Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 48 - Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

Public-private partnerships not just toll roads, building construction

 

Many government entities partner with private sector for projects as economic drivers

P3As budgets shrink and revenues dwindle, more and more government subdivisions are turning to the newest tool in their financial tool kits - public-private partnerships (P3s) - to help finance necessary projects they can no longer afford. Sure, a financial partner can help build a new highway, construct a new county courthouse or finance and build student housing on a college campus. But, many government entities are now also seeing P3s as economic drivers for their communities.

 

Several such P3 projects have been announced recently in major metropolitan areas of the state. In Waco, a private sector developer is seeking to purchase the historic Waco Hippodrome Theater to spend $2.1 million to transform it into an entertainment complex that will be open daily.

 

This project involves a nonprofit as one of the partners, which is becoming more common among public-private partnerships. The partnership would include the private partner develper, nonprofit partner Waco Performing Arts Company (WPAC) and the downtown Tax Increment Financing Zone board, a public entity, which is being asked to commit nearly $316,000 to the project.

 

The 99-year-old Hippodrome, once the city's leading movie house, was operated by the WPAC from the 1980s until it closed in 2010 due to financial problems. If the developer buys and expands the structure, it will relieve the WPAC of any responsibility for managing the aging facility. The agreement also would lease the theater to the nonprofit on a limited basis. The developers are attempting to preserve the historic fašade of the building. The goal also is to drive more people and businesses to the downtown area to revive the area economically.

 

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Bishop's departure from ERS now appears to be temporary

 

Jones named acting executive director until Bishop's return from Governor's Office

Late last month, Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) Executive Director Ann Bishop was named Gov. Rick Perry's new chief of staff, succeeding Jeff Boyd, who was appointed to the Texas Supreme Court. A news brief on the ERS Web site now indicates Bishop's job with the Governor's Office may just be temporary.

 

The ERS Web site indicates Bishop is on "sabbatical," and that the ERS board has appointed 15-year ERS veteran Paula A. Jones, the agency's general counsel and chief compliance officer, as acting executive director "during the entirety of Ann's temporary leave of absence."

 

The news item further states, "It is the board and Ann's intent that she will return to ERS to continue her service as executive director immediately following the completion of her temporary leave."

 

Even the press release issued by ERS when Bishop was named to the governor's staff in November sounded like her swan song. In it, ERS Board Chair Cheryl MacBride said, "Although we are disappointed that Ann will not be here to lead us through the legislative session, she has built a strong team at ERS and I am confident the agency will continue to be successful."

 

And, Bishop was quoted as saying, "I am so proud of everything we have accomplished," which didn't sound like a Schwarzenegger/Terminator-esque "I'll be back" statement.

 

The Dallas Morning News reports that Perry's press office acknowledged that Bishop's job with the Governor's Office is temporary, but gave no specific date regarding when she would return to ERS.

 

Two named to new executive team roles within HHSC agencies

 

Katie Olse new DFPS associate commissioner; Erica Stick HHSC chief of staff

Erika StickKatie OlseFormer Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Chief of Staff Katie Olse (left) was recently named associate commissioner at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Her appointment was one of two changes announced to the executive team of HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek. His other appointment was the naming of Erica Stick (right) as HHSC's new chief of staff.

 

Olse has been with HHS for eight years, most of which were spent at DFPS. Olse will continue to be the co-executive sponsor of the HHS Leadership Academy with Rolando Garza. 

 

Janek said Olse's experience and knowledge of DFPS issues will make her a valuable resource to newly appointed DFPS Commissioner Judge John Specia.

 

Stick has spent the last seven years serving in a variety of roles at HHSC, most recently as a special advisor to the commissioner. She is also a former external relations director for the agency. Janek hailed Stick's experience working with the State Legislature and other executive agencies and having worked with two former executive commissioners as unique qualifications for her new post. 

 

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars

 

Ed SwedbergEd Swedberg, assistant administrator, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 

 

Career highlights and education: Ed joined the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) as the assistant administrator in September. TABC is the state agency that regulates all phases of the alcoholic beverage industry in Texas, including manufacturing, distributing and retailing, and is responsible for enforcing the state's Alcoholic Beverage Code. Ed oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency, both in the core business and in the support areas of the agency.  Previously, he served as the Deputy Executive Director for Data Center Services with the Texas Department of Information Resources from 2009-2012 and as the Assistant Director of Innovation and Technology with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts from 2007-2009. In his previous career, Ed served for nearly 24 years as an active duty officer in the U.S. Air Force, retiring in 2006 as a full Colonel. His specialty areas included communications and computers, research and development, signals intelligence and multispectral imaging systems, space operations and space launch. He was assigned to both command and staff positions during his military career. Ed's final assignment was as the Commander of the 45th Mission Support Group at Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Defense Superior Service Award. Ed holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, an M.S. in electronic engineering from Northrop University in Los Angeles, a Master of Military Art and Science degree from the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

What I like best about my job is: The opportunity to be a part of a group of passionate and dedicated professionals who genuinely enjoy serving the citizens of Texas.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Learn the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. I sleep with a copy under my pillow at night.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  Focus on your current job, not posturing for your next promotion. If you work hard, serve your customers with a great attitude, demonstrate expertise in your subject matter and show initiative, your supervisor and executives will take notice. Opportunities will come.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: taking my wife and kids out for dinner and a movie.

