Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 15 - Friday, April 13, 2012

TIGER transportation grants:


More than 700 projects apply for only $500 million; Texas alone seeks $570 million

Repairs Needed
This photo illustrates the need for new cross ties that are sought in a TxDOT-sponsored transportation project seeking TIGER grant funds.

Just how bad is the nation's transportation infrastructure and how tight is federal funding to address transportation projects? According to a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) report, the United States needs to spend $101 billion annually over the next two decades to maintain the nation's highway system. Want improvements, too? That will cost another $69 billion per year.


It's no small wonder that when DOT announced available funding for a new round of federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants, the funding sought from applicants far exceeded the amount of funding available - as in 20 times more.


There were more than 700 applicants from state and local governments in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Their applications collectively totaled $10.2 billion. The bad news? There is only $500 million available in this round of TIGER 2012 funding.


To show the discrepancy between the money needed for infrastructure projects and what's available, the 30 applications from Texas governmental entities alone totaled more than $570 million - $70 million over the total available for the entire country.


The grant funding will be awarded on a competitive basis. During the first three rounds of TIGER grant allocations, a total of 172 projects nationwide and in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were funded - sharing $2.6 billion. But the 172 projects funded were a small portion of the 3,348 applications received that together requested a total of more than $95 billion.




Former TCEQ commissioner Garcia named to Railroad Commission

Buddy GargiaH.S. "Buddy" Garcia (pictured) of Austin, former commissioner at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), has been appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Railroad Commission of Texas.


Garcia was appointed to the TCEQ in January 2007. Prior to that position, his other government service includes having served as a deputy secretary of state and as border commerce coordinator for the state. He holds a bachelor's degree from Texas State University.


Garcia's term on the Railroad Commission will expire at the next general election.


DIR announces newly created Technology Sourcing Office


Dorwart to head division consolidating sourcing, contract management

Mary Cheryl DorwartThe newly created Technology Sourcing Office of the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) will be headed up by Mary Cheryl Dorwart (pictured), according to DIR Executive Director and the state's Chief Information Officer Karen Robinson. Robinson recently announced the establishment of the new office, which consolidates DIR's sourcing and contract management activities into a single office. The new office will report to Chief Operations Officer Carl Marsh.


Within the newly organized office, Grace Windbigler, who was contract manager for the recently awarded Tex-AN contracts, has been named manager of Enterprise Contracts and will oversee contracts for Data Center Services, Texas.gov, Tex-AN and other enterprise-type contracts. Additionally, former DCS procurement team member Donna Clay will serve as the DCS Contract Manager. Skip Bartek, a member of the cooperative contracts group, will now become a contract manager for the Tex-AN contracts. Dave Ballenger will continue to lead the Sourcing Analytics team.


Procurement support is being consolidated into the Procurement Services team which will include the historically underutilized business coordinator Bernadette Davis.


Contracts and Vendor Management will include staff previously responsible for the cooperative contracts and will be managed by Robin Abbott, formerly of the Office of the General Counsel.  The Sourcing Analytics team retains its current responsibilities and will continue to be led by Dave Ballenger. 


The Procurement Services team will report to Dorwart and will provide the Technology Sourcing Office and the agency with purchasing and procurement support.


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Wilson DayWilson Day, deputy chief financial officer, Department of State Health Services 


Career highlights and education: BA from Trinity University in San Antonio and post-graduate work at Prairie View A&M. I was in various positions at the Comptroller's Office for over 14 years, and then moved over to the Texas Department of Health in 2003. With the transformation to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in September 2004, I became the Accounting Director and was promoted to DSHS Deputy Chief Financial Officer in August 2011. 
What I like best about my job is: DSHS has more methods of finance, more federal grants, more strategies and more key performance measure than any other agency. It is a fast pace, keeping up with such a dynamic agency, and working with our programs provides everyone with the opportunities to grow and learn each day.
The best advice I've received for my current job is: 

When I first got to the Comptroller's Office, all new employees were required to take telephone etiquette training. It may not sound glamorous; however, one of the key things that were emphasized by Mr. (Bob) Bullock was that everyone that calls you is a taxpayer of the State of Texas. Everyone gets busy and when you get a call that has nothing to do with your agency, area or program, it is easy to dismiss the caller, but that training many years ago reminds me that this is my customer whether it is my area or not.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: 

Challenges are the best opportunity to shine. We have a responsibility to continue to improve so the State may better serve our customers. This means change, which is never easy, but staff that step up to these challenges are the future leaders.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found:  checking my BlackBerry for e-mails from the office (he said in case his boss is reading this article). If my boss has quit reading, then you might find me on the golf course, at the family farm clearing brush or shopping (single-handedly trying to help the economy come back).
People would be surprised to know that I: taught school and coached high school football for four years. You would be surprised what you can learn about dealing with people when you teach elementary physical education. There is the playing nice and being respectful of others that equates well to all aspects of my life. 
One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: The passion of the staff at DSHS to provide the best service possible to Texas. This agency is at the forefront of helping Texans through public and behavioral health services. Our services run the gamut from A (Alzheimer) to Z (Zoonosis), in addition to running 10 mental health state hospitals.

