News And People

Volume 14, Issue 25 - Friday, July 8, 2016
It's official: Ellis to move from capitol to commissioners court
Senator's switch to county commissioner cues up three-way battle

Rodney Ellis first joined the Texas Senate in February 1990 and is the third-longest serving senator in Austin after fellow Houstonian John Whitmire and Judith Zaffirini. He represents Senate District 13, encompassing parts of Harris and Fort Bend counties.

He will do so for only another six months, however, after being named the Democratic nominee to be the permanent replacement for the late El Franco Lee, who died in January, on the Harris County Commissioners Court. (Gene Locke has served on the Commissioners Court since January.) Ellis (pictured) still needs to win the November election, but that is nothing more than a formality since he will run unopposed. The Precinct 1 commissioner represents 1.2 million people and controls a budget of more than $200 million.

A Houston native, Ellis graduated from Texas Southern University before earning two graduate degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, one each from The LBJ School of Public Affairs and the UT School of Law. He served three terms on the Houston City Council before his election to the Texas Senate.

Lee was the only candidate of either party for Precinct 1 commissioner when he died, and the deadline to declare had already passed. State law mandated Harris County Democratic precinct chairs name his replacement for the November election. Ellis, who according to reports had tired of the increasing number of battles he had to fight as a member of the minority party in the Senate, indicated his interest in the position, and those party leaders selected him as their candidate at the end of June.

A similar process will now take place to name Ellis's replacement as senator. The Harris County Democratic party precinct chairs will meet July 16 to do so, and three candidates have emerged for the office.

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Kim Corley, Executive Director, Railroad Commission (RRC) of Texas

Career highlights and education: My 35-ish years of energy-sector experience spanned technical, commercial, policy and strategic disciplines. Prior to entering the public sector, I served in various executive leadership roles within Shell Oil, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, El Paso Corporation and Tenneco Energy. My education includes a Bachelor of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Liberal Studies with a concentration in environmental science and policy from Rice University.  

What I like best about my job is: I like a challenge and variety, and I've learned no two days are alike at the commission. This job stretches both the creative and business muscles to better understand RRC operations, improve processes and make the most of resources. It's especially rewarding to share non-traditional ways to approach problem solving.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: The Railroad Commission is unique in that it is led by three statewide-elected officials. They make the policy and set the tone for the agency. The best advice I received was to keep the commissioners well informed and up-to-date. In short, to treat each of them as though they were my CEO and board of directors all in one - or three, as it were.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Lead with integrity, assume positive intent, dare to fail, don't fear change and speak up. Point out things that can be improved, and share ideas on ways to achieve those improvements.

If I ever decided to leave work early, I could probably be found: Looking for a barn so I can start riding horses again, something I've missed since moving to Austin.

People would be surprised to know that: I am a total small town country girl who survives almost exclusively on burgers, fries and pizza, with a bit of Mexican food thrown in for good measure.

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: The Railroad Commission celebrated its 125th anniversary in April and is recognized globally as a leader in energy regulation. We've got more than 700 dedicated public servants in Texas who work each day to make sure our citizens are safe and our environment is protected. The industry we regulate has been transformed over the last decade, and we must continue to evolve commission rules, regulations and practices to keep pace with new and emerging technologies. It's an exciting and challenging time in the commission's history.

Report finds dozens of Texas water systems violate federal law
A report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental nonprofit organization, has found that more than 5,300 water systems serving 18 million people were in violation of the law at some point in 2015. Additionally, 48 of the 100 largest water systems with lead and copper levels that violated federal law are located in Texas.

Of the 10 largest water systems on the list, five are in Texas. Houston, the largest city cited in the report, had one violation in 2015. The other four large water systems found to be in violation were the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service B, Amarillo Municipal Water System, the city of Killeen and North Alamo Water Supply Corporation in Edinburg.

The Houston Independent School District announced this week that officials began random lead tests at district facilities in March. All five water samples were found within acceptable ranges. The announcement stated that every elementary school will be tested during the 2016-2017 school year, followed by middle schools the following year and high schools in 2018-2019.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines that action is needed to take place if lead levels in excess of 15 parts per billion are found in at least 10 percent of the homes tested.
Smithville ISD officials consider two options for November bond
Smithville Independent School District board members recently began discussion on whether to ask voters to approve a potential bond proposition. Officials are considering two versions of the bond package, one set at $39.9 million, the other at $43.5 million.