People would be surprised to know that I: love astronomy. In fact, as part of my oldest son's home-schooling curriculum, I've been spending time in the evenings with him, teaching him to recognize stars and constellations and to understand both the science and lore of the night sky.

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: Though TABC was formed in 1935 and has its roots in the repeal of Prohibition by the 21st Amendment, this is not your grandfather's agency. We regulate a huge industry with a multi-billion-dollar economic impact within the state (sales of 686 million gallons of alcohol in FY 2012). The agency also generates several hundred million dollars per year of tax revenue to support the functioning of state government and provisioning of services to our citizens. We carry out regulatory, education and law enforcement functions which help to keep the public safe, provide a stable marketplace for responsible industry members, and keep the bad guys from using licensed premises to conduct illegal activities.
 

Fallout at CPRIT over $11 million grant without proper scientific review

 

Executive director offers resignation; agency appoints new scientific officer

Bill GimsonMargaret KripkeThe fallout continued this week at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), which has come under fire and will soon be under investigation by the Texas Attorney General's Office. The Travis County District Attorney's Office already has launched a criminal investigation. The agency has been in hot water since May after Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alfred Gilman resigned his post as chief scientific officer. Gilman alleged that funding was appropriated by CPRIT to a project before a scientific review was performed. His was the second high-ranking officials' resignation. Chief Commercialization Officer Jerald Cobbs resigned late last month.

 

Gilman's resignation was followed this week by the submission of a resignation letter by CPRIT Executive Director Bill Gimson (top left), who said in his letter to the CPRIT board that he no longer felt he could be effective at the agency. He was the agency's original director, having been hired in 2009.

 

CPRIT Chair James Mansour and Vice Chair Dr. Joseph Bailes released a statement after Gilman's resignation letter was submitted saying the resignation is subject to the approval of the Oversight Committee. That group is not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 17, 2013. However, the two CPRIT officials noted, "Potentially, the Oversight Committee could take action on his resignation prior to that date. In the interim, Mr. Gimson will remain in the role of executive director."

 

CPRIT officials this week tried to dig out from under all the bad publicity by seeking a more positive spin on the agency when they announced the appointment of a new chief scientific officer. Dr. Margaret L. Kripke (right), will succeed Gilman. Kripke is retired from her position as chief academic officer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She recently ended a nine-year term on the three-member President's Cancer Panel as well.

 

Two more DPS Mega Centers open in greater Houston area

Ribbon cuttings were held this week for two new Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Mega Centers in Spring and Rosenberg. The facilities, which will increase driver license capacity in the greater Houston area, will open to the public today, Friday.

 

During the last session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers provided $63 million in funding for six such centers and funding to hire 266 additional employees and purchase equipment and technology needed to improve customer service and the efficiency of the state's driver license system. The first center opened in Pflugerville in October. Two more centers slated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in the San Antonio area will open by the end of January of next year.

 

The mega centers also employ technology to help DPS employees serve customers faster and more efficiently. A new queuing system will offer customers the option to reserve a spot in line without going to the office. Customers will virtually enter the line via cell phone, online or using a land line, which will also provide customers interactive options allowing them to make adjustments to their place in line - for instance, if they are running late, they can push themselves back in line. Walk-in customers will use the self-service, check-in kiosks and will have the option of returning later, closer to their appointment time, while communicating with the DPS office by text or phone call.

 

"We are committed to ensuring Texas driver license customers have a quick and efficient visit to driver license offices," said DPS Director Steve McCraw.

 

Craddick to serve out Garcia's unexpired term at RR Commission

Christi CraddickGov. Rick Perry has appointed Christi Craddick (pictured) of Austin to the Railroad Commission of Texas effective Dec. 17. Commissioner Craddick will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Buddy Garcia.

 

She will serve an appointed term through the end of 2012, and will begin serving a six-year term to which she was recently elected on Jan. 1, 2013.

 

Craddick is an attorney in private practice and small business owner. She received a bachelor's degree and a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

Comptroller says state sales tax revenues continue to climb

Sales tax revenue in November in the state was $2.34 billion, 13.1 percent higher than figures for November 2011. State Comptroller Susan Combs distributed December local sales tax allocations that totaled $552 million to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, up 15.5 percent compared to December 2011.

 

City allocations in December totaled $360.8 million, up 14.2 percent from December of last year. Counties collectively received $37.1 million, up 18.9 percent over the same period last year. Transit systems together received $125.3 million, an increase of 15.2 percent over December 2011. Special purpose taxing districts were awarded a total of $29 million, up 29.3 percent over last December's figures.

 

The sales tax figures represent October sales reported by monthly tax filers. View the allocations by city or by county.

