Texas Government Insider
Volume 10, Issue 36 - Friday, Sept. 14, 2012
And the winners are... 
Outstanding Women
Four women who work in the public sector were this week named winners of the Outstanding Women in Texas Government Awards, presented biennially. Shown with keynote speaker State Comptroller Susan Combs are (from left) Raette Hearne, Major General Joyce L. Stevens, Comptroller Combs, Gay Dodson and Amie Treuer-Kuehn.


Four earn Outstanding Women in Texas Government Awards

Four outstanding public sector employees were recently honored as recipients of the Outstanding Women in Texas Government Awards. The awards, created by the State Agency Council in 1984 to honor women who work in state government, were presented to one state agency board official, one member of the Texas Military Forces and two state agency employees.


The awards, presented by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, honor women in the public sector who do not hold elected or appointed positions and who have helped shape the state by their contributions of their talents and skills to state service.


The winners are nominated biennially by state agency directors and chosen by a selection committee. Only four are chosen for the awards.


The 2012 Outstanding Women in Texas Government include: Major General Joyce L. Stevens, Texas Military Forces (Texas Army National Guard), winner of the Outstanding Management Award; Gay Dodson, R. Ph., executive director of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, awarded the Outstanding Professional Development Award; Amie Treuer-Kuehn, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award; and Raette Smith Hearne, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, awarded the Outstanding Community Involvement Award.


Rister named executive director of Railroad Commission


Brings decade of government experience to state regulatory agency

Milton RisterSupported by a decade of experience in a variety of positions in state government, Milton Rister (pictured) this week was named executive director of the Texas Railroad Commission. Rister most recently has been serving as director of administration in the Texas Governor's Office, a post he has held since 2010. Prior to that charge, Rister was executive director of the Texas Legislative Council for three years and also served as a senior advisor to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in 2005.


Before beginning a career in state government, Rister worked in the public sector and was owner of a research and technology company for 14 years. He also is a former executive director and political director of the Republican Party of Texas. Rister also previously was chief of staff to Texas Sen. Jane Nelson.


Rister will take over as the new executive in charge of Texas' top energy regulatory agency on Oct. 1.


Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars


Nancy BerryNancy Berry, mayor, City of College Station


Career highlights and education: Graduate of Lynbrook High School in Lynbrook, NY. That's right; the town was named by swapping syllables of Brooklyn. Graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in political science, history and economics. I worked in banking and real estate and, since moving to Texas more than 30 years ago, I've been an active community volunteer, serving on local, regional and statewide nonprofit boards. In addition to all the requirements of being mayor, I'm currently president of the board of trustees of The College Station Medical Center, a board member of the College Station ISD Foundation, a board member of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Brazos Valley and serve on the regional board of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
What I like best about my job is: Being able to partner and collaborate with community leaders in solving problems and moving our city forward, not only for the short term, but more importantly for the long term.  I enjoy interacting with citizens and the creative process that appropriate policy demands.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: From my husband: (1.) Enjoy the job. (2.) Ignore the crazies. (3.) Use the opportunity to build a stronger and better city for years to come.
Advice you would give a new member on the city council: Come to meetings prepared; ask questions of staff; keep your mind open and be willing to compromise; and always vote your conscience.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: in my backyard gardening and playing with my dogs.
People would be surprised to know that I: am a huge sports fan and do needlepoint.
One thing I wish more people knew about my city: College Station has a dedicated, hard-working and very capable staff that provides great service to our citizens every day.

SPI, LBJ School offer procurement, vendor relations workshop

Procurement Workshop
SPI consultants Gay Erwin and David Duncan, who have extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, are among the procurement experts who will lead the training.

Best Solution, Right Cost: An Insider's Guide to Vendor Relations, a dynamic, interactive workshop for management and program staff responsible for decisions leading up to major procurements, is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25. The workshop, co-hosted by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. and The University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Strategic Partnerships, Inc. offices on S. MoPac in Austin.  


This program is dedicated to providing assistance to mid- and upper-level management teams who want to attract outstanding contractors and then ensure successful procurements. It focuses on the critical aspects of the procurement process primarily from the commercial vendors' perspective and is taught by veteran consultants who are experienced in working in both the public and private sectors. The course was developed with extensive input from vendors, government procurement experts and sales executives who sell to government.


"For many years the LBJ School of Public Affairs has been offering public purchasing courses that address the technical aspects of the procurement process," said Barry Bales, Ph.D., assistant dean for professional development at the LBJ School. "Our recent partnering with SPI on Best Solution, Right Cost offers a different dimension of the procurement process that goes beyond the technical aspects."


Bales said the workshop will be especially helpful for executive sponsors, managers and their key business experts responsible for developing procurements. He said those individuals "must understand the big and small decisions that shape successful procurement outcomes." Bales added that it is equally important for managers to understand what decisions can lead to failed outcomes."


The course is designed for anyone involved with commercial bidding and procurement processes, including division/management team members, proposal development team members, financial and business operations personnel, executive and project sponsors, contract managers and proposal evaluation team members. "Join us for Best Solution, Right Cost and explore strategies to more effectively work with the vendor community," said Bales. For more information and to register online, click here.


UTHSC-San Antonio partnership to create new children's hospital

Kenneth KalkwarfThe University of Texas System Board of Regents has paved the way for a joint venture between The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC-San Antonio) and Vanguard Health Systems to create a new, state-of-the-art children's hospital in San Antonio. Officials at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a top-ranked children's hospital, will join Vanguard in facilitating the hospital's creation.


Interim President of UTHSC-San Antonio Kenneth L. Kalkwarf (pictured) said the multiple specialists slated to work for the new children's hospital will be able to "deliver the best possible care to children with complex medical cases and enhance the recruitment and retention of the best specialists in the country who want to work at an academic children's hospital with ongoing, groundbreaking research."


