Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 24 - Friday, June 15, 2012

Tom Suehs retiring from post as HHS executive commissioner


Longtime state employee gave 26 years to public service; last three with commission

Tom SuehsA public service career that spans more than a quarter of a century will come to an end Aug. 31 when Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs (pictured) retires. Suehs Thursday announced that he will be leaving the post after three years at the helm of the commission that has oversight for five health and human services agencies with combined annual budgets of $30 billion and 55,000 employees.


Suehs was named executive commissioner in 2009. Prior to being appointed to that position by the governor, the longtime health and human services expert was associate commissioner of the Texas Department of Human Services, deputy commissioner of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and deputy executive commissioner for financial services at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.


In an e-mail to HHS personnel announcing his retirement, Sues praised his employees for their "passion, skill and commitment" during his tenure as executive commissioner. "I'm proud of what we've accomplished over the past couple of years," he wrote. "We turned an eligibility system facing the threat of federal fines into one rewarded for being among the best in the nation. We led the nation in the number of residents who moved out of nursing facilities and into the community-based settings of their choice.  We've become a national leader in disaster response and have developed our ability to respond quickly to emergencies, such as the Bastrop fires. We developed a plan to redesign the Texas foster care system, and we've helped nearly 13,000 Texans with disabilities go to work each year."


Suehs is credited with helping Texas become one of the top performing states in the country regarding processing of SNAP food benefits applications, Medicaid and other programs, leading to the state being awarded a multi-million-dollar bonus from the federal government. He assisted in ensuring the state obtained approval to replace an archaic federal hospital funding system with one built around local solutions that rewards hospitals for patient care and innovation, expanded the use of Medicaid managed care and facilitated a partnership with local food banks that provides families with faster assistance and reduced the workload on state offices.


Among his many awards and recognitions, Suehs is a Bob Bullock Award for Outstanding Public Stewardship recipient and was awarded Administrator of the Year honors from the Texas Public Employee Association for improving working conditions for HHSC employees. Suehs holds a bachelor's degree from Texas State University and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin.


Texas: 'Dirt rich...cash strapped'


State agency considering P3s to develop Capitol Complex properties

Aundre DukesTexas is "dirt rich...but cash strapped," according to Aundre Dukes (pictured) of the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), making proposals for public-private partnerships aimed at development of the Capitol Complex an attractive new source of revenue. Dukes, manager of the TFC's real estate portfolio, Thursday told members of the Joint Partnership Advisory Committee that the agency's phones are "ringing off the hook."


Recently passed legislation now allows the state to participate in public-private partnerships (P3s). And because of its growing need for new revenue, these types of proposals are getting lawmakers' attention. Dukes said the bill has been very important to the TFC, whose primary mandate is to plan strategically to meet the facility needs of the state. However, the state has not built a new office building since 2000, and budget deficits are likely to even further slow any efforts at building new space with current revenues.


Dukes said the use of P3s is one way to develop state property, and one that is beneficial for both the state and the private sector developers. However, he stressed to the committee that this window of opportunity "won't last forever" because the market can change dynamically without much notice. He said projects are time sensitive and require a lot of time for planning.


As a result of the new legislation, Dukes said the TFC has received six unsolicited proposals from developers relating to the Capitol Complex. One already has been declined and the other five are in "various stages of compliance review." The five projects represent half a billion dollars in total project costs, said the TFC official, who also pointed out that the projects include hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of possible property taxes that would result from their being added to the tax rolls and hundreds of jobs.




Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Toby BakerToby Baker, commissioner, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality 


Career highlights and education:  Being appointed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is a tremendous honor and one of the highlights of my public service career, which began when I served as director and clerk of the Texas Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Coastal Resources. I was fortunate to have also worked with Sen. Craig Estes as his policy adviser on natural resources. I then served as policy and budget adviser on energy, natural resources and agriculture for the Office of the Governor. I have a B.S. from Texas A&M and a master's from the Bush School of Government and Public Service. 
What I like best about my job is:  The fact that I am continuing to serve the state that I've called home my entire life. 