Projects under consideration for the proposition are a new junior high school for grades 6 through 8, a performing arts center, a new football stadium and track, along with improvements to existing campuses. The major difference is that the larger option would expand the junior high school by a third, and the high school would be upgraded with a 1,200-seat performing arts center.

A Community Facility Planning Committee comprised of 30 members recommended the projects following a review of existing district facilities. Architects will present a final recommendation to trustees this month. Board members must decide by Aug. 22 to schedule a bond election in November.
Wylie officials donate land for fourth Collin College campus
Wylie city officials recently agreed to donate more than 40 acres of land to Collin College to serve as the school's fourth campus.

Collin College trustees agreed to accept the donation of the land, which is located next to the city hall, and to purchase two other adjacent land parcels expected to cost less than $2 million. Current plans call for beginning construction on the 415,000-square-foot campus within the next three years and for the campus to begin operations by 2020. The new campus will be designed to accommodate about 7,500 students.

The board of trustees also approved a master plan that includes building a 120,000-square-foot center in Celina to become part of the Preston Ridge Campus and a 60,000-square-foot center to become part of the Central Park campus in McKinney. Both of these centers are also expected to open in 2020. Collin College currently operates three campuses in Frisco, Plano and McKinney.
Cleburne may issue more bonds for Cleburne Station PPP project
Cleburne City Council members recently authorized the city manager to begin work on a proposal to issue $6.1 million in bonds. The debt funding would go toward further upgrades for the Cleburne Station Project, a public-private partnership (PPP/P3) to develop a baseball stadium along with space for retail and food establishments.

Voters in November approved the creation of the Cleburne 4A Economic Development Corporation and a half-cent increase in the sales tax to fund the city's $25 million share of the costs of building the baseball stadium, The Depot, which is currently under construction.

The additional $6.1 million in bonds would be used to fund access roads to the baseball stadium, parking lots and lighting, in addition to purchasing train cars. The PPP agreement calls for private investors to pay for the retail and restaurant parts of the project, although no work has yet begun on them.
Grapevine-Colleyville ISD to open two multipurpose centers by 2018
Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District officials recently set a goal to open two new 73,000-square-foot multipurpose activity centers by the summer of 2018.

The goal is to begin the projects early next year if construction of a new elementary school continues to progress on schedule, said Bryan Gerlich (pictured), the athletics director for the district. Architects are still working on designs, but the facilities will include offices for coaches and laundry rooms, as well as space for varied activities.

Allen ISD approves design for new $36 million STEAM center
Rendering from Allen ISD
Trustees for Allen Independent School District recently approved the design for a new $36 million science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) center. Voters in the school district have approved a $272 million bond election that included funds to pay for the facility.

Designed as a destination for field trips for kindergarten through eighth-grade students and as an education center for high school students, the STEAM center will include two arched floors and separate entrances for high school students and the younger students on field trips.

The design plan also features non-traditional classroom spaces for collaborative learning, an outdoor learning pavilion, a 250-seat Sci-Max theatre, geothermal heating, cooling and water recapture systems. District officials plan to begin construction on the new STEAM center in October.
Harris County engineers propose $105 million plan for Astrodome
Harris County commissioners recently agreed to hear a report on a $105 million plan to raise the floor of the Astrodome and use the two new levels created by the project to provide 1,400 parking spaces.

County engineers presented the proposal after several months of study. Officials have discussed whether to continue to use the domed stadium for events, as a park or exhibition space, in addition to generating revenue from parking.

While some county officials support demolishing the structure once called the "Eighth Wonder of the World," County Judge Ed Emmett (pictured) has expressed support for protecting and reusing the facility. The county judge has explored using a public-private partnership to create an indoor park, after voters rejected a $217 million bond proposal to renovate the dome into an events center.

Even if commissioners approve the $105 million plan to create parking, county officials do not plan to begin any construction on the Astrodome until after February 2017, when Houston's NRG Stadium will host the Super Bowl. The county's budget officer also is exploring alternative revenue sources, such as parking and hotel occupancy fees, to help fund the project.
June state sales tax revenue collections totaled $2.2 billion, down 1 percent from one year ago
The Office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has announced that the state collected $2.2 billion in sales tax revenue during the month of June. That figure is down 0.8 percent from the same month of the year prior. The comptroller's announcement noted that, while oil prices have increased slightly recently, industry investment remains "below even the reduced levels seen a year ago."