Bastrop State Park superintendent McClanahan promoted

 Todd McClanahanTodd McClanahan (pictured), superintendent of the Bastrop State Park, has been promoted to regional director for State Parks Region 3. With the regional office located in Bastrop, McClanahan and his family will continue to live in that community.


As regional director, McClanahan will oversee numerous parks in Central Texas and the Hill Country, including Bastrop, Buescher, Canyon State Natural Area, Enchanted Rock, Guadalupe, Inks Lake, LBJ, Lost Maples, McKinney Falls, Pedernales Falls and the South Llano River. He also will continue to head up recovery efforts at Bastrop State Park, areas of which were devastated by last year's wildfire.


Operations at Bastrop State Park, however, will be managed by site manager Roger Dolle and Cullen Sartor heading up management of operations at Buescher State Park.


Third DPS water patrol vessels named for Davidson

The third of the Texas Department of Public Safety's 34-foot shallow water patrol vessels was recently commissioned in Port O'Connor. The latest of the boats is named for late DPS Trooper Bill Davidson and was commissioned on the 20th anniversary of the in-the-line-of-duty shooting of the Trooper. Davidson died three days after being shot during a traffic stop in Jackson County.


The Bill Davidson will primarily be used for patrol of the Intracoastal Waterway. The black and white patrol vessels are equipped with advanced law enforcement technology, including multiple automatic weapons, ballistic shielding and night vision capabilities. All six patrol vessels are funded by the Texas Legislature and federal homeland security grants. All are or will be named for late Troopers.


Slayton chosen as administrative director of Texas OCA

David SlaytonDavid Slayton (pictured), formerly court administrator for Lubbock County, has been chosen as director of the Texas Office of Court Administration. He replaces former OCA Director Carl Reynolds, who retired at the end of March. Slayton had served as head of court administration for both district courts and county courts-at-law in Lubbock County since May 2004.


Before arriving in Lubbock, Slayton was court services supervisor for the U.S. District Court in Dallas. He also is a former intake and docketing clerk for the U.S. District Court in Lubbock and as state district court coordinator and deputy district clerk in Lubbock County.


Slayton holds a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and a master's from Troy State University. He is a board member of the National Association for Court Management. He will become president of the national association in July 2013.


Ortiz, Newton appointed as public members of Sunset Commission

The two public members of the Sunset Advisory Commission were appointed this week. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus appointed Casandra Cascos Ortiz of San Antonio and Jan Newton was announced as Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's appointee.  


Ortiz is an attorney at a law firm in San Antonio and previously was a research associate on health affairs with the Hogg Foundation. She has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from The University of Texas Law School.


Newton has more than 30 years of experience working in finance, business sales, marketing and governmental affairs. After retiring from AT&T, where she served as President of AT&T-Texas, Newton joined the Board of Directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for a four-year term.  She holds a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and has completed post-graduate management programs at Duke University and the University of Southern California.


During 2012 and 2013, when Ortiz and Newton are slated to serve on the commission, the Sunset commissioners are expected to hold public hearings to review 24 state agencies, including the Texas Lottery Commission, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Public Utility Commission, the Railroad Commission, Texas Ethics Commission and the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee. Five state representatives, five state senators and two public members appointed by the Speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor serve on the Sunset Commission, which researches operations of state agencies and makes recommendations on future operations at those agencies.


May 2012 Tx Bond Elections

LeBlanc exiting fund manager post at Teacher Retirement System

Steve LeBlancSteve LeBlanc (pictured), a senior investment official at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, announced he plans to leave that post in June for a job in the private sector.


LeBlanc is a manger for the agency's $110 billion pension fund. He won recognition for his management of the private markets division that oversees private equity, real estate and other alternative investments as ERS officials agreed to pursue a more aggressive investment approach. Under LeBlanc's management, that fund now has $20 billion in 90 private investments.


The TRS board will discuss organizational changes to replace LeBlanc at its April 19-20 meeting.


UT Southwestern Medical Center to name hospital for Gov. Clements

UT Southwestern Medical Center has announced that it will name its new state-of-the-art University Hospital, now under construction, after Texas Gov. William P. Clements Jr. The honor is in recognition of the former governor's 2009 gift of $100 million to the Southwestern Medical Foundation. It marked the largest single gift for the benefit of UT Southwestern in the institution's history.


The new William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is scheduled to open in late 2014, and will offer patients and medical personnel world-class facilities and technologies for both patients and medical staff. Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern, said Gov. Clements' only instruction when making the gift was that it be used for something "that would have a transformational impact on UT Southwestern." Podolsky said the new hospital will certainly have that transformational effect of which Clements spoke.


