Volume 18, Issue 7 - Friday, February 14, 2020
Mayor launches Resilient Houston plan
Sylvester Turner signs the Resilient Houston executive order.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner launched Resilient Houston on February 12, a plan to help the city mitigate flooding risks and improve climate readiness.

Resilient Houston is a framework for collective action and links existing efforts with new ones that will work collectively to protect Houston against future disasters and chronic stresses such as aging infrastructure, poor air quality, and climate change.

The strategy frames five key visions for Houston's future along with 18 goals and 62 actions describing the path forward, timeframe, partners, implementation opportunities, and corresponding U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Resilient Houston's five main chapters focus on prepared Houstonians, safe neighborhoods, healthy bayous, accessibility and adaptability, and innovation and integration.

In addition to unveiling the Resilient Houston strategy, Turner signed the Resilient Houston executive order directing all city departments and divisions to support the implementation of Resilient Houston, incorporate resilience in strategic planning and budgeting, and designate Departmental Resilience Officers (DRO) to work directly with the Mayor's chief resilience officer (CRO). Department directors will have 60 days to appoint DROs who will work cross-departmentally on the implementation of Resilient Houston.

In August 2018, Houston became a member of 100 Resilient Cities, which evolved into the Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN).
FBI center reports Texas among top states victimized by cybercrime in 2019
Cybercrime complaints reported in 2019 to states
As cybercrimes continue to plague Texas school districts and cities in 2020, a recent report by the FBI shows the state was one of the most-targeted in the country last year.

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released its 2019 Internet Crime Report on February 11 that showed Texas tied with Florida for the second most victims per state last year with 27,178, when complainants provided state information. California was No. 1 with 50,132 victims.

Texas was fourth in total losses by victims per state with $221.54 million in reported losses in 2019. California again was first with $573.62 million in reported losses.

For count by subject per state, Texas ranked third with 10,093 counts of cybercrime in 2019. California was first with 17,517, and Florida reported 11,047.

Twenty-two local agencies and governments in Texas were the victims of a ransomware attack on August 16 that shut down or crippled financial systems and other critical operations.

The K-12 Cybersecurity Resource Center reports that criminals have extorted at least six school districts in Texas since 2017. Overall, school districts are the second-most targeted organization for cyberattacks in the United States.

Manor ISD recently reported it lost $2.3 million in a targeted email phishing scam in November 2019. Cybercriminals also stole $2 million from Crowley ISD and $600,000 from Henderson ISD last year. Port Neches-Groves ISD paid $35,000 in a bitcoin ransom to regain access to its IT systems in December.

A recent ransomware attack crippled computer systems at Nacogdoches ISD (NISD) this week.

NISD detected the ransomware attack on February 11, which encrypted and locked files on PCs rendering them unreadable. However, district officials said the attackers do not have access to the information contained in those files.

As a precaution, the district shut down its network and all PCs to prevent the spread of the virus. It transferred some work to portable devices that are on a different operating system and resorted to using paper files for recordkeeping.

District officials are investigating if they were victims of the same attack that struck the city of Garrison, Texas, on February 10 and have reached out to the FBI and state authorities, such as the Texas Education Agency, for assistance.
Port of Corpus Christi projects in line for $100.37M in federal funds, $17M grant
Port of Corpus Christi
President Trump's draft budget released on February 10 includes $100.37 million for the Port of Corpus Christi's Ship Channel Improvement Project (CIP).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works Division for Coastal Navigation Construction would administrate the funds.

Under the 2020 federal budget, the CIP received $53 million. In 2019, the project received $13 million. In addition, USACE's work plans for 2018 and 2019 included $23 million and $59 million, respectively.

When the CIP is complete, the port will have widened its ship channel by 530 feet and deepened it from 41 feet to 54 feet. The work will allow for the safe passage of larger vessels carrying more export volumes of U.S. oil and natural gas, which will bolster domestic energy production and support the nation's allies abroad.

Port officials said they expect to award the project's second contract in March.

On February 13, the port announced it received a federal grant of more than $17 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) - Maritime Administration. The port will use the funds to double barge berthing capacity at an oil dock on Avery Point Terminal.

The project is part of the first of four phases to redevelop Avery Point by improving its four ship docks, which are more than 55 years old and require major rehabilitation or reconstruction in order to serve modern vessels.

Total project cost is estimated at $22 million, with $17.6 million coming from USDOT's Port Infrastructure Development Grant and the remaining balance coming from the port.
Amarillo City Council calls election for $275M civic center complex project
Rendering of Amarillo Civic Center Complex
Amarillo City Council called a May 2 ballot measure for a $275 million bond to fund a new Amarillo Civic Center Complex.