The best advice I've received for my current job is:  Trust your staff. The TCEQ has over 2,700 incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable people who understand the importance of our agency and its mission. It's an honor to rely on such vast experience.
Advice you would give a new hire in your office:  Don't be afraid to share new ideas.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: I enjoy time with my wife and son at my family cabins on the South Fork of the Llano River.
People would be surprised to know that I:  drive the same car my wife drove in high school. It currently has over 220,000 miles on it!

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: How dedicated TCEQ employees are to their jobs, to each other and to the State of Texas.

TWDB's Callahan named Administrator of Year by TSABAA

Administrator of Year
Melanie Callahan is congratulated for winning the TSABAA Administrator of the Year award by Edward G. Vaughan, board member of the Texas Water Development Board.

Melanie Callahan, executive administrator of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), was recently named Administrator of the Year by the Texas State Agency Business Administrator's Association (TSABAA).


She was honored during the 43rd TSABAA Annual Conference on June 8. The award, established in 1984, honors state employees who have demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and have made a significant contribution to state agency business administration.


Callahan was named interim administrator of TWDB in March of last year and in December became executive administrator.


She joined the agency in 2001 and served as director of fiscal services and chief financial officer before being named executive administrator. She has 26 years of experience managing finances of various state agencies.


TSABAA brings together state agency staff leading human resources, accounting, payroll, contracting, budgeting and purchasing functions to share ideas about budget or accounting policies and discuss new or pending legislation.


TCEQ to award $5.7M in grants for environmental friendly vehicles

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently made $5.7 million in grants available to eligible governmental entities, school districts, businesses and individuals to replace aging diesel vehicles with hybrid vehicles and those that use new alternative fuels to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides. Eligible reimbursements will range from 50 percent to 80 percent of the purchase cost of the vehicle and depend on the model year and engine of the vehicle being replaced.


The TCEQ Texas Clean Fleet Program defines alternative fuels as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, propane or a mix of fuel containing at least 85 percent methanol by volume. Eligible hybrid vehicles must have at least two different energy converters and two different energy storage systems for the vehicle to qualify for the grants.


Eligible entities are required to own or lease a fleet of 75 or more on-road vehicles currently registered in Texas and must replace at least 20 of those on-road vehicles. Grant recipients also must agree to operate the vehicles paid for by the grants for a time determined by annual mileage over a five-year period and the geographical area of the state, or for 400,000 miles, whichever comes first. Deadline for applying for the grant is Aug. 29 of this year.


Texas Forensic Science Academy grant to train crime investigators

Cullen GrissomThanks to a $425,000 training grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office, the Texas Forensic Science Academy (TFSA) will deliver 27 tuition-free courses to more than 540 crime scene investigators across the state. The funds also will be used to convert an entry-level Basic Criminal Investigation course to an online course so that it can be accessed from anywhere in the state.


TFSA, administered by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), is charged with training law enforcement officers responsible for crime scene investigation to utilize best practices when collecting evidence. Some of the courses include: latent fingerprint processing, death investigation, forensic photography, bloodstain pattern analysis and courtroom testimony. The experiential learning methodology used during each training delivery helps to increase crime scene officer competence.


"The goal of the grant-funded training is to increase the effectiveness of crime scene investigations in Texas by providing up-to-date technology and hands-on field exercises to include the proper collection, packaging, storage and analysis of physical evidence by law enforcement personnel," said TEEX Law Enforcement Training Director Cullen Grissom (pictured). He said the grant funds will allow the training programs to be delivered to law enforcement agencies throughout the state.


San Antonio City Council approves use of P3s for city

San Antonio City Council members gave their unanimous approval this week to a resolution to allow the city to participate in public-private partnerships (P3s). The resolution notes advantages to the use of P3s as being a reduction in public capital investment, mobilization of excess or underutilized city assets and the sharing of both risks and rewards between the public and private sector partners. It also recognizes that P3s improve cost effectiveness for the city as well as allowing for structured costs of a capital project and for its operation and maintenance as well. Finally, the resolution notes that through a P3, the city can leverage private sector efficiencies and reduce project delivery time.