The William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, an $800 million, 460-bed hospital, will replace the St. Paul University Hospital facility and will also include space for physician training and for clinical research.


McKee resigns as director for Texas Engineering Extension Service

Bob McKeeRobert McKee (pictured) recently resigned as director of Disaster Preparedness and Response and of Texas Task Force 1 of the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).


McKee, who has been with TEEX since 2002, was placed on leave on March 12 after a company that manages a risk and misconduct hotline for the Texas A&M University System office filed a complaint concerning McKee. The A&M System office, which oversees TEEX, is investigating the complaint, but has not announced when that investigation may be completed.


TEEX offers hands-on training for first responders, homeland security exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services that can be customized for fire services, homeland security organizations, law enforcement, public works, safety and health and search and rescue teams from Texas and throughout the country.


Monthly sales tax revenues for March total $1.87 billion

State sales tax allocations that total $488.7 million have been forwarded to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose districts by the State Comptroller's Office. The April allocations represent a 17 percent increase over the same month last year. Total sales tax revenue in March was $1.87 billion, up 16.9 percent over March 2011 figures.


Cities in Texas collectively will receive $321.8 million for April, up 15.1 percent over last April's figures. Counties will share $32.8 million for April, up 22.8 percent over the same month of last year. Transit systems saw an increase of 17.5 percent, to this year's figure of $110.1 million for April. Special purpose taxing districts were allocated $24.1 million for April, up 35.6 percent from last April.


To view the allocations by city, click here. To view the allocations by county, click here.


Pendergrass to serve as president of San Juan College in N. Mexico

Toni PendergrassDr. Toni Pendergrass (pictured), vice president of learning at San Jacinto College, recently agreed to serve as the new president of San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico.


Pendergrass previously was a dean at El Centro College in the Dallas County Community College District.


She has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from New Mexico State University and a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin.


UT Dallas, Collin College approve pact to align five study disciplines

Agreement SignedOfficials of The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) and Collin College recently signed a new agreement to align five disciplines at both schools as part of a five-year, $2.5 million Gateways Collaborative grant from the National Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) program. The two institutions of higher learning previously agreed to align courses in engineering and computer technology to ensure students transferring from Collin to UT-Dallas experience a smoother transition.


In the new articulation agreement, the institutions agreed to align geoscience, chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics courses. Administrators and professors from both institutions worked together for two years developing course syllabi, textbooks and instructional methods. The agreement also allows students at Collin College to lock in current tuition fees at UT Dallas prior to enrolling in classes at the four-year university.


In the accompanying photo,UT Dallas Dean of Undergraduate Education Dr.Sheila Pineres (left) and Collin College Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Development Dr. Colleen Smith sign the new Collin College and UT Dallas articulation agreement.


Need Federal Contracting?

Design firm chosen for recommendations for A&M's Kyle Field

Scott TaylorA sports facility design firm has been chosen by Texas A&M University to come up with design proposals for the university's Kyle Field football stadium. Populous was chosen to lead the study, and to provide plans for a renovated stadium and a new stadium. The design phase will begin immediately, with construction to start after the 2013 football season. Some minor construction could get under way prior to the upcoming season.


M. Scott Taylor (pictured), chair of the university's 12th Man Foundation said the university has a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to redevelop the historic field. "Given the magnitude and historic significance of this project, we want to be thoughtful and measured as we move forward," he added.


Among the possibilities of the design are more fixed seating capacity, improving amenities and developing a plan to address safety. While other changes are possible, the university has not ruled out building a new stadium. Officials are hopeful to have study results by September.

Comal County considering bond election for jail expansion

Comal County commissioners are studying the possibility of a bond issue to address the need for additional space for both inmates and law enforcement personnel at the current Comal County Jail. County officials say the current jail is too small to handle a growing population.


El Paso Community College selects Serrata as finalist for president

William SerrataEl Paso Community College board members recently selected William Serrata (pictured) from a list of 12 applicants as the finalist for president of that institution.


Once his contract is finalized, Serrata will replace Dr. Richard Rhodes, who resigned in September to serve as president of Austin Community College.


Serrata currently is vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at South Texas College in McAllen.


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Angelo State University cites four finalists for provost/VP spot

Four finalists have been named to fill the positions of Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs at Angelo State University. The four include Dr. Donna Lee Dickerson, Dr. Doyle D. Carter, Dr. Brian J. May and Dr. Stephen H. Scheck.


Two of the finalists are already members of the Angelo State community. Carter is a professor of kinesiology and director of the Quality Enhancement Plan at Angelo State University and May is currently serving as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the university. Carter earned his bachelor's degree from Angelo State, his master's from Sul Ross State University and his doctorate from East Texas State University. May earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Angelo State and his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.


