Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 49 - Friday, Dec. 21, 2012

CPRIT under fire:


Legislators question cancer agency officials regarding grant process, operations

CPRIT LogoOfficials with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) got a no-holds-barred interrogation yesterday from less-than-happy members of the Texas Legislature. CPRIT, the state's $3 billion cancer research agency, is in hot water.


CPRIT awarded an $11 million grant to Peloton Therapeutics reportedly without the grant application going through appropriate scientific review. The fallout from that action is that several high-level members of the agency have resigned and the agency is under investigation by the Travis County District Attorney's office and the Texas Attorney General's Office. The National Cancer Institute, too, is said to be delving into the workings of the agency and the State Auditor's Office is performing an audit of the agency. State Rep. Jim Keffer (bottom left), author of the bill that created CPRIT, called the investigations "an extremely serious issue."


Jim PittsJim KefferEarlier this week, CPRIT officials received a letter signed by Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus saying it is "vital that CPRIT fully address the concerns that have been raised about its processes and operations prior to future grants being awarded." Since that letter was received, a statement was issued by the CPRIT Oversight Committee chair and vice chair noting, "The CPRIT Oversight Committee agrees with and endorses the call...for a moratorium on CPRIT grants until concerns about the agency are addressed.  These issues need to be resolved to restore public confidence in CPRIT."


The transparency the state is demanding was addressed when CPRIT officials Thursday testified before the House Appropriations Committee.


Appropriations Chair Rep. Jim Pitts (bottom right), noting that his committee has oversight of the agency and its budget, described recent media reports about CPRIT. He said there were allegations of "inappropriate grants and administrative operations" of the agency, in particular relating to the alleged awarding of the Peloton grant without it receiving "the required scientific and financial review." Pitts said the relationship between CPRIT and its foundation also has been brought into question, along with the supplementing of salaries of some CPRIT executives.





Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Suzy WhittentonSuzy Whittenton, chief financial officer, Office of the Governor 


Career highlights and education:  I have a BBA in finance from The University of Texas at Austin, and I am a CPA. I have worked in state government for over 25 years. I started out in government by working in the Governor's Office during Governor Clements' second term. After that, I worked at three other state agencies as a chief financial officer and then I worked at the State Comptroller's Office as the Director of Statewide Fiscal Management. Now, 25 years later, I am back at the Governor's Office.
What I like best about my job is: The people are so competent and dedicated and I really enjoy the wide range of programs and statewide issues that we deal with.  

The best advice I've received for my current job is:  Hire people who are smarter than you are and then let them do their jobs. This is really easy for me. (Smile)

Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  Try to be positive and look for ways to help out. 
If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found:  driving one of my daughters to volleyball or cheerleading practice or to one of their games.

People would be surprised to know that I:  have lived in Austin for over 47 years and I don't plan to leave anytime soon.
One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: There is so much variety here. We have many diverse programs and so many talented people who manage them.

Former HHSC commissioner Suehs joins public affairs group

Tom SuehsFormer Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs (pictured), who retired from the state agency and state government in August, has joined an Austin-based public affairs group. Suehs has more than 25 years of policy and advocacy experience.


While at HHSC, Suehs had oversight for five state agencies under the HHSC umbrella, including five agencies, 57,000 employees and a $30 billion annual budget.


Suehs served as deputy executive commissioner for financial services at HHSC from 2003 until his appointment as executive commissioner in 2009. He also served as the deputy commissioner of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and is a former executive director of the Texas Health Care Association. Suehs also is a past president of the American Society of State Health Care Executives and former special adviser to the Texas Indigent Health Care Task Force. He holds a bachelor's degree from Texas State University and a master's from The University of Texas at Austin.


Greanias to step down as executive office of Houston's Metro

George GreaniasGeorge Greanias, president and chief executive officer with Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) since September 2010, has announced his resignation from the agency.


In addition to his post with Metro, Greanias is also a former member of the Houston City Council and former city controller. His previous work background also includes having been a management consultant and a college professor. He took over as interim director of Metro in the summer of 2010, and only months later was elevated to president and CEO.


