News And People

Volume 14, Issue 12 - Friday, April 1, 2016
Toll roads remain hot-button topic for state leaders, planners
Legislature, TxDOT discuss future of toll roads as financing method

The Texas Legislature last year requested the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) prepare a report looking into the possibility of removing tolls from roads throughout the state. TxDOT officials spoke at a Texas House Transportation Committee hearing this week to update members on the report's progress.

The primary fact to take away from the hearing is that it would cost about $40 billion to convert almost all of the state's tolled highways to tax-supported roadways. The conclusion that follows from that fact is that is not going to happen any time soon.

Nor was it meant to happen, in reality. Legislators wanted to research the issue and discover where it would be feasible to remove tolls.

"I don't have a particular agenda," Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Pickett said. "I wouldn't necessarily say, 'No more tolls forever.'"

But cities and regional authorities throughout the state have been building toll roads for many years, primarily due to a lack of funding coming out of the legislature. That's begun to change in recent years, however, and the idea behind the report is to determine if it's changed enough to avoid charging Texas drivers every time they use their cars.

"Let's find a way we can start telling the public, when we come up with support or different monies, that we can do away with some of them," Pickett said.

Strategic Partnerships adds two to roster of consultants
 Guzmán, Redington join firm's team of government affairs experts 

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) has added two veterans of public service to its team of procurement consultants. Ana "Cha" Guzmán served in leadership roles for community colleges throughout the country, and Penny Redington was a county judge who also served in various municipal legal roles and directed the Texas regional councils organization.

Guzmán is recognized throughout the country as a leader in the field of education. From 2001 to 2012, she served as president of Palo Alto College in San Antonio. During her tenure there, she increased student enrollment and retention rates, tripled the amount of grant funding received by the college and developed more than 15 new degree programs. She also has held leadership roles at several other institutions, including Austin Community College, Texas A&M, Santa Fe Community College and Blinn College. She has been a senior adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Education and provided guidance to the federal government in developing educational opportunities for Hispanic students. Guzmán holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, a master's degree from Texas Southern University and an Ed.D. degree from the University of Houston.

Redington's legal career includes service to the city of Waxahachie as assistant city attorney, Municipal Court prosecutor and counsel to two city commissions. During her tenure as Ellis County judge from 1988 to 1994, she served as the Juvenile Court judge, chair of the Juvenile Board and on numerous other boards and commissions. She served as the executive director of the Texas Association of Regional Councils (TARC) from 2005 to 2015. Immediately prior to joining TARC, she was the federal and state legislative liaison for the Texas Association of Counties. She earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University's Deadman School of Law.

Click here to see the entire SPI Consulting Team

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
George V. Masi, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Harris Health System

Career highlights and education: I joined Harris Health System in 2001 after serving 27 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Medical Department. My military assignments included chief of staff for the Army's Southeast Regional Medical Command in Fort Gordon, Ga.; deputy commander and chief operating officer for Army Hospitals in Virginia and Massachusetts; and battalion command of a field medical unit. I also taught health care administration as an assistant professor with the U.S. Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health Care Administration. From 1998 to 2001, I served as the Army Surgeon General's consultant for health care administration. Beginning my tenure with Harris Health System, I was the administrator of Ben Taub Hospital for several years, followed by eight years as Harris Health's executive vice president and chief operating officer. In 2014, I was named president and CEO for the system. I hold graduate degrees from the University of Buffalo, Long Island University and the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and I'm a Certified Healthcare Executive and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.  

What I like best about my job is: Helping people.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: Whenever you're in doubt about what the right thing to do is, think about the patient and what the patient is experiencing, and then do what's best for the patient.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Be patient, your plate will be overflowing. There is much to do. Address your priorities in the following manner: What are the must-do's, the nice-to-do's and the should-do's? Concentrate on the must-do's. 

If I ever decided to leave work early, I could probably be found: When I'm out of the office, which is rare, you might catch me at an Astros baseball game.

People would be surprised to know that I: When folks ask me where I am from, I tell them: After 27 years in the Army and being transferred 17 times during my career, home was always where the Army sent me. So the way I see it, Houston is just another duty station.