 

SPI Training Services

Developer chosen for improvements on Interstate 35-East

The developer for improvements on 28 miles of Interstate 35-E between Dallas and Denton was chosen Thursday by the Texas Transportation Commission. AGL Constructors was named as the developer for the project that will improve existing lanes of the interstate, provide continuous frontage roads and construct new, reversible managed toll lanes to keep traffic moving at 50 mph. The cost for the project's four phases is estimated at $4.8 billion. Because only $1 billion in funding is available right now, future phases will be constructed as funding becomes available. Construction is slated to begin in 2013 with Phase 1 completion in late 2016.

 

Currently, there is $1 billion in funding available for the project. The ultimate build-out cost for all four phases of the project is estimated to be $4.8 billion. Future phases will be constructed as funds become available.

 

AGL Constructors is a consortium comprised of Archer Western Contractors, LLC, Granite Construction Company and The LANE Construction Company.

 

Moore appointed to Texas Commission on Fire Protection

Robert MooreRobert Moore (pictured), director of emergency services training at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), recently won appointment to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Fire protection commissioners help enforce statewide fire service standards in addition to educating and assisting fire service personnel.

 

A member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, the National Fire Protection Association, the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals Association and the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals Association Industrial Emergency Board, Moore also served as an assistant fire chief and paramedic for the Channelview Volunteer Fire Department.

 

Moore holds an associate's degree from Blinn College and received certification as an emergency medical technician and paramedic at Lee College. He also is a graduate of the TEEX Leadership Development Program.

 

Amarillo OK's $500,000 grant to expand WT A&M Enterprise Center

Amarillo City Commissioners recently approved a $500,000 grant from the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. (AEDC) to help pay for an $8 million expansion of the West Texas A&M Enterprise Center.

 

The three-phase project calls for building a new administrative area with conference rooms, a kitchen and offices as part of the first phase of the enterprise center project that will offer educational classes and mentors to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The grant will be available once supporters complete fundraising for the project, AEDC officials said.

 

The enterprise center has enjoyed a 78 percent success rate for small businesses that used services of the center. City officials hope the expanded center will spur more job growth and innovation in the Panhandle area.

 

South Texas College eyeing $150 million bond proposal

Rose BenavidezSouth Texas College officials are considering a $150 million bond proposal to pay for a new campus and to expand current facilities.

 

Rose Benavidez (pictured), who chairs the board of trustees, said a rapid growth in enrollment has required the school to add 52 portable units to supplement existing facilities on its five campuses in the Rio Grande Valley. College officials said the proposed project contains no frills and does not include any athletic facilities or administrative offices.

 

A recent announcement that The University of Texas System plans to establish a medical school in South Texas could require even more expansion as the school's existing nursing program could serve to complement the medical school, college officials said.

 

Need Federal Contracting?

ADP benefits from $2.4 million from Texas Enterprise Fund
Thanks in part to an infusion of $2.4 million from the state's Texas Enterprise Fund, ADP is expanding its operations in El Paso. As a result, the effort is expected to create 585 jobs and $22 million in capital investment.

 

ADP provides human resource, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions to approximately 600,000 clients worldwide. "The partnership between ADP and El Paso has greatly benefitted both the company and our community," El Paso Mayor John Cook said. "We are thrilled that this outstanding corporate citizen has decided to deepen their roots here by this significant commitment of new high-paying jobs and capital investment."

 

Arulanandam selected as assistant VP at UT-San Antonio

Bernard ArulanandamDr. Bernard Arulanandam (pictured) recently agreed to serve as the assistant vice president for research support at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The new position was created as part of a plan to restructure research efforts at UTSA by creating six new Research Service Centers to provide faculty with support for grant opportunity identification, preparation of the proposal and processing and management of grant efforts.

 

Arulanandam has been associate dean of research for scientific innovation at the College of Sciences at UTSA since 2009. He joined UTSA in 2001 and also serves as director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

 

Two Texas charter school networks are Race to Top winners

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that two Texas charter school networks, Harmony Public Schools and IDEA Public Schools, each won an almost $30 million grant from the federal Race to the Top competition.

 

The competition awarded 16 applicants a total of $400 million in grants to school districts and charter schools that included 55 urban and rural school districts in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The four-year grants range from $10 million to $40 million and are to be used to help close the achievement gap and better prepare students for college and career success.

 

IDEA Public Schools was founded in Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley and has had success in improving the success of economically disadvantaged students, said Tom Torkelson, the chief executive officer of the charter school network. He plans to use the grant to buy computers, increase teacher training and buy software licenses to expand online elective offerings. Harmony Public Schools operate 38 schools with about 25,000 students throughout the state. Harmony, which applied as a consortium of nine science academies, plans to use the grant to expand a pilot program to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.

 

Bono picked as member of board of directors of Port San Antonio

Rolando BonoA San Antonio city councilman recently appointed J. Rolando Bono (pictured), a former city manager in that city, to the board of directors of Port San Antonio, that was created to oversee the redevelopment of the former Kelley Air Force Base.

 

So far, the port has 70 tenants from both the private and public sectors that employ more than 14,000 people at the former Air Force base.