Greanias, however, is not moving far away from Metro. The Metro board yesterday approved a six-month contract with Greanias to serve as a consultant to Metro. He will focus on leadership transition, increasing bus and light rail ridership and improving services for passengers with disabilities. The board also named 32-year Metro veteran Tom Lambert, the agency's executive vice president and Metro's former police chief, as interim CEO. He has indicated he will not seek the post full-time. 


Contracting Opportunities

DPS commissions 74 new State Troopers in Capitol ceremony

DPSThe long arm of the law in Texas just got a little bit longer. Some 74 men and women were recently commissioned as Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Highway Patrol troopers. The 74 were installed at a recent ceremony that included DPS Director Steven McCraw, Texas Public Safety Commission Chair Cynthia Leon and Gov. Rick Perry. All of the new troopers will soon be dispatched to duty stations throughout the state, where they will undergo six months of on-the-job training.


The new troopers began their march toward a career with DPS in July. The 21-week academy includes instruction regarding counter-terrorism, traffic and criminal law, arrest and control procedures, accident reconstruction, first aid and Spanish. They also received training in use of force, communication skills, firearms, driving, criminal interdiction, cultural diversity and physical fitness.


"Your expertise is of great value to the department and to our state, especially as Texas deals with Mexican drug cartels, transnational gangs and other criminal threats," McCraw told the new troopers. "You have an incredible opportunity and responsibility before you, and I urge you to hold fast to your values, conduct yourself with integrity and take pride in the work you do every day."


DFW Airport to get $120 million loan to build DART Orange Line

The Dallas-Fort Worth Intercontinental Airport recently won a $120 million federal loan to help pay for extending the Orange Line operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to the airport.


The loan is part of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and will allow the airport to extend the Orange Line for five miles north and west of Terminal A, where a new passenger station is being built. The plan is to open the final segment of the Orange Line by December 2014.


Since 1996, the U.S. Transportation Department has committed $796 million to DART as part of its effort to build a 90-mile light-rail system covering much of the greater Dallas area, said a spokesman for DART. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority also is working to extend the proposed commuter line operated by TEX Rail/Cotton Belt to Terminal B by 2016 and is applying for a federal grant to pay for almost half of the estimated $960 million cost of the commuter rail line that would connect with DART's Orange Line, the spokesman said.


Lanier leaving Houston Port board; Kennedy appointed

Elyse LanierJohn KennedyElyse Lanier (left), Harris County's appointee as commissioner on the Houston Port Authority, has submitted her resignation. The county's commissioner's court has since appointed retired Col. John Kennedy (right), to replace her. Lanier's two-year term expired in November.


Lanier was one of seven appointed members of the Port Authority governing board. Memberships on the board includes two members each appointed by the county and the city of Houston and one each by the city of Pasadena and the Harris County Mayors' and Councils' Association. The chair is appointed by a city-county vote.


Kennedy retired as a colonel after a 27-year military career, where he was heavily involved in logistics, leadership and management. He was in the lead post at the city of Nassau Bay for 10 years.


Judson ISD board calls for $83 million May bond election

Willis Mackey Trustees of the Judson Independent School District have called for an $83 million bond election for May 2013. The bond issue will include the construction of a new high school and a new elementary school.


Superintendent Willis Mackey (pictured) said previously that he would like to model the elementary after the district's Rolling Meadows Elementary School. The high school the district has in mind could accommodate 2,400 students with its core facilities and has classroom space for 1,600.


Some district residents have suggested that the bond issue also include a new or renovated swimming pool, an issue voters shot down in a 2010 bond vote.


Research Analysts

Texas State University System offers new Productivity Dashboard

Brian McCallChancellor Brian McCall (pictured) of the Texas State University System recently announced a new online application to allow students, parents and the public to provide access to data on the system's performance in key areas.


The new Productivity Dashboard provides information on 11 key performance measures such as enrollment growth, tuition and fees, the number of degrees awarded, the percentage of graduates employed or continuing their education and the student-to-faculty ratios. The new dashboard also will compare data from TSUS with statewide averages for other institutions of higher learning, McCall said.


TSUS officials also plan to upgrade the dashboard throughout the next year by adding data for specific institutions and demographic groups. The new dashboard is located online at www.tsus.edu/dashboard.