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: Harris Health is more than a trauma center. It's a health system that extends its services throughout this community to meet the needs of the underserved population of Harris County. And that we have the best staff - physicians, nurses, allied health and other support staff - of any health system anywhere.

White House Water Summit encourages collaboration
The state of Texas, its lawmakers and private-sector firms have done much in the past few years to ensure the state's burgeoning population will have a reliable source of clean water well into the future. Last week, the White House was home to a summit coinciding with World Water Day, and Texas was well represented. Leaders from municipal governments, academia and the nonprofit world showcased projects and ideas that Texas is putting into action.

Richard Seline, executive director of AccelerateH2O, attended the White House Water Summit and was able to announce the launch of "three of a planned seven regional hubs in Texas for demonstrating innovative approaches for water reuse, brackish desalination and aquifer recharge in rural communities, optimization of water systems and smart irrigation."

Administration officials also were able to announce corporate pledges of investment, as well as new federal initiatives meant to combat the issues faced by the nation's aging and deteriorating infrastructure. The corporate commitments include a $500 million investment in water and reuse technologies by GE over the next decade and a pledge by a San Francisco-based investment firm to dedicate $1.5 billion toward "decentralized water management solutions."

"It's an investment opportunity that has the potential for great returns," said Ali Zaidi, associate director for natural resources at the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

The White House Water Summit also provided administration officials a platform to release a Long-Term Drought Resilience action plan. The plan calls for better data collection and improved coordination among government agencies and includes a contest that offers a reward for innovative projects.
Pasadena could see new $357M sports, entertainment complex
Pasadena city officials recently began discussions regarding the formation of a public-private partnership with a group of developers to build a new $357 million, 200-acre sports and entertainment resort near the city's convention center. The proposed resort also would feature two hotels, 16 full-service and fast food restaurants, an RV park with cottages, 300,000 square feet of retail space, a movie theatre and an amusement park.

A convertible, 6,500-seat ice rink arena that could also be used for indoor soccer tournaments, indoor lacrosse, motocross races and rodeo/equestrian events would be the focal point of the proposed complex. The facility also could be converted to an entertainment venue with 8,500 seats for concerts, graduation ceremonies, trade shows and gospel performances.

The group of developers proposed providing 80 percent of the funding for the public-private partnership to build the entertainment complex. Council took no action on the proposal.

San Antonio seeks input on new comprehensive plan for city
San Antonio city officials recently launched a new online survey to gain public comment on the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, which addresses policies for growth, transportation and sustainability. The results could have an impact on which projects will be included in a 2017 bond proposal under consideration by city council members.

Developed by a panel of citizens, city staff members and consultants, the comprehensive plan provides nine policy areas designed to help prepare the city for an additional 1.1 million residents by 2040. The plan involves developing more housing options around the city's university campuses and transit corridors and promoting more pedestrian-friendly projects built in population centers throughout the city.

Residents may submit online comments on the proposed plan through the first week of April. Council members expect to vote on the final plan in June.
El Paso County eliminates tolls for a year at border bridge
El Paso County commissioners recently agreed to drop all tolls at the new Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry for the next year. The decision is part of an effort to increase traffic at the six-lane border crossing, which is operated by the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA).

The new bridge, which augments the smaller Fabens-Caseta crossing, opened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic in February and is expected to begin accepting commercial traffic in April, county officials said. CRRMA officials requested the moratorium, as a recent study indicated traffic volumes for the Tornillo-Guadalupe crossing are lower than predicted in a 2002 study. The one-lane Fabens-Caseta entry, which is used mostly by pedestrians, also had experienced a 50 percent loss in passenger car traffic since 2001, CRRMA officials said.

Traffic to the new bridge is expected to increase when highways on both sides of the border are finished and connected with Interstate 10 in Texas and a highway to Chihuahua City in Mexico, said County Commissioner Vince Perez.
Governor's Commission for Women looking for nominees for Texas Women's Hall of Fame
The Governor's Commission for Women recently began seeking nominations for women who have made significant contributions to the state to be inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.

