spend about $2 million on the first phase of improving the shelter. Those improvements will begin with the demolition of six structures at the animal shelter that do not meet state health codes. A new animal services building will be built with a check-in and work room area with commercial appliances and bath facilities for the animals, as well as a medical-euthanasia room and a 3,600-square-foot outdoor kennel area.

The shelter project is included among a list of others to be paid for with $9.38 million in certificates of obligation, according to Assistant City Manager Lauri Gillam.

Athens officials launch effort to develop new airport master plan
An airport planning advisory committee in Athens recently held its first meeting to begin drafting a master plan for the Athens Municipal Airport. The committee is comprised of city council members, Henderson County officials, members of the airport advisory board and the city's economic development corporation.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) awarded a grant to the city that pays 90 percent of the costs to complete the new master plan, leaving the city's contribution at only $18,500, city officials said.

The planning advisory committee will hold another meeting in mid-August. Committee members also plan to hold an open house to attract more public participation in the planning process.
Floresville parks master plan would relocate athletics fields
Floresville city leaders have issued a new parks master plan that includes new baseball and multi-use fields, along with improvements to the Lauro G. De Leon III Floresville Event Center.

The plans call for about $2 million to be spent on the parks plan, including utility work at the location of the new fields. They were developed jointly by the city council, the Floresville 4A Corporation and the Floresville Economic Development Corporation.

The 4A corporation owns the land on which the city and the FEDC will build the community park.

TxDOT planners seeking public input on I-30 corridor projects
Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) are beginning to gather public opinion surrounding the Interstate 30 corridor in East Texas. The transportation department has posted a survey about the highway online.

The survey regards a 145-mile stretch of the interstate from Farm-to-Market (FM) 2642 in western Hunt County to the Texas-Arkansas state line. I-30 travels through six counties along that route. The study will include existing and future traffic volumes, crash statistics, economic development opportunities, community needs and environmental features.

TxDOT officials have convened a working group of local stakeholders to provide recommendations for the study, which is expected to be completed by the fall.
Greenville seeking bids for Street Improvement Program projects
Construction crews in Greenville recently began work on two major street reconstruction projects, and city officials are preparing for many more. The city has issued requests for proposals on 18 roads projects that are included in the 2016 Street Improvement Program (SIP).

Among the projects up for bid are a major rehabilitation of Stonewall Street, along with the replacement of a water line beneath the street. City Manager Massoud Ebrahim said the project's completion would be timed to coordinate with the opening of the new Bowie Elementary before next school year.

The projects included in the SIP total $1.4 million. Responses to the RFP are due May 24.

Laredo ISD officials preparing civic center renovation project
Laredo Independent School District board members last week began final discussions around the scope of a renovation of the district's civic center.

The project was included in the district's 2013 budget, and officials selected an architect in January. Before the architect can begin the work in earnest, however, board members need to decide how big of a project they want to see.

"Either way, it's going to be several millions of dollars. The question is, is it going to be $3 to $4 million or $30 to $40 million?" said Laredo ISD Superintendent Marcus Nelson (pictured).

That decision will be made before the summer, according to officials.
Federal government restores funds for T2 technology project
The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement this week announced that it would resume payments to a state initiative that has been mired in controversy and cost overruns. The T2 technology project was designed to process child support payments and investigations at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

The program is a reported $100 million over budget and several years behind schedule. State officials promised to fix problems with the project when the federal government stopped payments to it in December 2015. The resumption of those payments means the Office of Child Support Enforcement is once again covering two-thirds of the program's costs, which was expected to cost about $200 million but has run up a bill of more than $300 million.

"We are pleased that, after a thorough review of the T2 initiative, our federal partners have endorsed the validity of the schedule, the new governance model and the staff changes as the necessary strategy for successful completion of this project," said Marc Rylander, a spokesman for the OAG.
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TCEQ to hold summer workshops statewide focused on dam safety
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will host three workshops on dam safety in June and August.