Total project cost is $319 million and includes renovation and expansion of the civic center, including the addition of a 75,000-square-foot exhibit hall, and the addition of a new 10,100-seat arena.

The project also will feature renovation of the historic Santa Fe Depot, creation of a large central plaza and park, and relocation of City Hall with an additional parking structure.

Councilmembers worked with a citizens advisory committee to refine the scope of the project over the last several months before selecting the final project to put before voters in May.

The current projection is for total project completion and facility opening by 2025. If the bond is approved, a final design will be completed and the timeline for construction will be finalized. Beyond land acquisition, no contracts are in place specifically tied to any component of the project.
SPI targets strategic growth, expansion with addition of government veterans
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) welcomes two key government veterans to its team with the addition of Dana Glover as director of operations and strategic growth and Jim Williams as a research analyst.

Dana Glover
Glover has more than two decades of experience working with private and public sector organizations most recently as director for research and information management at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

Her background and area of expertise includes, but is not limited to, environmental engineering, telecommunications, technology, and transportation. She leads the company's growth strategy and brings great value to the company's procurement consulting and research divisions. She spent 17 years working at Dell before entering government.

Glover's work with collaborative initiatives that partner private sector capabilities and public sector needs enables her to bring great value to both the SPI Team and the company's clients.

Jim Williams
Williams has over two decades experience in research, governmental affairs, public policy, education, and local government. He served at two state agencies, a state association, and a community college.

He has worked in an advisory capacity with several governmental entities and led statewide rollouts of public policy initiatives. Williams has also been responsible for public policy alerts and the underlying research.  

His work has required him to provide numerous briefings about complex matters involving government, policy, and law. His addition to the SPI team brings yet another area of subject matter expertise and strategic thinking.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
Erin Rinehart, City Manager, City of Carrollton

Erin Rinehart
Career highlights and education: I have worked for the city of Carrollton for 16 years in five different positions. Prior to working in Carrollton, I worked for the city of Lubbock in the city manager's office. I have a bachelor's degree in English literature and a Masters in Public Administration.

What I like best about my public service is: I love the opportunity to serve the citizens of Carrollton and make the city that I call home a better place. Regardless of my job, I think we all have a responsibility to contribute to the communities in which we live; I'm just one of the lucky ones who has the opportunity to serve this community as a part of my day job.

The best advice I've received for my current job is: I have been fortunate to have several mentors in my career, all of whom have taught me critical lessons along the way. The previous city manager of Carrollton taught me to keep my eye on the bigger picture. In an organization and community of this size, it is easy to get caught up in small items and lose sight of the goal. This job is about the betterment of community, and that means losing many small battles in order to accomplish the goal of bettering the community. It is such a simple premise, but the application is much more difficult than I imagined.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Aptitude and attitude will take you further than technical skills. All technical skills can be taught, but how you approach the work is an individual's personal choice. We spend at least 2,080 hours at work a year, maybe more. Only you have the choice to make those hours count or to count the hours.

If I had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: I am in a phase of life where my husband and I are raising our children and we dedicate the vast majority of our free time to their activities and family time. However, I enjoy working out and I try to fit that in when I can, and when I have true "me time" you'll usually find me with a book and a Diet Coke.

People would be surprised to know that IWhile my job may be a "public" job in many respects, I am actually introverted. I prefer quiet time with family above all other things and I guard that time diligently as it is a priority for me.

One thing I wish more people knew about the city of Carrollton is: It is a centrally-located diverse community with quick and easy access to everything you could want or need in the Metroplex. However, there is a charm in Carrollton, it has a hometown vibe that makes it a great place to settle down. I attribute the success of the City to the committed citizens, the current and previous political leadership of the city, and the employees who serve selflessly. It is a true partnership. 
Irving advertising former Texas Stadium site for major master-plan development
Rendering of SH 114 bridge
The city of Irving is performing site work on the former grounds of Texas Stadium as it advertises the property as an ideal location for a potential master-planned community.

Irving is building the Signature Bridge on SH 114 that will span the 1,000-acre site on the Trinity River and at the confluence of state highways 114 and 183 and Loop 12.
City leaders envision a mixed-use development featuring single-family and multi-family residential uses, office space, a light rail transit station, and green space. Future site development could include retail, entertainment, and hotels.

Developable land is at a premium in Irving, and the location's proximity to airports and downtown Dallas add to the demand. The development could feature more than 9,000 new residential units, according to the city's master plan for the site.
Pflugerville calls $96.7M bond election
Pflugerville City Hall
Pflugerville City Council and committee members on February 10 whittled their project list into a $96.7 million bond package that will go before voters on May 2.