The sales tax revenue figures for June were:
  • motor vehicle sales and rental taxes - $421.7 million, down 0.1 percent from June 2015;
  • motor fuel taxes - $295.1 million, up 7.6 percent from June 2015; and
  • oil and natural gas production taxes - $205.1 million, down 31.8 percent from June 2015.
For details on all monthly collections, see the comptroller's Monthly State Revenue Watch.
Federal officials approve three projects for partnership program
Officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have selected three proposals for planning and development as part of the Donations Acceptance Program. The first two proposals came from the cities of Donna and Pharr in the Rio Grande Valley and are intended to improve infrastructure around international bridges. The third originated from the Port of Freeport.

The Donations Acceptance Program allows the CBP and the U.S. General Services Administration to facilitate partnerships with the private sector for infrastructure surrounding ports of entry. Under the program, the federal government can accept donations from both private companies and government entities for port construction and operations.

The Donna proposal is to construct inspection facilities and implement new technology to speed up inspections  of empty inbound commercial vehicle at the Donna-Rio Bravo Port of Entry. Whereas the city of Pharr proposed multiple improvements, including construction of a new cold inspection facility, a new agricultural inspection training and development facility and expansion of the secondary inspection dock space at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

The third proposal entailed Red Hook Terminals donating a perforating machine to the Port of Freeport Sea Port of Entry.
Abilene city staff to study best methods of funding street repairs
Abilene city officials recently began seeking proposals from engineering firms to conduct a pavement management study to determine the condition of streets in that city. Council members have discussed implementing a street maintenance fee to pay for any needed street repairs, but have heard vocal opposition to adding a new fee to water bills.

The study will be designed to provide a blueprint of current street conditions, with each street given a grade to help staff calculate the estimated cost to complete repairs, noted City Manager Robert Hanna (pictured).

The street study should be completed and available to council members by April 2017.

Carroll ISD planning committee recommends $230M bond vote
Trustees for Carroll Independent School District recently began considering a recommendation from a planning committee to hold a bond election in May 2017. The bond proposition would be in the amount of $230 million, which would go toward facilities upgrades intended to ease overcrowding.

Composed of 40 parents, staff and interested citizens, the Capital Needs Planning Committee (CNPC) urged trustees to spend $54 million for maintenance projects, such as foundations and remodeling; $37 million to upgrade technology; $28 million for repairs to electrical, plumbing and other mechanical systems; $25 million to increase classroom space in elementary schools; and $24 million for a new fine arts center.

CNPC members met for nine months to study facility needs and prioritize their recommendations. District officials last asked voters to approve bonds eight years ago.
Lewisville leaders consider adopting green development code
Lewisville City Manager Donna Barron (pictured) recently proposed implementing the 2015 International Green Construction Code to encourage environmentally friendly practices for the city's future development.

To guard against negative impacts on development in the city, Barron said city officials plan to move forward slowly and carefully when implementing the proposed construction code. Council members plan to meet with stakeholders in the development community before adopting local amendments to the green code.

The proposed changes would focus on the use of energy and water. The green code also would most likely impact site development and land use, indoor environmental quality and comfort, material resources and water conservation, Barron said. Some of the options in the plan include requiring bike lanes and racks for new developments located near the trail master plan, providing areas to accept recycling and requiring installation of plumbing and appliances that conserve water.
Harlingen selects $47 million in improvements for 10-year plan
Harlingen city commissioners recently selected priority projects worth $47 million to include in a proposed 150-page city plan that will set goals for street projects, park improvements and drainage projects. The next step is for staff to review the list and present a list of priority projects with cost estimates and proposed funding sources for final approval by commissioners.

A proposed $14 million convention center potentially financed through a public-private partnership, a $4.5 million renovation of the Baxter Building, and a $2.15 million project to improve Commerce Street are included in the proposed 10-year city plan.

City officials have preliminary agreement with a San Antonio developer to build a 150-room hotel and operate the convention center if city commissioners give final approval to the project. In order for city leaders to be able to approve the renovation of the high-rise Baxter Building and its conversion into a low-income apartment development, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs must decide whether to award federal tax credits to the project.
Taylor commissioners to decide on $54M expo center bond vote
Taylor County commissioners are expected to decide by August whether to ask voters to approve $54.6 million in bonds to upgrade the Taylor County Expo Center, according to Jay Evans, a board member for the center.