After considering three proposals, UT Regents decided Nashville-based Vanguard Health Systems would best serve patients and families while advancing UTHSC-San Antonio's teaching and research missions. Regents Chairman Gene Powell said the inclusion of CHOP in the development will help ensure UTHSC-San Antonio moves forward with building a first-tier children's hospital and pediatric care network aimed at revolutionizing "access and quality of care for all children in San Antonio and South Texas" while educating medical and health profession students. 


The proposed 250-bed, $350 million facility will be located just minutes away from UTHSC-San Antonio - located in one of San Antonio's fastest-growing areas - offering access and convenience to patients and their families. 


8th Biennial Legislative Conference - Register now

Griffiths removes two top officials at Juvenile Justice Department

Executive Director Mike Griffiths of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department recently removed two top agency executives, rescinded pay raises awarded last spring to some executives and pledged to reduce executive jobs at the agency.


Griffiths placed Robin McKeever, the deputy executive director, and James Smith, the deputy director of state youth services, on administrative leave. He also rescinded a pay raise granted to Smith earlier this year and notified the top two tiers of executives at the juvenile justice agency that he plans to reduce by 20 percent the executive ranks of the agency.


The newly appointed executive director also gathered Austin-based staff members in executive positions and asked them to select their "preferred leadership roles" for the agency that oversees the juvenile justice system and to detail the top three actions that must be performed by agency leadership to reach the next level of achievement. Griffiths said his goal is to build his own team and implement changes that promote improved communication and more accountability at the agency.


Some staff changes were announced. New in senior management positions now are: Bill Monroe, Senior Director of Finance and Technology; Lisa Capers, Senior Director of Administration and Training: Janie Durate, Director of Accounting and Construction; and Linda Brooke, former director of external affairs and communication, now also chief of staff. Other positions were either eliminated, are not yet filled or were combined with other positions.


8th Biennial Legislative Communications Conference...


Panels of budget experts, agency officials among speakers

Ursula ParksJohn OppermanA trio of veteran state budget experts and a panel of state agency officials will bring their considerable knowledge of state government to the upcoming 8th Biennial Legislative Communications Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 16.


Addressing "Budget - half empty or half full?" will be Ursula Parks (top left), acting director of the Legislative Budget Board; John Opperman (top right), director of budget for the Lt. Governor's Office; and Andrew Blifford, budget director for the Speaker of the House. Bringing a state agency perspective to the topic "Innovative Ideas to Meet the Challenges of the 83rd Legislature" will be Deputy Comptroller Martin Hubert (bottom right), Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board Chair Victor Vandergriff (bottom center) and Bill Kuntz (bottom left), executive director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.


Martin HubertVictor VandergriffBill KuntzThe conference has been jointly sponsored by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. and The University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs since 1998. Always a sold-out event, those interested in attending are encouraged to register now.


In addition to the budget and state agency panels, the conference will also feature keynote addresses by State Rep. Jim Pitts, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Kirk Watson, who will discuss the upcoming session from the hometown perspective. Other topics for speakers who will be participating are state employee benefits, public-private partnerships at the state Capital Complex, how to work with the state's leadership and predictions for the 83rd session.


Attendees will have time to network with government executives throughout the state. The full day conference will feature a continental breakfast, a networking luncheon and valuable materials with support information that will be helpful throughout the upcoming legislative year. For more information and to register, click here.


Parker tapped as a finalist to head Atlanta transit system

Keith ParkerKeith Parker (pictured), chief executive officer and president of VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, recently became one of four finalists to serve as CEO and general manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit System (MARTA).


Parker, who joined VIA three years ago, confirmed that he is a candidate for the Atlanta job, but said he is unaware of any decisions regarding finalists in that search. He also said he is happy in San Antonio, but declined to answer whether he would accept the job in Atlanta if offered. MARTA is the ninth largest transit agency in the United States and has a $435 million annual operating budget.


The county judge said VIA will be in good shape even if Parker accepts the post in Atlanta as he has assembled a strong team, including Brian Buchanan, the strategic development director who previously worked in Phoenix, and Jeff Arndt, the new deputy CEO from Houston who Parker selected earlier this year.


San Francisco to serve as interim VP for Research at Tech

Michael San FranciscoMichael San Francisco (pictured) will serve as interim Vice President for Research at Texas Tech University, according to an announcement from TTU President Lawrence Schovanec. San Francisco replaces Taylor Eighmy, who has accepted a post at the University of Tennessee.


San Francisco also serves as a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and teaches at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He is the director of Clark Scholars, a program providing extensive research opportunities for nationwide high school students, and co-director of the Center for the Integration of STEM Education and Research.


San Francisco joined the Texas Tech faculty in 1990, after earning his bachelor's degree in India, and master's degree and doctorate at Boston University.


Oct. 2012 Procurement Training

Sales tax revenue for August reported at $2.34 billion

Sales tax revenue in Texas continues to increase, according to State Comptroller Susan Combs, who this week announced she will send September sales tax allocations totaling $559.2 million to Texas cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts. Those figures are up 15.5 percent compared to September of last year. Sales tax revenue in August was $2.34 billion, up 18.5 percent compared to August 2011.


September allocations for Texas cities to share totaled $366.6 million, up 13.2 percent for the same month last year. Counties shared a September allocation of $37.8 million, up 23.1 percent for the same period last year, and Texas transit systems shared $126.4 million, up 17.1 percent from September 2011 to this September. A total of $28.7 million was shared by state special purpose taxing districts, up 32.8 percent over last September's figures.


The sales tax figures represent monthly sales made in July as well as money remitted at the close of the tax amnesty period. To view the allocations by city, click here. To view the allocations by county, click here.


