Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 41 - Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

At 8th Biennial Legislative Communication Conference...


From legislators to agency staff, budget dominates conversations

Legislative Conference
House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts visits with Strategic Partnerships, Inc. President and CEO Mary Scott Nabers before Pitts' address on the state budget at the recent Legislative Communication Conference.

To the question regarding the 2013-14 Texas state budget - is the glass half empty or half full - Legislative Budget Board (LBB) Acting Director Ursula Parks has the short answer - "Yes."


Parks was among a number of elected and appointed state officials and agency executives to address the 8th Biennial Pre-Session Legislative Communication Conference earlier this week, where the upcoming state budget was the issue du jour.



See more photos from the conference!



House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Jim Pitts reminded attendees that the Texas Legislature, which convenes for the 83rd legislative session in January, is certainly not out of the woods yet financially, in spite of an improving economy.


Pitts said that at the start of the last session two years ago, he predicted an $18 billion budget shortfall for the state. He added that he was really surprised to find out the next day that some people thought the shortfall would not be that large.


When the dust settled, said the House member, "We wished it had been $18 billion. We could have handled that a lot easier than the huge $27 billion shortfall we ended up with."


Budget Panel
Budget gurus (from left) Andrew Blifford, Ursula Parks and John Opperman discusss early preparations being made for the drafting of the new biennial state budget.

Those who addressed the budget - Pitts, Parks, members of the budget staff of the House Speaker and Lt. Governor's offices - agreed that the financial outlook is looking up for the state, but they all agreed that challenges still remain. On the plus side, sales tax revenue is increasing, there is some new and unexpected revenue available and the state economy today is "robust," according to Pitts.


However, that financial forecast can change before the end of the session. "Speed-ups" approved by the last legislature need to be reversed and deferrals made last session will take a toll on this biennial budget. Also, the threat of the federal government's sequestration that could mean significant cuts in federal funding to the states, and Texas faces "huge" funding amounts for Medicaid and other health and human services needs. Still looming are the needs of public education that will not be known before the final Supreme Court ruling on the state's funding of public schools. That decision could come after the session and result in a called special session. Those are known areas where state funds will have to be dedicated.




Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Lara CofferLara Coffer, chief technology officer, Texas Education Agency  


Career highlights and education: Lara Coffer has over 20 years of public sector information technology experience with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science from East Texas State University. Lara began her career in 1991 at the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and worked there for 14 years holding positions in Computer Operations, Programming, Technical Architecture, Project Management and Information Technology Leadership. Following TWC, Lara served for seven years at the Department of Information Resources on the Data Center Consolidation project.

What I like best about my job is: the people. I am so blessed to be working with a highly talented group of technology professionals. They make coming to work fun every day. 

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Surround yourself with intelligent and dedicated people and remember teamwork is the key to success.
Advice you would give a new hire in your office: No surprises. Communicate often, openly and honestly about issues with projects and technology. Develop a culture of open and honest communications within your organization.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: volunteering at my church or travelling. I'm currently looking for a way to combine my love of travel with volunteer service.
People would be surprised to know that I: am the volunteer social media coordinator for my church and I love exploring social media as a way to connect with people that I would not normally have contact with.

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: I wish more people could experience the passion of the employees at TEA and their strong belief in the mission of the agency. Everyone I have met, from Accounting to Building Services, to Information Technology and the program areas, everyone is passionate and really wants to make a difference in the future of the 4.9 million students we serve.

State's 'Rainy Day Fund' continues to expand as session looms


But will upcoming legislature tap any of the money to bridge growing budget gaps?

Budget CrunchDuring recent legislative sessions when budget battles erupted over pennies and not just dollars because of multi-billion-dollar shortfalls, one thing has pretty much remained sacred - and that is the state's Rainy Day Fund, officially the Economic Stabilization Fund. In 2011, lawmakers did dip into the fund to the tune of $3 billion to help bridge the budget gap. But calls to raid the fund of even more money to lessen the effect of more than $5 billion in budget cuts to public and higher education and more than $4 billion to Medicaid and other state obligations fell on deaf ears.


The use of Rainy Day Fund money by the legislature during the 82nd session marked only the sixth time in the fund's history over the last two-dozen years that it had been tapped for use.


Now comes the State Comptroller's Office estimate that the Rainy Day Fund will likely reach $8.1 billion soon and that figure could increase even more by next year. The fund currently has a balance of more than $6 billion, and is expected to be the recipient of another $1.9 billion in oil and gas tax collections in November. The fund has a mandatory cap of $13.6 billion, set by both law and a funding formula.


Whether any of the funds will be used to balance the upcoming biennial budget may well come down to whose definition of "Rainy Day" prevails in the budget war.


