Volume 17, Issue 35 - Friday, September 13, 2019 Optional Link

For the second year in a row, Texas recorded the highest number of residents without health insurance out of all 50 states, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 10.

Texas topped the list at 17.7 percent, or 5 million people, without health insurance, according to the bureau's "Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2018" report. The percentage of uninsured Texans increased from 17.3 percent, or 4.74 million people, in 2017, the bureau reported.

In general, the uninsured rate in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility was lower than in states that did not expand eligibility. In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, the uninsured rate in 2018 was 6.6 percent, compared with 12.4 percent in states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility.

Last year, the uninsured rates by state ranged from Massachusetts' 2.8 percent to Alaska's 12.6 percent in the 31 expansion states, and from Pennsylvania's 5.5 percent to Texas' 17.7 percent in the 19 states that did not expand Medicaid eligibility on or before January 1, 2018.

Nationwide, 8.5 percent of Americans, or 27.5 million, did not have health insurance at any point of the year, an increase over 7.9 percent, or 25.6 million in 2017.

The 2018 data are based on the information collected during interviews between February and April last year for the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) and American Community Survey (ACS).
TxDOT starts design work on $1.2B Grand Parkway widening project
Map of proposed Grand Parkway improvements
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is working on an extensive design to widen Texas 99, or Grand Parkway, from Interstate 10 to FM 1093 in Houston.

Total costs are estimated at $1.28 billion for the project that is split into several sections.

Segments B, C, and D were included in the Unified Transportation Plan (UTP) that the Texas Transportation Commission approved August 29, which selected projects around the state for construction funding.

Segment B stretches from Highway 288 to Interstate 45, and Segment C goes from Highway 59 to Hwy. 288. Segment D spans from I-10 to Highway 59. Widening will include construction of a third lane for six miles in each direction from FM 1093 to I-10 and additional sound walls, according to Fort Bend County officials.

However, the widening of Houston's "third loop" does not have a funding year.
The Houston-Galveston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)'s Transportation Improvement Program includes a project to build a $12.5 million two-lane frontage road along Texas 99 from South Fry Road to FM 1093.

TxDOT's project timeline calls for traffic and revenue studies and right-of-way acquisition before construction begins in 2024.
New justice center, road upgrades top Kaufman County bond package
Kaufman County Sheriff's Office
Kaufman County voters will decide on two bond propositions in November - a proposed $104.1 million transportation bond and a $50 million facilities bond.

Proposition A includes $22.22 million in countywide road improvement projects highlighted by a $5 million realignment of FM 148 from south of FM 3039 to U.S 175.

Precinct 1 bond package items total $20.08 million and include $11 million in pavement reconstruction and culvert replacement projects and a $5 million widening of Tabor Parkway from Kings Fort Parkway to east of the SH 34 Bypass.

Projects in Precinct 2 total $21.54 million and include $6 million to reconstruct pavement and replace culverts on miscellaneous county roads.

If approved, pavement reconstruction and culvert replacements on several roads in Precinct 3 and Precinct 4 would be funded for $10 million and $13 million, respectively. Precinct 3 is requesting $18.45 million, and Precinct 4 is asking for $21.81 million.

The Proposition B facilities bond is dominated by a proposed $37 million justice center that would be next to the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office. The justice center would house all justice courts, offices for the district clerk, county clerk, and district attorney, a pre-trial diversion court, and justice of the peace courts.
Other projects in Proposition B are for the purchase of 15 acres next to North Forney High school for a sheriff sub-station, a joint venture with the city of Terrell to build a new 7,500-square-foot municipal and county services building, renovation of Kaufman Courthouse to create space for county public service offices, and construction of a 7,000-square-foot animal shelter.