Johnson tapped as Brownwood TxDOT operations director

Carl JohnsonTexas Department of Transportation officials recently selected Carl L. Johnson (pictured) as the new director of operations for the Brownwood District Office of TxDOT. His new duties include overseeing maintenance engineering functions including bridge repair contract development, roadway maintenance, equipment, emergency response and roadside management.


Johnson joined the Lampasas Area office of TxDOT in 1995 and moved to district operations in 2001 and most recently served as the maintenance and traffic engineer for the district. He previously worked for a construction company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a construction equipment company in Comanche. He has a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University.


Abilene ISD agrees to $1.5 million expansion at Bonham Elementary

Abilene Independent School District trustees recently approved a proposed $1.5 million project to add a new wing to Bonham Elementary School. Board members also approved a request to the Texas Education Agency to waive the current student/teacher ratio now required. Plans call for adding five new classrooms, a computer lab and two life-skills classrooms to the elementary school.


Lamar State College-Port Arthur's Monroe honored by governor

Sam MonroeGov.Rick Perry recently presented Lamar State College-Port Arthur (LSC-PA) President Sam Monroe with a certificate recognizing Monroe as the longest-serving president of a Texas institution of higher education.


In the accompanying photo, Perry (left) congratulates Monroe during a meeting at the Governor's Office.


Port Arthur College Board of Trustees named Monroe president in 1974, a year after which he proposed a merger between Port Arthur College and Lamar University-Port Arthur to create Lamar University-Port Arthur. The institution was renamed Lamar State College-Port Arthur in 1999.


Monroe's tenure at what is now LSC-PA has also included charges as director of campus, dean and provost. A proclamation was presented to Monroe by the governor. It read in part, "Your commitment to education and service to the Port Arthur community will inspire those around you for many years to come."


Marlin to use $5.9 million loan to improve water and sewer systems

Marlin City Council members recently agreed to accept a $5.9 million loan to replace pipes to upgrade the water and sewer systems. The upgrades are needed because the city is losing about 47 percent of the water it pumps and no one knows where it is going, the mayor said.


City officials plan to spend $3 million to make improvements to the water system to improve the quality and quantity of potable water available and the remaining funding will be used for sewer improvements. Because the city negotiated a "forgiveness" agreement, city officials will not be required to repay $1.2 million of the $5.9 million loan, the mayor said.


Western Texas College OK's $1.6 million loan to improve facilities

Patricia ClaxtonWestern Texas College trustees recently approved a loan of about $1.6 million to pay for upgrading and renovating the Science Building.


College officials plan to repay the loan from proceeds from a grant that will be awarded over a five-year period, said Patricia Claxton (pictured), chief financial officer for the college.


The majority of the loan, $950,000, will be used to upgrade the lecture hall and laboratories and the remainder will be used to pay for new equipment and supplies for the science labs.


Denison eyeing new hotel, conference center project

Officials of the Denison Development Alliance (DDA) recently said work on a proposed hotel and conference center could begin in the next two months after being stalled in 2008 because of a weakening economy.


Tony Kaal, president of the DDA, said that organization may be using saved reserve funds to pay for incentives and one-time expenses as a new investor is negotiating to buy the land from the current owner on which the conference center and hotel are planned. The $1 million agreement with the city that DDA would provide funds for infrastructure improvements has resulted with $720,000 in unspent funding. Those funds will be used for upcoming projects such as the hotel and conference center that will create jobs and income, Kaal said.


DDA officials also expect to have more than $3.5 million available for new incentives because existing incentives were removed and much of that funding can be used for other economic development projects, Kaal said.


Nov. 2012 Tx Bond Elections

Tyler looking at options for bond election in May 2013

Board members for Tyler Independent School District began reviewing two options to be included in a proposed bond election tentatively scheduled in May 2013.


The two options presented to trustees are to renovate two elementary schools, build two new middle schools and an Advanced Technology and Career Center at a total cost of about $130 million. The second option with a price tag of about $160 million is to build two new elementary schools rather than renovate the two schools. District officials said no tax hike will be necessary if voters approve the bond proposal because the total cost should be less than $160 million, the point at which a tax increase would be needed.


Marlene Strathe chosen as new interim provost at UNT-Dallas

Marlene StratheDr. Marlene Strathe (pictured) has been selected to serve as interim provost and vice president for Academic Excellence and Student Success at the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT-Dallas). She replaces John Beehler, UNT-Dallas founding provost, who will now serve as vice president for Research, Economic Development and Public Engagement.


Strathe, whose charge as interim provost ends in August 2013, previously served as provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Oklahoma State University. She has held leadership posts at the University of North Dakota, the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Northern Iowa.


UTSHC-Tyler announces associate VP, academic administrator 

Jesse Gomez has been tapped to serve as associate vice president for human resources and Dr. Pierre Neuenschwander has been named director of academic administration at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT).


Gomez previously served as director of human resources at The University of Texas at Brownsville and has held human resource management posts at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Angelo State University and the City of San Antonio. He holds a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's University.

Neuenschwander has served as professor of biochemistry at UTHSCT since 2001. He has taught courses in biotechnology at the graduate level for the last 10 years and served as associate director of the joint program between UTHSCT and Stephen F. Austin State University. He earned his doctorate at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


Lone Star College seeks design for Energy, Manufacturing Institute

Richard CarpenterLone Star College (LSC) trustees recently agreed to hire an architect to design a two-story, 80,000-square-foot facility to house the new Energy and Manufacturing Institute (EMI) at the Lone Star campus at University Park.


The institute, which provides job-related, hands-on training, currently has staff and faculty located at University Park and other campuses since the job training program was created in 2011, said Dr. Richard Carpenter (pictured), chancellor of LSC. The new EMI facility will allow the college to expand current course offerings with a focus on energy sector workforce training by offering laboratories with high-bay instructional area to prepare workers from entry level to technical and manufacturing jobs such as petroleum geographic technician, electronic assembler or welder, Carpenter said.