TxDOT kicks off study of need for Texas-Oklahoma rail line

Using a $5.6 million federal grant, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials recently kicked off a $14 million, two-year study to determine whether high-speed rail linking Oklahoma to San Antonio would reduce congestion on Interstate 35. TxDOT agreed to contribute a 20 percent match to the $5.6 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.


The study by TxDOT also will explore the best plan to develop passenger rail development to serve Oklahoma City, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Austin and San Antonio along with looking at options, including a public-private partnership, to pay for the project.


Former Sunset Director Longley joins financial services firm staff

Joey LongleyFormer longtime director of the Sunset Advisory Commission, Joey Longley (pictured) has joined a major financial services firm as director of Organizational Improvements in the firm's Global Public Sector practice. As such, Longley will assist the firm's Advisory practice in strategy and business development.


Longley spent three decades with the Sunset Commission, the last 14 years as director. The Commission is responsible for reviewing state agencies to determine if there is still a need for the agency and if its operations require improvements. He was responsible for overseeing those reviews of the agencies with an eye on mission, functions and operations.


Pega Texas Conference 2012

May selected as sole finalist for Angelo State University presidency

ASU President Finalist
Brian May (right), Angelo State presidential finalist, is congratulated by Texas Tech System Chancellor Kent Hance.

After 20 years with Angelo State University (ASU), most recently as provost and vice president for academic affairs, Brian May, Ph.D., has made it to the top. May this week was named the sole finalist for the position of president of the university.


May began his career with ASU in 1994 as a member of the agriculture faculty. While at ASU, May secured nearly $10 million in federal and state funds for some of the university's top programs.


He also personally obtained more than $100,000 in research grants and obtained and awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships for students in the university's Department of Agriculture.


May served as dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Angelo State from 2009 through 2011 before being named interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. May holds bachelor's and master's degrees from ASU and a doctorate from Texas A&M University. He succeeds Joseph C. Rallo, Ph.D., who was announced as vice chancellor of academic affairs at the Texas Tech University System in May.


TWU student approval of fee hike could mean new student union

Richard NicholasStudents at Texas Woman's University (TWU) this week voted overwhelmingly in favor of increasing their own student union fees nearly fivefold to help finance a new student union at the Denton campus and add new services and amenities at the Dallas and Houston campuses of the university.


As a result of the vote, in which 61 percent of the voters said yes to a fee increase of from $32 per semester to $149 per semester, students are hoping the university's regents, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Legislature's will approve construction of a new state-of-the-art facility with expanded dining and seating options, additional meeting rooms, a movie theater, increased student organization office and work areas, an expanded game room and recreational areas, more study space and technology-enriched areas. If the project gains approval, officials are looking at a possible start date for construction in summer 2013, with completion in 2015.


"Our student government leaders and student union advisory board campaigned hard for this referendum," said Dr. Richard Nicholas (pictured), TWU vice president for student life. "Every possible effort was made to get out the vote and to inform the student body of what the increased fee would mean to them in terms of improved and expanded student union facilities and programs." 


Sun Metro wins $1.2 million grant to buy paratransit vehicles

Sun Metro, the transit system in El Paso, recently received a $1.2 million grant to buy 14 paratransit vehicles that operate on compressed natural gas. The new buses will replace vehicles that use gasoline and should reduce harmful emissions as well as save on fuel and operating costs.


The grant from the 2012 Clean Fuels Grant Program is one of 27 grants awarded in Texas.


Texas voters register in record numbers ahead of November vote

Hope AndradeAs of Oct. 15, a record number of voters, 13,594,264, are on the Official List of Registered Voters, according to Hope Andrade (pictured), Texas Secretary of State.


Andrade expects the number to increase when voter registration applications submitted by the Oct. 9 deadline are processed. Previously, the highest number of registered voters, 13,575,062, occurred in 2008, the last presidential election, she said.


Because so many applications were submitted prior to the deadline, many local election officials are still processing applications, added Andrade. The final number of registered voters in the state will be available before early voting begins on Oct. 22 and runs through Nov 2. More information on polling places and times is available at www.VoteTexas.gov.


Oct. 2012 Procurement Training

FAA taps Texas A&M for Center of Excellence for General Aviation

Jonathan RogersWilliam SaricJohn ValasekFederal Aviation Administration (FFA) officials recently selected Texas A&M University as part of a select nationwide team of universities to conduct research into general aviation with a goal of decreasing fatalities by 10 percent between the years of 2009 and 2018.


Dr. Jonathan Rogers (left), Dr. William Saric (center) and Dr. John Valasek (right) from the Department of Aerospace Engineering will lead research efforts at Texas A&M for the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS) program. The Center of Excellence is a cost-sharing partnership between academic, industry and the federal government with research and development efforts to include topics such as airport technology, fire safety, human factors, airworthiness and weather, said David Huerta, acting administrator at the FAA.