Additional proposed facility projects are expansion of the Kemp Sub-Courthouse by 5,000 square feet to address increased caseloads and an addition of 1,500 square feet at the Forney Sub-Courthouse to accommodate increased activity.
Univ. of Houston regents authorize funding for new $90M law center
Rendering of UH Law Center
The University of Houston (UH) System Board of Regents recently authorized funds for the construction of a new facility to replace the 50-year-old UH Law Center.

Fund-raising that included alumni donations, support from the Texas Legislature, and university monies raised $78 million toward the university's $90 million goal. The deadline to raise the remaining $12 million is November 1.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 on a new five-story standalone building that will feature an event space, courtroom, state-of-the-art classrooms, a library encompassing two floors, and a pro bono legal services area.

The new law building will be a cross-disciplinary facility with the latest technology and flexible space to enhance the educational experience for students and faculty while also serving as a hub for the Law Center's 11 centers and institutes to engage and serve the public.
Judge issues temporary injunction  on authority's plan to drain lakes
Lake Dunlap dam
State Judge Stephen Ables on Wednesday temporarily blocked the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) from draining lakes McQueeney, Placid, Meadow, and Gonzales as property owners sought an injunction to prevent the authority from moving forward with its plans.

The GBRA was scheduled to begin draining the four Guadalupe River lakes by 12 feet on September 16 for safety reasons. GBRA's 90-year-old dams are beginning to fail, with spillgate failures at lakes Wood and Dunlap causing the lakes to drain to hazardous levels.

Estimates of $180 million and lengthy timelines to repair all six dams have so far deterred attempts to address the issues. GBRA staff previously said they have been unable to find a funding solution at the state or federal level.

Some homeowners have formed an association with plans to call for an election November 5 to create a water control and improvement district that would have taxing authority to help generate funds to rebuild the dams.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Jimmy Stathatos, Town Manager, Town of Flower Mound

Jimmy Stathatos
Career highlights and education: I received a B.A. in political science and speech communications from Texas A&M University and a Master in Public Administration from the University of North Texas.

I have been fortunate enough to serve for 25 years in the public sector. I was the first city manager for the city of Roanoke, and I served the community for almost 15 years. I have served as town manager for the town of Flower Mound since January 2013.

 What I like best about my public service: I love knowing that I can have a positive impact on people's everyday lives, especially at the local level. I take that responsibility and privilege very seriously.

The best advice I have received for my current job: The best advice I've been told is to remember to always empower your employees to be able to do their job.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: You might be a person's first experience with dealing with the town. What happens, whether it's positive or negative, will typically be their lasting impression of the entire organization.
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: I would be found going to the movies or a sporting event.

People would be surprised to know that I: Was an extra in the movie "Problem Child" with John Ritter.  Later, they showed my clip in the remake of "Cape Fear" with Nick Nolte and Robert De Niro.

One thing I wish more people knew about the town of Flower Mound: The town used to have a reputation for being difficult to do business with, and we've worked hard to change that perception. Over the last five to six years, we've been able to recruit/attract over 8,000 new jobs.
Legislators push committee to study Austin-San Antonio passenger rail
Rendering of Lone Star Rail stop
State legislators representing San Antonio and Austin wrote a letter to the House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, asking him to research passenger rail options between the cities in advance of the next legislative session.

Canales confirmed he has received several requests for the Legislature to review corridor rail concepts.

Previous attempts have failed to connect Austin and San Antonio by rail and reduce congestion. The Lone Star Rail District proposal collapsed when a rail partner pulled out of the project and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) withdrew funding in 2016.

Rep. Ray Lopez, D-San Antonio, who served on the City Council in San Antonio during that city's passenger rail conversations, said the corridor rail plan could be successful with support from the state.
Conroe reviews feasibility study findings for performing arts center
The Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech is an example of a venue Conroe leaders are considering building.
A third-party consultant presented the findings of a feasibility study for a 93,000-square-foot performing arts center in Conroe to councilmembers at a September 11 workshop.

