Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 42 - Friday, Oct. 26, 2012

Early voting records reported falling throughout state


Voters turn out for presidential race, state and local ballots and local bond issues

VoteWith the presidential election less than two weeks away, Texans are heading to the polls in record numbers. Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade (pictured) last week reported a record number of registered voters in the state - 13,646,226 - the highest number in state history.


And when early voting began on Monday for the upcoming Nov. 6 General Election, many counties across the state reported lines at polling places with many of those polling places recording record numbers of voters. The presidential race as well as some state and local offices up for election, along with billions of dollars' worth of local bond issues have voters flocking to the polls.


Hope AndradeAndrade said the Secretary of State's office has tried to "engage with the public as much as we can," noting that the office has reached out to Texas voters through social media by way of its Facebook page and Twitter account. And the Secretary of State's office also announced a new Smartphone application that will offer reminders of election dates and sample ballots in some areas. Andrade is crisscrossing the state encouraging voter turnout and seeking a record number of participants in the upcoming election.


If the first day of early balloting is any indication, Andrade's efforts and those of her office may be working. In Harris County, 47,903 persons voted Monday. That number is 20 percent higher than the previous record of 39,201 votes cast four years ago. In addition to the presidential election drawing early voters, Harris County voters will face bond issues for the Houston Independent School District, the City of Houston and Houston Community College.


Record numbers of voters were reported elsewhere around the state as well. In Jefferson County, 6,302 voters cast their ballots early, besting the 2008 figure of 5,628 votes cast. Lines of voters were reported extending out of the doors of some polling places all day. Jefferson County Clerk Caroline Guidry had to add voting machines at that location, increasing the number of machines to 20, which she said marked the first time a Jefferson County polling location had that many voting machines in use for early voting.




Texas Railroad Commission:


28-year veteran Gil Bujano selected as director of agency's oil, gas division

Gil BujanoTwenty-eight year veteran employee with the Texas Railroad Commission Gil Bujano (pictured) has been chosen to head the Commission's Oil and Gas Division. Bujano has been serving as interim director of the division since March. He began his career with the Commission in 1984 at the district office in San Antonio.


He later served as assistant director in the Houston district and transferred to Austin in 2009 to supervise the Commission's technical permitting unit. In 2010, Bujano was promoted to deputy director of the Oil and Gas Division.


Bujano holds a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He was hailed by the three Railroad Commissioners for his knowledge of the Commission as well as the oil and gas industry in Texas and for carrying out the Commission's role of environmental regulation balanced with efficient oil and gas production.


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Mike PerezMike R. Perez, city manager, city of McAllen 


Career highlights and education: Over 30 years in local government in four cities, 24 of them as city manager in three cities. I am a past president for the Texas City Management Association (TMCA). I was selected as the TCMA Administrator of the Year in June 2012. I have a B.A. in government from The University of Texas Pan American.
What I like best about my job is: Every day is exciting with the chance to make a difference in the community I work for.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: to be a good listener.
Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Always listen to our customers because what they are complaining about may not be the problem.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: at home working on a home project.
People would be surprised to know that I: do all my major planning by writing on my window.
One thing I wish more people knew about the city of McAllen: That we are more efficient than what people perceived local government to be.

Four appointments made at Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Sharon HowellApril ZamoraThe Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) recently announced appointments for four staff members. Sharon Howell (top left) has been chosen as the agency's general counsel. Howell is a former legal secretary for the Texas Attorney General's Office who worked for the OAG as an assistant attorney general after earning her law degree from The University of Texas School of Law in 1990. In 2002, she was named director of preventive law for the TDCJ Office of the General Counsel and was later named director of legal affairs. She replaces Melinda Bozarth, who retired after 29 years of service with the state.


John HurtLorie DavisApril Zamora (top right) has been promoted to director of TDCJ's Reentry and Integration Division. She is a former director of the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Mental and Medical Impairments (TCOOMMI). She began her criminal justice career in 1999 with the then-Texas Youth Commission as a caseworker. She was named a parole officer in 2000 and was administrator of the Parole Division's substance abuse counseling, drug testing and therapeutic community programs. Zamora went on to become TCOOMMI's programs supervisor and was promoted to TCOOMMI director in 2009.


The new public information officer for TDCJ is John Hurt (bottom right). Hurt brings more than 35 years of media broadcast and public information experience to the Public Information Office, which serves as a liaison between TDCJ and the media. Before joining TDCJ, Hurt served nearly 20 years as a public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation.