Purdue University, Ohio State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology are the lead universities on the PEGASAS team. In addition to Texas A&M, Florida Institute of Technology and Iowa State University form the core team of the partnership. The 10 affiliated members include Florida A&M University, Kent State University, Arizona State University, University of Minnesota, Duluth and Oklahome State University.


Lufkin moves ahead on $7.1 million capital improvement program

Lufkin City Council members recently agreed to issue certificates of obligation to pay for $7.1 million in capital improvement projects over the next five years


Council members earlier approved 21 projects, including a new $800,000 municipal court building, a new $1 million fire station and repair and maintenance of several streets. City officials plan to hold the bond sale in November and receive funding in December.


SOA Governance - An 8-step Program for Aligning Business and IT

Pega Texas Conference 2012 to address systems modernization

Agency executives, IRMs/CIOs, program managers, business managers, business analysts, IT project managers, IT developers, solution partners and others who are looking for ways to reduce costs, improve customer service and increase operational efficiencies will find the upcoming Pega Texas Conference 2012 an event they won't want to miss. The conference is set for Friday, Oct. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is free. The event will focus on systems modernization and business transformation.


Speakers at the event will address business transformation through intelligent BPM, BPM and CRM technology in the enterprise ecosystem and success stories of legacy system modernization. Those who attend can learn how revolutionary technology platforms easily integrate with their current infrastructure - enabling automation, collaboration and rapid response to change.


The event is free, but pre-registration is necessary and space is limited. The conference will be at The Commons Center, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, The University of Texas at Austin, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin 78758. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. As an educational co-sponsor, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) will award three hours of continuing education credit for the morning session. For more information and the agenda, click here.


North Texas Tollway Authority begins planning for two toll roads

Kenneth BarrNorth Texas Tollway Authority officials recently agreed to begin the planning process for two proposed toll roads in spite of waiting on federal funding and approval of the two projects.


Kenneth Barr (pictured), chairman of the tollway authority, said NTTA is committed to the two toll projects even though the agency is still waiting for approval for federal funding.


The projects are to extend SH360 and build a 10-mile tollway to connect SH360 to US287 at a cost of about $600 million and a new toll road, the proposed Trinity Parkway, to connect I-35E and US17 at a cost of about $1.4 billion.


San Marcos spending $1.5M to upgrade airport for Formula

San Marcos city officials are spending $1.5 million to upgrade the San Marcos Regional Airport with a goal of attracting more race fans to use that airport instead of landing in Austin to attend the international Formula One Race.


The five capital improvement projects at the airport include a $950,000 project to replace an old water line installed in 1947. Council also agreed to spend $394,000 in city funds to pay for a $4 million runway renovation project largely paid for with a $5 million grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).


City officials also expect the TxDOT grant to pay 90 percent of the cost to purchase land adjacent to the airport for future expansion.


Nov. 2012 Tx Bond Elections

Marble Falls looking at new $34 million sports complex

At a recent public meeting to gather input from citizens on a proposed $34 million sports complex, Steve Manley of the Parks and Recreation Commission suggested residents consider spending $1.45 million to upgrade current parks rather than building a new sports complex.


Existing parks need leveling and improved parking to attract more visitors, Manley said. However, David Rhodes, head of the Parks and Recreation Commission, urged commission members to help raise $8 million to improve recreation in the city as it is advertised as a destination community. A new sports complex could help attract more tournaments and competitions to the city, supporters said. Sports complex supporters also suggested building the recreation complex in phases at a cost of about $8 million for each phase. City officials scheduled another workshop on Nov. 6 to discuss the proposed sports complex.


Austin eyeing $5.3 million upgrade to East Fifth Street

The Austin City Council is expected to approve soon a proposed $5.3 million upgrade of East Fifth Street to add sidewalks along with new water, wastewater and storm sewer lines.


Currently East Fifth Street, which is becoming a new entertainment area, has no sidewalks and resembles an alley rather than a street, said Sara Harvey of the Public Works Department. City officials also expect to add landscaping and new street lights, Harvey said. If council approves the project, work on the street upgrades should begin in mid-November and be completed in November 2013.


Contracting Opportunities

Liberty considering plans for new $2.5 million police station

Gary BrozLiberty City Council members recently began considering a proposed design from an architectural firm for a new $2.5 million police station to replace a station destroyed during Hurricane Ike.


The proposed police station includes interior walls built with metal studs to withstand severe weather, wide halls to prevent officers wearing police gear from damaging walls, a sally port and a new evidence room with high-density shelving.


