Volume 16, Issue 11- Friday, March 16, 2018 Optional Link
Harris County approves purchase of abandoned hospital property
Harris County Commissioners approved using a $5.3 million grant from Houston Endowment, Inc., to buy the Riverside General Hospital property in the Third Ward and reopen it as a mental health and substance abuse facility. The hospital, located at 3204 Ennis Street, opened in 1927 to primarily provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to patients in an economically disadvantaged area of Houston. 

Following a federal audit in 2012, federal officials uncovered $150 million in Medicare fraud at the Riverside General Hospital that resulted in prison terms for the chief executive officer and three other top executives of the hospital that had grown to a network of four campuses. The hospital was closed in April 2015. Today, more health care providers are needed to treat mental health patients now confined to the overcrowded county jail because of a shortage of hospital beds, county officials said. A nearby community care clinic also faces a loss of federal funding that most likely will reduce accessibility to health care in that area. 
Brazos County commissioners look at creating RMA
Prompted by rapid growth and mobility problems, Brazos County commissioners are exploring the possibility of creating a Regional Mobility Authority (RMA) to develop transportation projects, issue revenue bonds, apply for state and federal funding, establish tolls and use any excess revenue to fund other transportation projects. Nine RMAs currently operate in Texas. 

Texas Department of Transportation officials define an RMA as a political subdivision formed by one or more counties or certain cities to finance, acquire, design, construct, operate or maintain, expand or extend transportation projects including roadways, toll roadways, transit systems, parking facilities and pedestrian and bike facilities. An RMA does not have taxing authority, but can issue bonds, receive loans and grants, enter into contracts with other governmental entities and Mexico and can use power of imminent domain. Under current state law, county commissions appoint an odd number of directors and the governor appoints the presiding officer. The cities of Bryan and College Station also plan to look at the benefits and downsides of creating an RMA.
Abbott names chair, vice chair and appoints three to THECB
Stuart Stedman
Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Michael J. Plank, Donna N. Williams and Welcome Wilson, Jr. to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for terms set to expire on Aug. 31, 2023. Additionally, Abbott has named Stuart W. Stedman as chairman and Fred Farias, III, O.D. as vice chairman of the THECB. The board provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system. 

Stuart W. Stedman is president of financial planning firm 
Fred Farias III
in Houston. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute Advisory Board. He is chairman of the Liberal Arts Advisory Council and member of the Development Board and Blanton Museum National Leadership Board at The University of Texas at Austin. 

Fred Farias III, O.D. is the CEO of an optometry business in McAllen. He is a member of the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees and a charter member of the American Optometric Association Optometry Cares Foundation, and is the only Rio Grande Valley optometrist who is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He is a member of The University of Texas (UT) Development Board, UT System Chancellor's Executive Committee and the UT Longhorn Athletic Advisory Council. He is also chair of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce
Michael Plank
Government Affairs Council. 

Michael J. Plank is chairman and CEO of a holding company in Houston and three affiliated companies. He is also a member and past chairman of the Young Presidents' Organization. He is a member of the Governor's University Research Initiative Advisory Board, board member and past president of the Children's Museum of Houston and a board member of the YMCA of Greater Houston. He also serves on the President's Advisory Council of Houston Methodist Hospital. 

Donna N. Williams is vice president and program manager for an engineering,
Donna Williams
construction, technical and professional services firm. She is a member of the Laura Bush Institute for Women's Health National Advisory Board and serves on the boards of directors for Parsons Federal Credit Union, Justin F. Kimball High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and the Dallas African American Museum. 

Welcome Wilson, Jr., is president and CEO of an industrial development company in Houston and the joint venture
Welcome Wilson, Jr.
partner in a commercial design and development firm. He is a member of the National Association of Industrial Office Properties, vice chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents and chairman of the Alamo Complex Management and the Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority. He is a board member of the Alamo Endowment Board of Directors, Texas Business Hall of Fame, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, Trellis Foundation and Friends of the Texas Historical Commission.
El Paso ISD has first high tech, dual language elementary school in U.S.
El Paso Independent School District officials are planning to combine project-based/collaborative learning methods along with its nationally recognized dual-language curriculum to create the first elementary school of its kind in the United States. Funded by a $1.3 million grant from the Texas Education Agency, the dual-language Hart New Tech will be the first in the city and second in the state with the collaborative learning program, said Scott Gray, New Tech Network coordinator. 

