Volume 2, Issue 39
February 2, 2011
Loss of baby boomers to affect government IT workforce, future IT projects

Mary Scott Nabers

Thousands of baby boomers announce retirement plans every month. The impact is being felt throughout the country and in every industry sector. Government is no exception.

One government area that is being significantly impacted is information technology (IT). A recent survey by the National Association of Chief Information Officers (NACIO) found that states continue to see dramatic shrinkage in IT workforces. Replacing this type of retiree is no easy task, especially at a time when government is reducing employee benefits, freezing pay increases and offering no incentives.



Grant funds for education, health care
HIE programs get $80M boost
Fla. governor wants to eliminate agencies
Upcoming education opportunities
Other upcoming opportunities
Where are they now?
Calendar of events
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Grant funds to strengthen educational programs, health care


Rural areas to use $34.7 million for more than 100 projects throughout country

Tom Vilsack

Grant money to fund educational programs and expand access to health care is headed to 38 states and one United States territory. More than 100 projects will share more than $34.7 million in grant funds through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program.


The funds are aimed at providing access to education, training and health care resources in rural areas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (pictured) said too many rural areas can't take advantage of the opportunities for education and health care made available thanks to broadband service. "These funds will help communities enhance their educational and training programs and deliver improved health care services for their residents," he said.


The two largest awards were of $500,000. One went to the Memphis Zoo, Inc. in Tennessee and the other went to the Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida Board of Cooperative Educational Services in New York. A $350,000 grant to the Alaska Gateway School District Project in Tok will ensure distance learning is available in 11 schools in rural villages in the interior of Alaska. The funds can be used to buy computers, interactive videoconferencing equipment and whiteboards. INTEGRIS Health, Inc. in Oklahoma will spend its more than $496,000 grant to replace outdated systems with more modern video teleconferencing equipment in 20 rural area schools, hospitals and health centers. Health and educational services will be provided.


To view the awards by state, click here and look under "Recent Reports."


Health information exchange programs get $80 million boost


Funds to be used for extension centers, health information exchanges, training

Hospital RecordsMore federal stimulus funding - $80 million - is being infused into regional extension centers, state health information exchanges and community college workforce programs to support the use of electronic health records (EHRs). The goal of EHRs is to ensure that health care records are accurate and readily accessible, leading to improved and more efficient health care.

The extension centers (RECs) offer technical assistance to physicians, small medical practices and those providers that serve and treat underserved populations. Some 38,000 providers have already signed up for services that include vendor selection, project management and workflow redesign.

The RECs will receive $32 million to increase outreach to physicians, promote registration to the HER incentive program and provide direct staff assistance to physicians. Ten state health information exchanges (HIEs) will benefit from $16 million set aside to ramp up technology to support the HIEs. These grants are generally from $1 to $2 million. Another $32 million is headed to community colleges with training programs for health IT specialists.

For example, Massachusetts was awarded two $1.7 million challenge grants to help improve transitions from long-term to post-acute care. Seven other state programs were awarded funds to develop HIEs, giving patients access to their own health information as well as allowing health care practitioners to access patient data for a given time period. The program is aimed at allowing for the exchange of health information across the health care system both within and across states.

To view the complete list of grants awarded, click here and look under "Recent Reports."


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SPI is currently working throughout the country on P3 initiatives and is available for conversations with any public entity interested in asking questions, discussing national trends or obtaining advice about how to reach out to private sector firms.


Interested parties should call Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 to schedule a conversation.


New Florida governor wants to eliminate agencies


Scott also calls on legislature to re-establish state's Department of Commerce

Rick ScottNewly elected Florida Gov. Rick Scott (pictured) hopes to cut the state's spending by merging the functions of at least five state agencies. He said such action and overall agency consolidations and mergers could save the state as much as $1 billion. Among the changes Scott has proposed are taking the regulatory functions away from the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The agency's role is oversight of local land-use plans and regional developments. Those duties, said Scott, would be rolled over to other agencies. There was talk during his election campaign of merging DCA with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation into a "Department of Growth Leadership."