The resolution also states that P3s provide another way for the city to develop capital projects through the design-build contract method and to develop a project with something other than traditional procurement methods, including the consideration of unsolicited proposals or soliciting its own proposal.


Recently passed state law provides that P3 agreements can be used for a variety of projects.

The city already has discussed projects that might qualify for a public-private partnership, including projects in Hemisfair Park, a brownfields initiative and inner city redevelopment. 


Contracting Opportunities

Barnwell appointed to board Department of Motor Vehicles

Robert "Barney" Barnwell III of Magnolia has been appointed by the governor to serve on the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The board administers and enforces laws relating to certificates of title and registration of vehicles, identifying markings on commercial motor vehicles, motor carrier registration, single state registration, motor transportation brokers, foreign commercial motor transportation, sale or lease of motor vehicles and salvage vehicle dealers.


Barnwell currently serves as president of Universal Natural Gas Inc. and president and board chair of Texas Gas Utility Services. He earned a law degree from Louisiana State University.


Texas Tech names Nail as dean of Rawls College of Business

Lance NailTexas Tech University officials recently selected Lance Nail (pictured) as the dean of the Rawls College of Business.


Nail is now the dean of the college of business at University of Southern Mississippi.


He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.


Grayson College taps McMillen as new president

Grayson College officials recently selected Dr. Jeremy McMillen as the new president. McMillen is now the associate vice president for academic affairs at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens. He assumes his new duties in July.


May 2012 Tx Bond Elections

UTMB, University of Palermo join to create exchange program

Luca CicaleseOfficials of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston and the University of Palermo recently began working on an agreement to allow both universities to offer a Ph.D. prorgram recognized in both the United States and Europe.


Dr. Luca Cicalese (pictured), a professor of surgery and director of the Texas Transplant Center, led the UTMB delegation to begin implementing the exchange of students and professors. The exchange program includes students, residents, post-doctoral fellows and faculty in various fields of medicine and surgery with the first phase of the program focusing on biomedical science. The goal is to include medical students later as the program grows, said Cicalese, who will direct the program for UTMB.


Consulting firm hired to assist with Bastrop development plan

An Austin consulting firm, Avalanche Consulting, has been hired by the Bastrop Economic Development Corp. to help the area create an economic development strategy. The contract includes a comprehensive competitive assessment, target industry evaluation and a strategic growth plan. The project begins this month and is expected to take six months to complete.


Texas Southern's Price named dean at Medgar Evers College

Byron PriceDr. Byron E. Price (pictured), tenured professor of political science at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, has been chosen as the new dean of the School of Business at Medgar Evers College, a senior college of the City University of New York.


Before joining TSU, Price spent five years at Rutgers University-Newark at the School of Public Affairs and Administration, serving as an assistant professor and director of the MPA and Executive MPA program and other administrative and leadership positions, including associate director of the National Center for Public Performance and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy.


Price holds a bachelor's degree from Texas Southern University, an MBA from Oklahoma City University, an MPA from Texas Southern and a Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.


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UH selects two architecture firms for new stadium

University of Houston officials recently selected two architectural firms, PageSoutherlandPage of Houston and the DLR Group, to design a new football stadium.


The Houston-based architectural firm designed several buildings on the campus, including the West Dining Hall and the new Cougar Place to house students on campus, while the DLR Group is known nationally for designing college athletic stadiums in Florida, Nebraska and Louisiana, said Mack Rhoades, athletic director at UH. The stadium project manager and lead stadium designer are from the DLR Group, while the local group will be led by three designers. Plans call for demolishing Robertson Stadium in December and to begin construction on the new stadium in early 2013, Rhoades said.