The women can be living or deceased, natives or current residents of Texas. The Hall of Fame includes honorees who were first ladies, athletes, entrepreneurs and astronauts. It is located on the campus of Texas Woman's University in Denton.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 29. The nomination form can be found online.
Georgetown Police Department proposes new shooting range
Georgetown Police Department officials recently requested city council approve a new $3 million shooting range to be added to the city's $29 million training facility funded by a bond election in 2011.

The new shooting range would be 50 yards long and feature 15 stalls to allow officers to practice shooting on a more regular basis and at a lower cost. Currently, police officers must travel twice a year to a shooting range operated by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office to test their shooting skills. The new range would improve training by allowing officers to practice shooting more often than twice a year and reduce travel time and expenses, police officials said.

The request is part of the city's capital improvement plan that currently allots funding for the shooting range by 2020, police officials said. The project is expected to take about two years to be completed. Council members agreed to discuss the shooting range proposal during the budget process for the coming fiscal year.
Bryan to seek new bids for road project, delays work on BRAC
Bryan City Council members recently agreed to seek new bids for a road project that would improve access to a hospital emergency room after the only bid for the project came in 44 percent above the budgeted costs. City officials plan to seek new bids and begin construction on 29th Street and Memorial Street in May.

Council members also postponed discussion on a contract to develop a design and engineering plan for the Bryan Regional Athletic Complex (BRAC) and requested city staff members clarify some concerns before awarding the contract.

Corpus Christi flood protection plan to cost as much as $100M
Corpus Christi City Council members recently learned the city would need to spend between $75 million and $100 million to upgrade the flood protection system. The upgrades would be needed to ensure the downtown area could withstand a 100-year flood event.

The city's seawall improvement fund, however, has only $21 million to spend on flood protection at this point, noted Jeff Edmonds, director of capital improvements.

New requirements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) call for certifying each component of the levee system individually to prove the system could provide adequate protection. In the past, just having a levee system was considered adequate flood protection, Edmonds said. Individual certification at this point is not feasible, he added. The downtown area represents about $1.1 billion in property value, according to a report prepared by an engineering firm.
San Antonio seeking proposals for move to former bank tower
San Antonio City Council members recently requested proposals to oversee the relocation of city hall into a 22-story high-rise tower that previously housed a bank. City officials expect to spend more than $6 million in immediate costs on the private-public partnership (P3) project, which will consolidate most city operations into one facility.

The bank property includes a 445,600-square-foot building and a 344,245-square-foot, eight-story parking garage. Both require fire protection, HVAC, electrical and other upgrades estimated to cost about $5.4 million over the next three years, city officials said. The P3 agreement also is expected to include 265 housing units in the downtown area and construction of the first new office tower in the central business district since 1989.

The deadline for submitting proposals for planning and overseeing the city hall relocation is April 19. Council members expect to approve the winning proposal in June. A preliminary cost estimate for the city hall relocation is expected by the end of September.
Facing population influx, Denton council approves impact fees
Denton City Council members recently voted to assess road impact fees for new businesses and residents to pay for road improvements needed to handle increased traffic loads.

Council members plan to vote on the fee schedule for the road impact fees by the end of April. The goal is to shift the financial burden of improving local roads from current property owners to those responsible for the impact on the roads.

The plan for the fee divides the city into five zones and uses the projected growth of each zone to build models used to calculate the costs of the increased traffic and the fees for new construction in each zone. Any road impact fees collected in a zone must be used for roads in that zone, city officials said.

Huntsville ISD considering proposal for facilities assessment
Huntsville Independent School District trustees recently began considering a proposal from an architectural and engineering firm to perform a facilities assessment estimated to cost $227,164. The facilities assessment could be used to develop a future bond proposition, district officials said.

The proposal calls for using a computer-based assessment that permits accurate, impartial and objective data, forecasting future costs and categorizing each issue by type and level of urgency.

Trustees agreed to study the proposal further before taking action, according to the board president.
Mayor Taylor proposes study of San Antonio city administration
San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor (pictured) recently proposed studying the feasibility of restructuring municipal government in that city by replacing the current council-manager form of administration with a more contemporary form of governing the city.

