Volume 2, Issue 43
March 2, 2011 
Government will be reaching out to private sector partners in light of weak economy

Mary Scott NabersI attended the National Governor's Conference in Washington, D.C. last week and it was interesting to note that there was a consensus on one issue - government will be reaching out to the private sector in the months to come for assistance in all types of ways. The issues discussed were all critical in nature and most related to the nation's weak economy. Almost all solutions and options discussed included some level of interaction with private sector partners.  

The nation's economic situation is wreaking havoc on state budgets. In fact, the states' budget deficits collectively total $175 billion over the next two years.




National, interoperable communication system discussed
Baltimore County plans technology initiatives
Upcoming education opportunities
Other upcoming contracting opportunities
Where are they now?
Opportunity of the week
Calendar of events
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
National, interoperable communication system discussed


Obama administration seeks $10.7B so public safety officials can communicate

Safety NetworkThe events of 9-11 led to the realization of the gaping hole in communication efforts nationwide among government officials, public safety organizations and emergency responders. Now almost a decade later, a national interoperable wireless communications system is at the forefront of White House conversations.  The Obama administration has offered a proposal that would infuse $10.7 billion into the creation of a nationwide broadband network for public safety officials. Unlike the problems public safety officials in different jurisdictions had in trying to communicate with each other during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this approach would provide a broadband block for use every day as well as in emergency situations.

The old two-way radio communication among firefighters, emergency responders and law enforcement could be on its way out under the administration's scenario. Instead, communications systems would be built on a single technology standard that would be interoperable, allowing firefighters in one city to communicate with police officers in another. The result would be a more effective approach to public safety and shortened response times.
In addition to radio communication, the system would provide for streaming video, texting and GPS applications. It is hoped that eventually, the broadband system also would provide voice capabilities that could replace radio systems.

Finding a source of funding for the proposal remains an issue. A public-private partnership is being explored, along with other possibilities. Local public safety workers note that it's one of those "you can pay me now, or pay me later" issues because if the wireless network is not built, repairs to the existing network will eventually cost as much as the wireless one.


Baltimore County planning host of technology initiatives


Officials say they will recoup $5 million investment in three to five years

Kevin Kamenetz Nearly two-dozen technology initiatives covering county government in Baltimore County, Maryland, have been announced as the county seeks to improve its efficiency and speed its customer service. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (pictured) hopes to implement the initiatives quickly, looking to recover in three to five years the entire $5 million it will invest in the projects.

After studying the various agencies, Kamenetz said officials "came up with ways to take advantage of technology to streamline our processes, reduce duplication of effort and provide instant access to information among related departments." Kamenetz predicts that not only will the country recoup its investment, but it will continue to save money for years afterward. The county is looking to include everything from an online services portal for citizens to a system that allows law enforcement officers to submit reports and issue citations while in the field.

Other planned projects include automating some business processes related to permits and inspections, installing a program to coordinate and track the subdivision and development review and approval process, a program to allow law enforcement a tracking program for receiving, categorizing and tracking crime tips, automating an animal control and licensing system, implementing a program to allow senior citizens to call in their daily rides to the county ride system, implementing an inventory scanner in the vehicle maintenance area and installing a fiber optic network throughout the county that will deliver high-speed network and Internet access for public safety, health care, education and job creation purposes.

To view the full report on the 23 initiatives, click here.


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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 click here or call Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 to schedule a conversation.


Upcoming education opportunities


Five new schools would result from successful bond issue in West Virginia

Susan CollinsFive new schools will be built in the Harrison County (West Virginia) School District if voters there approve a proposed $96 million bond issue scheduled for May. The bond includes $72 million in bond proceeds and $25 million in State School Building Authority funds. If approved, a new Northern Harrison County Middle School will be built, as well as elementary schools in Johnson, Lost Creek and North View. A new Clarksburg Elementary would also be built. Other schools would see renovations. School Superintendent Susan Collins (pictured) said support for the bond's passage is already gaining support among the public. "We have hopefully given them what they wanted," she said.