Lorie Davis (bottom left), a 23-year veteran of TDCJ, has been promoted to Region III director for the agency's Correctional Institutions Division. Davis, who holds a master's degree in public administration from Texas Tech, began her career as a correctional officer at the Ellis I Unit in Huntsville in 1988 and rose through the ranks to become senior warden of the Ellen Halbert Unit in 2005.


Successful workshop:


SPI's 'Best Solution, Right Cost' offers procurement insights

Procurement Workshop
SPI Senior Consultant Roy Hogan (from left) and Senior Vice President Tommy Huntress discuss procurement issues with Texas Parks and Wildlife Contract Manager Logan Brown during a break in Thursday's workshop.

Public sector employees who are part of the procurement process got an insider's view of the vendor perspective on procurements at Thursday's Best Solution, Right Cost: Insider's Guide to Vendor Relations workshop.



See More workshop photos here!



The event, sponsored by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) and The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs, provided a wealth of insight into the process from SPI's veteran procurement experts who have been on both sides of public-private procurements.


Among the procurement issues addressed in the day-long workshop were how effective communication can improve bid response quality, how vendors decide on which projects to bid and the methods that can be used to attract quality competition on every procurement. The course is designed to give public sector staff an insider's view of what makes successful public-private procurements and partnerships.


The course is highly interactive and small enough for one-on-one conversations with the experts. Contact SPI at sales@spartnerships.com to learn more about the workshop and when the next workshop will be offered.


TxDOT will seek additional $1.6M for rural road improvements

A Panhandle task force recently learned that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) plans to request $1.6 billion in additional funding to repair and upgrade rural highways being damaged by increased traffic from the energy industry.


More funding is needed because many rural roads are quickly deteriorating due to the increase of semi-trucks and other heavy vehicles active in the wind farm and oil well industries, said Phil Wilson, executive director of TxDOT.


At the meeting in Amarillo, Wilson told task force members that the agency plans to prepare a report on the condition of rural roads, send that report to the legislature and then decide on what level of funding to request. One suggestion for finding additional funding is to ask businesses in the energy sector to become involved in the funding process, he added.


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

Houston port seeks permit for $6.2M Barbours Cut Channel project

Mark VincentPort of Houston Authority officials recently agreed to apply for a permit with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to allow to move forward a $6.2 million project to widen and deepen the Barbours Cut Ship Channel.


The larger channel will expand the north edge of the tributary to the Houston Ship Channel by 75 feet and deepen it by five feet. That will allow larger ships to reach Bayport, the port's largest container terminal between La Porte and Morgan's Point, said Mark Vincent (pictured), director of channel development for the port. Larger ships that sit deeper in the water are expected at the container terminal in 2015 following the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, he said.


Plans call for holding a public meeting to provide information on the proposed project, Vincent said. The Bayport permit could win approval by the end of this year and the permit for the Barbours Cut project permit could be issued in less than six months, he said.


Nearly $60.7M awarded for statewide water, wastewater projects

The Texas Water Development Board recently approved financial assistance totaling nearly $60.7 million for Texas cities and governmental entities for water and wastewater projects. The funding includes:

  • City of Breckenridge - $1,193,461 including an $840,000 loan and $353,461 in loan forgiveness from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for water system improvements including construction of a secondary clarifier and a sludge digester as well as improvements to other process components.
  • San Antonio Water System - $3,170,841 consisting of a loan of $2,975,000 and $195,841 in loan forgiveness from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to finance wastewater system improvements that include replacing existing belt filter presses, sludge feed pumps and associated equipment and plans to make improvements to four existing digesters.
  • City of Honey Grove - $283,700 that includes a loan of $200,000 and $83,700 in loan forgiveness from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to finance water system improvements including rehabilitating several aging and undersized lines that do not currently meet capacity and pressure requirements. New lines will also be installed to loop the system in some areas.
  • City of Emory - $1,423,521 to the City of Emory that includes a loan of $720,000 and $703,521 in loan forgiveness from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to finance water system improvements including constructing improvements at the City's Lake Tawakoni surface water treatment plant.




Nov. 2012 Tx Bond Elections

UTHealth chooses Colasurdo as institution's sixth president

Giuseppe ColasurdoPediatrician/researcher Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D. (pictured), who has served at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) for 17 years, this week was officially appointed president of UTHealth by The University of Texas System Board of Regents. Colasurdo has served as interim president since April 1 of last year. He succeeds Larry R. Kaiser, M.D., who stepped down to head up the Temple University Health System. Colasurdo becomes UTHealth's sixth president.