Bonham approves $595,000 for capital improvement projects

Bonham City Council members recently agreed to issue $595,000 in certificates of obligation to pay for three capital improvement projects.


City officials plan to use $257,000 to rehabilitate the downtown fire station, $160,000 to provide matching funds required by a $1.6 million grant to add 14 new hangars at the municipal airport and $130,000 to upgrade the electrical system at the Lake Bonham Recreation Area.


Kyle may try again to win approval of $35.3 million in bonds

Lucy JohnsonKyle City Council members recently began discussions on asking voters to approve $35.3 million in bonds to pay for rebuilding five roads after voters in November rejected a $6.4 million bond proposal to spend $4 million to upgrade Burton Creek Road and $2 million to pay for engineering for four other roads - Bunton, Goforth, Lehman and Marketplace.


Mayor Lucy Johnson (pictured) and several council members had supported a $34.7 million bond proposal to pay for the five road projects, but council asked voters to approve a $6.4 million bond proposal. City officials blamed the failure on the vagueness of the language in the proposal.


To help win support for a $35.3 million bond election in May to pay for upgrading all five roads, city officials held a workshop earlier this month with the mobility committee. The committee urged council to seek voter approval of the $35.3 million in bonds to pay for the road upgrades needed to ensure public safety.


Need Federal Contracting?

Clute moves forward on plan for new fire station, EMS facility

Clute City Council members recently announced plans to hold a workshop in January with the Clute Economic Development Corporation to discuss the need to build a new fire station that includes facilities for the Emergency Medical Services Department. Greg Rowland, president of the Clute EDC, said most city officials have reached a consensus that the new fire station is necessary to provide adequate fire and emergency medical services.


Greenville supports new private toll road connecting to Dallas area

Steve ReidGreenville City Council members recently supported plans to build a new private toll road connecting Greenville with Interstate 30 to provide better access to the Dallas area. The vote does not obligate the city to the project. However, it will be used to gain approval for the proposed toll road from the North Central Texas Council of Governments for the project to relieve congestion on Interstate 30 and Rockwall and Dallas counties, said Mayor Steve Reid (pictured).


Texas Turnpike Corporation (TTC) officials presented a plan to build four miles of a limited access, four-lane divided toll road. It will leave space for restoration of a rail line by the Northeast Texas Rural Rail Transportation District (NETEX) in the first phase of the proposed private toll road. The project should be able to secure right-of-way for the first phase through a long-term ground lease agreement between TTC and NETEX, TTC officials said.


The second phase calls for building a private toll road between State Highway 78 and the President George Bush Turnpike, but no specific route has been selected for the second phase of the project, TTC officials said.


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


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Wink-Loving ISD unveils plans for $32 million in facility upgrades

Trustees for the Wink-Loving Independent School District recently unveiled preliminary plans for new high schools and junior high schools in addition to an industrial art center. Voters approved $32 million in bonds in November to fund the new facilities. Construction on the new facilities is expected to begin in late February or early March 2013.


Houston ISD appoints group to increase diversity of suppliers

Alexis LicataHouston Independent School District officials recently created an Advisory Committee for Supplier Diversity to improve its program to attract more businesses owned by minorities and women. Those serving on the advisory committee are local business leaders.


Committee members will begin meeting this month to help district officials move forward with a 2012 bond package to repair, replace or build 40 schools, said Alexis Licata (pictured), general manager for the Office of Business Assistance for Houston ISD. During the 2007 bond program, Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) participated as contractors and suppliers. District officials plan to improve on that effort for the latest bond issue, Licata said.


To increase participation by businesses owned by minorities and women, advisory committee members plan to review the district's bid-scoring criteria, research whether "good faith effort" requirements for contractors are meeting M/WBE goals and match smaller firms with larger businesses, Licata said.


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Fabianke new vice chancellor at Alamo Colleges

Jo Carol FabienkeDr. Jo-Carol Fabianke (pictured) has been selected to serve as the new vice chancellor for academic success at the Alamo Colleges. Fabianke has been with the Alamo Colleges for 37 years.