 

Port officials estimate the redevelopment at the former air base makes about a $4 billion economic impact each year.

 

Denison ISD begins campaign to raise $800,000 to upgrade stadium

Denison Independent School District officials recently joined with city officials and community leaders to raise $800,000, the final funding needed to upgrade Munson Stadium.

 

District officials so far have raised $4.2 million of the estimated $5 million needed to replace home stands, build a new field house, press box, concession stand, restrooms and make the stadium accessible for people with disabilities. Several engineering studies indicate that the current stadium has structural issues and will be unsafe after the football season next year.

 

District officials committed $3 million and the Munson Foundation donated $1 million to the stadium project. An anonymous donor committed to a $150,000 gift to the stadium and the Denison Development Foundation has agreed to donate $50,000, said Robert Brady, a former mayor who co-chairs the committee leading fundraising efforts.

 

Research Analysts

RTC approves $100M package to purchase rail cars

A funding package was approved Thursday by the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) that would provide $100 million for the purchase of approximately 20 rail cars for the proposed TEX Rail/Cotton Belt line. The package is a combined effort of the RTC, the T and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the 37-mile rail line that extends from Fort Worth to DFW Airport. The line has yet to be approved by the federal government, but because it can take years for an order for cars to be filled, the cars had to be funded as quickly as possible.

 

The RTC now is expected to receive a proposal from developers interested in building the Cotton Belt project, probably sometime early next year. The Tarrant County portion of the line, being developed by the T, is already looking for federal grant funds for that $960 million project. Also in the mix is a $57.5 million commitment from the RTC, $25 million of which is expected to be matched by TxDOT.

 

Midway ISD begins planning for $20M bond election in May 2013

George KazanasAfter learning that property values have increased, Midway Independent School District officials recently agreed to begin planning for an estimated $20 million bond election in May 2013 to upgrade facilities.

 

The increased property values create a surplus of tax revenues needed to repay current bond debt and it may be possible to meet technology, maintenance and transportation needs by issuing bonds without raising the tax rate, Superintendent George Kazanas (pictured) said.

 

The proposed bonds would include funding to provide each student with a mobile device such as the tablet computers used at a current elementary school and to establish a virtual desktop infrastructure, buy servers, storage and upgrade networks. The purchase also would include security cameras, district officials said.

 

Port Neches accepts $2.9M federal grant for new emergency center

Port Neches City Council members recently agreed to accept a $2.9 million Port Security Grant to pay for building a new fire station and emergency operations center. City officials have agreed to contribute about $1 million, or a 25 percent match, of the grant.

 

City officials expect to begin an environmental assessment of the proposed site that should take between four to six months to complete in order for the grant funding for the project to be released. Construction on the multi-purpose facility should begin in about a year and be completed in about nine months. City officials also must resolve some issues in the proposed trade with Groves Independent School District before the project can proceed. The district agreed to trade the property for the proposed fire station and emergency center in return for the existing city hall property.

 

Mary Scott NabersWhat private sector firms should know about government marketplace culture...

 

"To understand the culture of government marketplaces, vendors Collaboration Nationmust be able to relate to the people who live and work there. For example,  the tactics that get a sales rep a meeting with a potential commercial sector customer are almost always inappropriate or ineffective in the public sector."

 

- From Collaboration Nation, How Public-Private Ventures Are Revolutionizing the Business of Government, by Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.  

 

For more information and to order your copy, click here.

 

Navarro County moves forward with courthouse restoration project

After two postponed votes, Navarro County commissioners recently signed an agreement with the Texas Historical Commission necessary to accept a $4.5 million grant to renovate the historic county courthouse.

 

The agreement calls for hiring a financial advisor and for the architect to continue work on planning and design for the renovation. The $4.5 million grant is expected to pay for less than half the estimated cost of the courthouse project. Council must still approve a funding agreement after design work on the restoration project and planning for relocating county employees is completed.

 

Commissioners also discussed a proposal by the county judge to seek private donations to help pay for the restoration project until certificates of obligation are approved and issued. The architect also will begin preparing to seek bids for the project, county officials said.

 

Montgomery approves $3.76 million for water well, sewer projects

Bill KotlanThe Montgomery City Council recently approved the sale of $3.76 million in certificates of deposit to pay for a new water well and other water and sewer projects.

 

The Catahoula water well is designed to be the primary source of municipal water and should allow the city to reduce reliance on the Jasper Aquifer and other groundwater sources, City Administrator Bill Kotlan (pictured) said.

 

The new water source should cost less than if the city had joined the San Jacinto River Authority Groundwater Reduction Plan, Kotlan said.

 

Brownwood OK's contract for design of $2.2 million soccer complex

Brownwood City Council members recently approved a $76,500 contract with an architectural and engineering firm to design the new $2.2 million Camp Bowie Soccer complex. Kimley-Horn and Associates also designed the Massey Sports Complex and the Family Aquatic Center as well as renovating the annex at the coliseum into a senior center for the city.