Colasurdo became dean and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences of The University of Texas Medical School, part of UTHealth, in 2007. He completed his undergraduate education at The Liceo Scientifico "Galileo Galilei" in Pescara, Italy. He earned his medical degree summa cum laude from G. D'Annunzio School of Medicine in Chieti, Italy, and came to the United States in 1988.


The new president completed his residency at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and his fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Science Center and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. Colasurdo joined the UTHealth Medical School's faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine. He became the division head in 1997 and began directing the fellowship training program in pediatric pulmonary medicine in 2001. He was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics in 2005.


Fourth company with state tech fund grant seeks bankruptcy

Terrabon Inc., a technology startup company that received $2.75 million from the state's Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) in 2010, recently filed for bankruptcy. This marks the second bankruptcy in four months of an ETF-recipient company. It is also the fourth bankruptcy for the high-tech fund created in 2006 at the request of the governor to perform much like a venture capital investment.


The two most recent losses reduced the value of the fund's portfolio to $194 million and lowered estimates that the fund has produced an estimated $4.5 million return on investments.


This fourth bankruptcy, filed by Terrabon Inc. in a Houston federal court, is expected to produce the tech fund's largest loss to date and brings the total losses of the four bankrupt firms to $5.25 million. In the 2012 annual report issued in January, the Governor's Office estimated that the 133 investments by the fund's portfolio were worth $4.5 million more than the amount the fund invested.


Barbara Mink appointed as director of community college group

Barbara MinkBarbara Mink (pictured) is the new director of the Community College Leadership Program (CCLP), a higher education leadership graduate program organized in 1944 to prepare and graduate community college leaders.


Mink, a professor at the College of Education of The University of Texas at Austin, also is chair of the board of trustees for Austin Community College.


She previously was dean of the School of Organizational Development at Fielding Graduate University. Mink has a Ph.D. from Duke University.


Former TEA official to lead cheating probe at El Paso ISD

Trustees for the El Paso Independent School District recently approved a $580,000 contract with a company that employs Adam Jones as its director of state government services. Jones is a former deputy commissioner at the Texas Education Agency and will lead the state-ordered review of an alleged cheating scandal within the school district.


Since the revelation of the widespread cheating scandal, the former superintendent, Lorenzo Garcia, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison. TEA officials, however, cleared the school district of wrongdoing in 2010 following an audit.


Contracting Opportunities

Center for Digital Government honors Texas DIR

Center for Digital Government officials recently selected the state's Department of Information Resources (DIR) for the top award in cyber security, leadership and innovation.


The Center for Digital Government is a research and advisory organization of Government Technology's parent company that recognizes government and education agencies in the field of cyber security technology services. The group recognized DIR as the leadership and innovation winner in the state government category.


John Hoffman, director of the Communications Technology Services Division, credited a partnership between state agencies and the telecommunications vendor for developing a Security Event and Threat Analysis (SETA), a cloud-based program that allows security monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The agency's goal is to expand the outreach of SETA to other organizations and continuing research into customer needs.


College of the Mainland selects three finalists for president

Dale DotyRalph FordBeth LewisCollege of the Mainland trustees recently selected three finalists seeking to serve as the next president. Dr. Dale Doty (left) of Florence Darlington Technical College in South Carolina, Dr. Ralph Ford (center) of Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey, and Dr. Beth Lewis (right) of Northeast Lakeview College in Universal City are the three finalists for president.


Doty previously served as the chief executive officer and president of a tool company and an assistant professor at Appalacian State University. He has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Western Illinois University and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Ford previously was employed at Odessa College and community colleges in New York and Michigan. Ford has a bachelor's degree from the University of West Alabama, a master's degree and an Ed.D. from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.


Lewis previously was dean of academic affairs at Blinn College, a director at North Harris Montgomery Community College District in Houston in addition to various posts at Lee College, Sam Houston State University and Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Lewis has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Sam Houston State University.


Canton considering public-private partnership for facility

A public-private partnership could be in the works for the city of Canton, as city officials are considering working with a private developer to build the city's first subsidized housing facility for elderly residents. A private developer last week made a presentation to city officials regarding the possibilities.