She began with Alamo Colleges as a professor at San Antonio College, a position she held for 24 years. She also served there as the Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Co-director of the Reaffirmation of Accreditation and the District Policy Liaison. Fabianke moved to the district offices and served as executive assistant to the chancellor. She then joined Northwest Vista College as the Vice President of Academics and later returned to the district administration as the District Director for Achieving the Dream. Most recently, she was Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Partnerships and Initiatives, and served as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Success.


Fabianke holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of North Texas and earned her Ph.D. in higher education administration from Baylor University.


Midway ISD unveils cost estimate for proposed bond proposal

Midway Independent School District trustees recently learned the estimated cost of several projects that could be included in a bond election preliminarily planned in May 2013.


District staff presented options for several projects such as whether to pursue a $10.8 million technology upgrade or a less expensive $8.1 million upgrade of technology. Other projects under consideration for the bond proposal are $8.2 million for expanding fine arts facilities at the high school, $5.1 million for new locker rooms, $2.3 million for weight rooms and $3.7 million for indoor practice facilities.


Administrators also asked trustees to complete a survey on their priorities for the bond proposal and to be ready at a meeting on January 10 to nominate community members to serve on a bond advisory committee.


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Corpus Christi reappoints Kosteinik to Port of Corpus Christi

Robert KostelnikCorpus Christi City Council recently reappointed Robert Kostelnik (pictured) to a second, three-year term on the Port of Corpus Christi Commission.


The commission advises and approves contracts for the fifth largest port in the United States.


Kostelnik was vice president of Citgo Refining and Chemicals before leaving that post in 2002.


Tweet named as new director of parks, recreation in Amarillo

Rod Tweet, the current assistant director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Amarillo, recently won selection as the new director of the department.


Tweet, who joined the city in 2006, has served as interim director since June when Larry Offerdahl retired as parks and recreation director.


Judson ISD superintendent proposes up to $83M bond election

Willis Mackey Superintendent Willis Mackey of Judson Independent School District recently urged trustees to consider asking voters to approve a bond program ranging from $80 million to $83 million to build two new schools without raising taxes.


Bond funding would be used to build a new high school and new elementary school, Mackey said. Board members are scheduled to vote this week on whether to call a bond election next year.


Responding to a parent's concern over school safety, Mackey said the new schools will be designed with vestibules to funnel visitors only through the front office before accessing the rest of the school.


Did you miss Government Contracting Pipeline?

Greenwood ISD explores three options for bond proposal

Trustees for Greenwood Independent School District recently began exploring three options ranging from $37 million to $50 million to pay for expansion of campus facilities to avoid overcrowding.


With a $37 million price tag, the first option would expand all campuses through renovation by adding 24 elementary classrooms and 16 new middle school classrooms. The second option calls for building a new, 160,000-square-foot middle school for students in fifth through eighth grades and renovating the elementary school. The third option is to build a 145,000-square-foot elementary school to accommodate 1,200 students and convert the existing elementary into a middle school.


Projects included in all three options are:

  • to add expandable bleachers and renovate the high school competition gymnasium at a cost of about $1.25.million;
  • to build a new dining hall and kitchen at the high school at a cost of about $4.5 million;
  • to spend $1 million to convert the former kitchen and dining hall into administrative offices;
  • to spend $2.79 million to upgrade fire alarms, communications and data systems throughout the district; and,
  • building a $2.5 million indoor athletic practice facility.

Krum library officials urge city to consider new and larger library

Officials of the Krum Public Library recently urged city officials to consider hiring a consultant to study the cost of building a new, larger library to replace the current 2,400-square-foot library that is currently too small to accommodate all who visit.


Library staff urged building a 13,000-square-foot building that would offer five times more space than the current building. Council members agreed that library officials could begin a fundraising campaign for the new library and pursue a contract with a consultant to perform the library study. City officials could approve the contract with the consultant as early as January 7, city 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.


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.


Media Notice

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As 2012 winds down, 2013
looms large


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


In just a little over a week, the 83rd Texas Legislature will convene. It will, without doubt, be a busy and most likely contentious 140-day session. Education spending, water, transportation, health care, public-private partnerships (P3s) and Medicare will be among the big-ticket issues under discussion. And, of course - the state budget.


