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News And People

Volume 14, Issue 31 - Friday, August 19, 2016
State hears testimony on mental health gaps

Council charged with 5-year behavioral health strategy

The Texas House of Representatives Select Committee on Mental Health, chaired by Rep. Four Price, met this week to hear testimony about substance abuse, homelessness, veterans and other topics related to improving the ways mental and behavioral health services may be improved in Texas.

In the last legislative session, a Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council was created. The council is made up of 18 agencies charged with developing a five-year statewide behavioral health strategy plan. One of the first goals of the council was to identify gaps in services.

Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Steven McCraw, Director, Texas Department of Public Safety

Career highlights and education: 
West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) bachelor's degree and master's degree; Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Texas State Trooper and Narcotics Agent (1977- 1983); Federal Bureau of Investigation (Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Tucson and Washington D.C.), Special Agent, Supervisory Special Agent, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Inspector in Charge of the South East Bomb Task Force, Inspector/Deputy Assistant Director, Director of the Foreign Terrorism Tracking Force, Special Agent in Charge, Assistant Director of the Office of Intelligence. (1983-2004, Retired); Office of the Governor, Texas Homeland Security Director/Advisor (2004-present); Texas Department of Public Safety, Colonel/Director (2009-present).

What I like best about my job is: the selfless and dedicated men and women of our department, who I am exceedingly proud to work with, as well as the critical mission entrusted to DPS by the people of our state: To Protect and Serve Texas.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: to surround myself with the best senior leaders and to seek advice from members of the department at all levels, particularly the ones on the front lines where much of our work is done. Similarly, it is also important to seek advice from a variety of people outside of the department, including subject matter experts, the many other agencies we work with and the very people we serve. 

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Work hard and always do the right thing without regard to credit or criticism.

If I ever decided to leave work early, I could probably be found: riding with one of our State Troopers as they're out on patrol. They face many challenges as they work around-the-clock every day of the year, and no two patrol shifts are the same. It is always inspiring to watch brave men and women risk their lives to protect others, and there is much to learn from those who serve directly on the front line. I intend to sneak out of my office more over the next year. 

People would be surprised to know that I: have to regularly work out in order to meet the DPS fitness standards that are tested twice a year and required of all DPS commissioned officers. 

One thing I wish more people knew about my agency: is the high level of competence, character and diversity of our workforce - our people have a great sense of duty at DPS, and I am so proud of and grateful for the commitment and sacrifices by all of our employees to serve and protect their fellow Texans - from our Troopers, Special Agents and Texas Rangers to our service and administrative professionals, forensic scientists, intelligence analysts and many others. 

Governor's Commission For Women names Hall Of Fame Inductees
The Governor's Commission for Women has announced the 2016 inductees to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame for significant accomplishments benefiting Texas.

"I am honored to welcome these five extraordinary women into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame," said Gov. Greg Abbott. "Whether in public service, the arts, business or education, these leaders have inspired generations of Texans to reach new heights, achieve new goals and elevate the Lone Star State."

An induction ceremony will be held Oct. 21 at Texas Woman's University in Denton. The inductees are: Emma Carter Browning (posthumous), a pilot, businesswoman and aviation pioneer; Susie Hitchcock-Hall, an entrepreneur, businesswoman and founder of Susie's South Forty Confections, Inc.; Ginger Kerrick, the division chief of the Flight Operations Directorate Integration Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center; Dr. Renu Khator, the chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston; and Selena Quintanilla (posthumous), a Grammy Award-winning Latin recording artist whose contributions to music and fashion made her one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of the 20th century.
Nabers to speak at North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum
Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. and co-founder of the Gemini Global Group, will be among the speakers for the CG/LA Infrastructure-sponsored 8th North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum on Oct. 25-27 in Denver.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Mexico City, CG/LA works with both public- and private-sector organizations and can point to 25 years of experience covering all infrastructure sectors in the developed and developing world.