The company is one of several interested in partnering with the city. This particular firm has proposed building 80 duplex and triplex facilities in a one-story housing complex. It would include walking trails, a playground and a commons area with barbecue grills. The living space would be restricted to persons more than 50 years old. There will be some units that will be for family housing, but none for assisted living, according to officials of the local economic development corporation. Company officials said an impact study showed the need for 300 housing units in the city and said the project would create 120-150 construction jobs and a dozen permanent jobs.

The company would apply with the state for affordable housing tax credits and the credits would be sold to private investors to help build the facility and build it more economically. Such a project would have to be approved by the economic development board and the city council before construction.


Hidalgo Co. considering public-private partnership for courthouse

Richard GarciaHidalgo County officials are being courted by private sector developers interested in forming a partnership to finance and build the county courthouse. Some county officials recently met with a private developer to discuss using a public-private partnership as an alternative financing tool for the project.


Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia (pictured) estimated the project could cost between $75 million and $100 million, an amount the county does not have available to spend. That makes the possibility of a public-private partnership an attractive option. "It's very costly," said Garcia of the project.


What the county is considering is an agreement in which the developer will finance and build the facility and then lease it to the county over a period of years, avoiding a bond election or tax increase. The city became involved in the project, said Garcia, because the county asked their city counterpart to put up $30 million toward the cost of a new courthouse. Garcia also pointed out that the current developer the city and county are talking to also could build other projects on the square that could include retail and residential, which would help spur the local economy. County Judge Ramon Garcia said he will entertain the proposal, but believes public buildings should be owned wholly by the public. He said if a public-private partnership is the best option, he could support it.

Research Analysts

Plano reviewing projects for new bond proposal

Karen Rhodes-WhitleyPlano City Council members recently began evaluating a long list of projects to consider for a new bond proposal. In the next few years, the city will pay off existing debt and new bonds can be passed without asking for an increase in the tax rate, said Karen Rhodes-Whitley (pictured), budget director for the city.


Included in the projects proposed for a bond election in June 2013 are $76 million for parks and recreation projects and $56 million for road construction and repair. City officials also plan to ask voters to decide on the revocation to sell the remaining $14.2 million in bonds that were earmarked for the Arts Center of North Texas, Rhodes-Whitley said.


City officials plan to hold a public hearing on Nov. 26 to gather information from residents on which projects they support. City council expects to make a final decision of projects for the bond election in February, she said.


Corpus Christi transit authority buys land for service center

The board of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) in Corpus Christi recently authorized spending $125,000 to buy land near city hall to be used for building a new multi-million-dollar customer service center.


RTA officials plan to use the small lot as a storage space for construction materials and equipment for the customer service center project. Originally RTA officials planned to build a small facility to screen applicants for on-demand transportation services for persons with disabilities, but later expanded the project into one that will use most of the block across from the city hall for the service center.


RTA officials also plan to redevelop the area into a pedestrian-friendly government plaza by connecting the RTA facility to nearby buildings used by the city, county and school district. Plans are to begin demolishing existing buildings in February to make room for the customer service center. RTA officials expect the final design plan for the service center to be completed by late spring or early summer.


El Paso set to begin $218.4 million street upgrade project

Joyce WilsonEl Paso city officials expect to begin a $218.4 million street improvement project early next year and continue the work through 2019, according to City Manager Joyce Wilson (pictured). City engineers recently updated council members on the status of the city's capital improvement plan that contains 430 projects.


Other capital projects approved to move forward are spending about $40 million in certificates of obligation on a variety of capital projects that include improving bus shelters, implementing traffic signals, upgrading technology and redeveloping a mall recently purchased by the city.


An $81.2 million project to relocate city hall to build a new baseball stadium also is tentatively planned. Before the baseball stadium project moves forward, however, voters must approve proposition 6 on Nov. 6 that calls for increasing the hotel occupancy tax. A $7.6 million project to upgrade three fire stations is currently in development, design or construction phases, Wilson said.



Stuck    Stuck in the same job?

 Check out our Public Sector Job Board!

Recently added jobs: attorney with the Public Utility Commission, deputy assistant commissioner with the Higher Education Coordinating Board and jail booking clerk for Ector County. Click here to view jobs. Free postings for state and local governments, nonprofits and other public sector entities. Send job postings to editor@spartnerships.com

Nueces County eyeing $2 million upgrade of two coastal parks

Nueces County Parks Board members recently urged approval of $2 million to upgrade two coastal parks, Padre Balli Park and I.B. Magee Park.