Officials included $15.6 million to fund 26 pressing neighborhood street reconstruction projects, including the Historic Colored Addition. 

The third phase of the Kelly Lane road project would get $13.6 million, and $8.9 million would fund work on Immanuel Road.
More than $14 million in city intersection improvements will appear on the ballot to upgrade:
  • SH 130 at CR 138;
  • East Pflugerville Parkway at FM 685;
  • Heatherwilde Boulelvard at Pecan Street;
  • FM 685 at Pecan Street;
  • FM 685/Copper Mine Drive Overpass; and,
  • Hodde/Weiss at Cele Road.
If approved, $5 million would go toward FM 685 corridor improvements including a study, preliminary engineering, lane alignments, utility costs, and right-of-way acquisition.

Councilmembers considered several parks and recreation items, including Lake Pflugerville improvements and a new $45 recreation and senior center, but they reserved those for a possible November election.
Highland Village fire chief proposes joint regional fire training facility in Lewisville
Rendering of proposed fire training facility
Highland Village's fire chief delivered a presentation to the City Council on February 11 on a proposed 9,000-square-foot four-story regional fire training facility.

The cities of Highland Village, Lewisville, and The Colony and the town of Flower Mound would own and maintain the facility, which would be located in Lewisville. 

Officials say the existing facility in Lewisville, which was built in 1991, has outlived its useful life as a training facility. 

Lewisville and The Colony started exploring a regional solution in 2017, and then approached Highland Village and Flower Mound in mid-2019. The partners will share in construction and maintenance costs relative to the size of their fire departments. 

A timeline for the construction project would be predicated on the partner cities and town developing an agreement for the fire training facility to bring to their respective city and town councils for 2021 budget approval.
Temple set for $33M parks bond election
Lions Park in Temple
Temple City Council called a $33 million parks bond election for May 2 at a special called meeting February 13.

If approved by voters, funding from the parks bond will enable the city to create new parks for access to green spaces, while also providing upgrades to existing parks.

Potential bond items include 100 acres of new park space, 9 miles of new trails, and improvements to about 20 existing parks to expand and update playgrounds, restrooms, pavilions, basketball and tennis courts, and dog parks.

The city's last bond referendum was in 2015 for a $26.7 million parks bond.
North Lamar ISD calls May bond election
North Lamar High School
North Lamar ISD (NLISD) trustees on February 10 called a $49 million bond election for May 2 that will feature three bond propositions.

Proposition 1 will seek voter approval for $29.98 million to construct a pre-kindergarten to third-grade campus, upgrade Parker Elementary School, raze an elementary school and intermediate school, and retrofit an elementary into a fourth- and fifth-grade campus.

Proposition 2 would fund $1.2 million in bus purchases.

Proposition 3 would go toward $17.74 million in improvements to North Lamar High School and a junior high school, technology upgrades, and expansion of the high school band hall. Other proposition items include athletic improvements such as track resurfacing and synthetic turf at several district sporting venues.
League City shifts ballfields to Bay Colony after Epicenter agreement collapses
Rendering of Epicenter League City
League City officials are designing the first phase of Bay Colony Park to include five new softball fields with construction expected to begin in 2021.

Estimated project cost is $8.3 million with the possibility of adding more fields later.

The city shifted its plans for these fields to Bay Colony Park after an agreement to build a sportsplex destination fell through with a developer. The project titled Epicenter League City would have featured a sports arena, convention center, amphitheater, hotels, and other amenities on 16 acres fronting Interstate 45.

City officials said they are open to discussions with private partners to redevelop the former Epicenter site.

In the interim, the city is planning the new fields at Bay Colony Park with the hope that the former Epicenter site will be redeveloped. Funds from that land sale would be put toward the Bay Colony field project.
West Lake Hills to seek bond approval for municipal building, drainage projects
West Lake Hills municipal building concept art
Two bond propositions will go before West Lake Hills voters on May 2 after councilmembers approved the election at their February 12 meeting.

Construction of a combined city hall and police building for $12 million forms Proposition A, and several road and drainage projects totaling $10 million form Proposition B.

The proposed two-story municipal complex would house the police department, municipal court, and administrative offices on the current site of its city hall and police buildings. An architectural study found that both existing buildings, especially the police department, were in such a state of disrepair that fixing them would not be economically viable.