Nabers, a nationally recognized expert in public-private partnerships (P3s/PPPs), was a participant in last year's forum, moderating a panel on P3s that included private-sector experts from the legal, financial, transportation and infrastructure fields as well as from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This year's forum will present North America's top 50 infrastructure projects that offer high-dollar contracting opportunities for financial, equipment and technology, engineering and construction firms as well as for the public sector through collaborative efforts and public-private partnerships. The projects include surface transportation, water and wastewater, new and traditional energy, urban mass transportation, oil and energy, ports and logistics and digital infrastructure. The forum will include private meetings with project presenters and event sponsors, workshops and round tables discussions and multiple networking opportunities. Registration is now open. 
Austin puts $720M bond on ballot
Austin voters will decide on a $720 million transportation and mobility bond proposition in November. The city council gave final approval for the bond that includes improvements to major corridors, sidewalks, Safe Routes to School, urban trails, bikeways, fatality reduction strategies and renewal projects.
College Station approves $337M renovation of recreation center
College Station council members expect to begin work in September on a proposed $337 million project to renovate Lincoln Recreation Center. The goal is to reopen the expanded and renovated recreation center by fall 2017.
Pasadena approves $24.5 million for capital improvement projects
Pasadena City Council members approved $24.5 million for the Pasadena Second Century Corporation (PSCC) to fund several large capital improvement projects and provide incentives for development.

The approved funding includes $8.3 million for drainage projects, $7 million for upgrades to the convention center facility, $6.1 million to expand the rodeo arena and $3.125 million for a hotel project at the convention center.
Spring ISD sets $330M bond election
Spring Independent School District trustees scheduled a $330 million bond election in November. If voters approve the bond, district officials plan to improve facilities, technology and security on district campuses.
Hays County sets $238M bond vote
Hays County leaders have approved a nearly $238 million bond package that they will ask voters to approve in two parts at the November election. One proposition will ask for $106.4 million for an emergency operations center and jail expansion. The second asks for  $131.4 million in funding to reconstruct 24 roadways.

Gulf Coast considers $6 billion storm surge prevention plan
A $6 billion project to build a dike to prevent or reduce storm surge in Harris, Galveston and Chambers counties is under consideration by 28 affected municipalities.

The "Ike Dike" has been proposed by the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District following a study the organization conducted on the $26 billion in damage caused in six counties on the Gulf Coast when Hurricane Ike struck in 2008. The report also urged storm protection plans to be developed for Brazoria, Jefferson and Orange counties.

The report noted the dike project most likely will require federal funding to become a reality. The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, which is comprised of representatives from six coastal counties, has no authority to raise revenue.
Texas Tech approves $22.3M health sciences center in Odessa
The Facilities Committee of the Board of Regents for Texas Tech University System approved construction of a $22.3 million academic facility at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Odessa.

Current plans are to build a 51,000-square-foot facility with lecture halls, classrooms, laboratories, conference areas and offices, said Tedd L. Mitchell, president of TTUHSC. The additional space will permit more graduate students to receive training for medical and other health care disciplines, he said.

More than $14.25 million of Tuition Revenue Bonds approved by state legislators last session will pay for the majority of the building cost. University officials are also using $5.54 million from their budget and $2.5 million from private donors to pay for the new academic building.
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San Antonio ISD to ask voter approval for $450M in bonds
Trustees for San Antonio Independent School District agreed to ask voters to approve $450 million in bonds in November to renovate 13 campuses.
If voters give their approval, district officials plan to renovate and upgrade seven high schools, four middle schools and two elementary schools.
Whitehouse ISD panel recommends $94.8M bond vote
A facilities steering committee for Whitehouse Independent Schools District has urged trustees to schedule a $94.8 million bond election in November.

The ballot will contain two propositions, with the first asking for approval of $87.41 million to upgrade facilities throughout the district. The second proposition asked for approval of $7.30 million to renovate the athletic complex and build a new multipurpose facility on the high school campus.
Pearland ISD approves $220M bond package
Pearland Independent School District trustees plan to upgrade existing campuses and improve security and technology if voters approve a $220 million bond election on Nov. 8.

Board members propose spending $12.1 million for construction of new gymnasiums at five elementary schools and a cafeteria at an elementary school. Other propositions on the bond ballot are $35.5 million to renovate Dawson High School and build a 10,000 square foot weight room.