 

The new soccer complex will feature 15 soccer fields, two practice fields, a building with restrooms and concessions, lighting for three fields, bleacher pads, parking and a playground. The contract calls for the firm to coordinate with city officials, prepare construction plans and provide a cost estimate. City workers will develop design plans for irrigation in addition to handling bid and inspection issues for the soccer complex.

 

 

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Former Upshur Co. officials seeking post as county road administrator

Two former commissioners in Upshur County, James Crittenden and Tommy Stanley, recently applied to the county to fill the post of county road administrator. Crittenden is stepping down as the Precinct 1 county commissioner on Dec. 31, and Stanley served three terms as commissioner beginning in 1990. Both county officials said they are applying for the job in case the county does not find a certified engineer for the job.

 

Upshur County voters in 2002 approved a proposition to change to a unit road system managed by an engineer or administrator rather than the old system of commissioners overseeing road maintenance in their own precincts. That policy, however, allows commissioners to appoint a road administrator if a suitable road engineer is not found.

 

Deadline for applying for the road engineer and administrator position is the end of January 2013 and commissioners set a goal of hiring the new road administrator on Feb. 1 to replace Eric Fisher, the county road engineer who resigned in November.

 

El Paso Public Service Board selects Balliew as new CEO

John BalliewThe El Paso Public Service Board recently selected John E. Balliew (pictured) as the new president and chief executive officer of El Paso Water Utilities.

 

Currently the vice president of operations and technical services, Balliew joined the utility in April 1983. He will replace Ed Archuleta, who is retiring next year to serve on the board of managers that will oversee the trustees of the El Paso Independent School District.

 

In his new duties, Balliew will manage operation of six water treatment plants, 150 groundwater wells and a network of pipes and reservoirs. He also will oversee maintenance and operation of the stormwater management system. Balliew has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University.

 

El Paso ISD officials to fight oversight of school district

Officials with the El Paso Independent School District have asked the Texas Education Agency to review Education Commissioner Michael Williams' recent appointment of a board of managers to replace the district's elected school board. Williams' action came after a conspiracy was revealed that resulted in school officials removing low-performing students from classrooms in order to improve test scores. After the investigation that followed, Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to prison. EPISD officials have decided to fight state oversight of the district.

 

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Midland ISD approves $567,398 to buy land for new school

Midland Independent School District trustees recently approved spending $567,398 to buy 11.538 acres of land for a new 92,500-square-foot elementary school. Developers of a nearby subdivision also agreed to give the district an additional 4.309 acres for the school.

 

Voters in Midland approved $163 million in bonds in November that include funding for three new elementary schools, each designed to accommodate 800 students.

 

District officials expect to begin the design process for the schools in January, kick off construction in October and the new schools to be completed by December 2014.

 

Taylor Council approves funding for recreation center

After approving $3.6 million in funding for a new recreation center, the Taylor City Council will now have to wait and see if the local YMCA will put up more than $288,000 to help pay for the facility. Bids for the structure came in higher than anticipated, so the YMCA of Greater Williamson County will be asked to put up additional funding.

 

Voters turned down a referendum on the issue in 2010 and because of some Council opposition, the Council put a cap on how much the city would spend. It was decided that no funds would be pulled from general revenue. The $3.6 million approved for the facility will come from utility project savings. The YMCA is expected to take up the issue at its January 2013 meeting. If YMCA funding is approved, it could recoup its investment by the city's offering free rent for a number of years. Once the YMCA funding is secured, city officials say construction on the facility could start in February or March of next year.

 

Tyler ISD unveil proposed $161 million bond issue

Board members of Tyler Independent School District recently unveiled a $161 million bond proposal to give voters the opportunity to provide feedback on the bond election planned for May 2013.

 

The current bond package contains six projects that include renovating two elementary schools, building three new middle schools and building a new career and technology center near the west campus of Tyler Junior College. No projects are final and trustees will consider voter suggestions before approving a final bond proposal, trustees said. District officials also will offer an option of building new elementary campuses that would cost about $46.5 million, almost $14 million more than renovating both schools at an estimated cost of $32.5 million.

 

Current plans for renovating the two elementary schools are to begin work in May 2014 and complete some renovations in time for schools to open in the fall. Renovation would continue through 2014-2015 and be completed by August 2015, according to the construction project manager for the district.

 

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Bonham moves forward to fund projects in capital improvement plan

Bonham City Council members recently agreed to publish their intent to issue $595,000 in certificates of obligation to help pay for upgrading a fire station, improving the electrical system at the Lake Bonham Recreation Area and building 14 new hangars at the municipal airport.

 

City officials plan to use the funding to contribute $160,000 required to match a $1.6 million federal grant to build the new hangars at Jones Field Municipal Airport if the grant is approved in January. They will also use $257,000 to rehabilitate the fire station. While the funding from the certificates of obligation most likely will not be available until March 2013, city officials plan to begin work on the $130,000 project to improve the electrical system at the recreation area as soon as possible to have campsites ready in late spring or summer of 2013.