Parks board members urged spending $1 million to upgrade Bob Hall Pier at Padre Balli Park to attract restaurant owners, and $300,000 to build an RV park at I.B. Magee Park in Port Aransas. The board also urged commissioners to spend $20,000 to install lighting to enhance fishing at Bob Hall Pier and Horace Caldwell Pier, $600,000 for the Packery Channel nature preserve and $250,000 to build a new pier and upgrade the boat ramp at a marina located between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas.


Improvements to the two coastal parks are needed for the increase in tourism expected when the proposed Schlitterbahn water park is open, said Scott Cross, director of the coastal parks department. The second phase of the upgrade to Padre Balli Park includes a new outdoor amphitheater and community center, he said.


Denison ISD wins $1 million grant to upgrade football stadium

Henry ScottThe W.B. Munson Foundation recently awarded a $1 million grant to the Denison Independent School District to help pay for $4 million in upgrades to Munson Stadium.


The grant will augment district funds and allow the district to move forward with replacing the west stands, the press box and upgrading the concession area at the football stadium, said Superintendent Henry Scott (pictured). The new stands will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he added.


District officials also hope to raise another $1 million in addition to the $4 million the district now has on hand to replace the field house, a 1938 Works Progress Administration project, Scott said.


Recent engineering studies indicate that the district should address several problems, including safety concerns at the stadium, he said.


Subscribe to the Government Contracting Pipeline

El Paso County approves pact to supply water, sewer to Vinton

El Paso County commissioners recently signed an agreement to work with local water entities to supply water and wastewater systems to the Village of Vinton, a community of about 2,000 residents in the western area of the county. Commissioners agreed on spending $20,000 for engineering studies previously performed by the

Public Service Board needed to apply for state and federal grants. County officials also agreed to help Vinton file applications for state and federal grants.


San Antonio water system nets $50M loan for desalination program

The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) recently won approval for a $50 million, low-interest loan from the Texas Water Development Board. SAWS officials will use the loan to help pay for a $229 million project to transform brackish groundwater using a desalination program.


The new desalination plant will use salty water from the Wilcox Aquifer in the treatment process and transform it into drinkable water, SAWS officials said. SAWS has received three loans totaling $59 million that were used to pay for planning and design in addition to drilling wells.


Corpus Christi eyeing $878 million in repairs under proposed EPA plan

Oscar MartinezCorpus Christi city officials recently learned the city could spend nearly $878 in sewer systems repairs if they agree to settle several federal environmental enforcement cases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has filed six administrative cases, with one of the cases alleging that overflows from wastewater treatment plants violate the federal Clean Water Act.


EPA officials have proposed an action plan calling for upgrades to sewer treatment plants and lift stations that could cost the city as much as $878 million, said Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez (pictured). City officials expect to negotiate the agreement with EPA officials through the end of the year in an effort to protect health and safety and settle on a cost taxpayers can afford, Martinez said.


Did you miss Government Contracting Pipeline?

Judson ISD discussing bond election to build two new schools

Judson Independent School District trustees recently agreed to use the phrase "no new taxes" with efforts to win voter approval of a possible bond proposal to pay for a new $53 million high school and a $20 million elementary school.


Superintendent Willis Mackey said a bond issue including only those two projects would not raise taxes and would address overcrowding in the school district. Trustees did not discuss when they plan to schedule a bond election or the amount of bonds that will be proposed.


HISD to get $150K for scholarships after Broad Prize competition

The Houston Independent School District did not win the prestigious Broad Prize this year, but officials did not walk away from the competition empty-handed. As a reward for being a finalist in the annual competition, the HISD picked up $150,000 from the Broad Prize for Urban Education, with the funds to be used for college scholarships for its graduating seniors.


Winner of this year's competition was five-time nominee, the Miami-Dade school system in Florida. The first place winner is awarded $550,000 in scholarships. HISD was the winner in the inaugural year of competition and another Texas district, the Aldine ISD, won in 2009. The award goes to districts that have made significant gains in student achievement, particularly among minorities.


HISD students who graduate this school year can compete for the $150,000 in scholarships. They must have a grade point average of 2.75 their senior year, a record of improved grades and must show financial need.


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.


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

Subscribe to TGI Subscribe to Pipeline

Multi-billion-dollar gap exists between water needs, revenue


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


Americans, and especially Texans, must focus on water! Availability of water is a growing concern nationwide.


In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the cost to upgrade drinking water and wastewater treatment plants serving 264 million people in this country would cost $91 billion. It also estimated that the gap between those funding needs and the funding available to address those needs was $55 billion. Three years later, industry officials predict that although water infrastructure capital spending will continue to increase through 2040, the capital spending gap will grow at an even faster rate.