Taylor cited rapid population growth as the impetus for looking at another system that might eliminate the city manager style of government, in which the mayor and city council members decide policies and the city manager carries them out.

While the strong mayor form of government, where the mayor serves as the chief executive officer and council members decide on policy, is an option, Taylor said city leaders should also consider a hybrid form of government somewhere in between the city manager structure and the strong mayor administration.
Weatherford creates TIRZ to pay for upgrades related to I-20
Weatherford City Council members recently voted to create a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) to provide funding to pay the city's share for improvements on Interstate 20. The project is intended to spur growth in an underdeveloped area.

City officials signed an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to allocate a portion of the property taxes collected from the TIRZ to help fund road construction, entrance and exit ramps, traffic signals and other infrastructure expected to cost about $32.5 million. The projects include building two roads to connect a neighborhood with recently completed frontage roads, building another connector road between I-20 and Azle Highway and building ramps between two roads.

Council members, who authorized an initial $6 million loan for the project, noted that business investment in the area is being deterred because of access issues.

Tyler plans to upgrade Rose Garden, convention center
Tyler city officials recently began seeking architectural firms to create a master plan for beautifying and improving access to the East Texas State Fairgrounds, the Tyler Rose Garden, Windsor Grove Park and fire administration buildings.

The plan also will include surrounding areas such as a stadium owned by Tyler Independent School District, a field owned by Tyler Junior College and the Tyler Civic Theatre, said Stephanie Rollings (pictured), director of parks and recreation. Rollings said she intends to work with all of the affected groups to create a plan to work together to make the area more attractive and accessible.

Due in early April, the proposals will address potential land uses, public-private partnerships, landscape and beautification projects, public streets and access points and recommendations on upgrading or finding a better use for existing buildings. The winning firm will draft a master plan with goals, objectives and strategies for implementation, in addition to providing a cost estimate and detailed drawings, Rollings said.
Tioga ISD considering land purchase to build new school
Trustees for Tioga Independent School District recently began talks to buy 92 acres of land for $1.1 million to build a new 62,000-square-foot high school with a stadium and track. According to the Office of the Attorney General, the district cannot spend more than $16 million to complete the new high school, said Superintendent Charles Holloway (pictured).

The district, which has experienced high growth in the last few years, currently operates one campus that houses pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. That campus is reaching maximum capacity, Holloway said.

District officials earlier created a nonprofit corporation, the Tioga ISD Public Facility Corporation, to help finance the land purchase and new high school by issuing lease revenue bonds.
Amarillo seeking more funding to build new baseball stadium
Amarillo City Council members recently agreed to study options to pay for building a new baseball stadium, now estimated to cost $48.4 million, in an effort to attract a Double-A baseball club to the city. Voters approved $32 million for the new baseball stadium in a bond election in November 2015.

Mayor Paul Harpole (pictured), cited the $25 million a year in economic benefits and the 341 jobs the city would gain from visitors coming into the city in support of the effort to raise more funding for the stadium.

Interim City Manager Terry Childers also will work with the Local Government Corporation to study methods to complete the stadium without placing the city into substantial debt. City officials also said some private donors have said they might contribute funding for the stadium. Current plans call for building a stadium with a capacity of 7,430 fans using club seats, boxed suites and a picnic area.

Abilene adopts strategic plan calling for new main library
Abilene City Council members recently adopted a strategic plan for the city's public libraries that could include the transformation of a former middle school building into a new main library. The plan also suggests the possibility of using a public-private partnership to help develop the new library facility.

If funding for renovating the vacant building is not found within five years, council members may decide instead to upgrade the current main library on Cedar Street, City Manager Robert Hanna said.

The strategic plan is a requirement for the library to remain accredited by the state and is a vision of the future of the library system rather than an approved final plan, Hanna said.
Burkburnett to seek design for $4.8 million police headquarters
Burkburnett City Council members recently agreed to seek proposals for a design firm to create a plan and to oversee renovation of an existing building to house the police department. The cost of the project would be about $4.8 million.