 

FEMA awards $1.8M grant to La Joya ISD/Hidalgo County for shelter

The Federal Emergency Management Administration recently awarded a $1.8 million grant to the La Joya Independent School District and Hidalgo County to build a new concrete doomed building to act as a shelter during emergencies and a community center for county residents.

 

Plans call for building a 20,000-square-foot building near Palmview High School on La Homa Road that will feature a gymnasium with collapsible bleachers and designed to be accessible for people with disabilities. Officials of La Joya ISD are expected to agree this week to contribute $600,000 to the shelter project, district officials said.

 

 

Leadership Fusion Summit to address educational trends

Join educational leaders from across Texas for Leadership Fusion 2013 - Learning in the 21st Century, Leading in Tomorrow's World. Each year, Leadership Fusion focuses on topics that are relevant to current educational trends. This year, the summit explores how emerging technology is motivating and engaging students, how brain-based research can impact higher learning and how the universal principles of exemplary school leadership can accelerate student success. Participants will gain best practices and innovative strategies to help them excel as educational leaders. Featured speakers include: Eric Jensen, a leading authority on the science and applications of brain research in education; Alan November, international leader in educational technology; and Lonnie Moore, leadership development expert and author of The High-Trust Classroom. Visit www.leadershipfusion.net to learn more or e-mail solutions@esc4.net.

 

National Education Partnerships Conference planned Dec. 9-11

The Texas Association of Partners in Education (TAPE) and the National Association for School and Community Engagement (NASCE) will host the National Education Partnerships Conference Dec. 9-11. Held at the Marriott Riverwalk in San Antonio, the conference is designed for anyone involved in partnerships for student success, including school partnership coordinators, business partnership professionals, community involvement specialists, parental involvement specialists, principals, education foundation staff, parents and school volunteers. Sponsors anticipate up to 200 attendees from across the United States. Workshops will provide partnership coordinators in schools, businesses and agencies with helpful tools and best practices for effective partnerships that align resources for student success in school, career and college. Registration is as low as $239/person and special conference hotel rates are available through Nov. 19. More information on the conference, including a draft agenda, session and keynote speaker descriptions and links for registration and hotel reservations, is available on the conference Web site: http://www.partnershipsconference.org/. Questions? Contact Jennifer Peters at jpeters@tape.org.

 

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 was 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! 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.

 

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Public officials in America watching international P3s

 

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

 

Other nations are decades ahead of us in the use of public-private partnerships (P3s). But, elected officials in America are now aggressively asking questions and checking out "best P3 practices" because of critical needs and a lack of public funding. They are analyzing the most successful international P3 projects and there are many successful ones.

 

Turkey, for instance, has been successful using P3 models for both airports and ports. Four of the country's major airports were developed and are operated through P3 agreements. The country also has used P3s for new port construction as well as upgrades to existing ports.

 

The Alberta SuperNet in Canada, a public-private partnership, was designed to provide Alberta's 3.5 million residents with high-speed Internet service. It connects schools, hospitals, colleges, universities, libraries and municipal offices to a network of fiber cables and towers. Today, the SuperNet serves more than 425 Alberta communities, 400 of which are in rural areas. The P3 agreement that made this possible involved dozens of Internet service providers in more than 260 communities.

 

Among the more creative P3 success stories internationally is the Bangalore One (B1) project in India. This project involved a consortium of private sector firms that partnered with the Indian state of Karnataka to provide kiosks as one-stop sites where citizens could access governmental transactions and services. The private sector operator of the kiosks earns a fixed fee for each transaction. The project originally called for 15 service centers throughout the city with two-dozen services involving eight government departments. That quickly increased to 30 service centers. The concept has been so successful it is now being expanded to other cities.

  
  
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Northside ISD seeking bids

on $20M security systems

The Northside Independent School District in San Antonio is taking bids for a proposed security project that is expected to cost $20 million. The project includes installation of video surveillance cameras at all of the district's elementary schools over a period of two years.

 

The integrated security management systems will be installed at 74 NISD schools. Each school will have video cameras, motion detection sensors and security access controls through one system. The cameras are planned to focus on securing the outside of the schools to help prevent vandalism and burglaries. Bids for the project are due by Dec. 19 and the issue could be before the school board in January 2013.

 

SPI names Jones Director

of Business Development

Ron JonesRon Jones has joined Strategic Partnerships Inc.'s sales and marketing team as Director of Business Development. He brings 25 years of sales, marketing and business development experience to SPI.

 

Jones most recently was employed at Carnegie Learning, a leading publisher of innovative, research-based education curricula. He has sales experience in both the public and private sectors and is well versed in public-private partnerships. He holds a degree from Otterbein University in Ohio. Jones can be reached at rjones@spartnerships.com.

 

UT system will delay plans for new downtown headquarters

Consolidation of The University of Texas System's current five-building administrative complex into one headquarters facility in downtown Austin is apparently on hold. The System's Board of Regents, at their meeting in November, rolled out plans for a new facility, noting the consolidation of several buildings into one downtown facility could save upwards of $5 million per year.