Dickerson is interim provost and vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Tyler. Dickerson holds bachelor's and master's degrees from The University of Texas at Austin and her doctorate from Southern Illinois University. Scheck currently serves as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Western Oregon University. He was awarded his bachelor's and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University in Kansas and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University.


Hinson will serve Tarleton as Weatherford College outreach director

Lillian HinsonLillian Hinson (pictured), who has worked at Weatherford College since 2008, most recently as adjunct instructor in developmental English and learning frameworks, has been named Tarleton State University's director of undergraduate outreach/teacher development at Weatherford College. In her new charge, she will assist with recruiting, advising and teaching students in the interdisciplinary studies completion program. Weatherford College students currently can earn undergraduate degrees from Tarleton in three disciplines without leaving Weatherford.


Hinson earned her bachelor's degree from Tarleton and her master's from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. Before joining Weatherford, she taught elementary school in Decatur.


Dallas County to look at creating district to fund east-west highway

Dallas County commissioners recently agreed to pay a consultant, Stein Planning LLC, a fee of $20,000 to research whether to create a special tax increment financing district in southern areas of the county. The district could help fund a proposed east-west highway. The proposed new loop will connect US67 with I45 and could improve traffic flow in southern areas of the county. The goal is to create the special taxing district by the end of May, county officials said.


Coryell County delays construction of new county jail

Daren MooreDespite voter approval of bonds in November to pay for a new 240-bed county jail facility and warnings of higher construction costs and interest rates in the future, Coryell County commissioners recently voted to delay hiring an engineering or architecture firm to design a proposed $18.8 million jail facility. The decision will delay construction of the new jail until at least next year.


Commissioner Daren Moore (pictured) recommended the delay, saying commissioners had not put aside any funding for the project. Moore also suggested setting aside 1 percent to 1.5 percent of the property tax rate in next year's budget for the new jail to replace the current jail built in 1991.


Greenville seeking bids for offices for new wastewater facility

Greenville City Council members recently agreed to accept bids for an administrative office facility for a nearly completed $20 million wastewater treatment plant. Bids for the office facility will be accepted through 3 p.m. on April 24. Following a review of the bids, council members plan to award a contract for the office designed by the same engineering firm as the treatment plant.


Walker County approves $20 million to pay for new county jail

Clint McRaeWalker County commissioners recently approved issuing $20 million in certificates of obligation to pay for building a new county jail estimated to cost about $18 million.


Under pressure from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to enlarge and upgrade the current jail facility or build a new jail because of overcrowding, county commissioners decided against upgrading and enlarging the old jail because it has limited space for enlarging the facility and the high cost of renovating the jail, Sheriff Clint McRae (pictured) said. The remaining funding from the certificates of deposit will be used to pay for buying land for the new jail and unforeseen costs, McRae said.


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Brownsville in final three for selection as commercial space port

The Brownsville Herald recently reported that Brownsville is one of three sites still under consideration for a new commercial space port to launch commercial space vehicles. Sites in Florida and Puerto Rico also are being considered for the launch site, said Gilbert Salinas (pictured), executive vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council (BEDC).


Officials of Space Exploration Technologies, also known as Space X, are looking at a site about three miles north of the border with Mexico and about five miles south of Port Isabel and South Padre Island as location to launch the Falcon 9 vehicle and other commercial space vehicles, Salinas said. The company holds a contract with the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services by NASA to demonstrate delivery and return of cargo to the International Space Station.


BEDC officials have worked with the governor's office for about a year to convince the private company to locate in the Brownsville area, but did not publicize those efforts, Salinas said. Founded in 2002, Space X operates an active launch facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It also is developing a new launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and operates a rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.


Elgin ISD urged to plan building program to keep up with growth

Bill GravesSuperintendent Bill Graves (pictured) of Elgin Independent School District recently urged board members to begin planning a building program to keep up with the steady growth the district is experiencing.


Enrollment in the district has increased from 3 percent to 3.5 percent a year during the last 10 years while the district's budget is based on an estimate of no growth. The additional enrollment could result in an additional $400,000 to $500,000 in state funding to the district and also begin to cause overcrowding at some of the district's schools, especially the high school, Graves said. Trustees have at least a year to begin making building decisions and plan to receive an updated version of the facility plan from a consultant in May, he added.


FTA awards $38 million grant to Austin for new bus project

Federal Transit Administration officials recently awarded a $38 million grant to the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin for a new MetroRapid bus project. The grant funds will pay for 80 percent of the estimated $47.6 million cost to purchase 40 new buses and establish 77 new stations in areas with the highest and most dense ridership.


Of the 40 new buses, 22 will be 60 feet long with a capacity of 111 riders while 18 of the new buses will be 40-foot buses with a capacity of up to 78 passengers. All of the new buses will feature signal priority technology to extend traffic signs as the bus approaches intersections, Capital Metro officials said.