The grant funds will help train teachers and staff to transform traditional classrooms into active learning spaces, he said. Students with varied abilities in English and Spanish will work collaboratively to learn and build their skills in both languages. Current plans are to begin the new curriculum with third through fifth grades in the 2018-2019 school year and add kindergarten through second grades the second year. The end goal is for students to be able to attend kindergarten through the 12th grade in New Tech schools.
Fort Bend County to form P3s for new connector road
The Fort Bend County Commission approved an agreement with the cities of Katy and Fulshear and eight private entities to form a public-private partnership (P3) to build a new, four-lane road to connect Farm-to-Market Road 1093 and Interstate 10. 

The first phase of the 6.2-mile Heritage Parkway will span from the Westpark Tollroad north to I-10 at the Pederson Road intersection. This will be the next north-south collector roadway west of the Grand Parkway. The stretch of roadway will have roundabouts instead of signal lights at every major intersection. The first phase was completed over the last four years and involves schematic designs, preliminary plans and getting commitments from all the landowners and right of way. 

Phase 2 will be the full design construction drawings with a set of plans that should be put out for bids in January 2019. The $52 million project will also include building a regional trail 10 to 12 feet wide for hikers and bikers.
Sam Houston State University and TSUS seek a Public-private partnership for Innovation Plaza
The Texas State University (TSUS) System and Sam Houston State University have issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a hotel, conference and training center on the university's Innovation Plaza in Huntsville. 

The project includes a 20,000-square-foot conference center that could be expanded by 9,000 square feet and a training facility for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The developer is not required to operate and maintain the TDCJ facility. Also included is the need for a 200-room hotel that could add on 50 rooms if necessary. A pre-proposal conference is scheduled for March 29 and responses are due by April 11. View the RFQ here.
Wichita Falls seeks proposals to privatize Kickapoo Airport
Jim Dockery
Wichita Falls city officials are asking for private companies to submit proposals to take over Kickapoo Airport, which was purchased and operated by the city about 20 years ago. City officials have not made a final decision to privatize the municipal airport, however, they are weighing the pros and cons of seeking another Fixed Base Operator (FBO) that could possibly operate the airport more efficiently than the city, said Jim Dockery, deputy city manager. 

The request for proposals requires that companies must have three years of experience as an FBO, show financial strength, have a plan for customer service, references, a proposed lease agreement, staffing and operations plans.
McLennan County seeks bids for $30M project to renovate fairgrounds
Mike Dixon
McLennan County commissioners agreed to begin a search for a construction manager for a proposed $30 million renovation of the Extraco Events Center fairgrounds and surrounding public facilities following their approval of a concept plan for improvements. Because the city and Waco Independent School District own a portion of the 60-acre site, county officials plan to meet with representatives from both entities to discuss the proposed plan to finance the improvements solely by venue taxes, said County Attorney Mike Dixon. 

The preliminary concept plan for upgrades to the fairgrounds includes construction of an expo hall that would need to be reconfigured quickly to accommodate more events and improve the return on investment. The plan also includes adding sports fields to serve the school district and public.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Ed Kelly, Statewide Data Cordinator, Texas Department of Information Resources
Ed Kelly

Career highlights and educationI earned a bachelors degree in Finance and Economics from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. In my early years, I worked in a variety of roles for State Street Bank & Trust Company and Fidelity Investments. While at State Street, I managed their business continuity program by developing, testing and actually recovering from several disaster situations. In 1995 on a cold February day, a friend stopped me on the street and asked if I was still interested in business continuity. He told me about this company in Round Rock, Texas called Dell Computer Corporation. My response was "where is Round Rock, Texas and who is Dell Computer Corporation?" After a couple of phone calls and a visit to Texas for eight one-hour interviews, I was offered the job to establish the company's worldwide business continuity program. It was an unbelievable opportunity to travel the world and raise my family here in central Texas. I jumped on it and never looked back. 

After the Dell layoff in 2000, I accepted the role as Deputy Chief of Information Technology with the Texas Department of Public Safety and later was promoted to the Chief Information Officer. In 2005, I left state government to return to the private sector for Unisys Corporation. I worked with IBM and DIR on the data center consolidation where I held a customer liaison role for the HHSC agencies transitioning to the consolidated data center. I returned to state government in 2008, working as a contract project manager for the Texas Department of Agriculture. In 2010 I accepted the role as their Chief Administrative Officer managing IT, HR, Facilities and the agency fleet operations. I joined DIR in 2015 as the Statewide Data Coordinator (SWDC) and continue in that role today. As the SWDC, I have the unique opportunity to share best practices and collaboration while educating our constituents, agencies and other states on the benefits of Open Data and data sharing.