 

However, Regents Chair Gene Powell this week put the project on hold, saying other capital projects should be the System's priority and not a new headquarters building. One of those projects is the recently announced merger of The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas-Pan American and a proposed new medical school in the Rio Grande Valley.

 

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Labriola to serve as Parkland's associate chief nursing officer

Rose Labriola, R.N., former senior vice president of Patient Care Services at Frederick Regional health System in Maryland, has been named associate chief nursing officer for the Parkland Health and Hospital System.

 

Labriola will be a key player as the hospital seeks to ensure that changes are put in place for Parkland that will enhance patient safety. Parkland is operating under federal oversight after repeated inspections found serious patient safety violations. The hospital stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid funding if the changes are not accomplished.

 

Prior to working at Frederick Regional, Labriola was the vice president of patient care services at St. Francis Hospital/Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare System in Wisconsin. She holds an Educational Doctorate from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Nursing Administration, Rehabilitation and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Xavier University in Chicago.

 

Tyler ISD selects Mooring as

lone finalist for superintendent

Gary MooringTyler Independent School District trustees recently selected Gary Mooring (pictured), who has served as the interim superintendent since August, as the lone finalist for superintendent. He will replace Dr. Randy Reid, the former superintendent who resigned to become superintendent of Keller ISD.

 

Mooring previously was a director of dual credit at Tyler Junior College and in 2006, became a deputy superintendent at the Tyler school district. He also was a superintendent at school districts in Bishop Consolidated ISD and Hutto ISD after beginning his career as a teacher nearly 30 years ago. Mooring has a bachelor's degree from West Texas A&M University and a master's degree from The University of Texas at Tyler, where he also earned certification as a superintendent.

 

Bulverde taps Hoppe as

new city administrator

Bulverde City Council members recently selected Eugene A. Hoppe as the new city administrator. Hoppe will replace John Hobson, who left that post in September.

A former assistant city manager in Richardson, Hoppe has a bachelor's degree from Austin College and a master's degree from the University of North Texas.

 

Tyler approves $177,548 to upgrade runway at airport

Tyler City Council members recently approved $177,548 to pay for new pavement for a runway at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. Council members also agreed to extend the runway from its current 7,800 feet to 8,200 feet to relocate an instrument landing system that helps guide aircraft to land at the airport.

 

A grant from the Federal Aviation Administration will pay for 90 percent of the cost of the new runway pavement and relocation of the landing system and the city will contribute 10 percent of the cost, the airport manager said. The grant also will pay for a required environmental study that should be complete in about nine months, he said.

 

LeFleur Transportation

Abilene ISD names Brokovich as new director of federal programs

Abilene Independent School District trustees recently selected Jeff Brokovich to serve as the new executive director of elementary education following the retirement of the current director, Karen Stover, at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

 

Board members also selected Cheryl Cunningham, currently the director of early childhood program, to replace Brokovich as the executive director of federal programs in addition to retaining oversight over the early childhood program. Trustees also appointed Jenny Putnam, the assistant director of early childhood, as the director of the program.

 

Brokovich, a 24-year employee of the district, was an elementary school teacher and a former elementary school principal. Cunningham, a graduate of Abilene Christian University, served 23 years as executive director of the early childhood program while Putnam has served as the assistant director of that program since 2003.

 

Buinger stepping down as leader

of Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD

Gene BuingerSuperintendent Gene Buinger (pictured) of Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District recently told trustees he plans to retire, effective on June 30.

 

Buinger began his career in education as a teacher in Kansas City, Kansas. Before joining the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD as superintendent in 1999, he served as superintendent at five other school districts.

 

Trustees plan to immediately begin accepting applications for superintendent from internal candidates. If trustees decide against hiring an internal candidate, they plan to launch a national search for a new superintendent early next year.

 

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Bryan selects Kujawski as

new public information officer

Jenna KujawskiBryan city officials recently selected Jenna Kujawski (pictured) as the new director of communications and marketing effective on Jan. 7, 2013. Her duties will include managing 20 Web sites and television programs for the city in addition to emergency communications, educational promotions, public service announcements and other special projects.

 

A graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, Kujawski previously was employed as a teacher and as the director of communications and public relations for the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development.

 

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.

Denton names Bissett director

of economic development

Aimee BissettDenton city officials recently selected Aimee Bissett (pictured) as the new director of economic development. Bissett will replace Linda Ratliff, the former director, on Jan. 5, 2013.

 

Bissett currently is the executive director and program manager for Keep Denton Beautiful and previously was director of development for the Citizens Development Center. She has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and is expected to complete her master's degree at The University of Texas at Arlington in May.

 

Sinton council selects

Minor as new city manager

Sinton City Council members recently selected James Minor as the new city manager, effective on Jan. 1, 2013. Minor, who has a bachelor's degree from Tarleton State University, previously worked as a city manager in Brady and in Keene. He also was employed in public works departments in Mineral Wells, Odessa and Bryan.

 

Wysocki resigns as planning director in Round Rock

Peter WysockiPeter Wysocki (pictured), the director of planning and development for the city of Round Rock, recently resigned from that post to accept a new job as director of planning in Colorado Springs, Colorado, effective Dec. 17.