Scott also would like to see alcohol and beverage tax authority moved from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to the Department of Revenue. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation would then have responsibility for licensing and regulation of drugs, devices and cosmetics from the Department of Health. 

Scott also is seeking lawmaker approval for re-establishing the Department of Commerce, which doles out millions of dollars in economic incentives to help attract business and industry to the state.


Upcoming education opportunities


Los Angeles school district to use leftover funds for building projects

Ramon CortinesThe Los Angeles Unified school district is planning to use money left over as a result of construction costs savings and state funding to wrap up some $531 in construction projects over the next several years. Among the projects planned with the surplus funding is a series of solar panel installations, improvements to school cafeterias, addition of new early education centers, removal of portable classrooms and construction of a new $32 million high school. Some of the upgrades to cafeterias also include building of new multipurpose rooms, playground or two-story additional classroom space. "This plan will allow us to invest $531 million into our schools to create learning environments that help motivate our children, our teachers and our communities," said Superintendent Ramon Cortines. 


East Stroudsburg University planning $300 million expansion

East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania has put forward a 10-year master plan that calls for $300 million worth of activity on the campus. Among the projects in the master plan are addition of classroom space for fine and performing arts students, building a new Keystone Center to house a new library, university center and computer center. Renovating Monroe Hall into a speech-language pathology and audiology building and converting Kemp Library to office and temporary classroom space to be used as other buildings are renovated. Two new residence halls are in the plan, to complement the two already under construction that include workout facilities, a new police station and health center. Dining facilities at Dansbury Commons would be expanded, a new athletics field house is proposed for sports practices. The current police station and economics faculty building would be demolished.


West Virginia's $76.8 million higher ed bond sales leads to numerous projects

Earl Ray TomblinThe West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission recently sold more than $76.8 million in higher education revenue bonds, the results of which will change the face of a variety of campuses in the state. Through these Build America Bonds, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says West Virginia "has positioned itself to make needed additions and improvements" to benefit generations of students.


Among the planned projects are:

  • West Liberty University - $2.25 million for a new Science Center;
  • Shepherd University - $2.085 million for a 30,000-square-foot Visual Arts project and studio theater;
  • Glenville State College - $15 million for a multi-function Health and Wellness Education Center for teaching land resources, physical education and nursing;
  • Marshall University - $25 million for a Biotechnology Development Center & Applied Engineering Complex to provide support in technology transfer, business development and intellectual property rights;
  • West Virginia State - $1.8 million toward the Wallace Hall renovations;
  • West Virginia Institute of Technology - $3 million for Old Main renovations, including deferred maintenance, upgrade of electrical system and asbestos abatement; and
  • West Virginia Education, Research and Technology Park - $10.5 million toward capital improvements for a number of facilities at the technology park in South Charleston.  

New York school district seeking study on shared, consolidated services

Facing a decreasing student population and decreasing state financial support, the Windham-Ashland-Jewett school board in New York is releasing an RFP for a feasibility study for shared and consolidated services. Hunter-Tannerville and Greenville Central schools also support the RFP and it is expected that the three other school districts in the county - Cairo-Durham, Catskill and Coxsackie-Athens will also lend their support. The contract is expected to be awarded at the end of April. The goal is to maintain the quality of educational programs while improving the efficiency of current services and reducing operating costs and capital expenses. Backers of the study note that all schools in the county have similar operations with the same services, lending themselves to some kind of consolidation of services. Some of the services that might be discussed include transportation, business services, purchasing, inventory, distribution, food services, human resources, recruiting and professional development, technology, curriculum, athletics, etc.


Michigan community college has tech center on drawing board

New Tech CenterA $17 million, 71,300-square-foot career technology center (as seen in accompanying architect's drawing) is planned for the Monroe County (Michigan) Community College. College trustees voted recently to use $8.5 million in reserve funds and gifts toDavid Nixon make the 50 percent match required for state funding. Another more than $8.4 million in State Building Authority funds was approved last December by the state legislature. The building is expected to be completed in September of next year. "This facility will serve as a model for the teaching of alternative energy programs," said MCCC President David E. Nixon (pictured). The new building will provide infrastructure to support state-of-the-art classrooms and lab space to train students for high-demand jobs - such as nuclear engineering, welding, construction, computer-aided drafting and manufacturing, electronics, quality assurance and automotive engineering. All materials for the building will be selected with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating in mind.