Lone Star officials expect to complete an architectural design for the new EMI facility this month and kick off construction in early 2013.


Federal officials may shut down federal courthouse in Amarillo

Federal officials recently said planned cuts in federal spending could close five federal courthouses, including the federal court in Amarillo. Plans also call for shutting down federal courts in Gadsden, Alabama; Pikeville, Kentucky; Meridian, Mississippi; Wilkesboro, North Carolina; and Beaufort, South Carolina.


No federal judges are based in the cities where the courts may be closed, but they travel to those facilities as needed, federal officials said. Closing the courthouses is expected to save about $1 million annually in rent. The U.S. currently operates 674 federal courthouses throughout the United States.



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Jeter serving UT-Arlington as director of Legislative Relations

Jeff Jeter has been selected to represent The University of Texas at Arlington as the director of Legislative Relations in Austin.


Jeter is the former chief of staff and legislative director for state Sen. Chris Harris, a role in which he "worked to pass legislation and craft policy that improved the lives of his constituents in North Texas," according to UT-Arlington President James D. Spaniolo. He joined Sen. Harris' staff in 2006.


Jeter holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin.


Texas Tech group wins $1.31 million grant for telehealth center

Debbie VoylesThe Health Resources and Services Administration recently awarded a $1.31 million grant to the Telemedicine Program of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) to establish the TexLA Telehealth Resource Center.


The telehealth resource center will be the focal point for supporting the effective use of telehealth to deliver health care and education via telecommunications. It will be initially located in the telemedicine office at the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health at TTUHSC, said Debbie Voyles (pictured), director of the telemedicine program. The center includes telehealth programs at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and the Louisiana State University Health Care Services Division, Voyles said.


The grant will allow the center to use existing staff of a director, technology manager and two clinic coordinators to work with hospitals, clinics and public and private insurance providers to explain the benefits and availability of telemedicine, she said. The center also will be able to market the program in both states and create a Web site to provide resources and Web-based seminars with the grant funding.


Southlake eyes land sale to help fund $32M multi-purpose center

Southlake City Council members recently asked city staff to seek appraisals on five pieces of city-owned land that could be sold to raise revenue for a proposed multi-purpose center that will cost from $32 million to $40 million.


City officials currently plan to ask voters to approve a bond proposal in May of next year to help pay for the multi-purpose center. It would include athletic and recreation areas, meeting space, a new senior center, city offices and possibly a swimming pool. Current plans call for building a facility ranging from 84,000 square feet up to 103,000 square feet if a swimming pool is added.


Land parcels being considered for sale include a 14.6-acre site where the senior activity center is located. The five land parcels to be appraised total almost 30 acres, city officials said.


El Paso Water Utility develops wastewater technology

John BalliewEl Paso Water Utility (EPWU) officials have unveiled a technology that converts solid waste to energy. According to John Balliew (pictured), vice president of operations at EPWU, the waste is removed from wastewater sent to the utility's three treatment plants and funneled into a digestor, where bacteria breaks down the material into a gas. The gas is then used to generate power for the plants.


Balliew said the measure saves 25 percent on the plants' total energy costs, equaling about $1 million a year. The power saved with this method could power 2,000 homes, according to EPWU spokeswoman Christina Montoya.


A stimulus grant from the Texas Energy Conservation Office provided funds for the technological development, which took 18 months to complete.


Austin may sell 73 acres to help pay for water treatment plant

Austin city officials recently began discussion on whether to sell 73 acres of city-owned property to help pay for a new, $508 million water treatment plant. The land parcel could bring in about $11 million in revenue that could be used to pay for cost overruns that could occur when building the new treatment plant.


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Waco ISD OK's more than $5 million to upgrade athletic facilities

Waco Independent School District trustees recently agreed to spend more than $5 million to expand and renovate athletics facilities at Indian Spring Middle School.


Athletic facilities at the middle school, which previously was the A.J. Moore Academy, are inadequate for middle school physical education or competitive sports, district officials said. District officials plan to build a competition gymnasium and a running track along with combination football and soccer fields and will renovate the current locker room. The board of the Tax Increment Financing Zone also approved $584,550 toward the $5.6 million the middle school project is expected to cost.


Judson ISD officials eyeing bond election in May 2013

Daniel KershnerJudson Independent School District officials recently kicked off a series of public meetings to help convince voters of the need to approve a bond proposal in May 2013 to ease overcrowding at district schools that could range from $80 million to $160 million.


Director of Operations Daniel Kershner (pictured) said district officials plan to build a new high school and three elementary schools if voters approve the bond proposal. He urged trustees to approva a 10-year facility master plan and create a bond committee to help win support for a bond election in May 2013.


Kershner also told board members the district could issue $80 million in bonds, which would be enough to build a new high school, without increasing property taxes. If board members decide to build a new high school and three new elementary schools, the cost could increase to between $140 million and $160 million, he said.


Pine Tree ISD approves $23.9 million contract for four projects

Pine Tree Independent School District board members recently approved a contract with a construction services company with a guaranteed maximum price of $23.9 million to complete four construction projects.


The four projects included in the contract are an athletic stadium, field houses for high school soccer, tennis and softball teams, upgrades to networking technology at the school district, renovations to a theater and facilities for culinary arts and visual media.


Did you miss Government Contracting Pipeline?

Corpus Christi resets deadline for sale of Naval Station Ingleside

Corpus Christi City Council members recently approved extending to Nov. 15 the deadline for the second time to complete the sale of former Naval Station Ingleside and 435 acres of adjacent property. Commissioners for the Port of Corpus Christi asked for the extension of the deadline to complete the sale to Occidental Petroleum Corp. in order to resolve an issue related to the bankruptcy of a company that previously expressed interest in buying the former naval station property.