Austin Community College certified for Round Rock campus

ACC CampusThe Round Rock campus of Austin Community College (pictured) recently won silver certification for sustainable design and construction from the U.S. Green Building Council.


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation for the Round Rock campus is the first ACC campus built to meet LEED standards since trustees in 2009 agreed to establish a policy of sustainability for new construction and major renovations. The Round Rock Campus opened in 2010.


Among the criteria for the certification is that 43 percent of the campus is open green space, builders used 22 percent recycled materials and 51 percent regional materials for construction and included water-saving irrigation and plumbing in the design. ACC also has received a three-star green building rating from Austin Energy for sustainability for a parking garage serving the Rio Grande campus and an award for adaptive use from the Heritage Society of Austin for its renovation of Building 3000 at the Rio Grande campus.


Capital Metro/StarTran to eliminate 855 jobs in August

As part of its plan of outsourcing the bulk of bus and paratransit services to private companies, officials of Capital Metro and StarTran will eliminate 855 jobs on Aug. 18. Capital Metro officials approved two contracts worth about $520.2 million with McDonald Transit Associates Inc. of Fort Worth and MV Transportation Inc. of Dallas to take over some bus and paratransit services on Aug. 19.


Both private companies guaranteed job offers to all 801 union employees who received notices as well as salary protection and comparable health and retirement benefits, a spokeswoman for Capital Metro said. The 52 administrative employees will get preference in hiring, but are not guaranteed jobs with the two companies, she said. Under terms of the three-year, $408.7 million contract, McDonald will oversee 70 percent of regular bus routes currently driven and maintained by StarTran employees. MV Transportation will oversee the majority of paratransit services offered to people with disabilities under the $111.5 million, three-year contract. Both contracts contain options for renewals.


First Transit and Veolla Transportation will handle 30 percent of the bus routes for Capital Metro, including all of the shuttle service to The University of Texas at Austin. Other private companies currently offering paratransit services and operating MetroRail will continue those services, the spokeswoman said.


Tyler eyeing new conference center with hotel, event center

Mark McDanielTyler City Council members recently got their first look at two separate studies that concluded that the city needs and could support a conference center with a hotel as well as a separate events center. The projected cost for both facilities is about $130 million, the studies indicated. Moving forward with an events center most likely will require a bond election next year and strong support from the community, City Manager Mark McDaniel (pictured) said.


One study noted the city could support a 27,000-square-foot conference center with a ballroom and smaller meeting rooms along with a full service hotel that would be owned and operated privately. The estimated cost of a 9-acre conference center and hotel would be between $57.5 million to $70 million, according to the study.


Another study urges city officials to consider using a public-private partnership to build a 159,000-square-foot events center that would seat about 8,000 on a 20-acre site. Council members authorized McDaniel to further study possible sites, designs and financing options for a conference center and an events center.



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Houston council member seeks city manager, more outsourcing

Helena BrownHelena Brown (pictured), a Houston City Council member, recently proposed a study to determine whether to hire a city manager to manage city operations rather than continuing with the current strong-mayor form of government.


Brown also has urged changes to permit outsourcing of the ambulance service, closing the Housing and Community Development Department and turning over operation of several city parks to Harris County in order to weaken the role of public unions and lower the cost of operating city government.


El Paso approves $500,000 contract to redesign downtown plaza

El Paso City Council members recently approved a $500,000 contract with SWA Group, a California-based design firm, to redesign the San Jacinto Plaza in the downtown area. Construction on the plaza renovation, estimated to cost more than $5 million, is expected to begin in about six months, said city officials, who also noted the city has set aside $2 million for the project.


The design firm has 120 days to produce a design that includes paving, water features, seating areas, more green space, a cafe, a shade structure, avstage, streetscapes, entry plaza, boccie court, promenades and a courtyard with an area for table tennis. The designers also are required to maintain an existing sculpture of alligators at the center of the plaza and its radial design of eight lines converging in the center, city officials said.