Much of the increase in capital spending is a result of aging facilities. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers last year reported that there were 54,000 community-based drinking water systems and 15,000 public wastewater treatment facilities in need of maintenance, repairs, upgrades or replacement.


A recent survey of industry officials from both the public and private sectors was highlighted in WeiserMazars' 2012 U.S. Water Industry Outlook. Survey respondents agreed that aging facilities and infrastructure are among our top challenges. In fact, 45 percent categorized their facilities as "old to very old." Not a single respondent said their infrastructure assets were new.


Here are some other key results of the survey that outline future water-related problems:


  • 33 percent of the respondents strongly agreed that the nation's water utility industry is more susceptible than other utility industries to be significantly affected by aging and retiring managerial employees.



Follow Mary on Twitter Like Mary on Facebook View Mary's profile on LinkedIn View Mary's YouTube Videos
Collaboration Nation

TDA awards $33.5 million in community development grants

More than $33.5 million in Community Development Block Grant awards are on their way to rural cities and counties within the state's 24 planning regions. These federal funds awarded by the Texas Department of Agriculture are to fund infrastructure projects that improve the quality of life for many Texans in rural areas of the state. The grants are awarded on the basis of regional input and additional scoring criteria targeted to areas of greatest need.


Grants from the CD Fund are made possible through TDA's Texas Community Development Block Grant Program. Eligible counties must have populations of less than 200,000 residents. Eligible cities must have populations of less than 50,000 residents. This program serves approximately 1,000 eligible rural communities and 245 eligible rural counties. It also provides services to more than 375,000 low- to moderate-income beneficiaries each year. See "Recent Reports" for a complete list of the of 2012 grant recipients.

Villarreal to retire as director

of Region 2 Service Center

Linda VillarrealAfter nine years as director of the Education Service Center Region II in Corpus Christi, Linda Villarreal (pictured) recently said she plans to retire from that post effective Jan. 31, 2013.


Villarreal, who began her career in 1979 as a teacher at Kingsville ISD, has a degree from Texas A&I University, now Texas A&M University-Kingsville.


TRS invests $200 million

this week in Formula One

The Teachers Retirement System of Texas now owns a single-digit stake in Formula One racing. TRS invested $200 million this week with Delta Topco Limited, a holding company for the Formula One Group. Formula One racing has made headlines in Austin in recent months as the Circuit of the Americas prepares to host the United States Grand Prix on Nov. 16-19 at the new facility in Travis County.


The approximately 3 percent stake in the racing series represents about 0.18 percent of the pension fund's portfolio, which is valued at $113 billion. TRS officials pointed out that the investment is in Formula One, not any of the facilities such as the one being built in Travis County. "TRS expects the investment to enhance and diversify the pension fund's portfolio of private equity investments," TRS officials said in a statement.


Galveston County moves forward with wastewater treatment plant

Galveston County commissioners recently agreed to proceed with a proposed $19 million waste treatment project with treatment plants to be located in Crystal Beach and High Island on Bolivar Peninsula.


County officials expect to use Hurricane Ike recovery funds to pay for the two treatment plants. The project can be designed to stay within the budget, said Commissioner Patrick Doyle.


Interested in P3s?

Big Spring veterans home

wins $1.2 million grant

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently awarded a $1.2 million grant to the Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez Texas State Veterans Home in Big Spring. Officials of the veterans home plan to use the grant funds to pay for updating the heating and air conditioning system, renovating four nursing stations, repairing the roof and renovating a shower area in the memory support unit.


DISD's Miles says he will

add two more to his Cabinet

New Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles has indicated that he will add two more chiefs to his administrative Cabinet. The positions are chief financial officer and chief technology officer. He will also have to fill the chief-of-staff position following the resignation last week of Alan King, who also had oversight of finances.


The remaining four members of his six-member Cabinet include Sylvia Reyna, chief of school leadership; Ann Smisko, chief academic officer; Charles Glover, chief of human capital management; and Jennifer Sprague, chief of communications.


Clennan resigns as economic development director in Leander

Kirk ClennanKirk Clennan (pictured) recently resigned as the director of economic development in Leander. Clennan previously served as a director for the Cedar Park Development Corporation, the Lancaster Economic Development Corporation and the Upshur County Development Board. He also was president of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.


City Manager Kent Cagle said he plans to reassign the duties performed by the executive director for a while and look for a long-term solution later.