The study recommends a venue with a 1,200-seat proscenium theater, a divisible "ballroom-style" multipurpose room of 8,000 square feet, main lobby capable of hosting smaller events, and supporting facilities.

Consultants suggested locating the center at one of three locations at the northwest corner of Interstate 45 and FM 3083, the Spirit of Texas Plaza, or Grand Central Park.

The activity profile and pro forma they developed for Conroe indicates 77 performances with 47,000 attendees in the first year of operations and scaling to 97 performances with 62,700 attendees by the fifth year. Other activities could include rehearsals, meetings, banquets, weddings, and other events.

According to their findings, to construct the performing arts center similar to those found at private high schools or junior college theater would cost an estimated $66 million. A mid-range option similar to a mid-market urban theater or major university theater would cost about $80.9 million. A top-end theater built similar to a major metropolitan area civic center would cost about $89 million.

Consultants also advised building more restaurants and shops in Conroe to stimulate economic development and foster patronage at the performing arts center. Because it was a City Council workshop, councilmembers asked questions but took no action.
Nueces County to issue RFQ for courthouse structural analysis
Nueces County Courthouse
The Nueces County Courthouse built in 1914 will undergo a structural analysis as county commissioners determine its viability for restoration and possible conversion into a four-star hotel.

Redevelopment costs were estimated at $68.5 million by a Texas Historical Commission study in June that did not factor in structural engineering and restoration costs.

A preliminary approval from the National Parks Service for a $150,00 grant to fund structural engineering services would aid the effort.

Commissioners voted September 10 to authorize the county to issue a request for qualifications and form a selection committee to review proposals before making a recommendation to the Commissioners Court.
City of Fort Worth leaders are considering a new sports complex suited for hosting major youth sports tournaments.

After studying sports facilities for five months, the city's Fort Worth Sports Authority is recommending a 98-acre complex with 20 multi-sport outdoor tournament fields - a mix of turf and natural grass - and a 100,000-square-foot indoor complex with a turf field, locker rooms, and offices. Nearly 50 acres of the land would be needed for parking.

Officials estimated the total cost for the complex at $52 million plus land purchase costs.

Staff members said the complex would have an estimated annual economic impact of more than 37,000 room nights, more than 122,000 visitors, and $16 million in direct spending.

Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said the city's next step would be to request a detailed study to determine possible locations, feasibility of using city-owned land, impact on existing youth sports businesses, and funding mechanisms.

Financing could come from such sources as the hotel occupancy tax, 2022 bond program, or public-private partnerships.
Dripping Springs ISD to purchase land suited for two-school campus
Dripping Springs ISD (DSISD) board members recently adopted a resolution for the district to purchase land that could be the site of a new elementary and middle school campus.

Located north of U.S. Highway 290 between RM 12 and Sawyer Ranch Road, the property would allow for district expansion to serve a student enrollment growing up to 6 percent each year.

The district will purchase the land using funds from $9 million approved by voters in 2018 for land acquisition. District officials said that although they have not determined when the schools will be built there, they would like to close on the property by December 2020. 

DSISD also held public meetings to gather input on plans for Elementary No. 5, which will be built on district-owned land on Darden Hill Road.

The district purchased the 155-acre site that is large enough to accommodate various district facilities, potentially including an elementary school, a middle school, a high school, and possibly a satellite transportation facility.

Officials emphasized that no decision has been made about the future of high schools in the district. The location of the elementary school on the site will be determined in the immediate future.
Architects are considering public input as they review potential design schemes for the building to share at a future board meeting. In addition, a design review committee will be formed to provide input to the architect and district leaders. District officials will meet with county representatives to discuss road traffic and other issues related to infrastructure.

West Texas A&M unveils 2+2 veterinary medicine program
West Texas A&M press conference for 2+2 program
Texas A&M University is bringing its top-four Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program to the Texas Panhandle for students at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in Canyon.