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Nolan County to decide on $14 million jail, courthouse project

David WarrenNolan County commissioners agreed to vote on June 25 on issuing $14 million in certificates of obligation to pay for building a new $10.5 million jail and offices for the sheriff's department and $3.5 million to repair the county courthouse. The new jail is necessary to avoid spending as much as $1 million per year to transport and house prisoners outside of the county, said Sheriff David Warren (pictured).


Construction on the courthouse renovations could begin in July and be completed by January 2013 unless county officials receive a valid petition to force a vote on the issue of debt, he said. Construction on the jail could begin as early as November and be completed in late 2013 if no bond election is required, Warren added.


Corpus Christi port awards $3.5 million contract to upgrade dock

Port of Corpus Christi Commissioners recently awarded a $3.5 million contract to CCC Group Inc. to renovate and upgrade the Viola Barge Dock in a project estimated to cost about $4.1 million once the cost of providing site access, engineering, security, surveying and testing are completed.


Plans call for building a new steel sheet piling bulkhead, a new dock house, roadway, utilities, fire protection and dredging. All will provide a new pipeline company renting the dock facility and other tenants involved in the Eagle Ford Shale project adequate port facilities. Although commissioners set aside only $3.8 million for the project, the deputy port director said other construction projects under way are expected to come in under budget and provide some additional funding. The company leasing the dock space plans to install utilities and build equipment to load up to four tank barges each with a 30,000-gallon capacity at the dock, which rarely was used in the past, officials said.


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Rabago resigns as vice president of Austin Energy

Karl RabagoKarl R. Rabago (pictured), vice president of distributed energy services at Austin Energy, recently resigned from that post.


Rabago joined the municipal electric utility in 2009 to oversee its green energy initiatives, electric transportation and emerging technology groups.


Austin Energy officials have not yet selected a new vice president to replace Rabago.


Edinburg begins planning for $4.5 million recreation center upgrade

Edinburg city officials recently began planning $4.5 million in upgrades to a parks and recreation center, the mayor said. City officials hired an architect in May to begin designing the expansion and renovations to the center built in 1984.


Preliminary plans are to add two new gymnasiums, a cafeteria and expand the game room, weight room and other activity areas, said Luis Rodriguez, director of parks and recreation. City officials also are looking at upgrading other park facilities including adding new scoreboards and audio systems at several ball fields.


Nabers book signing slated at BookPeople in Austin in July

A second Austin book-signing featuring Mary Scott Nabers and her book, Collaboration Nation: How Public-Private Ventures are Revolutionizing the Business of Government, is slated for Tuesday, July 24, in Austin. Those who missed her earlier Austin event can participate in a book signing with the author beginning at 7 p.m. on that date at BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar in Austin. The book signing is free and open to the public. To get a book signed at the event, a copy of the event book must be purchased from BookPeople. Those who cannot attend the event can pre-order a signed copy on the BookPeople Web site. For more information about the book signing, click here. 


Summit on Elder Financial Exploitation set in Houston

The Houston Financial Abuse Specialist Team and the Better Business Bureau Education Foundation will host its Texas Summit on Elder Financial Exploitation on Friday, Aug. 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event will be held at the United Way offices, 50 Waugh Drive, Houston, 77007. The event will address the growing crisis of elder financial exploitation and investment fraud through a number of sessions with featured speakers. Those attending will examine newly emerging research on why older persons may be more susceptible to financial abuse and learn about successful programs on how to prevent that abuse, prosecute perpetrators of these crimes and protect the victims. William Benson, National Policy Advisor for the National Adult Protective Services Association and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Administration on Aging will deliver the opening address. For more information, including the day's agenda, and to register, click here.


CenTex ASPA plans luncheon/professional development meeting

The CenTex Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration is planning a luncheon/professional development event at noon till 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, at the Capitol Grill. Guest speaker will be Robert Ashton, Program Specialist IV with the Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts. Ashton will address "Transparency in Texas Government." Please RSVP at CenTexASPA@gmail.com or contact John Stone at 512-470-2443. Admission is free and two hours of free parking is available at the Capitol Visitors Garage at the corner of Trinity and San Jacinto.