New York to get first-ever 'net zero' school facility

New York's School Construction Authority has approved the first-of-its-kind "net zero" school to be built in Staten Island. As a "net zero" school, the facility will generate enough energy to offset its usage. P.S. 62 in the Rossville section of southern Staten Island should set the bar for what is to be expected in school buildings of the future in the state. The building will be on a 3.5-acre site and will accommodate 444 seats inside the 70,000-square-foot building. In addition to meeting the needs of a facility for housing students in classrooms, the building will also serve as a teaching lab to teach students abut energy efficiency and sustainability. The city's School Construction Authority has been ensuring that civic buildings being built were built to sustainability standards, featuring efficient HVAC systems, light sensors and recycled materials in their construction. 


Texas Tech University Board of Regents OKs chapel on Lubbock campus

Kelly OverleyTexas Tech University regents recently OK'd construction of a 250-seat, $3 million campus chapel that will be paid for with two $1.5 million private donations. University officials now want to set up an endowment to fund upkeep costs to the chapel, which is expected to open next summer. Already, requests to book the 7,000-square-foot facility for weddings are coming in, said Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Kelly Overley (pictured). University officials have been planning the structure for several years but were waiting until all of the necessary private funding was in hand before construction could occur. 


Washington school district planning $44.75 million bond issue for expansion

The East Valley (Washington) School District will take a $33.75 million bond issue before voters to upgrade schools in the district. The district is planning to transition to a system of Pre-K through 8th grade schools, replacing its current program of separate elementary and middle schools. To do that, the district will need to float a bond issue for the funds necessary to expand and modernize the Pre-K through 8th grade buildings. Among the upgrades will be construction of more than three-dozen new classrooms and four gyms across the district. Other improvements planned include safety and security upgrades, electrical, plumbing, roofing, HVAC, flooring and educational technology upgrades.


Connecticut State  System campuses to benefit from $1.28 million in bond approval

David CarterSeveral projects in the Connecticut State University System will be funded thanks to the State Bond Commission's approval of $12.8 million for the system. Renovations costing $3.87 million will be done to the former student center at Southern. That project's completion will allow the School of Business to move into an academic facility. A design for the renovation of the new home for the School of Business has been completed and will proceed thanks to the bonds. Another $5.2 million was approved for the construction of a Public Safety building at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), to replace the former residence and trailer currently serving the department. Fire code improvements totaling $1 million were also approved for Davidson Hall on the CCSU campus. An allocation of $2.7 million will go toward relocation of an NCAA regulation softball field at Eastern Connecticut State University. CSUS Chancellor David G. Carter (pictured) said all of the projects approved had a "compelling and demonstrated need," adding, "Our universities are an investment in Connecticut's future."


University of Colorado preparing for $20 million in renovations at dorm

Kittredge West Hall, a college dorm on the University of Colorado campus, is about to undergo a $20 million renovation. The university already has renovated other Kittredge dorm community facilities, including Buckingham, Andrews and Arnett halls. Renovation costs for the projects are between $14 million and $16 million. The last renovation is expected to be on the Kittredge Common, which is expecting a new building to replace the current building and to house 240 beds. Renovations are expected to begin in May of next year. 


Regional vocational school being planned for Massachusetts city

Anne Manning-MartinThe Peabody (Massachusetts) City Council has approved funding for its share of the $133 million costs to be incurred by the design, building and furnishing of a new regional vocational school in Danvers. Peabody will pay $12.7 million toward the total cost and will be joined by 17 other cities and towns that are part of the recently created Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District and have pledged to help build the school. Organizers are planning for all but $31 million of the $133 million in costs to come from state grants and the sale of the North Shore Technical School building. Peabody will pay the lion's share of the costs because the amount paid is based on how many students in each of the entities are expected to attend the school. Peabody expects to send nearly a quarter of the anticipated 700-plus students to the school. "This will offer our students training in a 21st-century trade and technology," Council President Anne Manning-Martin (pictured) said.


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Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Texas city to add plaza, other changes to downtown civic center

Civic CenterThe Pitser Garrison Civic Center in downtown Lufkin (Texas), is about to get a major overhaul. A plaza will be added for outdoor events and a gathering place or amphitheater. A shelter section also will be added with a larger foyer and a large conference room. The plans for the additions and changes (see accompanying architect's rendering) are about 95 percent complete and the project is expected to go out for bids as early as this month. Officials are hoping for completion 14 months after the project begins. The new construction, valued at $6.8 million, comes from money allocated for reconstruction following damages caused by Hurricane Ike. The new facility is expected to be approximately 35,000 square feet and can also be used as a long-term or short-term shelter with kitchen, showers and laundry facilities. Because the city is located hours away from the coast, it is a prime destination for those who might be fleeing a storm in the Gulf. Officials also hope the facility can be used for conferences and other large events.