Port commissioners, some of whom are appointed by the city, previously had a pending contract with options to buy the property in segments, but port officials canceled that contract in January when the Houston-based company missed deadlines and failed to secure a $20 million down payment.


The company amended its bankruptcy filing in August to include the contract with the Port of Corpus Christi and claim that property as an asset because the company still has purchasing rights. It says it has those rights because the port failed to appraise the property according to state law. Port officials denied that charge in the amendment filed on Aug. 5, the same day Occidental Petroleum Corp. was to finalize their purchase of the naval station property. Port commissioners did approve a resolution establishing an agreement with Occidental for the company's $7 million bid for the 100-acre campus portion of site.


New Braunfels to appoint committee to advise on bond proposal

New Braunfels City Council members recently agreed to create a new Bond Advisory Committee to help prepare for a bond election in May 2013. Council members expect to appoint members to the bond committee in October.


The committee is charged with reviewing proposed projects to be placed in a bond proposal, staging public hearings on the proposed projects and developing a recommendation to present to council on which projects committee members prefer to be included on the ballot.


National Procurement Institute hosts 44th Annual Conference, Expo

The National Procurement Institute, Inc. (NPI) will hold its 44th Annual Conference and Exposition on Oct. 21-24, at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston. Hear from the experts, such as the Opening Ceremony keynote speaker Patrick Snow, who will give you the tools for "Creating Your Own Destiny" and taking charge of your future. This year's conference also features sessions focused on leadership, the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award and other professional development topics geared toward helping you and your agency achieve procurement excellence. The conference program also has networking opportunities,including a Welcome Reception,Opening Ceremony, Presidential Gala Dinner and a Buyer/Supplier Roundtable Luncheon. The conference is an excellent opportunity to obtain 14.25 continuing education hours (CEH) and network with your peers. Register online at www.npiconnection.org. Questions? Interested in being an exhibitor or sponsor at the conference? Contact Craig Rowley, NPI Executive Director, 702-989-8095, or executivedirector@npiconnection.org. 


CenTex ASPA announces date for fall mixer, meeting

A fall mixer and monthly meeting of the CenTex Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The meeting will be at the Hula Hut, 3825 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin, TX 78703. The event is open to non-members as well as members and admission is free. There will be free appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages served. Please RSVP to CenTexASPA@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.centexaspa.org or contact Robert Ochoa at 210-857-8453. 


Water Forum III planned for Oct. 10 in San Antonio

The San Antonio Clean Tech Forum and the Mission Verde Alliance are hosting a critical and all-encompassing luncheon program - Water Forum III - Our Water: Our Future at the historic Pearl Stable in San Antonio. The Forum is set for Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 307 Pearl Parkway, San Antonio, 78215. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will give the opening and closing remarks.  Panelists include: Robert Rivard, forum moderator and director of the Rivard Report; Calvin Finch, director, Texas A&M Water Conservation & Technology, Texas State Rep. Lyle Larson; Robert R. Puente, president  & CEO, San Antonio Water System; Andrew Sansom, executive director, The Meadows Center for Water & the Environment at Texas State University; Suzanne Scott, general manager, San Antonio River Authority; Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples; and Reed Williams, San Antonio City Council, District 8. The Forum will address a number of water-related issues facing our region and State. The primary focus will be the challenges the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and the City of San Antonio face in meeting our growing city's future water needs and locating and purchasing non-Edwards sources of water.  However, the water issues facing San Antonio are not unique to this region and are issues facing communities across the State of Texas.  The event is intended to serve as a platform to learn how one community works to confront its water challenges and in so doing other communities statewide can see one successful model at work. Individual ticket sales are now available at www.missionverde.org . Tickets are $65 per person.


Youth-serving partners to host youth, family conference

The Strengthening Youth and Families Conference is slated for Nov. 6-11 at the Omni Southpark Hotel in Austin. It is an annual event sponsored by a collaboration of youth-serving partners, including Prairie View A&M University's Juvenile Crime Prevention Center, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments and the State Volunteer Resource Council for Texas Youth.  The conference will offer workshops related to the prevention of high-risk problem behaviors for youth, early intervention for youth who have just begun to engage in indicators of those high-risk behaviors and treatment for those youth who become trapped in those behaviors. Workshops will be geared to a multi-disciplinary audience of youth-serving professionals, volunteers and family members. Online registration only for the conference. Early bird discounts are available for registration before Oct. 5. For more information, click here.


CATEE 2012 Conference set Oct. 9-11 in Galveston

CATEE (Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency) 2012, set for Oct. 9-11 in Galveston at the Hotel Galvez, will feature speakers bringing information on timely topics, workshops on financing energy efficiency, energy management for schools and choosing the correct green rating system. The event is an educational conference and business expo connecting public and private decision-makers and thought leaders. Guest speakers in the plenary session will address issues from sustainability leadership to energy efficiency issues and the 83rd Texas Legislature. There will also be a number of breakout sessions on topics such as success in school energy management, new technologies that work and sustainable commercial buildings, to name a few. Attendees will include state leaders, government officials and staff, business owners, development professionals, facility managers, utility and energy services resources, industry experts, researchers, policy makers and clean energy and air quality advocates. Registration is now open. For more information, click here.


TARC Conference exhibitor, sponsorship opportunities available

The Texas Conference on Regionalism is set for Sept. 19-21 at the Westin Oaks Galleria in Houston. The Texas Association of Regional Councils 2012 Conference: Building Texas Together is the annual conference of Texas' regional planning councils. The councils operate programs across subject areas ranging from public safety and emergency preparedness to human and social services and are instrumental in the planning and expenditure of funds derived from local, state and federal resources. Exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are available for the conference. Those exhibiting will have an opportunity to interact with staff, leaders and decision-makers from Texas' councils of government, cities, counties and special districts. The conference agenda includes dedicated time for those attending to visit with exhibitors. Conference sponsors are recognized throughout the conference with premium booth space and signage as well as name recognition in the conference program and on the TARC Web site. Various sponsorship levels are available for businesses of all sizes. To view the draft agenda for the conference and for more information about the remaining exhibitor and sponsor opportunities click here or email tarc@txregionalcouncil.org.