UTA to host Government Procurement Conference 2012 in July

Government Procurement Conference 2012, hosted by ARRI Extension Centers at The University of Texas at Arlington, is slated this year for Wednesday, July 18, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arlington Convention Center. Organizers call the event one of the most important and largest procurement conferences in North Central Texas. The main focus for the Conference in 2012 is to provide small businesses an opportunity to meet local, state and federal government buyers and their prime contractors. Local, state and federal government buyers were on hand for last year's event, along with more than 1,000 conference-goers. There are 60 sponsored registrations for Veteran/Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses. The event features free, informative educational workshops, buyer networking opportunities and access to resource and assistance agencies. Sponsorships and exhibit space are available. The event contact person is Jennifer Wilson at 817.272.5909 or Jennifer.wilson@uta.edu. For more information and to register, click here.


AACOG announces three upcoming workshops

The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) has three workshops coming up of interest to government officials. On July 27, from 8:40 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., AACOG will host a Newly Elected Officials Workshop in the A. J. Notzon III Board Room at 8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 100 in San Antonio. The workshop is for newly elected mayors and city council members or alderman; however, any and all elected officials and city staff are welcome to attend. For information, click here. A Planning and Zoning Officials Workshop is planned for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the Tesoro Drive address. Among the topics are comprehensive plans, importance of planning and more. For information, click here. Finally, on Sept 7, AACOG will host a Basics of Economic Development for Elected Officials Workshop. This workshop will also be at the Tesoro Drive address from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Presentations will be provided by Charlie Zech with Denton, Navarro, Rocha, and Bernal, P.C. For more information, click 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


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Government marketplace
includes trillions in contracts


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


As our nation grows and changes, government needs grow exponentially. Private firms play a vital role in keeping America in the forefront of global leadership.


The government marketplace now represents trillions of dollars on an annual basis. Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $41.446 million contract to a private sector group selected to construct a special operations facility at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Thousands of contracts are awarded each week and many of them tend to be renewed each year. Some government contracts are obviously for smaller amounts. For instance:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture paid $38,347 to a contractor recently for parking lot repairs;
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a contract for $53,870 for installation of nine direct-expansion (DX) cooling units;
  • A contract for $788,375 was awarded to a private sector firm by the U.S. Department of Transportation for repair of the George Washington Memorial Parkway Arlington Memorial Bridge;
  • The U.S. Department of the Army awarded a contract for $234,391 for miscellaneous electric power and distribution equipment;
  • The Defense Logistics Agency spent $58,716 to have a private firm install fluorescent lighting fixtures and lamps; and
  • The U.S. Department of State awarded a $91,330 contract for the first year of a possible five-year contract for eBook conversion services for books, maps and other publications.



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


Collaboration Nation

Cameron to issue bonds to upgrade water, sewer system

Cameron City Council members recently agreed to issue certificates of obligation to pay for upgrades and extensions to the water and sewer system, street upgrades, new police and public works vehicles and renovations to buildings used by police and the utility department. City officials also plan to acquire land for parks and recreation facilities and to equip those parks using some of the funding, city officials said.


Carlisle resigns as director

for Corpus Christi transit group

Karina CarlisleKarina Carlisle (pictured), director of communications and marketing for the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, recently resigned to become a marketing manager for a private company. Carlisle begins her new duties in June.


CapMetro seeking bids for constructing bus stations

Bids are being sought by the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority for construction of bus stations for the MetroRapid service. There will be 40 stations built along the N. Lamar and S. Congress route, which is expected to begin operation in 2014. CapMetro officials will continue to meet with interested contractors and subcontractors today, Friday, to answer questions. Bids are due June 29.


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West Rusk County CISD names Gilliam, Coleman to new posts

West Rusk County Consolidated Independent School District officials recently reassigned Gwen Gilliam and Lawrence Coleman to new administrative positions.