The bonds are needed to add a new multipurpose arena, a new livestock barn and an outdoor pavilion. If voters approve taking on the new debt, expo center officials expect it will take about three years to complete the renovations to the existing facility, as well as the new construction.

Sherman City Council to buy land for Pecan Grove Athletic Complex
Sherman City Council members recently approved the purchase of land for a new 26-acre sports complex adjacent to Pecan Grove Park. The complex will feature several baseball, softball and soccer fields, plus parking areas.

To be named the Pecan Grove Athletic Complex, the new facility would take about two years to complete after construction begins this fall, said Nate Strauch, communications manager for the city. The first step is for the city to expand Canyon Creek Drive to become part of the new complex, Strauch said.

The new fields also will feature play areas and practice areas.
North Lamar school district trustees weighing bond election
Trustees for North Lamar Independent School District recently began discussions on whether to set a bond election to pay for facilities upgrades in November or May 2017.

Board members would need to make a decision to call a November bond election by August to meet state law.
Pflugerville City Council approves $40 million for capital projects
Pflugerville City Council members recently agreed to issue $31.75 million in bonds to pay for projects that will improve parks and streets. Voters approved the bonds in 2014 and 2015 to upgrade the sports complex at the city's 1849 Park, develop more trails and upgrade several streets.

Council members also approved the issuance of $9.3 million in certificates of obligation to provide $1.6 million for the first phase of a new animal shelter, $1.5 million on a project to construct a building for public works and $1.1 million to update software for the police department.
Lakeway city officials consider bond election for police facility
Lakeway City Council members recently began considering a recommendation by a bond committee to schedule a $16 million bond election for May 2017. Council members created the Police Facility Building Committee to help study the existing police station and educate residents on the need for a new 29,268-square-foot station.

The existing station is lacking in defined public and secure areas, has limited locker space, areas too small to adequately prepare and store evidence and substandard interview rooms, according to the bond committee. Committee members met every two weeks beginning Feb. 4 and visited nearby cities to study other justice centers and police stations to help make design choices.

Committee members also recommended that the justice center remain in its current location, with an expansion into space now used by the police department.

Tyler city officials considering plan for drainage system projects
Tyler City Council members recently began studying a proposed plan, the Drainage CIP Strategy, which includes a recommendation to spend about $3.6 million on 12 drainage projects. One of the proposed projects is to perform a $240,000 study of drainage flow in five areas of the city to determine the most needed drainage upgrades.

Because city officials are planning to use funding from a half-cent sales tax fund, members of the half-cent sales tax board and city council members must approve the recommendation before work on the drainage projects begins. The half-cent board is scheduled to vote on the priority list of drainage projects in July, with a vote by the city council planned later this month.
Spring ISD leaders eyeing $300 million November bond election
Spring Independent School District trustees recently began considering a proposal by the district chief operations officer to ask voters to approve $300 million in bonds.

The funding would be used to pay for a new high school, a new middle school, a new football stadium, several early childhood campuses and a new headquarters for the district's police force. The bond recommendation also includes funding to upgrade technology and improve safety and security at several district facilities.
Smith County road funding to increase to about $13 million
Smith County commissioners recently discussed budgeting at least $12.8 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year to improve roads throughout the county. Another $1 million from the rainy day fund also could be used to improve roads, commissioners said.

Because a 2014 study indicated the county would need to spend about $98 million to bring the approximately 1,100 miles of roads in the county into acceptable condition, commissioners also discussed the possibility of asking voters to approve a bond proposition to pay for further road improvements.
Floresville to seek bids on $9M wastewater system upgrades
Floresville city officials expect to open bids on a $9 million project to upgrade the city's wastewater system in August. Construction could begin as early as October, according to City Manager Henrietta Turner (pictured).

The city received a $7.5 million loan and a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as a $275,000 Community Development Block Grant. That money will go toward upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant and its collection system and replacement of two lift stations and older sewer mains, Turner said.

City officials also received approval from the USDA for a $3.7 million loan for further improvements to the water system. To be broken into five construction phases, those improvements include installation of a larger storage tank, adding a backup mobile generator, refurbishing aeration tanks and improving monitoring devices. The city also plans to repair water wells, replace several water mains in the downtown area, upgrade city hall to comply with accessibility and safety codes and replace all water meters with smart meters.
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Kaufman may rent space from county for temporary city offices
Kaufman city commissioners recently authorized the mayor and city secretary to negotiate with Kaufman County officials on an agreement to allow the city to relocate its city hall and police station to a county facility while a new $6.6 million city hall and police station is under construction.