Each workshop will have three sessions: Texas Dam Safety Program, Maintenance of Dams and Spillways and Probable Maximum Precipitation Study. The workshops are designed to educate dam owners and operators about the state's safety laws and regulations, dam failure modes, the owner's responsibilities and liabilities, security issues and the development and implementation of emergency action plans.

Participants will receive a copy of the Workshop Participant Manual and have the opportunity to speak with TCEQ dam safety personnel. The workshops are scheduled for June 15 in Luling, June 22 in Lufkin and Aug. 3 in Denton.

Additional information and registration are available on the TCEQ website.
Hewitt leadership considering $3.4 million bond for streets
City officials in Hewitt are considering a $1.9 million construction project that would completely make over a stretch of Old Temple Road. City Manager Adam Miles (pictured) said the 30-year-old road requires major work, including re-pavement and the addition of new curbs. The city's school district is also in the early planning stages to build a new campus in the area, which will lead to a greater increase in the road's traffic.

"It's at the point it's getting a lot more traffic than it originally had," Miles said. "It's the last of the roads that need to be this level of construction."

City leaders will pay for the project as part of a $3.4 million bond that will go primarily to street repairs. They had been planning for a tax increase to pay off that debt but have reconsidered that notion. The most recent property valuations from the McLennan County Appraisal District have shown sufficient increases in land value that the city will be able to take on the debt payments from general revenue.

"We're not going to have to raise taxes at all," Mayor Ed Passalugo said. "Our tax rate will remain the same."

In addition to the road work, the proposed bond will include park and other facility improvements.
  
Calendar of Events

AEM's Bi-National Green Energy Forum to take place in San Antonio
June 1-3, 2016
The Mexican Entrepreneur Association (AEM) is hosting its Bi-National Green Energy Forum in San Antonio beginning June 1. The forum's mission is to facilitate the exchange of opportunities and interconnectivity among companies in the United States and Mexico doing business within the energy sector. It will offer participants an opportunity to network with public- and private-sector leaders from both countries. The conference will take place at the Pearl Stable in San Antonio. An agenda is available and registration is open.

TxPPA's Summer Momentum Conference to be held in Kerrville
June 8-10, 2016
The Texas Public Purchasing Association (TxPPA) will host its Summer Momentum Conference in Kerrville this June. Seminars and speakers from throughout the state will offer valuable information and lessons for public-sector procurement professionals. In addition, the TxPPA's annual vendor showcase will take place Thursday, June 9. It is a one-day-only opportunity to meet with public-sector buyers and managers, and an opportunity for vendors to showcase their products and services, make new contacts and develop new leads. The conference will be held at the YO Ranch Hotel and Conference Center in Kerrville. An agenda is available online and registration is open.

TSABAA Summer Conference to take place in Corpus Christi in July
July 20-22, 2016
The Texas State Agency Business Administrators' Association (TSABAA) will hold its 47th Annual Summer conference in Corpus Christi, July 20-22. The conference fosters good working relationships among the business and administrative personnel of various state agencies by providing an opportunity to discuss common problems inherent to attaining overall state objectives. It also offers formal training that supports the continuing education of state employees. The Summer Conference is the venue when the association announces the TSABAA Administrator of the Year. The TSABAA represents 125 state agencies throughout Texas. Its 2016 Summer Conference takes place at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel. Registration is open.

New report lays out frightening consequences of inaction 

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

America's infrastructure is crumbling - our roads, bridges, schools and water plants. While government officials are eager to address these growing needs, funding sources are scarce.

There is an alternative solution to paying for infrastructure projects with funding other than local, state and federal allocations. But, according to a report released this week by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), Bridging the Gap Together: A New Model to Modernize U.S. Infrastructure, the solution will require a culture change.

The report supports increasing public-private partnerships (P3s/PPPs) and private capital to meet infrastructure needs. In a discussion earlier this week as part of Infrastructure Week nationwide, a panel of former elected and appointed government officials agreed that P3s are an attractive option that should be considered for at least half of the capital that will be required. The funding gap for infrastructure needs is $3 trillion.