City officials plan to use $1 million in disaster relief funds from the General Land Office available late this year or early 2013 and a $1.5 million loan to help pay for the new police station, said City Manager Gary Broz. City officials plan to seek bids in early 2013 and complete the construction in about 13 months, Broz said. Police officers have worked out of portable buildings since the hurricane, he added.


Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority eyeing water deslination project

Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GRBA) officials plan to move forward with a desalination project to ensure sufficient water resources are available in the future, said James Murphy, executive manager of water resources and utility.


The focus of the desalination project is to ensure that area water needs are met while maintaining sufficient fresh water flows for bays and estuaries, Murphy said. Studies indicate that water from oceans has advantages over brackish water from wells and that costs go down as larger quantities of water are processed. He urged elected officials and business in the area to promote and support the desalination project in order to ensure the area has sufficient water even in times of drought.



Job Board   Check out our Public Sector Job Board!

Some of the agencies and organizations currently advertising job openings are  Texas Senate, Ector County, Texas Real Estate Commission, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, UTHSC-Houston and the Public Utility Commission. Dozens of public sector jobs are available every week. Free job postings for state and local governments, nonprofits and other public sector entities. Send your posting to editor@spartnerships.com. To view jobs, click here.

Round Rock ISD may ask bond approval for new arts center

Round Rock Independent School District trustees recently began discussing the possibility of building a new performing arts center on the city's east side as part of a possible bond proposal in November 2013.


The new performing arts center in the eastern edge of the city could augment the district's current $6.8 million, 45,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center built in 1999 that accommodates 1,500 audience members. The center is so busy with 250 events scheduled each year that district officials often must refuse out-of-town groups and even local students who want to use the facility, said Jim Van Zandt, director of fine arts for the district.


Because a majority of performances at the current center attract 700 or fewer audience members, Van Zandt urged trustees to consider building the new center to seat between 700 and 800 audience members. Trustees took no action on the recommendation, but are expected to appoint a committee in early 2013 to study the feasibility of a bond election in November 2013.


Conroe ISD to sell bonds for new $20 million elementary school

Conroe Independent School District trustees recently agreed to sell bonds from a $65 million bond election in 2008 to pay for a new elementary school near a developing subdivision in Montgomery County.


The new school on Fish Creek Thoroughfare will serve students from kindergarten through sixth grade, said Lisa Meeks, director of communications for the district. District officials expect to seek bids for building the new school soon. The new facility should be completed by August 2014.


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West Texas Area Health Education Center nabs $457,125 grant

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded a $457,135 grant to the West Texas Area Health Education Center to help fund a health education program to prepare rural and underserved students to pursue careers in health care.


Operated by Texas Tech University, the West Texas Area Health Education Center has regional facilities in Canyon, Plainview, Midland, Abilene and El Paso that have helped train 400 students in primary care rotations, a spokesperson for Texas Tech said.


Travis County approves $10,000 to find new IT chief

Travis County commissioners recently approved spending $10,000 to find a new information technology chief to replace Joe Harlow, who retired in July.


With a goal of hiring a new chief information officer in January, commissioners agreed to spend $2,500 for advertising the job opening and $250 per hour for a consultant to help screen resumes for technical experience. County officials also plan to request the heads of IT departments from other public and private concerns to help review the candidates.


Downtown Development, Revitalization event dates announced

The 2012 Texas Downtown Development and Revitalization Conference, presented as a cooperative effort of the Texas Downtown Association and the Texas Main Street Program, will be held Nov. 6-9 in Wichita Falls mostly at the Holiday Inn at the Falls. The conference offers educational workshops, roundtable discussions, tours and evening events for attendees interested in downtown and commercial district development and revitalization. The majority of sessions will be held at the Holiday Inn at the Falls, although evening events and tours are scheduled for multiple locations around Downtown Wichita Falls. Keynote speaker will be Jon Schallert, who specializes in teaching businesses and communities how to turn themselves into consumer destinations. Other sessions will explore fundraising, business incubators, social media, cash mobs, culinary and agri-tourism, modern architecture, preservation as economic development and more. For more information, please visit the TDA Web site at: www.texasdowntown.org.


TSABAA Mid-Winter conference to be held in December

The 33rd Texas State Agency Business Administrators' Association (TSABAA) Mid-Winter conference is on tap for Dec. 6 and 7 at the YO Ranch Hotel and Conference Center in Kerrville. Registration and hotel reservation deadline is Nov. 6. Following a welcome reception on Wednesday, Dec. 5, the conference program will begin on Thursday, Dec. 6, and will conclude before noon on Friday, Dec. 7. An agenda is posted on the TSABAA Web site. Some of the topics include: The Business Side of People Management, Funds Consolidation Bill, Maximizing Productivity on a "Stone Soup" Budget, ERS Update, A Word from the Wise - A Panel Discussion on Dealing with Challenges in Your Office and the always popular Political Panel.