The city needs to be out of the existing city hall by Oct. 31 so demolition can begin Nov. 1. City officials are seeking an 18-to-24-month lease for office space at the county facility on South Washington, the mayor said.

City officials also will be responsible for installing their own communications system and information technology, said City Manager Mike Slye (pictured).
League City adds animal shelter to next capital improvement plan
City council members in League City recently agreed to add a proposed $6.5 million animal shelter to the city's 2017-2021 capital improvement program.

The city has no immediate plans to begin the new animal shelter, however, according to several council members and city staff members.

Abilene Zoo officials moving forward with facility upgrades
Abilene Zoo officials recently began planning $2.2 million in upgrades following voter approval of $1 million in bonds and a $1.2 million private donation that had been contingent on approval of the bonds.

Among the upgrades to be done at the zoo over the next five to seven years will be construction of a new bird rehabilitation center, a flamingo exhibit, a jaguar facility, an exhibit for anteaters and improvements to the fishing pier, said Bill Gersonde, the executive director of the zoo.
Huntsville city staff consider projects for possible bond vote
Huntsville City Council members recently began prioritizing capital improvement projects to be included in a possible bond election in November.

The leading projects, so far, are proposals to build a new police station, replace a fire station and build a new service center, said City Manager Matt Benoit (pictured).

The goal, Benoit said, is to house as many city services under one roof as is possible. That would help make doing business with the city - such as paying utility bills or speaking to municipal officials - as easy as possible.
Calendar of Events

LBJ School offers Construction Purchasing Certificate Program
July 26-27, 2016
Buyers, contract administrators and project managers interested in earning a construction purchasing certificate can do so through The University of Texas at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs. The program aids in understanding and using new terms, remaining compliant with unfamiliar laws, developing control plans and schedules and staying on budget. The LBJ School's Construction Purchasing Certificate Program consists of four core courses and one elective to be completed over a period of two years. The goal of this certificate program is to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to ensure that their organization's construction projects are well managed and secure the intended results and value. The courses are complementary in nature, and each course repeats annually. The next available course is Legal Aspects of Construction Contracts and will be held July 26-27. Registration is open.

Opportunities abundant for private-sector firms 

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

It took a decade, but the $525 billion expansion and widening of the Panama Canal is now complete. The effects of the first major renovation to the century-old maritime facility will be far-reaching and Texas will feel the impact.

The expansion will allow passage of supertankers and large container vessels along with passenger ships through the canal. The "neo-Panamax" vessels can carry up to three times more cargo than the old Panamax vessels and that will definitely impact global trade.

To facilitate the arrival of these mega ships, ports on both American coasts and the Gulf port region have spent, and will continue to spend, millions of dollars on infrastructure upgrades.

Collier chosen to lead TDCJ beginning Aug. 1
Members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice announced last month that Bryan Collier (pictured) will be the next executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Collier first joined the TDCJ in 1985 and has served as deputy executive director since July 2007.

He served as director of the Parole Division for more than five years, is a past president of the Texas Corrections Association (TCA) and received the TCA's Dr. George J. Beto Hall of Honor Award in 2013.

Collier will replace Brad Livingston, who announced his retirement earlier this year, when he assumes his new role Aug. 1. He is a graduate of Sam Houston State University.
UTRGV School of Medicine dean resigns
The founding dean of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine has resigned from that position, though he will remain a faculty member.

Francisco Fernandez (pictured) made the announcement last week after welcoming the school's first class of medical students. He began the process of forming the medical school when he was named dean in 2014, coming from the University of South Florida's Institute for Research in Psychiatry and Neurosciences. He also has taught at the UT-Health Science Center, the UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine.

Steve Lieberman of The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston will serve as interim dean, as university official begin the search process for Fernandez's replacement.

Seabrooks named Cedar Valley College president
Joseph Seabrooks recently won appointment by trustees for Dallas County Community College District to serve as president of Cedar Valley College.