What I like best about my public service: Two things, first having the opportunity to work with almost every state agency and institution of higher education as well as local, county and national organizations to promote data management. Secondly making a difference to our constituents by raising the awareness of data sharing and government transparency.

The best advice I have received for my current job: "Don't try to take on too much." For people who know me, this is often easier said than done as I have a tendency to do the complete opposite.  

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Make a difference every single day, " You never fail until you stop trying" - Albert Einstein
If I ever left work early, I could probably be found: Hanging out by the pool after working in my backyard.

People would be surprised to know thatWorked for a local supermarket chain in the Boston area as a meat cutter while I was going to school.

One thing I wish more people knew about the Department of Information Resources: Our agency has some of the most talented and hardworking people who support each other while meeting or exceeding customer's needs and expectations.
El Paso approves pact with foundation to renovate park
Eric Pearson
El Paso City Council members authorized city staff to negotiate with the El Paso Community Foundation to join the city in redesigning and renovating Murchison Rogers Park. Originally opened in 1963, the overlook on Scenic Drive in the southern Franklin Mountains allows views of El Paso and Juarez from 4,200 feet. 

Eric Pearson, president and chief operating officer of the foundation, pledged to help raise about $3.5 million of the $5.3 million estimated cost of the park renovation. Proposed upgrades for the scenic overlook include developing paths compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, adding trees for shade, improving parking and building cantilever lookouts.
Weatherford receives $11.5M to restore historic Heritage Square
Sharon Hayes
Weatherford city officials plan to use $11.5 million in funding from the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) and the Texas Department of Transportation to begin developing a three-step process that will provide a pedestrian friendly Heritage Square. The first step of the plan is to build a U.S. Highway 180 bypass and divert truck traffic from the historic downtown area. The first step covers existing and future traffic patterns based on projections provided by NCTCOG, said City Manager Sharon Hays. 

The second step would include a southern connection and the last step would be to develop the historic downtown square with entertainment, restaurants and pedestrian friendly walkways. Projections show that in 20 years an increase in traffic will be unmanageable in the downtown area. Besides U.S. Highway 180, a visionary approach also will be needed for Farm-to-Market Road 51 and FM 2552 to alleviate downtown traffic.
Poth ISD selects capital projects to include in November bond election
Trustees for the Poth Independent School District selected $10 million worth of capital projects from an extensive list of needed renovations that total $14 million. The list of projects was narrowed down by a bond committee to include on the November ballot for a bond election. 

The largest item on the bond proposal is a new $3.6 million, 16,000-square-foot career and technical education facility. Other proposed projects include renovating a former agriculture shop into a weight room estimated to cost $870,000, installing natural turf on the football field for an estimated $500,000, renovating locker rooms that are projected to cost $400,000 and renovating a culinary arts room for about $296,000. The next step, district officials said, is to submit the list of projects to the design team to proceed with the process.
Coryell County seeks proposals for study of rail/truck facility at Fort Hood
Coryell County commissioners are seeking proposals to perform a study on the feasibility of creating a public-private partnership to develop a Fort Hood joint use multi-modal rail/truck facility. The U.S. Department of Defense has allotted $270,000 in grants and the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation pledged $15,000 towards the required 10 percent funding match to pay for the feasibility study. 

The study will examine the feasibility of establishing a joint civilian/military multi-model truck and rail cargo transfer facility on land leased from Fort Hood that would generate revenue, provide more deployment capability and improve additional employment opportunities. The deadline for replying to the request for proposals is April 4. If Congress approves the final appropriations bill and the grant is awarded, the study would begin in April and be completed by September.
Frisco's priorities focus on master plans and economic development
A list of 10 priorities announced by Frisco City Council members to pursue in 2018 include using a public-private partnership to develop a master plan for a new performing arts district. The city developed a performing arts committee to provide a feasibility study that will determine the size and needs of a potential performing arts center. A consulting firm was hired in September to update the city's 20-year-old downtown master plan by August. The council and city officials plan to continue to work with the private market to explore options for downtown development. 