New York community college plans major renovations to arts, tech centers

The Columbia-Greene Community College in New York is planning nearly $2 million in capital projects after the bid application process was recently approved by the board of trustees. Among the many renovation projects are new roofs on the arts center and technology building, upgrades to locker rooms and bathrooms and relocation of the campus water tank. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with work to be completed in time for the fall semester. 


Penn State University planning $30 million in water treatment plant upgrades

Penn State University is planning close to $30 million in upgrades to its water treatment plant that provides water to 57,000 people each year. The current treatment technology for water at the university is limited, say officials, and new technology will allow for better filtration through state-of-the-art methods. An architect for the plant has been named. Construction is expected to begin in June 2012 and be completed in June 2014.


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Florida budgets $118 million for Amtrak Jacksonville to Miami route

Kathy MeehanThe State of Florida has budgeted $118 million for next year to help develop an Amtrak Jacksonville to Miami route. The funds would help build eight stations and provide for rail improvements along the 350-mile route. The total cost of the project is $250 million, and the state funds will be used only if matched by Amtrak. Additional funds could come from federal grant sources or the federal transportation bill. The $118 million budgeted will be part of the Department of Transportation's five-year work budget, which must first gain approval from state lawmakers when the budget bill comes up for a vote in April. As Kathy Meehan (pictured), vice mayor of Melbourne, where one of the stations would be built, prepared for a meeting with elected officials to urge them to pass the FDOT budget, she called the Amtrak proposal a "good project" that would provide jobs and economic development.


Program to replace government screeners with civilians at airports halted

Transportation Security Administration Chief John Pistole said he has decided not to further expand beyond 16 airports the program that allowed for replacement of government screeners with private screeners. Pistole said he does not see the advantages of the program. Previously, some members of Congress urged airports to privatize their airport screeners because those screeners would be more responsive to the public. Government screeners were hit with a variety of complaints when enhanced pat downs became the norm at airports. The TSA recently denied an application by Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri and Pistole said other applications would likely suffer the same fate. Those currently using private screeners will be allowed to continue to do so.


Study indicates $15 billion needed to reconfigure New York airports

A recent study showed that as much as $15 billion would be necessary to reconfigure Kennedy and Newark Liberty International Airports to add runways to help them accommodate projected increases in air travelers over the next 20 to 30 years. The study suggested that at Newark, all three terminals would have to be at least partially torn down and then rebuilt. And at Kennedy, part of Jamaica Bay would likely have to be filled to create additional space for one or two more new runways. Officials estimate the costs at Newark could be up to $5 billion. However, the study also shows that if the airports are not expanded, it could cost the region $16 billion per year in lost airfare, up to 125,000 jobs and $6 billion in lost wages. The proposed Kennedy expansion would cost from $1 billion to $3.5 billion.


Georgia city approves feasibility study to search for ground water

Pete BridgesThe Tallapoosa (Georgia) City Council recently approved spending $10,000 for a feasibility study to search for ground water near the city's existing line of pipe. Mayor Pete Bridges (pictured) said if the city could find some ground water, it could put in a couple of wells to help supplement the local water supply. The study would explore areas close to the existing pipeline that would yield 70-100 gallons of water per minute. City officials are fearful that another company coming into town would need water and the city would have to supplement them. The project should be under way soon.


Bonds issued to finance city's water, wastewater facilities

The City of Raleigh, North Carolina, has issued $114.5 million in water and sewer revenue bonds. The debt will be used to finance improvements to the system's water and wastewater facilities. It is part of a $500 million revenue bond package that will be issued through 2019 for the utility's capital improvement program. 


Arizona city plans to use grant funds for new airport terminal

The Springerville, Arizona, town council recently voted to use a $1.7 million federal grant to build a new airport terminal. The grant covers building a new terminal and either rebuilding or moving the hangar that is adjacent to the existing terminal building. Safety items, such as new wind cones, underground electrical wires to a vault, a wind director segmented circle and density altimeters at the entrance to all runways also would be paid for by the grant funds.