Council members are expected to take a final vote in mid-April on whether to issue certificates of obligation to fund the new police facility, City Manager Mike Whaley (pictured) said. If council approves the debt, officials plan to begin the bidding process for construction of the police facility as early as this summer.

Once construction begins, the new police headquarters should be completed in about a year, he said.
San Benito commissioners considering building skate park
San Benito city commissioners recently began discussions on a proposal to build a new 8,000- to 12,000-square-foot skateboard park with a cost estimate as high as $300,000.

While one supporter of the skate park volunteered to help with raising funds to pay for the project, the parks and recreation director, Art Garza, told commissioners that funding is a major concern. The cost can range from $30,000 to $300,000 for a skate park depending on the design, Garza said. The mayor suggested setting a goal of building the new park by this summer.

City officials are looking at two locations for the skate park, Resaca Trail and Stookey Park. Commissioners, however, made no final decision on the proposal.
Longview in need of funding for $19 million in parks upgrades
Longview city officials recently advised members of the Parks Advisory Committee that no additional funding is available to pay for the $19 million in improvements to trails, fields and park equipment included in the city's latest master plan, according to Assistant City Manager Keith Bonds (pictured).

Park supporters could look to the Longview Economic Development Corporation, state and federal grants, private donations or a bond issue to supplement city funding for city parks, Bonds said. City officials, however, do not expect to propose a bond election, as sales tax revenues have decreased for the last 13 months, he added.

Park projects needing funding include a $10.6 million project to repave Cargill Long Trail and build the first three phases of Guthrie trail, the addition of four baseball fields at Lear Park and a $3.8 million project to add more water features and pavilions at a splash park, Bonds said.
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Fuller Springs Volunteer Fire Department to build new facility
The Fuller Spring Volunteer Fire Department recently agreed to use a grant to pay for building a new substation between Huntington and Lufkin.

The department received a grant to pay for the building, but its volunteer firefighters plan to raise about $30,000 to pay for site preparation, the assistant fire chief said. The new substation will allow the department to properly store trucks, as the current station is too small for the number of trucks owned by the department.
Jack County backs Jacksboro request for airport grants
Jack County commissioners recently voted to support Jacksboro city officials in their efforts to become eligible again for grants from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to help fund about $630,000 in needed improvements to the municipal airport.

Although the city has requested grants from the aviation division of TxDOT since 2012, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules require airports to house nine aircraft to be eligible for funding, City Manager Mike Smith said.

Because the airport did not meet the aircraft requirement, the city lost about $140,000 a year in grant funding, Smith said. To become eligible for the grant, Smith said he has found three more aircraft to house at the airport, begun selling fuel and procured a contract mechanic to work on site. Smith also plans to meet with the district engineer for TxDOT to outline the city's efforts to qualify for grant funding.
Willis eyeing $1.17 million bond issue to pay for street projects
Willis City Council members recently agreed to decide by mid-April whether to issue $1.17 million in certificates of obligation to fund improvements and extensions of local streets.

The city also plans to use some of the funding to improve drainage, acquire land for right-of-way and work on water and sewer lines, City Manager Hector Forestier (pictured) said. 

City officials also plan to use funding from the issue of $2.5 million in certificates of obligation in 2014 to complete paving on five streets, Forestier said.

Calendar of Events

Agile road show offers public-sector tech officers opportunities
April 4, 2016
CA Technologies and Grant Thornton are hosting a Project Management Institute (PMI) road show called "Agile: Rapid Value Delivered," and its Texas stop will be in Austin April 4. The event will offer CIOs, CTOs, program managers and procurement officials a chance to network and learn how "practicing agile software development and managing work more broadly are powerful ingredients for success in today's challenging environment." Two continuing professional education credits or 1.5 professional development units are available for attending the workshop, and the certificate of completion may be submitted to the PMI's website. Registration is open.
State agencies to host 4th annual HUB vendor expo in Austin
April 7, 2016
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, Texas Historical Commission, State Office of Court Administration, Texas Education Agency, General Land Office and Texas Workforce Commission will host the 4th annual HUB vendor Fair April 7 at the J.J. Pickle Commons Learning Center in Austin. The event will provide information to strengthen HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) businesses, including marketing the business. There will be one-on-one meetings with state agencies, universities and prime vendors in construction and information technology. State agencies and universities will be exhibiting. Workshops will include "Teaming for Success," "TPASS DIR" and one specifically for veteran-owned businesses. The event and parking is free of charge. For more information please contact Fred Snell.