University leaders unveiled a new 2+2 program on September 5 that presents veterinary students at WTAMU with the option of completing several new clinical rotations at that campus for the first two years of their veterinary school.
Those students will be able to enroll in the College Station campus for their final two years. However, they may return to WTAMU for their fourth year for a number of clinical rotations.

The program's May 2020 start will coincide with the opening of the new Veterinary, Education, Research & Outreach (VERO) facility at WTAMU. 

Over the next two years, at nearly $2 million a year, the university will hire eight to 10 faculty through the legislative appropriations process to support new graduate student assistantships in the 2+2 program, WTAMU President Walter Wendler said.
Waco issues RFP for mixed-use concept at former stadium site
Demolition in progress of Floyd Casey Stadium in 2016
City of Waco leaders are accepting development proposals for a city-center concept at the former site of Floyd Casey Stadium.

The city acquired the now-vacant, 105-acre site in a land swap with Baylor University. Waco also owns an adjacent tract that is the site of a track and field complex.

In its request for proposals (RFP), the city is asking developers to present mixed-use concepts that are compatible with the Waco Comprehensive Plan 2040. Officials want the projects to include housing, retail space, and walking trail connections that tie into pedestrian paths leading to downtown Waco. The city would rezone the land as a planned unit development (PUD) to allow mixed uses.

The deadline to submit proposals is November 22, and applicants will be notified of the award by February 28, 2020.
Transportation board adopts plan to manage demand in Austin region
Members of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Transportation Policy Board adopted a Regional Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan on September 9.

TDM is a collection of operational and behavior-changing strategies designed to reduce automobile trips, roadway congestion, and parking demand by redirecting travel towards alternate modes, times, and routes.

Over the past decade, the CAMPO region has experienced significant growth and prosperity that have increased traffic congestion on the region's roadway system in Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.

Regional priorities identified in the TDM Plan are to:
  • Support transit projects and programs that address service gaps, such as increasing the number of and access to park-and-ride facilities, guaranteed ride home programs, and ensuring connections to the "last mile" portion of a trip;
  • Support Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), and other regional transportation providers in the implementation of managed lanes along key corridors inundated with traffic congestion and travel time reliability challenges;
  • Increase outreach and public education programs;
  • Fund projects and programs that address and reduce peak-time traffic congestion on priority corridors to provide for peak spreading;
  • Fund projects and programs that support implementation of work zone queue mitigation during roadway construction;
  • Develop employer-based programs for raising employees' awareness about travel options and the commute cost; and,
  • Develop data collection and sharing programs and procedures to advance the planning and implementation efforts of member agencies to address TDM priorities.
Bee Cave plans new police facility
Bee Cave Police Department
Bee Cave councilmembers recently approved a concept for a new police station to address space and design concerns at the current facility.

In 2007, Bee Cave police moved into the building that was not designed for law enforcement use.

After conducting a feasibility study, architects proposed a new design for a 17,600-square-foot facility that would serve 37 staff members with room for patrol operations, a training room and staff support space that includes restrooms, fitness room, and a break room. A property and evidence room, interrogation and interview rooms, administrative offices, and a court clerk space also are being considered for the new building.

The assessment also rated three city-owned sites and concluded the current police station location near the intersection of RM 620 and Texas 71 is the best suited for the department's needs.

Officials expect the construction project to take 13 months and involve temporary relocation of department operations, possibly to portable buildings or the second floor of Bee Cave City Hall.
Annual DIR conference coming up
October 3, 2019 / Austin, Texas
Mark your calendar to attend the DIR Technology Forum 2019 on October 3 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Commons Learning Center, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758.

Journey to the Cloud: How to Get There is the theme of this year's forum, a free one-day, two-track conference for public sector IT leaders. Plan to attend educational sessions on strategic issues, technology updates, and DIR solutions and services.

More than 200 attendees from a wide variety of Texas state agencies and universities are expected to attend. The free event is only open to current Texas government or public sector staff members. Pre-registration is required and opened in early July. The cancellation deadline is September 27; a $50 fee will be charged for any no shows and late cancellations.