Texas Municipal League 100th Annual Conference, Exhibition set

A century in the making, the Texas Municipal League will hold its 100th Annual Conference and Exhibition on Nov. 13-16 in Grapevine. Hear from the experts, such as the Opening General Session keynote speaker Jim Carroll, a futurist who will discuss trends affecting public service and how to turn challenge into opportunity. Dive into concurrent sessions on leadership, smartphone apps, health care, youth, retail development, parliamentary procedure, legislation, water management and community meetings...just to name a few. And not to be missed is a walk through the exhibit hall, where delegates will find more than 300 vendors equipped with services and products to help public servants serve better. With an agenda so full, we also carved some time to celebrate 100 years of municipal excellence - join us on Nov. 14 for the TML Centennial Gala. A conference like this only comes around once every 100 years. So what are you waiting for? Register now at www.tmlconference.org.


Institute of Internal Auditors cites Austin conference in September

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) will host its 2012 Southern Regional Conference Sept. 16-19 in Austin. The event, to be held at the Hilton Austin, will feature a world-class professional development conference with an "Audit Roundup: Lasso the Possibilities" theme. Audit executives, directors, managers and staff will benefit from regional speakers in tracks on governance, IT auditing, fraud, waste and abuse and emerging issues. CPE credits are available. Among the speakers for the general session are industry experts such as Ann Bishop, executive director of the Employees Retirement System of Texas, and Mike Jacksa, senior audit manager for Farmers Insurance. IIA's Chairman Phil Tarling and the North American Board Chairman, Mike Peppers, will both be keynote speakers as well. There also will be a variety of concurrent sessions in tracks led by subject matter experts on issues from IT auditing to governmental issues to fraud, waste and abuse. For more information, click here. To view the conference brochure with the complete agenda, click here.


Executive Women in Texas Government set November conference

The Executive Women in Texas Government will sponsor its 2012 Annual Professional Development Conference on Monday, Nov. 5, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel-Spa and Conference Center located at 1001 East McCarty Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666. This full-day event features prominent keynote speakers as well as more than 35 workshops to provide participants with opportunities for hands-on learning and development of leadership skills for multiple career levels. The conference is open to all interested professionals and is designed for those working in government and for organizations that collaborate with government agencies. Members and non-members are encouraged to view the EWTG Web site for conference details.


Media Notice

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Innovation driving state solutions
for lack of transporation funding


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


The world as we know it is changing radically and somewhat frightening is the realization that too few people are paying attention. Americans everywhere should take some time to contemplate our country's financial situation and what we want and expect from governmental leaders. As taxpayers, we send billions of dollars each year to governmental entities and if ever there was a time for each of us, individually, to contemplate what is happening, it is now.


Public officials have many areas of concern, but one area that bears taxpayer scrutiny is our vast transportation network. A recent report estimates that the United States needs to spend approximately $2 trillion to rebuild America's aging and deteriorating infrastructure. Traditional means of funding transportation projects no longer cover even the most basic needs.


Another recently released report describes some new and innovative transportation practices that may have some potential to ensure that the nation's transportation system keeps up with our demands. Innovation and new ideas will be the norm for the future in America.


The report, The Innovative DOT: A handbook of policy and process by Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative, encourages smarter transportation investments, analysis and cooperation at the state level. Some of the projects being initiated and analyzed elsewhere could reach Texas very soon.


Here are some highlights from the report: 

  • Since states must find new funding sources, many are turning to taxing methods such as sales and property taxes and user-based fees. Administrative fees and fines also come into play, such as vehicle registration fees, driver's license fees and ID card fees.

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Collaboration Nation

Andrews seeking contractor

for new $750,000 fire station

Andrews city officials recently announced plans to select a contractor by mid-November to build a proposed $750,000 fire station. Once a contractor is selected, work on the new fire station to be located at Business Park South should be completed in early summer 2013, said City Manager Glen Hackler.


Liberty to build $8.3 million road for county hospital, nursing home

Gary BrozLiberty city officials recently began finalizing plans to acquire property and build a new $8.3 million loop road to serve a new county hospital and an expanded nursing home.


City council and the Liberty Community Development Corporation authorized City Manager Gary Broz (pictured) to begin arranging financing and seeking engineering and design for a road from SH146 to Main Street to provide a more direct route to the proposed Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center and the nursing home.


City officials expect the first phase to begin on about 2,300 feet of right-of-way out of the total 5,100 feet that city officials must acquire. That portion of the project will construct the road off of which entrances will lead to the hospital and nursing home. The estimated cost of the first phase of the project is $2.95 million while the entire loop road project is estimated to cost as much as $8.3 million.


Port of Galveston reopens

hunt for new deputy director

Following a decision by David Morgan of Georgia to decline an offer to serve as the deputy director of the Port of Galveston, Mike Mierzwa, the director of the Wharves Board of Trustees, said he plans to seek salary approval on Sept. 24 for another candidate for deputy director.


Mierzwa, who is authorized to select a new deputy director, declined to identify the new candidate he has selected until that person has informed his or her employer. Duties of the deputy director include oversight of facilities and operations, maintenance, cruise operations, construction and security, all of which were performed by Mierzwa before becoming port director in February. Port officials interviewed five of the 50 candidates for deputy director who applied for the post.


Interested in P3's?