Van Alystyn moves closer

to Baker as new city manager

Van Alystyn City Council members recently agreed to enter into negotiations for a contract with Frank Baker to serve as the city manager. Baker currently serves as interim city manager. City officials were scheduled to begin contract negotiations with Baker this week.


HDI Solutions

Alpine selects three finalists

for city attorney position

Alpine city officials recently named three applicants as finalists for city attorney. The three finalists are John Armstrong, Rebecca Schlosser and Robert Steele.


The new city attorney will replace Rod Ponton, the current city attorney who is resigning to begin his new job as district attorney.


Arlington selects Pishkur as

new water utilities director

Buzz PishkurWalter "Buzz" Pishkur, former Director of Business Development at United Water in Harrington Park, New Jersey, is the new Director of Water Utilities for the city of Arlington, effective Oct. 29. Pishkur brings many years of experience in managing public and private water utilities to his new charge.


He was executive vice president and general manager of the Inter-State Water Co. in Danville, Illinois, for six years and spent 17 years as president and CEO at Aqua Ohio, Inc. In 2008, he was named president and CEO of Forum Health, Inc. health care system.


Pishkur holds a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University, and earned his master's degree from the University of Illinois.


Marion ISD approves $1.4 million

in notes to pay for upgrades

Trustees for the Marion Independent School District recently approved a $1.4 million bid on tax maintenances notes to fund upgrades throughout the school district. The majority of the money, $900,000, will be used for improving technology throughout the district, the board president said.


How helpful is this?

El Paso approves $20 million

for new radio system

El Paso City Council members recently approved $20 million to pay for a new radio system to replace the 20-year-old system now used by first responders and dispatchers.


The new computerized radio system should improve emergency response times by 30 to 90 seconds by automatically routing calls to units closest to the emergency, said Fire Chief Otto Drozd.


Ingram ISD taps Templeton as

lone finalist for superintendent

Robert TempletonTrustees for Ingram Independent School District recently named Robert Templeton (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent. Templeton is a high school principal in Kerrville and previously served as principal at Flour Bluff ISD and Corpus Christi ISD and as superintendent for Brackett ISD.


Your Ad Here!

Rockwall selects Estep as

city's new planning manager

Rockwall city officials recently selected Lance Estep as the city's new planning manager. Estep, currently a city planner in Greenville, has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree.


Hospital in Fannin County

will now be run by community

Spanky CarterThe Red River Regional Hospital in Bonham, by vote of the Fannin County commissioners, has become a hospital authority that will now be run by a board of directors from the community appointed by county officials. In doing so, the hospital now will be eligible for part of the billions of dollars the federal government plans to invest in rural health care.


The hospital authority will now be able to compete for $29 billion awarded to the state of Texas by the federal government, according to County Judge Spanky Carter (pictured). Carter said the hospital could receive between $8 million and $25 million in federal funds. The funds could help the hospital expand its services. Although now a hospital authority, the hospital will not be able to impose more taxes.


San Angelo parks plan prioritizes where limited funds to be spent

San Angelo's 200-page parks master plan was recently approved by the city council, and it is aimed at prioritizing where the city's limited funds should be spent. The council also approved the Parks and Recreation Department's approval to go forward with its pursuit of a half-million-dollar grant opportunity.


The plan seeks to renovate and reuse existing space and provide for environmental responsibility through xeriscaping and rainwater harvesting as well as the use of solar power. The plan also suggest acquiring more land for parks, entering into partnerships with organizations and social clubs and increasing the diversity of facilities to serve multiple generations. The plan also seeks to enhance Lake Nasworothy parks and increase water-based recreational opportunities. The report lists among the top facility needs hike and bike trails, a dog park, picnic shelters, playgrounds, canoe and cayak launches, a recreation center, outdoor barbecue grills and outdoor lighted basketball parks.


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.

Alice ISD narrows search for superintendent to three finalists

Three finalists have been named as the Alice ISD searches for a new superintendent to replace former AISD Superintendent Salvador Cavazos, who resigned to accept a similar post with Baytown's Goose Creek ISD.


Grace Everett, who has served AISD as interim superintendent since August, said one round of interviews with the three has been conducted and a second round is scheduled for next week. A lone finalist is expected to be named as early as next month.


Nederland to seek bids

for new city hall project

Nederland city officials are seeking bids for a new city hall project, a 4,000-square-foot, $1.1 million facility. Bids are expected to be opened Dec. 6 and a contract awarded on Dec. 17. The facility will be paid for through the sale of bonds and budgeted funds.