Complimentary morning and afternoon refreshments and a luncheon will be served. DIR invites vendors to participate by exhibiting and/or providing a speaker.

For information, email Joy Hall Bryant.
P3 Higher Education Summit nears
October 24-25, 2019 / San Diego, California
The P3 Higher Education Summit program presents a series of keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities designed for attendees to deepen their understanding on alternative project models, innovations in project delivery, the value proposition of public-private partnerships (P3s), and the role they can play in the delivery of essential campus infrastructure.

This year's Summit will be from October 24-25 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, in San Diego, California. Early check-in is available October 23.

The two-day agenda has been programmed to help you plan and procure successful projects, understand best practices in selecting and negotiating with prospective partners, and take steps to ensure project success.

Over 125 leading practitioners will present their firsthand observations of higher education P3 projects of all sizes in different markets around the country. We also will offer in-depth roundtable discussions for delegates with interest in discussing specific P3 issues in a more candid and interactive forum.

With over 850-plus participating delegates, attendees find the Summit to be one of the most effective places on their event schedule to cultivate relationships and network with the industry's most active and influential professionals.

Advanced registration ends September 13.
Check out our social media links!

Keller appointed as state commissioner of higher education; starts Oct. 1
Dr. Harrison Keller
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously on September 11 to appoint Dr. Harrison Keller to serve as the state's next commissioner of higher education. Keller is scheduled to begin his new post on October 1.

He succeeds Raymund Paredes who resigned August 31 after 15 years as the commissioner of higher education.

Keller joins the Coordinating Board from The University of Texas at Austin (UT), where he has been serving President Gregory Fenves as deputy to the president for strategy and policy and as a clinical professor of public policy practice.

Previously Keller served as UT's vice provost for higher education policy and research and founded the OnRamps and Texas OnCourse initiatives. Earlier in his career, he was the senior education policy adviser and director of research for Rep. Tom Craddick during his tenure as Speaker of the Texas House, and as a project director at UT Austin's Charles A. Dana Center.
Senate confirms Brown to federal District Court 
Ada Brown
The U.S. Senate confirmed Ada Brown on September 11 to fill a judicial vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz recommended Brown to President Trump following a review and interview process of the candidate pool by the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (FJEC).

Brown is a justice on Texas' Fifth Court of Appeals. Before joining the appellate court, she practiced at a Dallas law firm, where her practice focused on commercial litigation and patent infringement matters.

She also served as a judge on the Dallas County Criminal Court No. 1 and as a prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

Brown has served as commissioner for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education and as commissioner for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

MD Anderson executive in frame for FDA top job
Dr. Stephen Hahn
Dr. Stephen Hahn, chief medical executive at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is one of three names reportedly submitted for consideration as the next U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner.

Other names on the shortlist submitted by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar were Norman "Ned" Sharpless, who has been serving as acting FDA commissioner since April, and Brett Giroir, who is HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. Giroir reportedly has since been dropped from consideration.

Hahn was appointed as MD Anderson's chief medical executive in 2018. Prior to that, he was the hospital's deputy president and chief operating officer. He joined MD Anderson in 2015 as division head, department chair, and professor of radiation oncology.

He came to Texas from Pennsylvania where he served as chair of the radiation oncology department at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. Before that, he was an associate professor and assistant professor at the university and a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute.
Governor taps Stodghill as DPS commissioner
Steve Stodghill
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Steve Stodghill of Dallas to the Public Safety Commission on September 6.

The commission oversees the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Stodghill is a litigation partner at an international law firm in its Dallas office. He previously was a founding partner of another firm from 1993 to 2000 and a legislative assistant for U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall. He also was an associate and partner with two other law firms.

In addition to being chief litigation counsel to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks for more than 20 years, Stodghill also has represented several prominent companies.