Clean Fleet Technologies Conference to be held Nov. 15 in Houston

The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and Houston-Galveston Clean Cities/Clean Vehicles Program are hosting the Clean Fleet Technologies Conference on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. This day-long event, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., will highlight opportunities and experiences across the full spectrum of clean alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Speakers, exhibitors and vehicle displays will highlight the latest technologies, infrastructure, and funding for cleaner on- and off-road vehicles and fleets. Keynote speaker is Jon Coleman, Ford Motor Company Fleet and Technology Manager. City of Houston Council Member Oliver Pennington will give welcoming remarks. A number of breakout sessions will highlight the experiences of existing alternative fuel vehicle fleets and opportunities. The afternoon panel discussion will focus on smarter driving and maintenance opportunities through ecodriving, idle reduction and optimizing vehicle performance with GPS. For more information on the event, click here. Sponsorships and exhibitor opportunities, click here. To register online, click here.


TxDOT to host 2013 Small Business Briefings across Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Office of Civil Rights-Supportive Services Section will conduct briefing conferences around the state for small, minority- and women-owned businesses providing contract opportunities and information on how to do business with TxDOT and the state. Corpus Christi is the location of the first of four briefings events being offered in fiscal year 2013. The day-long briefings include general industry sessions and specific information on how to do business in the construction, goods and services, information technology and professional engineering service industries. Breakout sessions will cover small and minority-owned business certifications, resources for business development, marketing for state contracts and information on TxDOT toll projects. Each briefing also includes a contracting opportunity fair, industry sessions and a multitude of networking opportunities. Please join us! The Corpus Christi event will be Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Holiday Inn Hotel-Emerald Beach, 1102 S. Shoreline Drive, 78401. Other briefings include Wednesday, March 20, in Arlington; Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in Lubbock and Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Odessa. To register, click here. For more information call 1-866-480-2518, Option 1. For questions regarding the Office of Civil Rights-DBE/HUB/SBE and Supportive Services programs, click here or call 512-486-5510.


P3C, public-private partnership conference, set in Dallas

P3C, the Public-Private Partnership Conference, is scheduled for Feb. 21 and 22, 2013, at the Sheraton Downtown Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The event brings together real estate community development professionals and municipal leaders to highlight the latest development trends and opportunities involving public-private partnerships across the United States. The conference is a high-profile setting for municipalities to announce, unveil and discuss upcoming development projects. More than 30 cities and public agencies from across the country will take the stage next year at P3C to showcase their capital projects to a nationwide audience of developers, builders, architects and investors. P3C attendees participate in multiple networking elements within the conference, which provides presenters broad industry exposure to their projects. The agenda is designed to touch upon the most relevant and pressing issues vital to today's successful public-private partnership ventures. The event will bring together more than 65 thought-provoking and engaging speakers to exchange valuable insights with the country's leading development organizations. For more information and to register, visit www.P3C2013.com


TASSCC announces Dec. 11 as date for State of State Conference

The Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communication (TASSCC) State of the State Conference is a one-day event set for Dec. 11 that brings together technology directors from Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education to discuss the strategic direction of technology in Texas. At the conference, members will examine the role of IT in state government and higher education, explore future trends and hear in-depth discussions on topics currently impacting public sector IT. Among the speakers will be Texas Tribune Editor in Chief and CEO Evan Smith and Executive Editor Ross Ramsey, who will discuss the state of the state. Richard Froeschle of the Texas Workforce Commission will address the changing face of the Texas labor market and Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is also a guest speaker. Sponsorships are available. To register, click here.


Free Pega Texas Conference slated for Austin on Oct. 26

The Pega Texas Conference, a free, educational, one-day conference on systems modernization and business transformation, is slated from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. The event will be held at The Commons Center, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, The University of Texas at Austin, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758. The conference should be of special interest to agency executives, IRMs/CIOs, program managers, business managers, business analysts, IT project managers, IT developers, solution partners and team members who are passionate about reducing costs, improving customer services and increasing operational efficiencies. Information will be provided on business transformation through intelligent BPM, BPM and CRM technology in the enterprise ecosystem and success stories of legacy system modernization. The event is free, but pre-registration is required as space is limited. The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), co-sponsor, will award three hours of continuing education credit for the morning session. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. For more information and to register, click here.