Another large project on the bond ballot is a $19.4 million career training facility to house programs teaching welding, culinary arts and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. 
Fort Worth study urges $15M upgrades for botanic gardens
The 80-year-old Fort Worth Botanic Garden needs about $15 million in upgrades to catch up with deferred maintenance and other needs at the 110-acre city park, according to a study being conducted by a consultant.

Council members approved spending almost $98,000 on the study to identify strategies on how to move forward with a 2010 master plan for the state's first botanic garden. The completed study on the botanic garden will be presented to city council members for their consideration in September.
El Paso ISD approves $668M bond vote
El Paso Independent School District board members approved a $668 million bond issue to be placed on the November ballot. About 86 percent of the money will be used for major renovations, rebuilds or partial rebuilds of more than a dozen campuses. The remaining 14 percent will be distributed to athletics, technology, transportation, safety and security. The largest projects on the ballot are a $74 million proposal to rebuild Coronado High School and $54 million proposal to rebuild Burges High School.
Parker County sets $76.2M transportation bond election
Parker County commissioners authorized preparing ballots for a November bond election asking for approval of $76.2 million to pay for projects to improve transportation.

Commissioners propose spending $56.6 million to pay the county's share of a project with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to build a loop road connecting Interstate 20 and FM51 and merge with the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway.

Also on the ballot is $14.6 million in bond funds to be used in all four precincts to upgrade roads. Some of those road projects are being funded through a partnership with TxDOT.

Taylor County to vote on $55M expo center upgrade
Taylor County commissioners scheduled a $55 million bond election in November to pay for improving the Taylor County Expo Center.

Commissioners plan on a three-phased project with the first phase calling for building a new livestock barn and pavilion, improving the covered outdoor arena and landscape upgrades.

The second phase will be demolishing the old livestock barn, food court building and relocating the midway and carnival area. The third phase includes repurposing the horse barn, performing site work for the coliseum and demolishing a cattle pen.
Manvel, Brazoria counties propose road projects
Manvel city officials are negotiating with officials of Brazoria County, two municipal utility districts and three developers on a proposed agreement to provide incentives to help pay for construction of roads in a 1,500-acre undeveloped tract of land near Manvel High School.

The proposed agreement would permit some of the increased tax revenue from the new development to be dedicated to infrastructure improvements such as roads for the undeveloped land bound by SH288 on the west and SH6 to the south.

City and county officials are in the process of determining how much of the increased tax revenue from the new development would be allotted for infrastructure and the number of projects that would receive funding.
Smithville ISD bond would build new school, athletic facility
Trustees for Smithville Independent School District informally agreed to seek voter approval in November to build a new junior high school and an athletic complex in a proposed $35 million bond election.

Other projects to be tackled if voters approve the bonds are improvements to the current elementary and junior high campuses. Some of the bond funds also would be used to remove some older buildings. Trustees expect to take a final vote on scheduling the bond election on Aug. 22.
Calendar of Events

Sept. 15, 2016

"The Long and Winding Road to Smart City P3s" workshop, is co-organized by Smart & Resilient Cities and Meeting of the Minds.

Hosted by Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies in Urban and Regional Planning program and Professor Uwe Brandes, the half-day, two-panel program will utilize the rich resources of Scranton Gillette Communications and Meeting of the Minds to explore the position of  Public Private Partnerships for Transportation (P3s) in the modern infrastructure portfolio and conclude with a networking reception. Register here.

Oct. 3-4, 2016

Public-private partnerships are helping higher education officials meet their needs for new and renovated facilities. How this trend is growing will be discussed at the upcoming Public-Private Partnership Higher Education Summit. The summit is being described as "the premier conference for collaboration between university officers and development professionals pursuing public-private partnerships." The gathering, scheduled for Oct. 3-4 in San Diego, will feature influential decision-makers from throughout the country. Those attending will participate in two days of in-depth learning, business development and networking opportunities with facility planning, finance and business officers who are involved in public-private partnerships across the country. Speakers will show how P3s on college campuses are no longer just for student housing, but have expanded to include classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, athletic spaces and other campus infrastructure. Registration is now open and a  program schedule has been released.