He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association and a research fellow for the Southwestern Legal Foundation. Additionally, he is a former member of the American Bar Association and the Texas Bar Foundation and a charter member of the Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court.

Stodghill is chairman of the American Film Institute National Council, board member of The University of Texas (UT) Harry Ransom Center, UT College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board, and the UT System Chancellor's Council.

San Marcos names 3 to interim staff positions
Stephanie Reyes
Stephanie Reyes was appointed as interim assistant city manager at the city of San Marcos on August 27 following the retirement of Assistant City Manager Collette Jamison after 30 years of service.

Reyes was previously the chief of staff for San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras. She will continue to oversee administrative services, city manager's office, finance, human resources, information technology, and communications. In her new role, Reyes also will have oversight of parks and recreation and destination services. She also was the city's assistant director of human resources, assistant to the city manager, and interim economic development director.

Chase Stapp
San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras also appointed Chase Stapp as interim director of public safety on September 3. In this newly created position, Stapp will oversee police, fire, emergency management, municipal court, and neighborhood enhancement. Stapp has been San Marcos chief of police since 2014. He has worked for the city for 27 years, including positions as commander of criminal investigations and night watch patrol. 

Bob Klett
Bob Klett replaces Stapp as interim police 
chief. Klett has served with the San Marcos Police Department for more than 
29 years. He advanced to assistant police chief in 2014 and prior to that served as police commander, sergeant, reserve firefighter, corporal, and officer.
TSLAC selects Swanson as new general counsel
Sarah Swanson
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) named Sarah Swanson as its new general counsel, effective September 1.

Swanson will provide legal guidance to TSLAC leadership and the Commission.

Prior to joining TSLAC, she was an associate general counsel with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for over six years, deputy director of general law for the Public Utility Commission of Texas for more than eight years and an assistant attorney general in the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General for two years.
Canyon narrows search for city manager position
The city of Canyon has selected four finalists for the position of city manager.

Finalists for the position are:

Christopher Sharp
Christopher "Chris" Sharp, who is Canyon's finance director. Prior to joining the city, Sharp served as the local government services program coordinator for the Panhandle Planning Commission from 2001 to 2008.

Jacob Ellis, who most recently served as a 
deputy town manager for the town of Gilbert, Arizona. Before joining 
Jacob Ellis
the town, Ellis was the assistant to executive director for Envision Utah a judicial intern for the Graham County Superior Court in Arizona and a legislative assistant for the Utah State Legislature. He previously was Cowichan Valley Regional District's deputy chief administrative officer and general manager of regional services among other positions in Canada. He also served as a legal researcher for the municipality of North Cowichan, British Columbia.

Jon Behrens
Jon Behrens, who is the city of Canyon's interim city manager and assistant city manager. Prior to those positions, Behrens served as assistant to the city manager for special projects. Before joining the city, he was the senior director of residential living for Texas A&M University, department of housing director for Texas A&M University-Commerce, and residential living assistant director for West Texas A&M University.

Joseph Price
Joseph "Joe" Price, who serves as the assistant city manager and director of planning and development for the city of Borger, Texas. He also was the local government services program coordinator for the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission from 2012 to 2017.
Canyon officials said they received 47 applications from candidates in 13 states, Canada, and Australia.
Lakeway names Oakley as interim city manager
Julie Oakley
Lakeway councilmembers appointed Julie Oakley as interim city manager at their September 9 special meeting.

Oakley had been serving as acting city manager since the August 19 resignation of City Manager Steve Jones.

Oakley, who is Lakeway's assistant city manager, previously served as the city's finance director, a position she also held at the city of Horseshoe Bay.

Councilmembers said they are developing a plan to hire a permanent city manager and that Oakley is a candidate for the position.
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD names lone finalist for superintendent post
Dr. Jorge Luis Arredondo
The board of trustees at the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) ISD named Dr. Jorge Luis Arredondo as the lone finalist for the superintendent position on September 5.