National Procurement Institute hosts annual conference, expo

The National Procurement Institute, Inc. (NPI) will hold its 44th Annual Conference and Exposition on Oct. 21-24, at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston. Hear from the experts, such as the Opening Ceremony keynote speaker Patrick Snow, who will give you the tools for "Creating Your Own Destiny" and taking charge of your future. This year's conference also features sessions focused on leadership, the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award and other professional development topics geared toward helping you and your agency achieve procurement excellence. The conference program also has networking opportunities, including a Welcome Reception, Opening Ceremony, Presidential Gala Dinner and a Buyer/Supplier Roundtable Luncheon. The conference is an excellent opportunity to obtain 14.25 continuing education hours (CEH) and network with your peers. Register online at www.npiconnection.org. Questions? Interested in being an exhibitor or sponsor at the conference? Contact Craig Rowley, NPI Executive Director, 702-989-8095, or executivedirector@npiconnection.org.


Youth-serving partners to host youth, family conference

The Strengthening Youth and Families Conference is slated for Nov. 6-9 at the Omni Southpark Hotel in Austin. It is an annual event sponsored by a collaboration of youth-serving partners, including Prairie View A&M University's Juvenile Crime Prevention Center, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments and the State Volunteer Resource Council for Texas Youth. The conference will offer workshops related to the prevention of high-risk problem behaviors for youth, early intervention for youth who have just begun to engage in indicators of those high-risk behaviors and treatment for those youth who become trapped in those behaviors. Workshops will be geared to a multi-disciplinary audience of youth-serving professionals, volunteers and family members. Online registration only for the conference. For more information, click here.


Texas Municipal League 100th Annual Conference, Exhibition set

A century in the making, the Texas Municipal League will hold its 100th Annual Conference and Exhibition on Nov. 13-16 in Grapevine. Hear from the experts, such as the Opening General Session keynote speaker Jim Carroll, a futurist who will discuss trends affecting public service and how to turn challenge into opportunity. Dive into concurrent sessions on leadership, smartphone apps, health care, youth, retail development, parliamentary procedure, legislation, water management and community meetings...just to name a few. And not to be missed is a walk through the exhibit hall, where delegates will find more than 300 vendors equipped with services and products to help public servants serve better. With an agenda so full, we also carved some time to celebrate 100 years of municipal excellence - join us on Nov. 14 for the TML Centennial Gala. A conference like this only comes around once every 100 years. So what are you waiting for? Register now at www.tmlconference.org.


Executive Women in Texas Government set November conference

The Executive Women in Texas Government will sponsor its 2012 Annual Professional Development Conference on Monday, Nov. 5, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel-Spa and Conference Center located at 1001 East McCarty Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666. This full-day event features prominent keynote speakers as well as more than 35 workshops to provide participants with opportunities for hands-on learning and development of leadership skills for multiple career levels. The conference is open to all interested professionals and is designed for those working in government and for organizations that collaborate with government agencies. Members and non-members are encouraged to view the EWTG Web site for conference details.


Media Notice

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P3s broadening financial tool
box for state's facility needs


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


The Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) may be involved in as many as 50 public private partnerships (P3s) by 2020, according to agency officials. That's more than six times the proposals the agency is currently considering.


P3s are growing in popularity and effectiveness nationwide and public officials in Texas find them very attractive - as does the TFC. The last state office building built from the ground up was completed in 2000. Since that time, with budget deficits causing belt-tightening at all levels of state government, the TFC not only has been exploring ways to make the most of limited available dollars, but also has been looking for ways to leverage those funds.


TFC Address
Terry Keel (left) and Aundre Dukes
One of the ways the agency plans to leverage current resources, according to TFC Executive Director Terry Keel, is through the use of public-private partnerships. The state agency he oversees is responsible for about 28.5 million square feet of state-owned and leased property that supports more than 40,000 state employees in nearly 300 Texas cities. Keel says the agency is currently receiving proposals from private sector developers for various types of P3 engagements.
Keel was one of the speakers earlier this week at the 8th Biennial Legislative Communication Conference and he said P3s offer a way to generate non-tax revenue while providing an integrated alternative to design-build strategies. And, according to Keel, P3s will become an integral part of how TFC plans to meet the facility needs of the state in the near future.
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Collaboration Nation

New Braunfels group reviewing projects for proposed bond vote

A citizen's committee in New Braunfels recently began meeting to review and recommend projects to be included in a bond election in May 2013.


Committee members expect to meet about three months before recommending the projects to city council members to present to voters for approval.


King resigns from post as

chief of staff in Dallas ISD

Alan KingAlan King (pictured), Dallas ISD chief of staff, resigned from his post Thursday, effective today, Friday. DISD Board President Lew Blackburn confirmed the resignation but told the Dallas Morning News that he did not know the reason for King's resignation.


King had been a member of the DISD staff since January of last year. He served as chief financial officer and interim superintendent and drew praise for bringing financial stability to the district.


King's resignation comes on the heels of the loss of Jamal Jenkins, executive director in human resources, whose job was announced but no reason provided by DISD personnel, who refused to comment because they said the issue was a personnel matter. However, Superintendent Mike Miles told the Dallas Morning News that it was always King's intention for the job to be temporary, to help the district through the transition to a new superintendent.