Currently president of the Penn Valley campus of the Metropolitan Community College (MCC) in Missouri, Seabrooks (pictured) will begin his new duties Sept. 1. He will replace Jennifer Wimbish, who is retiring. Seabrooks also has served as president of MCC-Blue River and was an assistant vice chancellor at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and a director at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Seabrooks has a bachelor's degree, a master's degree and a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Marquez to lead external relations for HHSC
Health and Human Services (HHS) officials last month hired Enrique Marquez as the new director of external relations for the state HHS system. A new position created with the guidance of the Transformation Legislative Oversight Committee, the external relations director will have responsibility for both the Communications and Government Affairs divisions of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

Prior to this promotion, Marquez had been communications director for HHSC since mid-2015. He had also performed in similar roles for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Association of Business.

Marquez has a bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

Rocha promoted at San Antonio Airport System
Ryan Rocha recently agreed to serve as chief of operations for the San Antonio Airport System. His duties include managing parking, security, airport rescue, fire fighting, police and emergency operations at the San Antonio International Airport and Stinson Municipal Airport.

Prior to serving as interim chief of operations beginning in February, Rocha (pictured) was manager of the new Airport Integrated Control Center and airport operations manager for the San Antonio International Airport.

CPS Energy officials kick off interviews for CEO
The board of CPS Energy in San Antonio recently began interviewing candidates to serve as the new chief executive officer. The new CEO will replace Doyle Beneby, who resigned in 2015 to take charge of a Chicago-based energy company.

Board members declined to reveal the number of candidates interviewed or their identity. The decision on the new CEO could come as early as this month, according to the chairman of the CPS board, Ed Kelley.

Foust appointed chief of schools in Fort Bend ISD
Mark Foust recently won appointment as the chief of schools for Fort Bend Independent School District.

Currently an assistant superintendent, Foust (pictured) also has served as a teacher and principal for the district. His new duties will include oversight of school administration for the 75 district campuses, the ranks of assistant superintendents and implementation of instructional programs and initiatives.

Foust earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University, a master's degree from the University of Houston-Victoria and an Ed.D from the University of Houston.

Denton names Martin interim city manager
Denton City Council members recently named Howard Martin (pictured) the interim city manager. He will replace City Manager George Campbell, who is leaving that post.

Currently assistant city manager for utilities, Martin joined the Denton city government in 1975 as a chemist and also has served as director of environmental services. Martin has a bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas.

Council members also agreed to hire a search firm to help in a national search to find a new city manager.

Schertz close to setting two bond issues for $15M
Schertz City Council members recently gave preliminary approval to setting a proposed bond election in November. That vote would include $7 million in bonds to rebuild two roads and $8 million to build a new fire station. The bond issues would appear on the ballot as separate proposals.

If approved, the new fire station could include an EMS facility, police post and a community meeting room, all features that had been requested by residents in public meetings. A final design for the proposed station, however, is not yet available, the city secretary said.

The $7 million bond would be used to redesign and rebuild two farm-to-market roads with new curbs, sidewalks and drainage upgrades, if voters approve issuing the bonds.

Warren named to top post at Northwest ISD
Superintendent Ryder Warren of Midland Independent School District recently won selection as lone finalist for superintendent of Northwest ISD.

Prior to joining the Midland school district, Warren (pictured) was superintendent for Marble Falls ISD, Crane ISD and Thorndale ISD. He also was an adjunct instructor at Texas Tech University, a principal at Whiteface Consolidated ISD and a teacher and coach at Georgetown ISD and Crosbyton ISD.

Warren has a bachelor's degree from Angelo State University, a master's degree from Southwest Texas State University and an Ed.D. from Texas Tech University.

Amy Fortenberry retires as Plano parks director
Plano Parks and Recreation Director Amy Fortenberry has retired after serving the city since 1990.

Previously a parks employee with Grand Prairie, Fortenberry joined the parks department when it was operated by the Plano Independent School District. She also worked as an aquatics supervisor, was the recreation superintendent and became the director in 2009.

Fortenberry has a bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University.

Rick Anderson selected for UTRGV finance role
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley officials recently named Rick Anderson (pictured) vice president for finance and administration. He replaces the retiring Martin Baylor.

Currently a vice president for administration and treasurer at Washburn University in Kansas, Anderson also has been a vice chancellor at the University of Missouri and chief financial officer for the University of Kansas School of Medicine and the medical school at the University of North Carolina.

Talbot steps down early as Bastrop city manager
Bastrop City Manager Mike Talbot last week agreed to leave his post two months before his previously announced resignation was to become effective. He also agreed to serve as a senior adviser to the city until that date.