Follow us on Twitter


Government News

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

  • DPS, Public Safety Commission honor heroes
  • MD Anderson adds to Board of Visitors
  • House Speaker appoints committee on manufacturing
  • Higher DPS trooper salaries sought
Recent Reports

Robstown ISD back to square

one in superintendent search

Robstown ISD officials find themselves starting over in their search for a new school superintendent after the lone finalist, Morris Aldridge, asked that his name be removed from consideration for the top job. Aldridge, currently assistant superintendent of operations in the Clint ISD, said he made his decision based on what was best for his family.


He had been in negotiations with the RISD board president and trustees were to meet this week to discuss terms. Aldridge informed the district on Monday that he was withdrawing his name from consideration.


Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 -10/19/12

Texoma ISD selects Yates

as interim superintendent

Board members for Texoma Independent School District recently picked Mel Yates as the new interim superintendent. Yates, a 19-year employee of Texoma ISD, will replace Superintendent Eric Smith, who resigned this month. Yates also has served as superintendent of schools in Texas and Oklahoma.


The board's goal is to hire a new superintendent by June 30, 2013.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Marilyn E. Phelan of Granbury, Commission on Uniform State Laws;

  • Harry L. Tindall of Houston, Commission on Uniform State Laws;

  • Earl "Lee" Yeakel III of Austin, Commission on Uniform State Laws;

  • Gary Haun of San Angelo, State Committee of Examiners in the Fitting and Dispensing of Hearing Instruments;

  • Faye Bruun of Rockport, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Advisory Board.

Colleyville, Keller combine operations for municipal court

Looking for efficiencies, the cities of Colleyville and Keller have joined other local government entities by forming a partnership to provide services. In doing so, they have become the first cities in Texas to combine their municipal court operations.


The partnership mirrors another similar agreement among the cities of Colleyville, Southlake and Keller, which combined their dispatch and jail operations two years ago. The two cities had to have the approval of the state to combine the courts. There are also certain restrictions on what cases the combined courts can hear. Officials from the courts in both cities have been planning and working out the kinks in the process over the last few months.


Both cities are expected to reap savings by the combination of the two courts, and Keller avoided having to build a new municipal court building. When all is said and done, Keller expects to save $146,000 per year and Colleyville is looking at a savings of $53,000 per year. And the two cities are able to provide services without increasing costs to their taxpayers.


Help us share this message.
To ensure delivery and proper formatting of the newsletter, be sure to add editor@spartnerships.com to your safe senders list. Otherwise, the newsletter may be flagged as spam and automatically routed to your junk e-mail folder.

Rockport selects 12 finalists

for city attorney position

Rockport City Council members recently selected 12 attorneys as finalists for job of city attorney. The new city attorney will replace Bill Walston, who is retiring from that job.


The 12 applicants to be interviewed are: Allen C. Lee of Corpus Christi; Charles E. Zech of Denton; Navarro, Rocha & Bernal in San Antonio; Jacqueline Norris of Houston; John J. Hightower of Houston; Louis T. Rosenberg of San Antonio; Louis E. Fierros of Fort Worth; Michael G. Morris of Corpus Christi; Monte Akers of Austin; Steve Fischer of Rockport; Terry E. Baiamonte of Goliad; William M. McKamie of San Antonio; and Catarina Gonzalez Cron of Houston. City officials said they plan to select the new city attorney by Nov. 13.


Orange County seeking $6 million loan to pay bills until end of 2012

Carl ThibodeauxOrange County commissioners recently agreed to apply for a $6 million short-term loan to ensure the county can pay its bills until the end of 2012. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux (pictured) said the county is experiencing a shortfall in revenue due to two major hurricanes and several expensive capital improvement projects. County officials are still waiting for recovery funding from Hurricane Ike and do not know when that funding will arrive. Before the loan is approved, the attorney general and state comptroller both must approve the county's application for the loan after reviewing finances and how county officials manage money.


Bastrop ISD appoints Cawthron

director of elementary instruction

Bastrop Independent School District trustees recently selected Kathy Cawthron as director of elementary instruction. Cawthron began her education career as a teacher for Waco ISD and later was a principal for Little Elm ISD. She holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Baylor University.


The Texas Government Insider is a free weekly e-newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
The Insider is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1994 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.
To learn more about SPI services click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900.
Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite #100
901 S. Mopac Expressway
Austin, Texas 78746