Seguin economic group transfers land to city for new fire station

Seguin Economic Development Corporation directors recently authorized the transfer of a 2.304-acre tract to the city to serve as the site for a new fire station.


A new fire station on the north side of the city is necessary to provide fire protection to several industrial plants, large hotels along Interstate 10 and other development in the area, said Terry Trevino, director of the Seguin EDC. A more formal process must occur before the property is actually conveyed to the city, but the vote confirms the willingness of board members to approve a formal conveyance in the future, Trevino said.


Interested in P3s?

Crowley selects Loftin as

its interim city manager

Crowley City Council members recently selected Robert Loftin, currently the fire chief, as the interim city manager to replace former City Manager Alan Grindstaff. Council also accepted the resignation of Grindstaff six months after he replaced former City Manager Truitt Gilbreath, who retired after eight years in that post.


Loftin will continue his duties as fire chief and will be paid additionally for serving as the interim city manager, city officials said. Council members plan to review his performance after three months and again after six months in that post before making a decision about a permanent city manager, the mayor said.


Grindstaff, who had previously worked as a city administrator in Union City, Ga., and in Ephraim, Utah, has a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and a master's degree from Brigham Young University.


Sherman to use $42,000

grant to buy equipment

J. J. JonesSherman city officials recently agreed to accept a $42,492 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grant will be used to buy communications equipment for the police and fire departments, said J.J. Jones, the fire chief. Since 2004, the city has received more than $1.3 million in homeland security funds, Jones said. This year, the grant is about 50 percent less than last year, he added.


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Killeen taps Sutton as its

new assistant city manager

Killeen City Council members recently selected John Sutton, currently the director of aviation services for the city, as the new assistant city manager to oversee public works, aviation, planning and development services and community services.


Council members selected Sutton over three other finalists who were interviewed for the post after City Manager Glenn Morrison recommended Sutton, who has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree.


Bastrop eyeing grants to increase water supply, upgrade drainage

Bastrop City Manager Mike Talbot recently urged city council members to consider seeking federal assistance available for wildfire recovery to improve and replace infrastructure in the city.


Talbot proposed using any grant funds received to build a new 400,000-gallon water storage tank along SH-20, replace water mains, reduce fuels for fires in the Piney Ridge subdivision, upgrade drainage and buy new generators to operate water pumps. A critical malfunction of water wells last spring led to 60 percent of the water wells in Bastrop becoming inoperable and generators would help keep water service available, Talbot said.


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Wilson resigning as head of parks and leisure in Copperas Cove

Ken Wilson recently turned in his resignation as head of the Parks and Leisure Division of Copperas Cove, effective on Oct. 26.


Wilson is resigning to accept a new position as director of the Parks and Recreation Program in New Braunfels. Andy Cedillo, the director of Parks and Recreation in Copperas Cove, will remain in that post, City Manager Andrea Gardner said.


Mineola ISD taps Fuller

as new superintendent

John FullerMineola Independent School District board members recently selected Dr. John H. Fuller as the new superintendent. Fuller, a superintendent for Wylie ISD before he retired from that post, has served as interim superintendent in Mineola.


A&M issues RFQ for outsourcing Easterwood airport services

An RFQ that could possibly lead to the outsourcing of the Texas A&M University-owned Easterwood airport has been issued and responses are due today, Friday. The request for qualifications includes privatizing such services as management and fixed-base operator services that include fueling, hangaring, parking and aircraft maintenance.


Although the university does not subsidize the airport, officials are studying privatization as a possible way to open up new revenue streams from the facility. The only university-owned and operated airport in the state, Easterwood garners nearly half of its $6 million budget from fuel sales. According to the RFQ, the university is looking to establish an outsourcing agreement for up to five years with the possibility of an additional five-year term.


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Denison to seek $600,000 grant

to upgrade downtown streets

Denison City Council members recently agreed to seek a $600,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to help pay for a proposed $750,000 project to upgrade streets in the downtown area.


An owner of a downtown retail business urged council to use the grant funding to add more parking, install landscaping, improve accessibility for persons with disabilities and improve traffic flow to attract more people to the downtown area.


Midland College to hire

manager to expand dining hall

Dennis SeverMidland College officials recently agreed to hire a construction manager-at-risk to oversee a $2 million expansion of a dining hall. A construction manager guarantees to complete the project at the price agreed upon so that the project remains within budget, said Dennis Sever (pictured), vice president of information technology and facilities. Work on the dining room expansion should begin in early 2013, Sever said.


El Paso to issue $63 million in

debt to buy buildings for city hall

El Paso City Council members recently approved the issue of up to $63 million in certificates of obligation, part of which city officials plan to use to buy buildings to use as a city hall and house city employees.