Wichita County to apply for $300,000 grant to install storm shelter

Woody GossomWichita County commissioners recently agreed to apply for a $300,000 hazard mitigation grant to provide about half the cost to install storm shelters to provide safety from tornadoes for about 100 residents.


The grant will provide about $3,000 per home for a storm shelter that usually costs about $6,000, said County Judge Woody Gossom (pictured). County officials expect to learn about a month after the application is filed whether the grant is approved, he said.


If so, county officials plan to set up an application process for residents interested in receiving one of the grants to help pay for a storm shelter, Gossom said.


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McAllen approves $277,000 for museum makeover

McAllen City Commissioners recently approved $277,000 to renovate the east side of the International Museum of Art and Science.


Current plans are to re-orient the loading docks, build a new walkway and add blue lights to illuminate the building at night. Commissioners plan to seek bids for the project that became necessary when the city decided to expand Bicentennial Blvd. to run through the back area of the museum and block access to its loading docks, the museum director said. The city is paying for the project as the museum leases the land and building from the city.


Rusk County takes first step to provide water service to Church Hill

Rusk County commissioners recently named Judge Joel Hale as the fair housing officer to fulfill a requirement for receiving a grant from the Texas Community Development Block Grant program to pay for piping water to about 65 residents in the Church Hill area.


Current residents now use well water for residential water needs and are experiencing low water levels as several families share wells. County officials hope to begin running water pipes from Henderson to the Church Hill area in late summer or early fall, said the commissioner for precinct 2.


Officials in Glen Rose to hire new city events coordinator

City officials in Glen Rose have approved the creation of an events coordinator position, with that person becoming a city employee. Officials agreed that volunteers usually get burned out when performing theses duties over and over and thus voted to hire a full-time employee. The cost for the events coordinator's salary will be shared by Oakdale Park and the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.


CenTex ASPA sets 2012 Public Service Recognition Week banquet

The Central Texas Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (CenTex ASPA), a nonprofit, professional organization serving the interests of public servants, is hosting its annual banquet and awards ceremony honoring Central Texas public professionals in several categories. The banquet is May 10 at 6 p.m. at Green Pastures in Austin, Texas. The banquet keynote speaker will be Admiral (Ret.) Bobby R. Inman, former director of the National Security Agency.Celebrated since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is a nationwide public education campaign honoring the men and women who serve as federal, state, and local government employees who ensure that the nation's government is the best in the world. Annually the President and Congress designate the first full week of May as PSRW and activities are held nationwide in celebration of public employees who put service above self. For more information please visit www.CenTexASPA.org or email John Sone at vicepresident.centexaspa@gmail.com. To register, click here. Nomination forms are available here.


UK Minister of State, Dept. of Energy, Climate Change, to speak

The World Affairs Council of San Antonio, Mission Verde Alliance and San Antonio Clean Technology Forum will host Gregory Barker, UK Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change and his delegation of sustainable and clean energy UK business leaders on Tuesday, May 8. Their trip addresses strengthening UK-US trade relations and building the economic and business case for transitioning to a low-carbon economy.  They will use leading examples of UK sustainable businesses to show the compatibility of green and growth, as well as offering opportunities for companies to connect with new or existing business partners. Barker will speak on "Energy Independence Through Efficiency." Opening remarks will be given by Doyle Beneby, President and CEO of CPS Energy. The event will be at Pearl Stable, 307 Pearl Parkway in San Antonio, beginning with 11:15 a.m. registration and lunch and the program at 11:50 a.m. Tickets purchased before April 27 are $45 and $60 after that date. Table sponsorships are available for $500, $750, $1,000 and $2,000. Register online at http://www.wacofsa.org/, or contact the World Affairs Council: (210) 308-9494 or email rachna@wacofsa.org.



LBJ School program on leadership, strategy, decision-making

In serious decision situations, the pressure is on leaders to move quickly to action, often without fully identifying and understanding the background and context that affect the situation. "Leadership, Strategy, and Decision-Making," part of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Executive Education revitalizes leadership skills with practical wisdom drawn from the issues faced by great leaders of our time. This two-day program (May 3 and 4) led by Dr. Jeremi Suri takes leadership training beyond the necessary skills and tactics to a higher and more dynamic level. "Leadership, Strategy, and Decision-Making" offers new insights based on the innovative approach to leadership education in a changing world that is at the core of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. This program immerses participants in an experiential process of redefining your decision-making as a leader. To view the brochure with registration details, click here. For more information on the program, click here.


UT to host 19th annual HUB/SB Vendor Fair in April

The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas System will host their 19th Annual HUB/SB Vendor Fair, Tuesday, April 17. The event will be held at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, 1701 Red River St., Austin, TX 78701 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The HUB/SB vendor fair is designed to give Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) owners an opportunity to market their products and/or services to UT departmental purchasing representatives, as well as to the many other State of Texas agencies located in the capital city. The vendor fair is FREE for exhibiting vendors and open to the public. Online registration and a list of participating vendors is available here.