Council appointed Police Chief Steve Adcock interim city manager until a new city manager is selected.

Talbot agreed to provide advice, information and other assistance to council members and city staff during the interim two months.
Thompson takes charge at Liberty-Eylau ISD
Ronnie Thompson recently took the reins as superintendent for Liberty-Eylau Independent School District.

Currently superintendent at Hooks ISD, Thompson (pictured) replaced Superintendent Roger Hailey, who has retired. He began his new duties July 1.

Thompson previously served as an assistant superintendent at Texarkana ISD in addition to being a teacher and assistant principal for that school district.

Ingleside names Crull new interim city manager
The Ingleside City Council recently selected Carl Crull (pictured) as the interim city manager. Previously an assistant city manager in Corpus Christi, Crull was trained as an engineer.

Crull agreed to a six-month contract, and city officials expect to hire a permanent city manager within that time frame, according to the mayor.
Fred Hayes resigns from Nacogdoches leadership
Nacogdoches Independent School District Superintendent Fred Hayes (pictured) resigned from his post at the end of June.

Hayes had served as superintendent since 2011 and previously was a superintendent for Athens ISD. He also has been a principal in Clear Creek, Tyler and Jacksonville ISDs.

He has a master's degree from The University of Texas at Tyler and an Ed.D. from Baylor University.

Edwards named finalist to lead Bartlett district
Travis Edwards, currently a service agent for the Educational Service Center in Abilene, recently won selection as the lone finalist for superintendent at Bartlett Independent School District.

Previously a superintendent for Loraine ISD, Edwards will replace Brett Springston, whose resignation is effective July 31.

Edwards has a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Albany and a master's degree from Lamar University.
Hannon to be Highland Park ISD superintendent
Jimmy Hannon, currently superintendent at Water Valley Independent School District, recently won selection as the lone finalist for superintendent of Highland Park ISD.

Hannon (pictured) replaces former Superintendent Buddy Freeman. He previously served as superintendent at McLean ISD, and as a teacher and principal for Pampa ISD.

He has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from West Texas A&M University.

Humble names two new assistant city managers
Humble City Council members recently selected Jason Stuebe, currently the city secretary, and Aimee Phillips, currently the director of finance, as assistant city managers.

Stuebe and Phillips will continue with their current duties in addition to new roles. Stuebe will serve as building official and parks director, while Phillips will be court administrator and civic center director.

On Our Website 

Mineral Wells ISD adds Kuhn as superintendent; Jay Walsworth retires
Shortly after selecting John Kuhn (pictured, top) as the lone finalist for superintendent at Mineral Wells Independent School District, trustees learned that Assistant Superintendent Jay Walsworth (pictured, bottom) is retiring from his post with the district.

Kuhn currently is superintendent at Perrin-White Consolidated ISD and has been a principal for the Mineral Wells school district. When he begins his new duties, Kuhn will replace Gail Haterius, who resigned in February. He has a bachelor's degree from Tarleton State University.

Walsworth served as a junior high principal in Mineral Wells prior to being named assistant superintendent in July 2012. He also served as a teacher and coach for Millsap ISD and Perrin-Whitt Consolidated ISD.
An article in the June 17 issue of Texas Government Insider misidentified the newly appointed interim city manager of Celina. Her full name is Helen-Eve Liebman. We regret the error.
An Audit Report on a Selected Contract at the Department of State Health Services

An Audit Report on Financial Processes at the Juvenile Justice Department

A Report on the State's Law Enforcement Salary Schedule (Salary Schedule C) for the 2018-2019 Biennium
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Joel Arrigucci, El Paso, Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;
  • Liam Fry, Austin, Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;
  • Bridgette Walshe, Fort Worth, Nursing Facility Administrators Advisory Committee;
  • Trey Didway, Brownfield, 121st Judicial District Court;
  • Wesley Lloyd, Waco, Brazos River Authority Board of Directors;
  • Anthony "Tony" Jaso, San Antonio, Presiding Officer of the Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Nicholas Beckmann, Houston, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Scott Morren, Anton, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Faraz Khan, Houston, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Regan Landreth, Georgetown, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Carol Waddell, West, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Joe Chow, Dallas, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Jennifer Flanagan, Fort Worth, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology;
  • Shannon Lutz, Cypress, Texas Board of Medical Radiologic Technology.
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