Arredondo is currently the area superintendent for the Houston ISD in Harris County, Texas.

His experience in education spans over two decades working in the largest urban school system in Texas at Houston ISD. His administrative leadership experience includes 17 years in such positions as high school assistant principal, middle school principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent and area superintendent.

Texas state law requires a 21-day waiting period after a school board names a superintendent lone finalist before the future school superintendent can sign a contract. It is anticipated the new superintendent will begin work on October 1.

If appointed to the permanent position, Arredondo would succeed Dr. Daniel King who in July announced his decision to retire after 12 years of service to the district.
McAllen hires Villasana as new finance director
Sergio Villasana Jr.
The city of McAllen hired Sergio Villasana Jr. as its new director of finance.

The Rio Grande Valley native has six years of experience in municipal work, serving most recently as the deputy finance director for the city of Harlingen.

Prior to that role, Villasana owned his own certified public accounting firm and served as the assistant auditor for Cameron County and manager of budgeting and reporting for The University of Texas at Brownsville.

Villasana holds certifications as a public accountant, an internal auditor, a government finance officer, and a public manager.
Brownsville selects director of planning 
Rick Vasquez
The city of Brownsville selected Rick Vasquez as planning and redevelopment services director on September 10. He will begin in the newly created position on October 7.

Vasquez is currently the assistant city manager for the city of Garland.

He brings more than 25 years of experience in municipal and utility management, transportation system planning, economic development, public policy, urban planning, housing development and real estate to the position.

Vasquez previously held director of planning and development positions for the cities of Garland, Galveston, and South Padre Island. He began his career in municipal government with the city of Laredo.
Texas seeks to spotlight Innovators in Aging

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is seeking nominations for the 2019 Innovators in Aging award, which recognizes unique and effective efforts impacting older adults. Nominations are due October 31. 

To be considered for an Innovators in Aging award, the nominee must improve the quality of life for older adults in Texas. The nomination categories are:  
  • Be Healthy, which recognizes innovations that have created opportunities for improved physical and mental health for older adults; 
  • Be Connected, which highlights innovations that have created opportunities for older adults to stay engaged and connected to their family members, friends, and communities; and,  
  • Be Informed, which features innovations that have created opportunities for older adults to learn about the supports and services available to them, as well as help prepare them for the aging process.     
Individuals, programs, organizations, communities and technologies are encouraged to apply at the Innovators in Aging webpage. HHSC will recognize award recipients in May 2020.
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from September 6-12:

Darren Rudolph - Longview, Advisory Council on Emergency Medical Services

Jeffrey Barnard - Dallas, Texas Forensic Science Commission (reappointed)

Mark Daniel - Fort Worth, Texas Forensic Science Commission (reappointed)

Dennis "Pat" Johnson - Texas Forensic Science Commission (reappointed)

Sarah Kerrigan - The Woodlands, Texas Forensic Science Commission (reappointed)

Jarvis Parsons - Bryan, Texas Forensic Science Commission (reappointed)

Texas A&M University Real Estate Center - Texas Quarterly Commercial Report

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission - Texas Department of Agriculture Self-Evaluation Report

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission - Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Self-Evaluation Report

Texas Sunset Advisory Commission - Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation Self-Evaluation Report

U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Cyber Infrastructure (CISA) Insights - Ransomware Outbreak

U.S. Economic Development Administration - Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:

  • Texas Department of Information Resources - Division Director (IT Services Director)
  • Texas Department of Information Resources - IT Security Analyst II
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Legislative Liaison (Program Specialist VI)
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Legislative Liaison (Program Specialist VI)
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments - IDD Services Health Information & Records Clerk
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments - Public Safety Criminal Justice Planner
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Senior Financial Analyst
  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Homeownership Outreach and Business Development Officer
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives

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: Devin Monk 
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.   
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