Gilliam, currently an elementary school teacher, is a new director to coordinate all district testing, accountability, special programs and assist secondary principals working with teachers. Coleman, an assistant principal, was reassigned to be the director of human resources. Both appointments become effective on June 25.


Fourth DPS patrol vessel commissioned in Austin

The fourth patrol vessel of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was commissioned recently in Austin and is named for the late Trooper Troy Hogue. Hogue, stationed in Big Spring, was shot and killed at age 39 by a DWI suspect in a traffic accident in Howard County in 1994.


The four vessels, part of the newly established Tactical Marine Unit, will allow DPS to combat illegal activity along the Texas coast and the Rio Grande River. The 34-foot Troy Hogue shallow water interceptor, one of what will eventually be a six-vessel patrol unit, will primarily patrol the Rio Grande and the Intercoastal Waterway. Each vessel is named for a DPS officer killed in the line of duty. They are funded by the state and through federal homeland security grants. 


Keller ISD selects Jackson

as interim superintendent

Mark JacksonTrustees for the Keller Independent School District recently selected Mark Jackson (pictured) as the new interim superintendent. Jackson, who retired in 2010 as superintendent for Burleson ISD, replaces James Veitenheimer, who resigned to become superintendent at a school district in Arizona.


Trustees said they expect Jackson will serve in the post until they select a new superintendent in two to three months.


Southlake may ask voters to approve multi-purpose building

Southlake City Council members recently began discussion on asking voters to approve a bond proposal in May to fund a new multipurpose building with a recreation facility, meeting rooms and a senior center. City staff is working on determining the estimated cost, operating costs, possible locations and features to include in the new facility, City Manager Shana Yelverton said. Cost estimates for the proposed multi-purpose building have ranged around $30 million and city officials have set aside about $7.5 million for the proposed facility, Yelverton said.


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Round Rock ISD names two

new assistant superintendents

Carla AmacherRound Rock Independent School District trustees recently selected Carla Amacher (left) as the new assistant superintendent for elementary education and Rebecca Donald (right) as the new assistant superintendent for secondary education.


Rebecca DonaldAmacher began her career as an educator at McKinney ISD in 2001 and joined Round Rock ISD in 2004 as an elementary school principal. She has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Texas A&M University.


Donald, currently a high school principal for the district, joined Round Rock ISD as a middle school teacher and coach 28 years ago. She has a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a master's degree from Texas State University.


Alamo Colleges studying public-private partnership projects

Public-private partnerships are in the Alamo Colleges' future. A board committee is discussing the use of a P3 arrangement between the college and the Tobin Hill Historic District. A development firm has been hired to head up the partnership efforts, which could lead to a new 1,000-space parking garage, a four-story residential development with 150 units and a third building with more than 60 units.


The development firm has also recommended the building of a 100,000-square-foot academic facility. The cost of parking could rise for fall as a means of financing the parking garage.



White Settlement ISD selects Molinar as new superintendent

Frank MolinarAfter reviewing 50 applications, trustees for White Settlement Independent School District recently selected an internal candidate, Frank Molinar (pictured), as lone finalist for superintendent.


Currently an assistant superintendent of human resources and community relations, Molinar will replace Superintendent Audrey Arnold, who is retiring. Molinar has a master's degree from Tarleton State University and is certified as a superintendent.


Robstown ISD terminates

Obregon, taps Cano as interim

After terminating the contract of Superintendent Alfonso Obregon, trustees for Robstown Independent School District recently selected Leobardo Cano as the interim superintendent.


Cano previously was employed as an interim superintendent by Premont ISD and served as a superintendent at the Robstown district beginning in 1995 and resigned in 2001.


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Vidor ISD may select new superintendent by next week

Trustees for the Vidor Independent School District recently began interviewing internal applicants for superintendent and may select a lone finalist for the post by next week.