Arrendondo named to Refugio

economic development post

Refugio County Community Development Foundation (RCCDF) officials recently selected Joe Arrendondo III of Houston to serve as the group's first, full-time director of economic development.


Refugio city officials recently approved an agreement with the economic development organization that allocated $100,000 a year for two years from sales tax revenues to permit the group to hire a full-time director, said Ann Fierova, president of RCCDF.


Arrendondo, who previously was chief operating officer of a private company in Houston, began his new duties on Sept. 4.


Volcik resigns as treasurer

in McLennan County

Danny VolcikDanny Volcik recently resigned as the treasurer for McLennan County. Volcik, who was elected to that post in 2010, cited health concerns as the reason for his resignation. His resignation closely followed the resignation of County Judge Jim Lewis, who announced his retirement after 22 years in that post.


At least one county commissioner urged fellow members to consider appointing the former treasurer, Bill Helton, who was defeated by Volcik in the election, to fill the vacant position for treasurer. County officials have not decided whether to require a formal application process for a new treasurer to replace Volcik, who still had 20 months remaining in his term of office.



Mary Scott Nabers interview

slated on C-Radio in October

Mary Scott NabersMary Scott Nabers (pictured), president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., co-founder of the Gemini Global Group and author of Collaboration Nation, will be the guest for an upcoming interview on C-Radio, a live national talk radio show dedicated to business and personal finance news and information.


C-RadioNabers, one of the nation's leading experts on business opportunities, will be interviewed by host Cynthia Nevels, Visa Practical Money Awards winner, author and entrepreneur. The program's theme will be "Public and Private Collaboration That Work." The interview will air live here at 11:30 a.m. (CST) on Oct. 9.


Gregg County accepts $3.7M

grant to renovate regional airport

Gregg County commissioners recently accepted a $3.7 million grant to pay for renovating the terminal at East Texas Regional Airport.


Plans call for increasing the seating from 52 to 150 in the passenger waiting area of the terminal, building new restrooms in the secured waiting area and adding an enclosed boarding tunnel, or sky bridge. County officials agreed to pay $250,000 in matching funds required by the federal grant.


Northrop Grumman

Salado approves $9,300 contract for wastewater engineering

Salado city officials recently approved a $9,300 contract with an engineering firm to provide a cost estimate for developing a wastewater system.


The goal is to build the sewer system to serve the downtown area as well as areas east of downtown and west of Interstate 35 expected to develop soon.


Daingerfield taps Carl Teel

as its new city manager

Carl TeelThe Daingerfield City Council recently selected Carl Teel (pictured) as the new city manager.


Teel has served as a county commissioner, a deputy sheriff and also worked for the district court in Bowie County. He has a bachelor's degree from Dallas Christian College, a master's degree from Texas A&M-Texarkana and earned certification in public management from Texas State University in San Marcos.


El Paso ISD appoints George as new interim superintendent

El Paso Independent School District board members recently appointed Ken George as the new interim superintendent to replace Terri Jordan, who has served as interim superintendent since August 2011.


Jordan said she requested to be reinstated to her former post as district chief of staff because of family responsibilities.


George, who was an associate superintendent for the El Paso school district, retired in 1997. District officials said the goal is to hire a new superintendent to replace former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia, who pled guilty to two charges of public corruption involving fraud and cheating on state-mandated examinations.


Archuleta retiring as chief

of El Paso Water Utilities

Ed ArchuletaEdmund G. "Ed" Archuleta (pictured), president and chief executive officer of El Paso Water Utilities, recently announced plans to retire in July 2013. He has led the water utility since 1989 and is credited with crafting a water plan to ensure an adequate water supply for 50 years.


Public Service Board members are launching a nationwide search to find a new president and CEO and expect to have a leader in place by early 2013. Archuleta assured board members he will serve as an advisor to the new CEO until he retires in July.


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Reedy retires as superintendent for Frisco school district

Rick ReedySuperintendent Rick Reedy (pictured) of Frisco Independent School District recentlly announced plans to retire as soon as trustees find a new superintendent to replace him.


A district employee for 37 years and superintendent for 16 years, Reedy saw the district grow from five campuses in 1996 to 52 schools with a seventh high school under construction. Board members plan to meet later to discuss how they will find a new superintendent to replace Reedy.


Sinton terminates Knox

from city manager position

In a 3-2 vote, Sinton City Council members voted to terminate the contract of City Manager Jackie Knox and authorized the attorney for the city to fight a recall petition to remove a majority of council members.


Knox reportedly described the decision to hold the executive session and to terminate his contract as illegal and said he would challenge that decision. City council members, however, nominated Mary Alice Sandoval, the municipal court clerk, as the interim city manager, but then did not act on the nomination after Sandoval said the nomination was a surprise to her.


Round Rock ISD pushes bond election back to November 2013

After first planning on a bond election in May 2013, Round Rock Independent School District trustees agreed informally to move back the bond election until November 2013.


Postponing the bond election is necessary to give the district time to complete design work on a proposed new middle school before voters decide on the proposal, said Alan Albers, director of operations and maintenance for the district. This action will help ensure that the new middle school could open for classes in 2015, Albers said.


District officials also are considering asking voters to approve bonds to pay for a second performing arts center, a new elementary school, a new high school and completing Phase 3 to upgrade Round Rock High School, he said. Board members agreed to begin searching for members to serve on a bond election committee that will research proposals and present those findings to board members so that trustees can call the election by the deadline on Aug. 26, 2013.


Forsan ISD may call bond

election to upgrade facilities

Randy JohnsonCiting a recent facilities study, Superintendent Randy Johnson (pictured) of Forsan Independent School District urged board members to prepare for a bond election by hiring an architect to provide a preliminary design and cost estimate to upgrade or replace district facilities.