AACOG to play host to Aging in Texas Conference in mid-July
July 12-15, 2016
The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) will host the Aging in Texas Conference (AiTC), an annual gathering of individuals who work within the aging community. Designed for professionals from a range of professional settings, the AiTC supports professionals in the field of aging with the most current research, training and innovative tools and resources.  With educational programming covering a variety of areas, this conference will be beneficial to everyone involved with caring for the state's senior citizens, from administrators to service providers. It will take place at the Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk hotel in San Antonio. A schedule is available and registration is open.

Record-breaking traffic forces airport expansions, upgrades, remodels 

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

One of the nation's most powerful economic engines is sputtering.

With record-breaking airline traffic data recorded throughout the country, many airports are being forced to expand, upgrade and remodel. Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA) estimates that the funding needed to complete capital development projects at airports for the next five year in the U.S. tops $75.7 billion, or $15.1 billion per year. Commercial airports account for $62.2 billion, or 82.1 percent, of that total.

Commercial airports in the United States generate billions of dollars of activity each year that affect both the local and national economies, providing jobs moving people and cargo throughout the world.

Kimbriel selected as chief information officer for Texas DIR
Todd Kimbriel, the former interim executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR), recently was named the state's chief information officer (CIO) and deputy executive director of the agency.

Kimbriel (pictured) served as interim executive director of DIR from early 2015 to last month, when state officials appointed Stacey Napier as the new executive director of the agency. DIR has an annual operating budget of $350.4 million and about 200 employees.

Flynn named dean of new Fort Worth med school
Stuart Flynn recently won selection as the dean of a new medical school in Forth Worth. The school is a joint project between Texas Christian University (TCU) and the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNT-HSC).

Now serving as the first dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, Flynn (pictured) is credited with creating the curriculum and leading the accreditation process at the school, which was formed in 2008. He also was a professor of pathology and surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in oncologic pathology at Stanford University. He begins his new duties in Fort Worth in April.

TCU and UNT-HSC officials announced the creation of the new medical school in July 2015 with plans to use existing facilities and the resources of both campuses. Flynn will be responsible for guiding the new school through the accreditation process from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

Brunjes to retire as CFO for Texas Tech System
Jim Brunjes, a vice chancellor and chief financial officer for the Texas Tech University System, recently announced plans to retire early next year.

Brunjes (pictured) joined Texas Tech University (TTU) as vice president for administration in 1991 and won promotion to his current post in 1999. In this position, he manages an annual operating budget of $1.9 billion. Brunjes oversaw an increase in the system's endowment from $257.7 million in 1999 to more than $1.1 billion currently. He also served as an airline executive and in various leadership roles at universities in Texas before joining TTU.

Officials plan to conduct a national search to find a new chief financial officer for the TTU System.

Cisco College names Thad Anglin president
Cisco College officials recently selected Thad Anglin (pictured) as the lone finalist for president.

He currently is a vice provost at the University of North Texas at Dallas and previously was a vice president at Lone Star College-CyFair.

Anglin has a bachelor's degree from Sul Ross State University, a master's degree from The University of Texas at Tyler and an Ed.D. degree from Nova Southeastern University.

McDermott to lead Weslaco EDC temporarily
Marie McDermott recently won selection as the interim executive director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation. She begins her new duties April 4 and replaces Joey Trevino.

McDermott (pictured) served 19 years as president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, was a vice president of business development for the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, a vice president with the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and president of the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce.

San Juan EDC names Arjona interim director
The board of directors for the San Juan Economic Development Corporation (EDC) recently appointed City Manager Benjamin Arjona to serve as interim director of the EDC.

Board members also voted to terminate the contract of Humberto "Bobby" Rodriguez, who had served as executive director of the EDC.