Already, more than 450 bills have been pre-filed. Many of them relate directly to contracting and procurement. In fact, three of the pre-filed bills have to do with historically underutilized businesses (HUBs). Public entities strive to make sure HUB businesses get a fair share of state contracts, either as a prime contractor or a subcontractor, but tweaking of the statute is common. One of the HUB-related bills expands the definition of a HUB business to include one that is wholly or partially owned, operated or controlled by military veterans who suffered service-related disabilities.


Most believe that legislators will also expand the statute regarding public-private partnerships (P3s) that was passed during the last session. Lawmakers are all too aware of the state's critical needs and P3s are an attractive way to solve funding issues.


Much of the legislation filed during the upcoming session will come directly from recommendations outlined in interim committee reports. Both the Texas House and Senate committees have studied statewide issues and are making recommendations.


Legislation to allow state-supported colleges and universities the use of Tuition Revenue Bonds (TRBs) for capital projects has been filed. TRBs allow institutions of higher education to construct, renovate or expand facilities to meet the needs of their steadily increasing student populations. The bonds are repaid by a revenue stream provided by tuition fees.

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Texas Tech University OKs

$5 million stadium project

Regents for the Texas Tech University System recently approved a $5 million project to upgrade the Jones AT&T Stadium. Plans call for building an 11-column, Spanish-Renaissance-type structure enclosing the north end of the stadium bowl and adding 368 new seats along with two observation decks with the capacity to safely handle 40 occupants.


City of Austin looking for affordable housing resources

Marc OttAustin City Manager Marc Ott (pictured) is about to go on a treasure hunt. City officials have asked him to try to find up to $10 million in funding to be used for affordable housing needs in the city - from home repairs to housing development.


There is some concern, however, regarding the city expending funds for a project that was shot down in a recent bond vote. City voters in November said no to the housing portion of the local bond election by more than 6,700 votes.


The city has in the last five years been funding affordable housing projects and programs at a rate of between $8 million and $10 million. Ott is expected to consistently funding affordable housing projects and programs at the $8 million to $10 million level annually for about five years. Ott is expected to update City Council members on his funding search at its Jan. 23, 2013, meeting.


Texas Government Insider

will not publish next week

Because of the upcoming Christmas holidays, there will be no edition of the Texas Government Insider next week. We will resume our regular Friday publication dates on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.


The offices of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 24 and 25, for the Christmas holidays. We will reopen on Wednesday, Dec. 26. SPI offices will also be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in observance of New Year's Day and will reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.


Have a safe and happy holiday!

Victoria approves $50,000 study

of leaking municipal pool

Victoria City Council members recently approved $50,000 for a study to explore whether to repair a leaking municipal pool built in 1978 with $412,000 in bond funds. The study will evaluate current pool facilities, recommend a path forward including whether the city should build a another pool, splash pads scattered throughout town or a water park.


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Mike Davis retiring as superintendent for Krum ISD

Mike DavisMike Davis (pictured) recently notified trustees for the Krum Independent School District that he plans to retire as superintendent on Jan. 28, 2013. Davis, who has served as superintendent since 2008, previously was a superintendent at Alpine ISD.


Trustees plan to name an interim superintendent on Jan. 16, 2013, and begin a search for a permanent superintendent within 45 days of after the interim superintendent begins work, the board president said.


EPISD official resigns; board takes no action on terminations

Former El Paso Interim Superintendent Terri Jordan has resigned from the district, but the school board took no action regarding two other administrators who were candidates for termination. All were allegedly involved to some degree in an alleged cheating scheme that resulted in a prison term for the previous superintendent, although Anderson did not admit to any wrongdoing.


Neither James Anderson, assistant superintendent in charge of high schools, nor Anna Luisa Kell, a Bowie High assistant principal in charge of guidance and instruction, were fired, although termination of both was considered by the board


Jordan was the first high-level central office administrator to resign in the wake of the scandal. Although Anderson's attorney said his client was asked to resign, the board chose not to terminate him or Kell.


HDI Solutions

Brackmeyer chosen as new

superintendent of Manor ISD

Kevin Brackmeyer, who has been serving as interim superintendent of the Manor Independent School District since June, has been named superintendent. A former principal of Manor High School, Brackmeyer joined the district in 2009. By law, the district must wait 21 days before final approval of a contract with the new superintendent.