Sept. 20-21, 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 Basics of Construction Purchasing and will be held Sept. 20-21.

Cities seek new executives to meet changing needs

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

New executive titles on organizational charts in U.S. cities substantiate that cities are experiencing radical change. City divisions such as public works, economic development, technology, parks and planning are still vital, but newly hired sustainability officers, data chiefs, innovation directors, etc. reflect how cities are addressing new concerns that point to an evolving culture.

Two Texas cities - Austin and San Antonio - now have chief sustainability officers as well as chief innovation officers. In San Antonio, the sustainability office is responsible for implementing sustainability initiatives that cross over various divisions such as energy and transportation. 

Carranza takes helm of Houston ISD
Richard Carranza
Richard Carranza officially took the helm of Houston Independent School District after board members finalized his contract following the required 21-day waiting period following his selection as lone finalist for the post.

Most recently the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, he also was the deputy superintendent for the California school district. Carranza also served as the northwest region superintendent for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas.

Carranza has a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and a master's degree from Northern Arizona University. He completed doctoral coursework through Northern Arizona University and is now pursuing an Ed.D. through Nova Southeastern University.
Round Rock OKs $10M plan to upgrade regional animal shelter
The Round Rock City Council approved an agreement for a $10 million plan to upgrade and expand the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
The next step is to begin the design phase for the animal shelter expansion this fall and begin construction in late 2017.

Current plans are to provide more space for dogs and cat areas, upgrade space for surgical and veterinary care, improve the cooling system and upgrade the drainage system. The project should be completed in mid-2018. 

King to serve as president of Trinity Valley Community College
Jerry King
Jerry King has been appointed president of Trinity Valley Community College.

Previously serving as interim president and as vice president of instruction for the college, King joined the college as a professor in 1975 when it was Henderson County Junior College. He has served as dean of workforce education, the mayor of Athens and vice chairman of the Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative.

King has a bachelor's degree, a master's degree and a doctorate from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Kilgore launches water study
Kilgore City Council members hired a consultant to conduct a five-phase study of their water supply to help city officials decide how to budget funding for infrastructure upgrades.

The study will look at current and future water demand, capacity and possible new water supply sources. The study also will provide cost estimates for projects to help ensure an adequate future water supply. 

Ott resigns as Austin city manager
Marc Ott
City Manager Marc  Ott of Austin is resigning to accept a new job as executive director of the International City/County Management Association.

Ott, who became city manager in Austin in 2008, will begin his new duties in Washington D.C. on Oct. 31. The association advocates for managers of municipal, county and other local governments.

Wall begins new duties as city administrator in Willow Park City
Scott Wall
Scott Wall took the helm as city administrator in Willow Park City after council members selected him from a field of 65 applicants.

Wall, a former city manager in Crandall, was also a city manager in Hondo, Sherman and Leander and an assistant city manager in Lancaster and Tyler during his 25 years in municipal government. He has a bachelor's degree from West Texas A&M University and a master's degree from Texas State University.

Odessa to spend $1 million for vehicle storage facility
The Odessa City Council agreed to spend $1 million to build a multipurpose building to house specialized police vehicles.

The plan for the building incorporates the former central fire station located behind the main building of the police department, said a spokesman for the police department. Among the vehicles to be stored are the command post trailer, crime scene units, the SWAT vehicles and the bomb squad vehicle.
Burnett selected director of Odessa EDC 
Wesley Burnett
Odessa Chamber of Commerce officials selected Wesley Burnett to serve as director of economic development beginning on Sept. 6.

Currently director of the Andrews Economic Development Corporation, Burnett worked at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce as director of business retention and expansion until 2010 when he accepted the position at Andrews EDC.

UNT eyeing new track 
Regents for the University of North Texas (UNT) are considering a capital improvement plan that includes building a new track venue near the athletic center. Construction on the new track venue could begin as early as this fall.