If approved, the city would make drainage and road safety improvements to Westlake and Terrace Mountain drives, Laurel Valley and Yaupon Valley roads, and Redbud Trail. The bond also would fund a drainage project on Eanes Creek.
Dallas Housing Authority considers P3 option for Little Mexico Village update
Little Mexico Village
The Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) is clarifying its intentions for the future of the historic Little Mexico Village apartment complex that could include exploring a public-private partnership (P3).

Many residents believed a sale of the affordable housing property would occur soon based on a note posted on their doors.

DHA officials explained that they are reviewing the 1940-built property for opportunities to renovate it. Any sale would require U.S. Housing and Urban Development approval, which prompted the board to review possible actions.

Sale of the property would carry a restriction for the future owner to provide the same amount of total residential units with more than half of them designated as affordable.

The housing authority is reviewing all eight of the properties it owns to make a determination on possible redevelopments or sales.
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Procurement leaders to convene at Public-Private Conference & Expo
March 2-4, 2020 / Dallas, Texas
The Public-Private Partnership (P3) Conference & Expo unites leaders from states and localities, higher education institutions, and public agencies, with industry to discuss infrastructure challenges faced nationwide; and how innovations in project delivery, procurement, life cycle asset management, and technology can help solve critical issues.

Join us at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 N. Olive St., for the year's biggest P3 event as we explore the future of public infrastructure and advancements in the P3 model. Over 150 presenters will discuss active and upcoming projects, sharing key insights for leveraging private sector resources for public infrastructure.

Our 2020 program will present a series of keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities designed for attendees to deepen their understanding on the value proposition of P3s, and the role they can play in the delivery of essential public infrastructure.

Connect with over 1,350 participating delegates from around the world for in-depth learning, business development, and networking opportunities with an elite mix of owners, developers, contractors, and service providers engaged in public-private partnerships.

The P3 Conference is designed for all levels in the market including those beginning to explore P3s and seeking to better understand where alternative and accelerated project delivery methods can be applicable.

Registration is still available. Sign up today!
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Clean and adequate water resources are essential components of human existence. For many years, government leaders had few problems providing this precious resource. That's no longer the case, and companies interested in contracting with government to fix water problems will find an abundance of opportunities in 2020.

In Washington state there has been no requirement for water that children and teachers drink to be tested for contaminants. But a proposed bill in the state legislature, HB 1860, will change that and require water testing for all public and private schools and every outlet used for drinking or cooking at facilities built before 2000. The state will likely provide funding for the new mandates.

Lead testing bills have also been introduced in New Jersey, Indiana, and Virginia. A bill in Florida has been introduced that will provide $625 million annually over the next three years for water testing projects on the St. Johns, Suwannee, and Apalachicola rivers.

And, there is much more ...

State leaders have tried to upgrade drinking water systems in the lower Arkansas Valley since 1962 but, because of a lack of funding, have made little progress. Several communities face state compliance issues because of salinity or radionuclide contamination, and action must now be taken.

HHSC commissioner resigns her position
Dr. Courtney Phillips
Dr. Courtney Phillips, executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), resigned on February 12 to accept a similar position in Louisiana.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has not officially appointed a health secretary to replace Dr. Rebekah Gee at the Louisiana Department of Health , but two publications reported Phillips would be named to the position.

HHSC is Texas' largest state agency with a 2020-2021 budget of $78.5 billion, 40,000 employees, and 220 programs, according to its website.

DPS undergoes staffing changes, office merger
The Texas Public Safety Commission on February 13 approved several recommendations to reorganize staff and offices at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) at its meeting February 13.

Jeoffery Williams
DPS Director Steven McCraw recommended replacing the retiring Lt. Colonel Skylor Hearn as the deputy director of law enforcement services with North Texas Regional Director Jeoffrey Williams. Hearn will be retiring at the end of February.

Capitol Region Director Dwight Mathis will replace Chief Ron Joy as the chief of the Texas Highway Patrol Division. Joy also will be retiring at the end of February.

DPS Assistant Chief of Government Relations Kevin Cooper will serve as chief over the newly formed Office of Media and Government Relations. That office was previously two different departments. Chief Katherine Ray will leave the department at the end of February to join the private sector.

Driver License Assistant Chief Sheri Gipson will serve as the chief of the driver license division, and Senior Manager Mimzie Herklotz-Dennis will be the new assistant chief of that division. Driver License Division Chief Amanda Arriaga was reassigned to serve on the director's staff.

Texas Highway Patrol Acting Chief Hank Sibley will be the new regional director of the North Texas Region, and Major David Cabrera, Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division, will serve as the regional director of the Capitol Region.