Tucson gets go-ahead from feds for construction of downtown streetcar

Bob WalkupThe City of Tucson has received a go-ahead from the federal government to begin construction on its downtown modern streetcar project. Mayor Bob Walkup (pictured) called the approval "a big victory for both the region's multi-modal transportation system and our region's economy." He said the project will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of transportation in Tucson and help the city recruit business to the state. The city and Regional Transportation Authority will seek bids on four separate parts of the project within the next month. The project was previously awarded a $63 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. The project will include an almost four-mile fixed rail transit system connecting the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the University of Arizona, University Main Gate Square, 4th Shopping District, Downtown Tucson and the Mercado District. 


Detroit looking forward to building new police headquarters

The City of Detroit, after the blessing of the city council, could begin construction on a new police headquarters soon. Council members approved the appropriation of $60 million for construction of the facility. The former MGM Grand Detroit casino will be converted to a police facility. Council member James Tate (pictured) said the facilities need to be updated and called the conversion projects "the best approach we should have for facilities at this point." The headquarters building is expected to open in 2012 and will house police, fire emergency services and a Michigan State Police crime lab. 


State commission for Arkansas Game and Fish to get new facility

Approval of $100,000 will be used by the state commission for the Arkansas Game and Fish has received $100,000 it plans to use for planning and architecture of a new facility for the Northeast Regional Arkansas Game and Fish office. The plan is to build the new facility at the Crowley's Ridge Nature Center. The first step will be to look for and hire an architect. Officials hope to begin construction by fall 2012, with completion about a year later. The current facility houses the wildlife management, fisheries personnel, enforcement officers, an education coordinator and construction and maintenance coordinator. 


Did you miss TGI?

Where are they now? 

 Are you a government official who has moved into a new position or to a new agency? Did you recently retire? Were you recently named to an executive-level position at a state-supported college, university or community college? Have you secured a new job as superintendent of a public school? If so, we'd like to hear from you - and so would your friends and colleagues - for our "Where Are They Now" column. Just drop us a line at and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Richard Sarles.


Richard SarlesRichard Sarles earned his bachelor's degree from The Cooper Union and his master's degree from Rutgers University. A professional engineer, he spent more than two decades in construction, project management and project planning with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. From 1996 to 2002, he served at Amtrak as a vice president in charge of the NEC High-Speed Rail program. Sarles ended up leading capital program management for capital projects throughout the nation. From 2002 to 2007, Sarles was NJ TRANSIT's assistant executive director for Capital Programs and Planning, managing the agency's $1.3 billion annual capital program and three light rail operations. In 2007, he was hired to run the regional transit system on a temporary basis. In March, Sarles joined Metro after his retirement from New Jersey Transit to run the regional transit system on a temporary basis. He recently was named Metro's permanent general manager and chief executive officer.
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Emig's proposal success nets $3 billion in awards

Ed EmigEd Emig is SPI's lead proposal writer for the Special Services Division, which offers a wide array of services from grant writing and sales training to media/spokesperson training and keynote speakers. Emig has more than 25 years of experience in all phases of proposal development, including capture strategy development, pricing and cost justification and contract transitions/start-ups. He has an in-depth knowledge of both state and federal government procurement processes. Emig has been involved with more than 200 different proposals for a variety of industries. Those proposals have resulted in more than $3 billion in contract awards. His expertise in the field of Information Technology is unparalleled. For NASA, he developed transition plans as part of proposal development, created a metrics-based performance evaluation plan and created a pricing model for a $200 million information technology services contract. For a complete portfolio of experts and the services they offer, to inquire about specific services or to inquire about becoming a part of SPI's new Special Services division, contact Brooke Hollimon at 512-531-3948 or For information on other individuals in our Special Services division and their areas of expertise, click here.