Because the two campuses in the district are located 15 miles from each other, faculty and students must make a long distance call to communicate with the other campus, Johnson said. District officials need to decide whether to call a bond election or try to renovate facilities on a budget that is already very tight, Johnson said.


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Witzkoske resigns as city

secretary in Gonzales

Candice Witzkoske recently resigned as city secretary in Gonzales, Witzkoske said she is accepting another position, but declined to identify if her new job is with the public or private sector.


Missouri City to appoint

group to promote bond election

Edward BroussardMissouri City Council members recently agreed to create a committee to study the feasibility of placing a bond proposal on the ballot in May 2013.


Proceeds from the bonds, if approved, will be used to build a new fire station, upgrade streets and sidewalks, improve drainage and improve recreational trails, said City Manager Edward Broussard (pictured). The committee will have 11 members who will represent the Planning & Zoning board, the Parks board, as well as each council district and five-at-large council members.


Bond committee members plan to meet weekly beginning in October and present a formal plan for a bond election to council members in December. Committee members also could decide to schedule a bond election in November 2013 if county and school district officials also decide to ask voters to approve bond proposals in May, Broussard said.


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Weatherford Municipal Utility Board OK's $1.5M for projects

Members of the Weatherford Municipal Utility Board have agreed to allot $1.5 million of the Board's $5.9 million reserves for capital projects. The funds are expected to be applied to the design phases of various projects, including plans to replace a 30-inch water line at the water plant and a sewer line close to Weatherford High School.


Those projects are projected to cost about $900,000. The remainder of the funds will be used for recoating a ground storage tank.


According to Director of Water Utilities James Hotopp, the city is also replacing some lift stations and pumps.


Recent Reports
Texas Government Insider Archives
Volume 1-10 Archives - 11/7/03 - 9/7/12
Governor's appointments
Governor Rick Perry has announced the following appointments:
  • Dean Bernal of Austin, One Call Board;
  • Julio Cerda of Mission, One Call Board;
  • Jason Hartgraves of Frisco, One Call Board;
  • Janie Walenta of Quitman, One Call Board;
  • Shannon Stansbury of Dallas, Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency;
  • Amy Baillargeon of Austin, State Employee Charitable Campaign Policy.

Hale County gets 13 applications for emergency coordinator

Hale County officials recently received applications from 13 candidates who want to be the new special projects/emergency management coordinator in that county. The new coordinator will replace Jerry Morphis, who is retiring later this year after two and one-half years in that job.


Current plans are for commissioners to begin interviewing applicants by Sept. 20 and select a new coordinator in early October so that the new coordinator can work with Morphis before he retires.


Paul Dyer stepping down as

director of parks in Dallas

Paul DyerPaul Dyer (pictured), director of parks in Dallas for 20 years, recently said he plans to retire from that post in October.


When Dyer joined Dallas, city officials were considering whether to close the Dallas Zoo and the downtown area had no major parks nearby. Dyer is credited with expanding the zoo, adding 100 miles of trails, building an Audubon center and establishing many public spaces in the downtown area since he joined the city.


Glen Rose to issue debt for wastewater system upgrades

Glen Rose City Council members recently agreed to notify voters of the intent to issue about $740,000 in bonds to pay for upgrading the wastewater system.


City officials are using a $370,000 grant from the Texas Water Development Board that requires the city to provide $370,000 in matching funds to pay for the wastewater upgrades. The remaining funds from the issue of the debt will pay for engineering fees to increase the capacity of the existing facility, city officials said.


El Paso puts brakes on plans

to buy downtown building

El Paso City Council members Thursday delayed their plans to purchase the El Paso Times building after it was noted that the proposed purchase price was $3.7 million more than a city-ordered appraisal revealed. The city had originally planned to pay $14 million for the building and parking lot, but an appraisal put the value at $10.3 million.


City Council members now will vote next Tuesday on $83 million in certificates of obligation -- $14.6 million of which was to have paid for the now-delayed purchase of the Times building.


The funding from the certificates of obligation also will be used for several projects already approved by council, including upgrades to streets, sidewalks and information technology, city officials said. If council approves the certificates, officials plan to spend $2.4 million to buy a building on Texas Ave. to house city operations and employees being relocated in order to use the site to build a new $50 million ball park.


Three Rivers ISD approves sale

of $14.22 million in bonds

Trustees for Three Rivers Independent School District recently authorized the sale of $14.22 million in bonds to pay for a new elementary school. Board members also authorized hiring an Austin-based architect to plan and design the new school. Voters in May approved the issue of the bonds.


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Midland County buys $250,000 system to track inventory

Midland County officials recently agreed to spend $250,000 on a new system to manage purchasing activities. The purchasing director for the county urged commissioners in August to buy the new tracking system because the current system left opportunity for fraud and offers no help in tracking inventory.


Commissioners also approved hiring a staff member in fiscal year 2013 to operate the new purchasing inventory system.


Franz to serve as president,

ED of medical center

Marvin C. Franz will serve as the new president and executive director of Harrington Regional Medical Center in Amarillo. Franz has served on the Center's board for four years and "really understands business," according to board chairwoman Mary Bearden.


The Center represents almost 30 institutions, including various hospitals, medical offices, research facilities, nursing homes, child-care providers for medical workers and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Franz replaces interim President Jim Rutledge.


Fort Davis School District gets grant for laptop purchases

As part of an initiative aimed at placing technology in classrooms and homes, Fort Davis School District (FDSD) students are set to receive 71 new laptop computers, thanks to a $50,000 grant.


Junior high and high school students at FDSD, 40 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged, will have access to the computers.


Greenville approves upgrades

to Majors Field municipal airport

Greenville City Council members recently approved construction of a new building and renovations to a flight line shelter at the Majors Field Municipal Airport. The airport project is being done under an agreement with the Greenville Industrial Development Corporation and the city.


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