Institutes on Evidence-Based Quality Improvement set in July

The 2012 Summer Institutes on Evidence-Based Quality Improvement will be held July 17-21 at the Grand Hyatt Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The event is being offered by The Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice (ACE), Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN) and The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. Pre-Conferences are planned for July 18. For more information, click here or contact Kandice Hall at HallKM@uthscsa.edu.


2012 North American Workforce Symposium scheduled in April

The 2012 North American Workforce Symposium, hosted by North America's Corridor Coalition, is slated for Thursday, April 26, at the Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. The event will bring together business leaders, educational partners and community organizations to help ensure trained and certified personnel for the manufacturing, supply chain and logistics industries. The symposium will also emphasize the necessity of partnerships between regional business, economic and education organizations. Among the keynote speakers is Jennifer McNelly, senior vice president of The Manufacturing Institute. The symposium is being presented in cooperation with Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council. Sponsorships are available. For more information and to view the tentative agenda, click here. To register, click here.


DIR to host 12th Annual Information Security Forum

The 12th Annual Information Security Forum, hosted for government personnel only by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), is slated for Tuesday, May 15. The free, one-day event is co-sponsored by the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications (TASSCC). Conference focus this year is "Security Program Maturity," with possible topics to include security assessment process, threat landscape/risks, legal and privacy landscape, why it's important to improve security program maturity, implementing enterprise solutions and governance. Interested vendors are invited to exhibit and/or provide speakers. Sessions should be purely educational and not promote products or services. The event is targeted to Information Resource Managers and other IT and security decision-makers. For more information, contact Joy Hall Bryant at joy.bryant@dir.texas.gov or Sue Atkinson at sue.atkinson@dir.texas.gov.


E-Learning Symposium 2012 planned for June 13 in Austin

Professionals who manage and design E-Learning programs in health care, government, higher education, energy and corporate settings will not want to miss this year's E-Learning Symposium 2012 Austin. The symposium is an interactive conference designed to help professionals and key decision-makers learn how to execute E-Learning programs within their organizations. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, at the Omni Southpark Hotel, 4410 Governors Row in Austin. The event features leading industry experts who share their knowledge on of-the-moment topics, processes and technology within E-Learning. For more information, click here.


Media Notice

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Trends show transformation in how public services will
be delivered in future


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


Public schools appear to be suffering more from shrinking budgets, declining tax revenues and cuts in state and federal funding than other public entities. The districts have mandates to provide education services for local students, but the financial resources needed to do the job simply are no longer there.


School districts nationwide, from rural 600-student Premont ISD in Jim Wells County to the urban 66,000-student, 130-school Detroit Public Schools in Michigan, are struggling. They are being forced to make painful cuts in programs and personnel. And, in an attempt to bring in additional revenue, they are launching initiatives that would never have been considered in the past.


The Premont school district is under threat of closure by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as a result of poor academic performance and a dearth of financial problems. Pledging to address the financial problems, one of the first steps school officials took was to pull the plug on district athletic programs. Voters showed their support for the school and approved a tax increase. Two major corporations each donated $20,000 to help fund much-needed science labs. Students from other schools throughout the state held fundraisers to benefit Premont ISD. Most recently, Sinton ISD elementary students collected coins until their contribution reached $4,000.


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Gemini Global Group

Pflugerville ISD wants

to build fourth high school

Citing population growth, Pflugerville Independent School District officials recently proposed building a fourth high school. Trustees also discussed asking voters to approve a bond proposal in May 2013 to pay for the new high school facility that could be open as early as fall 2015.


District officials are considering two sites on Cele Road and near Killingsworth Lane for the new high school and also may ask voters to approve bond funding to upgrade technology, expand technical education programs or build a new football stadium.


Midway ISD taps Kazanas as lone finalist for superintendent

George KazanasMidway Independent School District trustees recently selected Dr. George Kazanas (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent. Kazanas currently is superintendent at Wichita Falls ISD, is a former superintendent for China Spring ISD and a former teacher for West ISD.


Kazanas has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Baylor University along with a Ph.D. from Tarleton State University.


Brownwood to issue $10.75M 

in debt for streets, fire station

Brownwood City Council members recently agreed to issue up to $10.l5 million in certificates of obligation to pay for a new central fire station and street improvements. Council members plan to approve the final sale of the debt on May 22.


Plans call for spending $4.7 million for street reconstruction projects with a focus on high traffic areas, $3.55 million to buy land and build a new central fire station and $2.2 million to build new soccer fields and demolish the existing field. Additional projects that may go forward if any bond proceeds remain after completing the three major projects include removing lights from Mayes Park and improvements to the wastewater plant, city officials said.