City facilities such as city hall need to expand to accommodate growth and this will allow the municipal court to move from downtown Frisco to Frisco Square. This update also will allow the court to grow as needed and use new technology that its current building is unable to handle. This year, the city council, Frisco Community Development Corporation and the Frisco Economic Development Corp. approved the purchase of 390 acres on Brinkmann Ranch for a future park. The park will include athletic fields. This city also will consider a master plan for the rest of Frisco's park system. The city wants its residents to have the choice of staying in Frisco to further their education and has also considered bringing a four-year university to the area. 

Because of fast growth, traffic has become more congested in Frisco. Using new technologies is another priority to help relieve that congestion. Examples include using an adaptive signal control system, in which traffic lights will communicate with certain new vehicles to adjust signal timing. The plan to team up with the private sector is also a priority so the city can have autonomous buses in Frisco by this year.
Buda may go to private sector to help fund park projects
Greg Olmer
Buda city officials are developing a bid process for private sector companies that are interested in obtaining naming rights and becoming sponsors for at least two park projects approved in a 2014 bond election. The additional funding is because of the increase in value of the land needed for Garison Park and the high cost of an amphitheater, even after the city scaled down features of the amphitheater previously estimated to cost $8 million, said Greg Olmer, the director of parks and recreation. 

City officials also are looking at seeking corporate sponsors for a new splash pad at City Park and a new public library, Olmer said. A goalhas been set to seek proposals from corporations desiring naming rights before May, since that is the month the city plans to seek bids for the park projects.
Check out our social media links!

Calendar of Events

April 9-10
The P3 Hub Midwest Conference of 2018 will be held April 9-10 in the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile at 505 Michigan Avenue. The conference will present a series of roundtable sessions, interactive panel discussions, presentations and networking opportunities while focusing on public-private partnership (P3) opportunities in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota and many other states in the Midwest. 

The event will bring together U.S. procurers, mayors, governors, investors, contractors and advisers to debate the future of P3s. Senior public officials and private sector delegates will be on hand to discuss the latest opportunities to build and manage public assets through P3s on both sides of the Mississippi. This is your chance to hear all the information on where the latest project activity is emerging. Receive a discount when registering for the conference by entering the code, Strategic10Registration is open for the conference here. View some details of the events here.

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

Seven months after hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked catastrophic damages in parts of Texas and Florida, leaving $175 billion in damages in their wake, help is on the way. Much-needed federal disaster relief dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should reach public officials in Gulf Coast counties by the end of this month.  

The funding from HUD will be allocated through Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs). Texas is in line to receive $5.5 billion which will be distributed among 16 coastal and inland counties. In Florida, 10 counties will benefit from $615.9 million in CDBG allocations. 

CDBG disaster funds address significant unmet needs that are essential for long-term recovery in a disaster-stricken community. The funds are allocated to state and local governments. When these funds arrive in Texas, they will be administered by the Texas General Land Office (GLO). 

Texas is a step ahead of Florida and will receive funds first. The GLO created its action plan for distribution of the disaster funds in January. That plan is expected to be approved soon by HUD, and then the funds will be sent to Texas. 

State officials held a dozen meetings with state and federal legislators and county and city officials in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. In total, state leaders consulted and conducted outreach in nearly 50 counties. Officials and residents of the impacted cities and counties were able to explain and prioritize their immediate needs.

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

Marquez to leave Texas PUC
Brandy Marty Marquez
Texas Public Utility Commissioner (PUC) Brandy Marty Marquez has announced she is resigning to pursue opportunities in the private sector after two decades of public service. Her resignation is effective April 2. While at the commission, Marquez also served on the Texas Reliability Entity, which serves as the PUC's reliability monitor for the ERCOT region and enforces North American Electric Reliability Corporation standards. Marquez was appointed to the commission in August 2013 by then-Gov. Rick Perry and reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015. Her term was to expire in September 2019. 

It has also been announced that Thomas Gleeson, the commission's director of finance and administration, will serve as its interim executive director until a full-time replacement can be found. Brian Lloyd resigned from the position March 1, after seven years.
Liberty Hill parks board adds splash pad to pool project
Parks and Recreation Board members will recommend to Liberty Hill City Council members to approve the addition of a $150,000 splash pad to a proposed pool and pool house project. Current plans include a 4,800-square-foot pool and a 1,300-square foot pool house facility with restrooms, a pavilion and changing room that would not include a heating or air conditioning system. 