Abilene approves $4M for new TSTC campus
The Abilene City Council recently authorized the Development Corporation of Abilene to provide $4 million in funding to help pay for a new Texas State Technical College (TSTC) campus in that city.

TSTC officials originally requested the city contribute $6 million to the new campus. 
State officials have approved $12 million for the project.

Jan Hunt resigns as McCamey superintendent
McCamey Independent School District Superintendent Jan Hunt this week announced that she will resign at the end of June. Prior to becoming superintendent, Hunt had served as a principal for the school district.

Smith selected as city manager in Whitehouse
Aaron Smith recently won selection as the city manager in Whitehouse. Previously a city manager in Ogallala, Neb., and Tulia, Smith (pictured) won the appointment over two other candidates interviewed by city council members.

Smith has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Texas Tech University.

Shaffstall announces resignation as Willow Park city administrator
City Administrator Matt Shaffstall of Willow Park recently informed city council members that he will resign, effective June 30.

City council members agreed to hire a search firm to help find a new city administrator. They also agreed to appoint an interim city administrator to serve after Shaffstall leaves that post. City officials set a goal of finding the new city administrator by this fall.

Hurst council names Caruthers city manager
The Hurst City Council recently selected Clay Caruthers (pictured) to serve as city manager beginning in July.

Now serving as the assistant city manager for fiscal services, Caruthers will replace City Manager Allen Weegar, who is retiring after working for the city more than 30 years.

Caruthers has a bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University and a master's degree from the University of North Texas.

San Benito city manager to lead economic development corporation
San Benito city commissioners recently appointed City Manager Manuel De La Rosa (pictured) to serve as executive director of the San Benito Economic Development Corporation (EDC), in addition to his role as city manager.

Commissioners also authorized De La Rosa to hire an assistant to provide support for his duties for the EDC. De La Rosa replaces the former executive director, Salomon Torres. He will perform the duties of executive director of the EDC until city officials hire a new director.
Northrop Grumman

Jeff Ellington to retire as city manager in Gilmer
City Manager Jeff Ellington of Gilmer recently informed city council he is retiring at the end of this year.

Previously a city manager in Bridge City, Center, Jacksonville and Overton, Ellington (pictured) began his city manager duties in Gilmer toward the end of 2004.

Council members plan to begin discussions soon on the process of hiring a new city manager. Ellington advised the council to consider hiring his replacement while he is still in office, to allow for a smooth transition.

Killeen names Ann Farris as interim city manager
Killeen City Council members recently appointed Ann Farris (pictured) as the interim city manager, effective April 5. She will replace City Manager Glenn Morrison who is retiring that same day.

Currently the assistant city manager for internal services, Farris also served as a deputy superintendent for Killeen Independent School District prior to joining the city staff.

Council members agreed to perform a national search to find a permanent city manager to replace Morrison.

Tim Crosswhite promoted to public works director in Plainview
Tim Crosswhite recently won promotion as public works director in Plainview. He had served as interim public works director for eight months.

He replaced Mike Gilliland, the former public works director who left that position in July.

Crosswhite (pictured) has worked for Plainview for four years and previously served as water superintendent for the city. He has 27 years experience in wastewater treatment.
LeFleur Transportation

Eads tapped as assistant city manager in Laredo
Robert Eads recently was named assistant city manager in Laredo.

A former city manager in Del Rio and San Luis, Ariz., Eads (pictured) replaces Jesus Olivares, who won promotion to city manager. His duties include overseeing the engineering, environmental services, parks and recreation, public works and the utilities departments. Eads previously has served as a coordinator for customer service efforts for the city of Laredo, a public relations and marketing coordinator for the city's El Metro Transit System and chief operating operator of the Laredo Chamber of Commerce.

Eads has a master's degree from Sul Ross University and has served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Carthage appoints Williams city manager
Carthage city commissioners recently appointed Steve Williams as the new city manager. He will replace City Manager Brenda Samford, who retired, when he begins his duties May 2.

Williams currently is a vice president of fiscal services at Panola College.