Chandler StolpRachel SterneJeffrey PerryChandler Stolp (top left), associate professor of public affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named associated dean of academic affairs as the institution, replacing Robert Wilson, who has taken a leave of absence to serve as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. The City of New York's first chief digital officer, journalism entrepreneur Rachel Sterne (top middle), has been appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to enhance the city's digital footprint, streamline existing social media tools and explore public-private partnerships. Former Massachusetts State Rep. Jeffrey D. Perry (top right) has been appointed to the post of special sheriff of Barnstable County. Jason Hami, who has served as the city engineer and public works director for the last nine years in Marysville, California, has been named city manager, replacing City Manager Jack Schumacher, who is retiring. The Menifee, California, City Council has picked William "Bill" Rawlings, a 23-year veteran of city government management, as the next city manager, replacing Steve Harding, who has served as interim city manager and former City Manager George Wentz, who resigned. Deputy Power Manager Jane Blair has been named by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to serve as manager Tommy TylerDave LopezCesar Condafor the power office in Salt Lake City, overseeing the operation and maintenance of hydroelectric power generation facilities in four states, including Utah. Tommy Tyler (middle right), superintendent of the Fouke, Arkansas, schools, is retiring in June, after having replaced longtime Superintendent Paulette Smith, who died in 2009. Dave Lopez (middle center), longtime former telecommunications executive, has been chosen by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to serve as the state's new commerce secretary. Cesar Conda (middle left), former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and adviser to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has been named by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as Rubio's chief of staff. Darryl Ackley, administrator at the Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, has been nominated by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez to serve as secretary of New Mexico's Department of Information Technology, replacing Marlin Mackey, who was appointed in 2009 and succeeded by interim CIO Bob Mayer. Former Economic Development secretary-designated and former deputy secretary in charge of Mexican affairs, international trade and science and technology issues, Allan Oliver, will now head the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce as president and chief executive. Ed Rendell (bottom left), former Ed RendellRobert HannaBob Leipergovernor of Pennsylvania, mayor of Philadelphia and city district attorney is rejoining the Ballard Spahr law firm's Philadelphia office after finishing out his second term as governor. Weatherford. Texas. Assistant City Manager Robert Hanna (bottom center) has been chosen as the City of Denison's new city manager, replacing longtime City Manager Larry Cruise, who is retiring. Baytown, Texas City Council has named Bob Leiper (bottom right), a 30-year employee who began working for the city as a firefighter and then went on to become fire chief, assistant city manager and deputy city manager, as the city's new city manager. The Minnesota State College and Universities system has named Steven Rosenstone, vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs at the University of Minnesota, and William Sederburg, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education, as the two finalists for the next chancellor of the system. Larry Singell, Jr., associate dean for social sciences at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon, has been appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Bloomington. Mike Mitchell, Hillsdale, Michigan, city manager, is in negotiations with City of New Buffalo, Michigan, to become New Buffalo's new city manager. 


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TxDOT announces three Small Business Briefing conferences 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services has announced three upcoming FY 2011 Small Business Briefing conferences. A  Nov. 10 conference is set this year in Beaumont, an April 20, 2011, conference is slated in Fort Worth and a July 20, 2011, conference is planned for San Antonio. The conference goal is to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with TxDOT.  Information will be available to help them do business with the agency and the State of Texas.  The sessions not only allow small businesses to be introduced to TxDOT and other state agencies, but also allow them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions.  It also gives agencies a chance to show the myriad of prospects available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2.


Transportation, infrastructure convention slated in D.C. in March

The 4th Annual Transportation & Infrastructure Convention in Washington, D.C.  has been slated for March 9-11. Hear the most up-to-date information on federal policy developments-from the Executive and Congressional branches and national trade associations. Local, state and federal elected and appointed officials will be representing more than 26 states. For more information click here. To register, click here.

AGC planning annual convention in Las Vegas in March

The Associated General Contractors of America will host their 92nd Annual Convention in Las Vegas on March 21-15. General and specialty contractors will hear from experts on the latest impact of state and federal regulations on the construction industry as well as best practices for BIM and contract negotiations and advice on labor management and green building. Those attending the AGC Annual Convention will receive free admittance to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG international exposition that showcases the latest equipment, services, products and technologies, featuring more than 2,000 exhibitors. To register, click here.

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