Also included is a parking lot with about 60 spaces, fencing, shade structures, a half-mile trail around the southern portion of the park and an improved entryway. City officials have applied for a $500,000 grant and a $75,000 grant to help pay for the new pool and amenities. The bid process for the pool project should begin soon.

Benton appointed as new press secretary in Houston
Mary Benton
The mayor of Houston appointed Mary Benton, a former television reporter, as the new press secretary for the city. Benton reported news for KPRC-TV for 20 years before joining Harris County in 2014 as a communication, education and public engagement coordinator for the Harris County Public Health Department. 

Benton also served two Harris County commissioners in their precinct offices and managed media relations and public affairs at the Harris County Toll Road Authority.

Hauck tapped as Tomball city manager
Rob Hauck
Rob Hauck, the assistant city manager of Tomball, was selected to replace George Shackelford who is retiring after 8 years as city manager. 

After serving as police chief for several years, Hauck was promoted to assistant city manager in 2014. Hauck also had served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 20 years until he left the department as a captain in 2008. Hauck joined the city of Tomball in 2008 as the police chief and has been a reserve major for the Harris County Sheriff's Office since March 2015. He begins his new duties as city manager on April 2.
Lumberton ISD taps Chandler as superintendent
Gerald Chandler
Trustees for the Lumberton Independent School District named Gerald Chandler as the lone finalist for superintendent from a field of six finalists. 

Chandler has served as the assistant superintendent for the Lumberton district since 2012 and acting superintendent since January 2019. He will replace John Valastro, who is retiring.

Frailey selected as superintendent of Nacogdoches ISD
Alton Frailey
A retired superintendent for the Katy Independent School District, Alton Frailey, was selected as the new superintendent of the Nacogdoches Independent School District. 

He has served since January as the interim superintendent and will begin his permanent position by April 1. During his 33 years in public education, Frailey served nine years at the helm of the Katy school district before retiring in 2016. 

He has served as a teacher and assistant principal for Goose Creek ISD, an administrator for Spring Branch ISD, a superintendent in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a superintendent of DeSoto ISD. 
Reyer resigns as interim city administrator of Shenandoah
Kathie Reyer
Shenandoah's Interim City Administrator Kathie Reyer has resigned from that post to accept a new job in the Austin area. Appointed in September 2017, Reyer, who joined Shenandoah as the city secretary in 2007, was chosen as the interim city administrator following the resignation of Greg Smith. 

Reyer, who was selected as a finalist in the city's search for a permanent city administrator, will leave her current post on March 31. City officials said they plan to continue their search for a new city administrator.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments from March 9- March 15:
  • Doug Brooks- Plano, University of Houston System Board of Regents
  • Joe Gutierrez- Houston, University of Houston System Board of Regents
  • Jack Moore- Houston, University of Houston System Board of Regents
  • Estela Avery- Fredericksburg, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Tina Yturria Buford- Harlingen, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Starr Corbin- Georgetown, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Karen Harris- Lakehills, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Amy Henderson- Amarillo, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Karen Manning- Houston, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Imelda Navarro- Laredo, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Rienke Radler- Fort Worth, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Jinous Rouhani- Austin, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Catherine Susser- Corpus Christi, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Laura Koenig Young- Tyler, Governor's Commission for Women 
  • Nathali Parker- Round Rock, Governor's Commission for Women 
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 Higher Education Coordinating Board- Systems Administrator IV
  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles- Executive Assistant II
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts- Software Performance Test Analyst
  • Texas Department of Public Safety- CIS Developer
  • Texas State Preservation Board- Maintenance Specialist IV
  • Texas Water Development Board- Director III Chief of Staff to Board Member
  • Ector County- County Cemetery Secretary
  • Alamo Area Council of Governments- Area Agency on Aging Care Specialist
  • City of Bellaire- Fire Chief
  • City of Rowlett- Director of Community Development
  • City of Tomball- Assistant City Manager
  • City of McAllen- Transportation Engineer
  • Bexar County- Grants Manager
  • City of Georgetown- Environmental Program Coordinator Solid Waste/Recycling
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipline 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: Kristin Gordon 
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. 
Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite #100
901 S. Mopac Expressway Austin, Texas 78746
Strategic Partnerships, Inc., 901 S. Mopac Expressway, Ste. 1-100, Austin, TX 78746
Sent by cc@spartnerships.com in collaboration with
Constant Contact