Council members agreed to spend $2.4 million to buy a building on Texas Avenue to house city employees and are negotiating to buy a building and parking lots on Campbell for a new city hall facility to replace the current city hall. The old building will be demolished to make space for a new $50 million baseball park.


Check our Web site for additional press releases

It probably comes as no surprise that we get dozens of press releases from a variety of state agencies, colleges, universities, nonprofits and local government entities seeking inclusion in the Texas Government Insider each week. Space limitations prevent us from using them all. However, we recently began posting a select number of those that didn't make it into TGI on the Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Web site. Each week, we pick out some of the press releases that feature information we think will be of interest to the majority of our readers and post them under Government News on our Web site. Readers are encouraged to bookmark and check that page often, as we attempt to post new information there as it is received.

Upshur County seeking bids to improve courthouse accessibility

Upshur County commissioners recently agreed to ask for proposals from construction managers to remodel the 75-year-old county courthouse to bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


County officials said the project to improve access must be completed before the county can proceed with an historical renovation of the courthouse set to begin in about two years if efforts to win a grant are successful.


Ingram retiring as business manager for Burnet ISD

Preston IngramAfter 15 years on the job, Preston Ingram (pictured), business manager at Burnet Independent School District, recently announced he is retiring effective on Dec. 21. Ingram previously was the business manager at Odem-Edroy ISD.


Board members are launching a search for a new business manager and set a goal of finding a new one by the end of this year, district officials said.


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Government News

Check the GOVERNMENT NEWS section of the SPI Web site for these press releases:

  • TAMU center opens laboratory testing facility
  • AC gets $2M to ramp up student success
Governor's appointments
Gov. Rick Perry has made the following appointments:
  • Martin Broussard of Beaumont, Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners;

  • Ray Callas of Beaumont, Jefferson and Orange County Board of Pilot Commissioners;

  • Nathan "Jim" Bell IV of Paris, Red River Authority of Texas Board of Directors;

  • Monty Johnson III of Amarillo, Red River Authority of Texas Board of Directors;

  • Billy "Mayfield" McCraw II of Telephone, Red River Authority of Texas Board of Directors;

  • Dennis Myers of Waco, Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;

  • Thomas Craig Wheat of Dallas, Health and Human Services Council;

  • Glenn Hagler of Georgetown, Texas Council on Purchasing from People with Disabilities;

  • Thomas "T.J." Turner of Austin, Texas Real Estate Commission;

  • Araceli Davis of San Antonio, Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee;

  • Janet Meyers of Aubrey, Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee;

  • Linda Vega of Sugar Land, Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee;

  • Stan Cromartie of League City, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority Board of Directors;

  • Lamont Meaux of Stowell, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority Board of Directors;

  • Elsie Allen of Fort Worth, Council on Sex Offender Treatment.

Fredericksburg delays decision

on bids to rebuild city pool

Kent MyersThe Fredericksburg City Council recently agreed to delay a decision on the six bids submitted to rebuild Town Pool after all the bids came in over the $1.2 million in funding that remains from the original $1.4 million voters approved in a May bond election.


City officials are working with the company that submitted the low bid to eliminate some features to lower the cost, said City Manager Kent Myers (pictured). The lowest bid was for $1,297,117, which is $80,000 over budget, Myers said. Council members plan to call a special meeting in the coming week to discuss any changes to plans for the pool, he added.

Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 10/12/12

Sealy to apply for $350,000

grant to improve water systems

Sealy City Council members recently agreed to apply for a $350,000 grant from the Texas Community Block Grant Program to pay for upgrades and repairs to the water system. The repairs include replacing pumps and electrical controls that allow the city to pump water from the ground into water tanks and to customers. The water system repairs and upgrades are expected to cost about $600,000, the city manager said.


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Alice ISD to begin interviewing candidates for superintendent

Alice Independent School District trustees recently scheduled interviews to begin this next week with several of the 27 candidates who applied to be the new superintendent.


The new superintendent will replace Dr. Salvador Cavazos, who resigned to join Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District. The current interim superintendent, Dr. Grace Everett, is one of the applicants for that top post. Board members plan to select two or three candidates to return for a second interview before making the final selection, district officials said.


Corpus Christi selects Jozwiak

as new city court administrator

Corpus Christi city officials recently selected Kimberly R. Jozwiak as the new administrator of the city's municipal courts. Jozwiak, who currently is a court dministrator in Bellmead, will replace the former court administrator who was terminated following criminal charges being filed against two lower-level employees and termination of four employees.


Jozwiak previously served as executive director of the Texas Justice Court Judge's Education Center, as a municipal judge in Brenham and as a justice of peace in Washington County. Jozwiak begins her new duties on Nov. 5.


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.
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