Henry Cisneros, former San Antonio mayor and previous Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was part of the group involved in the discussions.




TDLR names Francis next executive director
Members of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation this week selected Brian Francis (pictured) to be the next executive director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). He will replace William Kuntz, who will retire Aug. 31.

Francis has worked for TDLR since 1999, when he became deputy executive director of the department. He also has worked for the Texas Real Estate Commission, the State Securities Board and the Texas Savings and Loan Department.

A graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), Francis also earned a master's degree from St. Edward's University.

New HHSC leadership adds to executive team
Leaders with the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) this week hired Kara Crawford and Heather Griffith Peterson, adding to HHSC's executive leadership team.

Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner Charles Smith said that Griffith Peterson will take over as chief operating officer, and Crawford will be the commission's chief of staff. Each will begin her new job June 1.

Crawford (pictured) is a senior adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott focusing on health budget and policy. She worked for many years in the Texas Legislature and as the women's health coordinator at HHSC. Crawford has a master's degree from Texas State University.

Griffith Peterson is currently director of policy research for the Texas A&M University System and has previously served as chief financial officer for the Texas Department of Agriculture. Prior to those jobs, she had worked for the cities of Austin and Boston. Griffith Peterson received a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

Austin Lane named Texas Southern University president
The Texas Southern University Board of Regents has selected Austin A. Lane (pictured) as the university's next president. He is currently executive vice chancellor of Lone Star College and was president of Lone Star College-Montgomery from 2009 to January 2015, when he was promoted to the college's second-ranking position.

Lane will succeed John Rudley, who has led Texas Southern University since 2008. He will begin his new job in June, and Rudley will remain at the university for six months to ease Lane's transition. The regents received 50 applications for the position and interviewed two finalists last week.

After attending Odessa Junior College, Lane graduated from Langston University in Oklahoma and then earned a master's degree from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate degree from the University of Alabama.

Attorney general announces promotions
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) this week announced promotions for four staff members.

New Chief of Staff Katherine Cary (pictured) has worked for four attorneys general in her 26 years within state government. Most recently, she served as deputy attorney general for administration, but Cary has held numerous positions within OAG and also worked for the General Land Office and the Texas Lottery Commission. Cary attended Texas A&M University and St. Mary's School of Law.

A graduate of Abilene Christian University and The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Brantley Starr is the new deputy first assistant attorney general. He has clerked for Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and worked in the Office of the Solicitor General under Ted Cruz. Starr joined the Attorney General's office in 2015.

Prerak Shah (pictured) was named senior counsel to the attorney general. After graduating from Drexel University and the University of Chicago Law School, Shah clerked in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked in private practice before joining the OAG.

Ben Williams has worked for Attorney General Ken Paxton since 2008, when he joined the then-state representative's legislative staff. He is now the senior adviser to the attorney general. Williams has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a master's degree from The University of Texas at Dallas. He is currently completing his Ph.D.
McKinstry

Corpus Christi City Manager Olson resigns
Corpus Christi City Manager Ron Olson resigned this week amid controversy over the condition of the city's water supply. City leaders were forced to issue a boil water advisory due to low chlorine disinfectant levels found in the water of one area of the city. Olson (pictured) said, "Ultimately, I am responsible."

He informed Mayor Nelda Martinez and members of the city council of his decision Tuesday. "Even though the water boil is a catalyst event, this is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and I feel like now is the right time," Olson said.

Last week's advisory was the city's third boil water notice in less than a year.

Olson has served as city manager for five years, having come to Corpus Christi after working in Des Moines, Iowa. An interim city manager has not been named.

McKinney officials name Grimes as city manager
Paul Grimes will take over as city manager for the city of McKinney beginning Aug. 1. Currently village manager for Orland Park, Ill., he will replace Interim City Manager Tom Muehlenbeck, who has served in that temporary position for more than two years.