The new superintendent will replace Joe Burns, who resigned in April to serve as superintendent for Copperas Cove ISD. If trustees decide to hire an applicant outside of the school district, board members most likely will not select a lone finalist for another month, said Interim Superintendent Mike Gentry.


Dunlap selected as new superintendent at Hallsville ISD

Jim DunlapHallsville Independent School District board members recently selected Interim Superintendent Jim Dunlap (pictured) as the lone finalist for superintendent. Dunlap, who served as superintendent for the Hallsville school district from 1994 to 2003, returned as interim superintendent in May 2011.


Dunlap previously worked as a teacher and administrator at school districts in Lufkin, Diboll and Beckville in addition to serving as a search consultant and school board trainer for the Region 7 Education Center.


Recent Reports
Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 6/8/12

Galow to be new deputy superintendent for Pflugerville

Troy GallowTroy Galow (pictured), currently the deputy superintendent for the Copperas Cove Independent School District, recently resigned from that post to be the deputy superintendent at Pflugerville ISD.


Galow, who began working at Copperas Cove ISD in 2010, also worked for the Leander school district. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.


Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Angela Tucker of McKinney, judge of the 199th Judicial District Court in Collin County;
  • Fernando Trevino, Jr. of Del Rio, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation;
  • Victoria Camp of Austin, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Ben Couch of College Station, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Nancy Ghigna of The Woodlands, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Rodman Goode of Cedar Hill, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Henry Porretto of Galveston, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Richard Reynolds of Manor, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Debbie Unruh of Austin, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Mary Anne Wiley of Austin, Crime Victims' Institute Advisory Council;
  • Jake Ellzey of Midlothian, Texas Veterans Commission; 
  • Richard McLeon, IV of Victoria, Texas Veterans Commission;
  • Rana Anderson of Snyder, Rehabilitation Council of Texas;
  • James Hanophy of Hurst, Rehabilitation Council of Texas;
  • Barbara J. Madrigal of Austin, Rehabilitation Council of Texas;
  • Robert McNeely of Kyle, Rehabilitation Council of Texas;
  • Thelma Scott of Houston, Rehabilitation Council of Texas.

Eichhorn resigns as BISD

communications specialist

Craig Eichhorn, a communications specialist with Beaumont Independent School District, recently resigned from that post to join Alief ISD as a communications specialist. Eichhorn will begin his new duties in Alief on July 2.


Arlington selects VanWinkle

to manage municipal airport

Karen VanWinkleArlington city officials recently selected Karen VanWinkle (pictured) as the new manager of the Arlington Municipal Airport. VanWinkle began her employment with Arlington in 2001 and previously served as an analyst and project coordinator.


Previously employed by Northrop Grumman Corp. and Vought Aircraft Corp., VanWinkle has a bachelor's degree from Abilene Christian University and a master's degree from the University of Phoenix.


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Corpus Christi to lease

or sell 85 acres of parkland

As part of its proposed master plan to upgrade parks and green spaces, Corpus Christi city officials recently agreed to lease or sell about 85 acres of parkland. The parks considered for lease or sale include Ayers Park, a nine-acre site that includes a closed recreation center, basketball pavilion and playground as well as several small parks on the city's south side.


City officials are targeting community and civic groups, nonprofit organizations and individuals who would agree to lease or adopt park space for purposes such as soccer practice, community gardening or just agreeing to mow. Parks that are not adopted or leased will be left to nature with the city performing no maintenance, city officials said.


The proposed plan also reclassifies existing city parks into categories such as neighborhood, regional, niche, community and special use parks, each with a different level of amenities and standards for care. Council members expect to vote in July or August on the new park plan that consolidates park space and defines a standard of maintenance for the remaining 160 city parks.


Comal ISD taps Kim as

new district superintendent

Andrew KimTrustees for the Comal Independent School District recently tapped Andrew Kim as the lone finalist for superintendent. A superintendent at Manor ISD since 2008, Kim will replace Superintendent Marc Walker, who is retiring from the Comal post. Kim expects to begin his new duties on July 23.


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