Port Arthur narrows list of city manager candidates to five

Port Arthur City Council members recently selected five applicants for city manager as "persons of Interest" in their search to find a new city manager. The new city manager will replace Steven Fitzgibbons, who resigned in January. Council members plan to review the five applicants before selecting finalists, city officials said.


The five "persons of interest," who council members declined to identify as finalists, are:

  • Corby Anderson, a city manager in Bonham and former city manager in Jefferson;
  • Floyd Johnson, director of the northwest district of the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, and a former city manager in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Richmond, California;
  • Gregory Rose, president of a consulting group and former city administrator in Hyattsville, Maryland, and in North Las Vegas Nevada;
  • Isaac Turner, currently an administrator at a church in Venice, Florida, and a former city manager in McKinney and in Venice, Florida; and
  • Rebecca Underhill, an assistant city manager in Port Arthur who previously served as the finance director and accounting manager for the city.

Hutto selects David Mitchell

as its new city manager

David MitchellHutto City Council members recently selected interim City Manager David Mitchell (pictured) as the new city manager. Mitchell, who previously was an assistant city manager, replaces Eric Broussard, who left that post in late 2011. City officials expect to sign a final contract with Mitchell at the April 19 council meeting.

Burnet negotiating contract

with architect for new fire station

The city of Burnet has approved giving the city manager authority to finalize a contract with an architectural firm to move forward with plans for a new $1.5 million fire station. The new station will be located near the Burnet Municipal Airport on U.S. 281.


The current fire station is home to both the city's fire department and the Burnet Volunteer Fire Department and the two departments are outgrowing the facility. Plans are to move the city firemen to the new facility, with the volunteer department remaining at the current facility. 


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Copperas Cove ISD begins

review of 34 for superintendent

Trustees for the Copperas Cove Independent School District recently met in a closed hearing with representatives of a consulting firm to review applications of 34 candidates for superintendent. The new superintendent will replace Superintendent Rose Cameron, who is retiring at the end of June.


Board members plan to select four to six applicants to bring in for an interview and announce those finalists on April 23. The goal is to hire the new superintendent at a special meeting in mid-May, district officials said. A majority of the 43 applicants are currently serving as superintendents and most are from Texas, the district official said.


HISD official one of two finalists for New York school position

Andre SpencerAndre Spencer (pictured), school improvement officer for the Houston Independent School District, is one of two finalists for the superintendent position of the Rochester (New York) City School District. The other finalist is Interim District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas.


At HISD, Spencer helps school principals to create instructional teams and programs that address academic growth. He is also a former science teacher, assistant principal, principal and network team leader in the Baltimore public schools. Spencer and Vargas are vying to replace former Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard, who left last spring for a similar post in Chicago.


Teague city officials put water, sewer improvements on hold

City officials in Teague have decided to delay authorization of the issuance of certificates of obligation for city waterworks and sewer system improvements. The city attorney informed city council members at a recent meeting that the market is saturated with bonds right now and urged them to allow those bonds to be absorbed before the city enters that marketplace. He said by doing so, the city would likely get a better rate on its certificates.


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Worthy chosen lone finalist for superintendent for Royse City

Board members for Royse City Independent School District recently selected Kevin Worthy as the lone finalist for superintendent. Worthy currently serves as superintendent for Gunter ISD, where he began his career in education 18 years ago. Worthy, who plans to begin his new duties in Royse City on May 7, will replace retiring Superintendent Randy Hancock.


Forsan ISD may hire consultant

to assess district facilities

Randy JohnsonTrustees for the Forsan Independent School District recently began discussion on whether to hire a consultant to assess facilities throughout the district to determine if renovations or new facilities are needed.


District staff currently is concerned about the condition of Elbow Elementary School,which was built in 1930 and has undergone several renovations including a new classroom wing, said Superintendent Randy Johnson (pictured). The old building contains asbestos, which raises concerns about air quality and has major plumbing problems, Johnson said. Depending on the results of the study, any plans to call a bond election are more than a year in the future, Johnson said.


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Cottonwood Shores taps Taylor-Carusi as new city administrator

Cottonwood Shores City Council recently selected Janet Taylor-Carusi as the new city administrator. A former city council member, Carusi will direct and coordinate all municipal activities, including utility services.


Council members also appointed a committee to discuss hiring a new police chief to replace former Police Chief Mike Warren. Council members also selected Clayton Kleen as the interim police chief.


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Callahan begins duties as new assistant superintendent at Llano

Casey Callahan recently assumed the duties of assistant superintendent at Llano Independent School District. Callahan previously was employed by Thorndale ISD.


Matkin chosen to lead

Plano ISD as superintendent

Richard MatkinRichard Matkin (pictured), who has been serving as interim superintendent of the Plano ISD, has been named the lone finalist for the superintendent spot. Matkin has previously served the district as chief financial officer and head of business services for the last 11 years. He will take over the top spot on May 3, replacing former Superintendent Doug Otto, who left the district in January.