Regents also approved demolishing the remaining half of a former practice field located near Interstate 35 that had previously been used for track events.  Demolishing the old facility is part of a plan to make the property located at a prime freeway intersection ready for development, UNT officials said.

Dallas eyeing P3 to expand Rodgers Park
Dallas Parks board members are expected to vote soon on a proposal to approve a $40 million public-private partnership (P3/PPP) project to expand the Klyde Warren Park.

The plan includes stretching the park deck located over a freeway to be extended on both ends to create dining and sitting space and adding a water feature, turf and space for an ice rink.

The proposal also includes the addition of a multi-level event space and more parking areas along with walkways extending from the park to the Dallas Arts District on one end and the Perot Museum at the other end of the park.

Rascoe named superintendent at Lampasas ISD
Chane Rascoe
Chane Rascoe has been selected as superintendent at Lampasas Independent School District.

Most recently serving as superintendent at Moody ISD for five years, Rascoe will replace Randall Hoyer, who retired as superintendent. 
Victoria eyeing $570,000 aquifer project to store surplus water
Victoria City Council members are reviewing an agreement with Victoria County to partner in a $570,000 project to drill a new well to store surplus water until it is needed during periods of high demand.

To be located near the Texas Zoo, the aquifer storage and recovery demonstration project will store treated water during rainy periods that can be pumped out during drought conditions for use in the city or to sell to other communities in the area.

The Texas Water Development Board awarded about $285,000 of the funding for the storage project, while the Victoria County Groundwater Conservation District has agreed to provide $20,000 for the project. Victoria city officials plan to contribute $285,000 in cash and services to the project.
Austin names chief equity officer finalists
The City of Austin has announced four candidates for chief equity officer. The position has been created to help ensure city programs and services meet the needs of all residents. The candidates will be introduced at a town hall meeting on Aug. 25. 

The candidates are Parisa Fetehi, Head of Community Impact Programs and Investments, Google Fiber; Veronica Briseno Lara, Director Small Minority Business Resources Department, City of Austin; Brion Oaks, Vice President of Health Equity, Southwest Affiliate, American Heart Association; and Kazique Prince, Senior Policy Advisor & Education Coordinator, Office of Mayor Steve Adler.
Roman Forest seeks grant for new fire and police facility
Officials of the Roman Forest Police Department and the Montgomery County Emergency Services District 7 requested authorization from the Roman Forest City Council to apply for grant funds to pay for a joint 13,000-square-foot public safety facility.

Police Chief Stephen Carlisle said he hopes to locate the public safety building next to city hall in an effort to share resources and reduce operating costs.

Fire Chief Jeff Taylor told council members that the recent flooding that cut off emergency responders from responding east of Peach Creek revealed the need to relocate ESD #7 substation 152 to a site that provides more access east of the current substation. The police chief said the new public safety facility could cost about $3.6 million, according to a preliminary estimate.

Spaniolo named CEO of North Texas Commission
James Spaniolo
James D. Spaniolo will serve as the new president and chief executive officer of the North Texas Commission beginning Oct. 3.

Previously serving as president of The University of Texas at Arlington from 2004 until 2013, Spaniolo was also the dean of the College of Communications Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University. He was a vice president of the James L. Knight Foundation and an attorney for several major newspapers.
Brock ISD schedules $18M bond election
Trustees for Brock Independent School District scheduled an $18 million bond election on Nov. 8.

Projects included in the bond proposition are building a new primary campus, improving the junior high and elementary campuses and expanding the parking lot at the high school.

On Our Website 

House Research Organization - State examines ways to curb financial exploitation of older Texans
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Richard H. Dolgener, Andrews, Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission;

  • Linda Kay Morris, Waco, Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission;

  • Angelica Saldana Guerra, Sugar Land, Appraisal Management Companies Advisory Committee;
  • James "Tony" Pistilli, North Richland Hills, Appraisal Management Companies Advisory Committee;

  • Sara Jones Oates, Austin, Appraisal Management Companies Advisory Committee;

  • Lawrence "Larry" McNamara, Dallas, Appraisal Management Companies Advisory Committee
Texas Government Insider Archives
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Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Priscilla Loebenberg 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 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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