Grimes also has served in city administration in Cranston, R.I., in the private sector and in the U.S. Navy. He has a bachelor's degree from Purdue University and a master's degree from Indiana University.

Muehlenbeck will remain at his post until Grimes comes on board in August.

Laredo college names Ricardo Solis president
Laredo Community College board members have announced Ricardo Solis (pictured) as the sole finalist for the position of president.

Currently the dean of academic, professional and technical education at Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Ariz., Solis was one of four finalists interviewed for the job. He will replace Juan Maldonado, who will step down in August.

Solis earned a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.
Leander school board names interim leader
Members of the Leander Independent School District Board of Trustees have named Karie Lynn McSpadden (pictured) interim superintendent. She currently is assistant superintendent for human resources and will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

McSpadden replaces Bret Champion, who left the district to take over administration of Klein ISD earlier in May.

She has a master's degree from Wayland Baptist University and a bachelor's degree from West Texas A&M University. McSpadden also is currently working on another master's degree.

Austin Energy names Sargent general manager
Austin city officials named Jackie Sargent the next general manager of Austin Energy. Sargent (pictured) is the chief executive officer of the Platte River Power Authority in Fort Collins, Colo.

She had worked for Austin's city-owned utility from 2010 to 2012, during which time she served as senior vice president of power supply and market operations, before taking her current position in Colorado.

She holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Sargent will start her new job in August.

Willow Park hires interim administrator
Former Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree is the interim city administrator in Willow Park. City council members named him to replace Matt Shaffstall this week.

Rountree (pictured) has been in municipal government for more than 45 years, when he began work with the city of Lubbock's parks and recreation department while attending school at Texas Tech University. Two years later, he became parks director in Baytown, a job he held until 1986, when he was promoted to assistant city manager. He became city manager in 1989.

Rountree retired as Brownwood city manager in 2015.

Patton Springs names White superintendent
Trustees for Patton Springs Independent School District recently selected Bryan White (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent. White is principal at the district's lone school, which serves pre-kindergarten through the 12th grade.

He will replace Superintendent Larry McClenny, who has been Patton Springs ISD superintendent since 1998. McClenny will retire at the end of this month.

Former El Paso city CFO named schools official
El Paso Independent School District leaders have named Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria (pictured) the district's new deputy superintendent of finance and operations. She had been chief financial officer (CFO) for the city of El Paso.

Arrieta-Candelaria was a member of the state-appointed Board of Managers for El Paso ISD from May 2013 to May 2015. She has a bachelor's degree from New Mexico State University.

The school district also named José Lopez the new chief of staff this week. He replaces Tom Miller, who is now the deputy superintendent of operations and administration.
LeFleur Transportation

Faced with flooding, Paris City Council considers $8M in repairs
Members of the Paris City Council are considering several drainage projects. The city has suffered from recent flooding, and many of its neighborhoods have inadequate overflow measures in place.

City officials say the drainage projects would cost as much as $8 million to complete and have begun to secure the funding. The process should take two years from beginning to end.

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Pleasant Grove ISD superintendent retires
Pleasant Grove Independent School District Superintendent Todd Williams (pictured) last week announced his intention to retire at the end of his contract, June 30.

Williams has led the district since his appointment in 2013. Prior to his current job, Williams had served as superintendent of Kaufman and Martin's Mill school districts. 

School board members named Gary Roberts as an interim replacement for Williams.
RECENT REPORTS

GOVERNOR'S APPOINTMENTS
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Albert Cheng, Houston, Texas Board of Professional Engineers;
  • Cathy Norwood, Midland, Texas Board of Professional Engineers;
  • Lamberto "Bobby" Ballí, San Antonio, Texas Board of Professional Engineers;
  • Mike Arismendez, Shallowater, Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation;
  • Helen Callier, Kingwood, Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation;
  • Rick Figueroa, Brenham, Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation;
  • Anthony Giuliani, El Paso, Texas Board of Architectural Examiners;
  • John Best, San Angelo, District Attorney for the 119th Judicial District.
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Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
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