Davis to retire as superintendent of Pleasant Grove ISD

Margaret DavisSuperintendent Margaret Davis (pictured) recently announced she plans to retire from Pleasant Grove Independent School District in May 2013.


Davis, who began her duties as superintendent in 1990, also was a teacher and assistant superintendent. She has a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and a master's degree from East Texas State University at Texarkana.


Research Analysts - States

Lake Dallas selects Ristagno

as interim city manager

Lake Dallas City Council members recently appointed Nick Ristagno, the police chief, as the interim city manager to replace Earl Berner, who retired as city manager after eight years in that job.


Ristagno will share administrative duties with the city secretary, Joni Vaughn, until city officials plan to begin seeking a permanent city manager in the 2013-2014 budget year, city officials said.


Damon Murphy resigning as superintendent of Canutillo ISD

Damon MurphySuperintendent Damon Murphy (pictured) of Canutillo Independent School District recently announced he will resign from that post effective on Feb. 1, 2013. Murphy, however, will be on paid leave until that date.


Trustees also voted to respond to a notice sent by the Texas Education Agency informing district officials that the agency is investigating the district's compliance program.


Pruf LED - superior LED lighting

Copperas Cove reorganizes after key staff members retire, resign

Reacting to the loss of six key staff members due to retirements and resignations, City Manager Andrea Gardner recently reorganized several city departments to ensure that residents experience no reduction in city services


The reorganization includes the addition of another lower-level position in the Parks and Recreation Department, Gardner said. The Public Works Department also was reorganized following the retirement of the city's public works director, James Trevino, after 37 years with the city. Wesley Wright, the city engineer, resigned to accept a job with the city of Georgetown as engineering director for the utilities system.


Government News

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

  • DPS announces driver license mega center office
  • TxDOT, DPS warn drivers in work zones

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Willow Park cites Shaffstall as lone finalist for city administrator

Matt ShaffstallWillow Park City Council members recently tapped Matt Shaffstall (pictured) as the lone finalist for city administrator to replace former City Administrator Candy Scott.


Shaffstall currently is an economic development specialist in Richland Hills and previously worked for the cities of Hillsboro and Dallas. He has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of North Texas.


Recent Reports

Dallas narrows choices

for parks director to two

The city of Dallas has named two finalists for the position of parks director for the city. The finalists are Willis Winter, currently assistant director of the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, and Sue Black, former parks, recreation and culture director in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.


The Dallas Park and Recreation Board will make a decision on the position next year. That recommendation will then go to the Dallas City Council for approval. The new director will succeed Paul Dyer, who has retired.


Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 12/14/12

Beaumont approves plan to convert solid waste to diesel fuel

Beaumont City Council members recently agreed to a plan to send a portion of the city's solid waste to a private company, Fair Energy Operations-Beaumont, LLC (FEO), to convert to commercial-grade liquid diesel fuel.


The company agreed to pay the city about $400,000 annually in two installments for diverting an average of 2,400 tons of solid waste per week from the landfill to an adjacent privately owned facility that will recycle and reuse the solid waste. The company plans to build, own and operate the new $30 million facility to be located on land adjacent to the landfill.


The arrangement for diverting solid waste such as paper, plastics and metals and other waste that will be recycled or converted to fuel is expected to extend the use of the landfill for five additional years. City officials also estimated the new recycling facility will create about 50 permanent jobs.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Richard Couder of El Paso, State Independent Living Council; 
  • Randell Resneder, State Independent Living Council;
  • Joe Costa of Allen, One-Call Board.   
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Clear Lake Shores taps Jones

as new city administrator

City officials in Clear Lake Shores recently selected George Jones as the new city administrator. Jones, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma, will replace Paul Shelley, who did not renew his contract as city administrator and will leave that post in January.


Medina selected as new city administrator in Rio Hondo

Ben Medina, a former planning director in Brownsville, recently accepted a job as the new city administrator in Rio Hondo.


Medina won selection over three other finalists and will replace Hipolito Cabrera, who resigned in October after only 14 months in that job. A city employee in Brownsville for 23 years, he served as planning director for 10 years.


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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Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite #100
901 S. Mopac Expressway
Austin, Texas 78746