Canutillo ISD appoints Vijil, Vasquez to leadership posts
Trustees for Canutillo Independent School District (ISD) recently appointed Veronica Vijil (pictured, top) as the new associate superintendent and Bruno Vasquez (pictured, bottom) as the executive director of facilities and transportation.

Vijil most recently served as the executive director of data management and compliance for Spring ISD and also as an adjunct professor at Sam Houston State University. She has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at El Paso, a master's degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and a doctorate from San Houston State University.

Vasquez is a registered architect who most recently served as a project manager for an architectural firm. He has a bachelor's degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Cuidad Juarez.
Zaied selected as deputy city manager in El Paso
Khalil Zaied recently won selection to the newly created post of deputy city manager of public works and transportation in El Paso.

Currently serving as the deputy mayor for operations in Baltimore, Zaied (pictured) plans to begin his new duties June 30. He also has been director of planning for Baltimore City Schools, chief of conduits and chief of highways, as well as a member of the Governor's Commission on Middle Eastern Affairs.

Zaied holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland College Park.

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Alice council names Andy Joslin as city manager
Alice City Council members recently appointed Andy Joslin (pictured) the new city manager to help guide the city through a downturn in oil and gas production.

A former city manager in Floresville, Joslin won selection over three other candidates for the job. Joslin said he intends to implement a budget plan to reflect current economic trends.

Drew Howard tapped as superintendent finalist for Petersburg ISD
Drew Howard recently won selection as the lone finalist for superintendent of Petersburg Independent School District (ISD).

Once the required 21-day waiting period has expired, Howard will replace Joseph O'Malley, the former superintendent who left that post in May 2015. David Foote, a former teacher for the district, has served as interim superintendent since then.

Howard currently is a principal for Peaster ISD, where he began his career as a teacher. He previously was a principal for Stephenville ISD and a teacher at Lipan ISD. Howard has a master's degree from Tarleton State University and is working to complete a doctorate in education from there, as well.
An Audit Report on Financial Reporting and Contracting at the Department of Agriculture

An Audit Report on Selected Agencies' Use of Department of Information Resources Information Technology Staffing Services Contracts
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Trey Hill, Friendswood, Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County Ports;
  • Kelly Lovell, Friendswood, Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County Ports;
  • Rona Stratton Gouyton, Fort Worth, Governing Board of the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
  • Katie McClure, Kingwood, Governing Board of the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
  • Jose Aliseda, Beeville, Governing Board of the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
  • Robert Dominguez, Mission, Governing Board of the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
  • Christy Jack, Fort Worth, Governing Board of the Texas Civil Commitment Office;
  • Ryan Larson, Hutto, Judge of the 395th Judicial District Court;
  • Stuart W. Stedman, Houston, Vice Chairman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;
  • W. Alston Beinhorn, Catarina, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors;
  • Mary Beth Delano, Corpus Christi, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors;
  • Dan S. Leyendecker, Corpus Christi, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors;
  • Jesse Byron "Trace" Burton III, San Antonio, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors;
  • Aaron Bulkley, Hunt, Upper Guadalupe River Authority;
  • Bret McCoy, Omaha, Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors;
  • Mike Sandefur, Texarkana, Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors;
  • Katie Stedman, Mount Pleasant, Sulphur River Basin Authority Board of Directors;
  • Robie Vaughn, Dallas, Presiding Officer of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Dan Hill, College Station, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Chris Hillman, Irving, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Dana Jurick, Houston, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Hal Macartney, Irving, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Kris Nygaard, Houston, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Craig Pearson, Midland, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Brian Stump, McKinney, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Scott Tinker, Austin, Technical Advisory Committee to the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin;
  • Arun Agarwal, Dallas, Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board;
  • Ayeez Lalji, Sugar Land, Presiding Officer of the Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Larry Safir, McAllen, Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Salil Deshpande, Houston, Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Carol Boswell, Andrews, Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Melinda Rodriguez, San Antonio, Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Courtney Sherman, Fort Worth, Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Shaukat Zakaria, Houston, Statewide Health Coordinating Council;
  • Yasser Zeid, Longview, Statewide Health Coordinating Council.
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