 

City Manager Steve Norwood appointed Brad Wiseman, the current manager of development services, to be the interim director of planning and development until the city selects a new director for that department.

 

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Government News

Check the GOVERNMENT NEWS section of the SPI Web site for these and other press releases.

  • Mandatory electronic e-filing for civil cases in most Texas courts

  • Future electric outlook shows improvement

  • AACOG presents awards to winners of 2012 Walk & Roll Challenge
  • Several honored at Public Safety Commission meeting
  • AACOG announces 2012 Regional Award Winners
Recent Reports

Womack resigns as assistant superintendent for Waco ISD

Jennifer WomackJennifer Womack (pictured), the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Waco Independent School District, recently resigned effective on Dec. 21. Womack has accepted a position at the Region 13 Education Service Center in Austin.

 

Superintendent Bonny Cain says she intends to divide up the duties performed by Womack among other staff members as she is unsure when she will hire a new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

 

Scheiner is new deputy director

of Conroe eco-devo group

Greater Conroe Economic Development Corp. officials recently selected Danielle Scheiner as the deputy director of the newly reorganized group.

 

Scheiner previously worked for the Conroe Convention and Visitor's Bureau and at an en energy company, where she was active in community development.

 

GCEDC officials also tapped Shawn Johnson, formerly with the Parks and Recreation Department, as the new office coordinator who will administer grants. Scheiner and Johnson will join Jennifer Mathews, the associate director in charge of retaining existing businesses at the two business parks operated by GCEDC, and Danielle Storseth, a research analyst and retail specialist who will focus on helping to develop retail businesses.

 

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

Stockard leaving Vernon BDC

for similar position in Taylor

Sean Stockard, president and CEO of the Business Development Corp. of Vernon, has announced his resignation. Stockard has accepted a similar position with the Taylor Economic Development Corp. Stockard had served in Vernon since August 2005. His first date on the job in his new position in Taylor is set for Jan. 14, 2013. The Vernon BDC directors will hold a meeting in the near future to discuss the president/CEO position.

 

Arlington ISD selects Cavazos

as its new superintendent

Marcelo CavazosArlington Independent School District trustees recently appointed Marcelo Cavazos (pictured) as the new superintendent. Cavazos, who was deputy superintendent before agreeing in June to serve as interim superintendent, replaces Jerry McCullough, the former superintendent.

 

Cavazos previously was a teacher at Mission ISD and McAllen ISD, an administrator for Mercedes ISD and San Benito ISD and an administrator for the Texas Education Agency. He has a bachelor's and a master's degree from The University of Texas-Pan American and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.

 

Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Ronald Poynter of McKinney, Texas Commission on Fire Protection;
  • Ben E. Dickerson Denton, Legislative Committee on Aging;
  • Wroe Jackson of Austin, State Employee Charitable Campaign Policy Committee;
  • James "Jim" Cathey of College Station, Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council;
  • Hugh Jons of Kerrville to the Upper Guadalupe River Authority Board of Directors.

Shelley to be new city

secretary for city of Colleyville

Colleyville city officials recently selected Amy Shelley as the new city secretary to replace Cynthia Singleton, who is leaving that post.

 

Shelley, a nine-year city employee, previously was an assistant in planning and zoning and a community development coordinator. She has a bachelor's degree from Concordia University and is working to complete her municipal clerk certification in 2013.

 

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Alamo economic development group names director finalists

Alamo Economic Development Corp. officials recently selected three finalists from which to pick a director and expect to select the new leader this week from the 16 candidates who applied for the job.

 

The three finalists for director are Miki McCarthy, a former director of the San Juan Economic Development Corp.; Joseph Campos, a development consultant; and Ramiro Aleman, a former manager of the Harlingen Business Development Corp.

 

While City Manager Luciano Ozuma proposed the city take control of the corporation to save money after the director left in January 2012, board members in September offered the director's job to Alma Colleli, who was formerly employed with the San Benito Economic Development Corp. Colleli, however, declined the offer to take the position as executive director of the Rio South Economic Council and board members reopened their search for a new director.

 

Lewis resigns as San Angelo

economic development head Shawn Lewis Shawn Lewis (pictured), the director of community and economic development in San Angelo, recently resigned effective on Dec. 24. City officials have not yet named an interim director for the community and economic development department.

 

Lewis, who became planning director in 2006 and director of community and economic development in 2010, is leaving to become the new assistant city manager in Longmont, Colorado. He will join Harold Dominguez, the former city manager in San Angelo, who became city manager in Longmont in April 2012.

 

Clear Lake Shores looking

for administrator, city secretary

City officials in Clear Lake Shores will be launching a search for a new administrator and city secretary after City Administrator Paul Shelley decided not to renew his contract and City Secretary Karen Mericle announced plans to retire.

 

Prior to becoming city administrator in 2006, Shelley previously served as chief of police, public works director and emergency management coordinator for Clear Lake Shores. City officials created a hiring committee in September to begin interviewing candidates for city administrator and have narrowed their focus to three candidates, city officials said.

 

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