Ellis-Kirk elected DFW Airport chair
Matrice Ellis-Kirk
The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport board of directors elected several new officers at its February meeting, including Matrice Ellis-Kirk as chair. The election comes at the end of term for Fort Worth representative William Meadows, who has served as chair since 2018.

The board also elected Fort Worth representative Henry Borbolla to serve as vice chair, and newly sworn-in member from Dallas Gloria Tarpley to serve as the secretary.

The terms for the new leadership are one year and began immediately after the election. It is customary for leadership members to serve two terms.

Ellis-Kirk is a senior member of an executive search consulting firm's Dallas office that she heads. She also has served on several transit, education, and nonprofit boards.
Patrick appoints Hernandez to CPRIT oversight committee
Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the appointment of Dr. Ambrosio "Amos" Hernandez, mayor of Pharr, to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee on February 11.

Hernandez was elected mayor of Pharr, Texas, in May 2015, a position in which he currently serves.

He also is the medical director of surgical services at Driscoll Children's Hospital, a practicing pediatric surgeon at Rio Grande Regional Hospital and Edinburg Children's Hospital, and a chief medical compliance officer at a doctor's hospital in Edinburg.

SPI expands team of external consultants
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) has expanded its consulting team  with the addition of a number of external consultants - Bruce Barr, Robert "Bob" Hebert, and Nancy Edmonson.

Bruce Barr
Bruce Barr is a respected leader in the area of GIS data analysis and he has extensive knowledge related to county road data, floodplain management, and local government.

He is the chairman of the Texas Geographic Information Council (TGIC). Previously, he held research and GIS roles with the Capital Area Planning Council of Governments (CAPCOG) and Texas Association of Counties (TAC). Bruce will bring great value to the SPI Team of consultants and researchers.

Robert Hebert
Bob Hebert brings decades of experience and expertise in water resources to the SPI team as the former leader of a water utility management company and a management consulting firm that served public and private organizations throughout the country. Bob is recognized and respected as an expert in all aspects of water resources.

During his career he worked with the city of Arcola, Texas, and also served as a consultant to the city manager of Rosenberg, Texas. Additionally, he was the vice president of the Brazos River Authority.

Nancy Edmonson
Nancy Edmonson has a 35-year history in the transit industry and significant experience as a public official, a planner, and a leader in the area of public transportation. She also has a wealth of experience in dealing with the various jurisdictional levels of government.

She has worked with both Austin's transit authority, Capital Metro, and also with Houston METRO. Nancy has private sector experience as well. In 1994, she joined a consulting firm as a partner and was named the firm's president in 1997. Her subject matter expertise and experiences will enhance the talent skills at SPI.

Paris appoints Path as new city manager
Grayson Path
Paris City Council appointed Grayson Path as their new city manager on February 10. He takes over for interim city manager Gene Anderson who filled the position after John Godwin resigned in August.

Path most recently served as city manager for Nebraska City, Nebraska.
Burleson taps Avila as finance director
Martin Avila
Martin Avila is the new director of finance for the city of Burleson. He replaced former Finance Director Rhett Clark.

Avila, a certified public accountant, has more than 25 years of leadership experience and over 20 years of financial management experience in local government.

He has been part of the city of Irving's finance team for 13 years most recently as accounting manager.

Burkhart first city manager of Bay City
Shawna Burkhart
Councilmembers appointed Shawna Burkhart as Bay City's first city manager on February 11. She takes over for interim city manager Richard Morton.

Burkhart most recently served as city manager of Lamesa, Texas. She will begin her new position on March 16.
Bay City voters approved the city manager form of government in a May 2019 election.
Waco ISD names asst. superintendent for human resources
Dr. Josie Hernandez - Gutierrez
Dr. Josie Hernandez-Gutierrez has been selected as Waco ISD's next assistant superintendent for human resources. She will take over for Dr. Rhonda McWilliams, who has been serving as the interim assistant superintendent for human resources since October 2019.

Hernandez-Gutierrez was assistant superintendent for school leadership in Dallas ISD and chief of schools for Spring ISD. Most recently, she served as an educational consultant.

She is scheduled to begin her new role with Waco ISD on February 18.
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Housing Finance Agencies (HFA) Funding Strategies to Preserve Affordability

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - Southwest Economy - 4Q 2019
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:
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Director of Business and Community Development
  • Office of the Texas Governor - Grant Manager (Grant Coordinator I)
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Web Applications Team Lead
  • Texas Comptroller State Energy Conservation Office - Program Manager
  • Texas State Securities Board - Financial Examiner I
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - TXMAS Contract Developer, Team Lead
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, the SPI Team has developed a national reputation for partnering public and private sector entities.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
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