Before coming to Plano, Matkin worked in various roles for school districts in White Settlement, Duncanville, Red Oak, DeSoto and Carrollton-Farmers Branch. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Austin College.

Bonham approves P3 to build $9 million hotel, shopping center

Bonham City Council members recently approved by a 4-3 vote a partnership with an investment group to develop a hotel and shopping center. The public-private partnerships project will cost between $9 million to $10 million and will be located near the high school on SH121.


The agreement calls for Bonham to provide seven acres of land to the investment group that pledged to build the hotel and shopping center. The project is expected to provide $3.5 million in revenue to the city over a 10-year period, $1,000 annually in taxes to the school district and generate 138 jobs. Plans are to build a hotel, 26,000 square feet in retail space featuring two restaurants and a 24,000-square-foot retail store to serve as an anchor to the development. City officials are meeting with the developer to decide on a timeline for the project to move from design to construction, the mayor said.


Kingsville outlines timeline

for naming new superintendent

The Kingsville ISD is currently searching for a new superintendent to replace Emilio Castro, who resigned in October. Ruben Corkill, a retired San Antonio superintendent, has been filling in since then as interim superintendent.


School officials will meet next week to determine a list of qualifications for the next superintendent. A May 7 deadline for applications has been set. Applications are expected to be reviewed May 16, with interviews with the top six candidates by the end of May. A second round of interviews with the top three candidates will be June 5-7 and a finalist named by June 13. A vote on the hiring will be July 9.


Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 4/5/12
Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • James Epperson Jr. of Dallas, presiding officer, Select Committee on Economic Development;
  • Stacey Gillman Wimbish of Houston, Select Committee on Economic Development;
  • Maher Maso of Frisco, Select Committee on Economic Development;
  • Carlton Schwab of Austin, Select Committee on Economic Development;
  • Stephen Bristow of Graham, Judge of the 90th Judicial District Court in Young and Stephens counties;
  • James Bethke of Austin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Judge David L. Hodges of Austin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Shannon Edmonds of Austin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Judge Sharon Keller of Austin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Robert J. Lerma of Brownsville, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Rep. Tryon Lewis of Odessa, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Rep. Jerry Madden of Richardson, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • James McLaughlin, Jr. of Elgin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Kyle V. Mitchell of Leander, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Penny Redington of Austin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Sen. John Whitmire of Houston, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council;
  • Dee Wilson of Austin, ex officio member, Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council.
House Speaker's appointments
House Speaker Joe Straus has announced the following appointments:
  • Charles W. Matthews of Dallas, Select Committee on Economic Development;
  • Andrew H. Card Jr. of College Station, Select Committee on Economic Development.

Keller selects Polasek as

new interim city manager

Steve PolasekAfter City Manager Dan O'Leary announced in March his plan to lay himself off, Keller City Council members selected Steve Polasek (pictured) as the interim city manager. Polasek, who served as one of two assistant city managers, will begin his new duties as interim city manager on April 20, the last day O'Leary will be on the job.


Council members also discussed appointing one of the assistant city managers as the city manager and appoint the other as the deputy city manager, but agreed to continue the discussion on selecting a permanent city manager at the next council meeting.


New Diana ISD tags Key as

lone finalist for superintendent

Trustees for New Diana Independent School District recently tapped Carl Key, the deputy superintendent at Greenville ISD, as the lone finalist for superintendent. If his contract is finalized on April 30, Key will replace Superintendent Joyce Sloan, who is retiring after 32 years in public education.


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Socorro ISD hires search firm

to help find new superintendent

Socorro Independent School District trustees recently agreed to pay a search firm $30,000 to help find a new superintendent to replace Dr. Xavier De La Torre, who is leaving the district in June.


The national search is set to begin on April 15, with the search firm planning to review applications and recommend up to 20 applicants for council members to review. The next step is to narrow the field to no more than five applicants who will undergo interviews with trustees with a goal of naming a new superintendent by June 8.


Carlos Rios hired as assistant superintendent in Seguin district

Carlos RiosCarlos Rios (pictured), executive director of academic accountability and compliance in the Laredo ISD, has been chosen as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in the Seguin ISD. He will replace Jolene Yoakum, who will be leaving in June for an out-of-state job.


Rios earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Texas A&M University.


Breckenridge tags McCuistion

to fill new city manager slot

Breckenridge City Commissioners recently selected Andy McCuistion, currently the city manager of Canton, as the new city manager.


McCuistion, who is set to begin his new duties on May 1, replaces Brad Newton, who was terminated from that post. McCuistion previously served as a city manager in Palestine and as an accountant in Irving. He has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at El Paso and attained certification as a public manager in 2011.


The Texas Government Insider is a free weekly e-newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.
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