Florida contemplating advertising revenue as new source of funding

Legislators in Florida are considering a possible new revenue source - advertising on state parks and state transportation assets. Legislation has been filed that would allow selling naming rights and advertising. It has also been proposed that ad space might be sold on school buses. The bills would provide for an advertising czar who would negotiate contracts and ensure good taste in the ads and naming rights. Florida would not be the only state considering the proposal, as New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California have opted to sell naming rights as a new source of revenue.


City officials override mayor in quest for replacement tunnel in Seattle

Tom RasmussenThe Seattle City Council recently voted to override Mayor Mike McGinn's veto and approve moving forward with a replacement tunnel for the Highway 99 viaduct. Saying the council has the responsibility to protect lives, Council member Tom Rasmussen (pictured) said the viaduct is "fragile," and replacement should not be delayed. The $2 billion project is expected to create thousands of jobs. Groundbreaking cannot begin until an environmental impact statement is completed next summer. A second phase of agreements with the state would follow, and then clear the way for construction to begin.


New York City seeking banks to run its services, buildings

The City of New York is seeking a partnership with private sector investment banks to improve the management of its assets, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vowed not to sell any of the city's properties. He is seeking firms that will endeavor to use the existing work forces in their contracts, or at least increase their productivity. Among the services that might be turned over to the private sector are such things as management of city parking meters, transportation systems and installation and maintenance of equipment. Public safety programs, however, would remain as the city government's responsibility.


Atlanta Falcons, Georgia World Congress Center Authority discuss new stadium

A. J. RobinsonA new $700 million open-air stadium in downtown Atlanta could be the new home of the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons. The NFL team and the Authority have entered into a "memorandum of understanding" that will allow them to begin negotiations over financing and other details related to the proposed stadium. A. J. Robinson (pictured), president of Central Atlanta Progress, said a new stadium could help revitalize surrounding areas downtown. "It could have tremendous positive impact on our community," he said. A new stadium could open as early as 2017 and be located about a half mile north of the Georgia Dome. The next step will be putting together plans for the facility, figuring out a revenue-sharing proposal, addressing financing by the state and the Falcons and setting lease terms. The enclosed Georgia Dome would remain standing for other events more suited by an indoor stadium. If all the stars align, the stadium funding would go to the bond market in 2013 or 2014, with $350 to $400 million hoped to be raised. Construction could begin once the bonds were secured. The Falcons would likely be responsible for the remainder of the funding. 


Oklahoma House committee gives OK to proposed government consolidation

The Oklahoma State Legislature's House of Representatives' Government Modernization Committee recently approved legislation that would consolidate the information technology services of all state agencies under the Office of State Finance. All IT-related employees, funds and property would be transferred from one agency to the other as well. The proposal has the blessing of Gov. Mary Fallin, who has stated that the state can save more than $192 million by consolidating IT services. The committee also approved another bill that would move the Human Rights Commission to the Attorney General's Office and shift the Center for Advancement of Science and Technology, Development Finance Authority and Industrial Finance Authority to the Department of Commerce.


Los Angeles County transit authority buys historic Union Station

Don KnabeThe historic Union Station, a national landmark built in the late 1930s, has been purchased for $75 million by the Los Angeles County Transit Authority. The purchase also includes the nearly 40 acres on which the station sits and development rights to 5.9 million square feet of property around the station. The transit authority plans now to expand its operations. Calling Union Station "critical" to the current and future mobility of the region, County Supervisor and chair of the Metropolitan Transit Authority board Don Knabe (pictured), noted, "We now have the ability to retain the historic nature of Union Station and prepare it to serve as a world-class, 21st century transportation hub." The station will be used to help deal with an expected increase in passengers after the Westside subway extension is approved. It will also serve as a downtown connector for light-rail, a growing bus service and possibly a high-speed rail system. 


Huge rail complex in Dona Ana County could begin this year

A huge Union Pacific rail complex in Dona Ana County (New Mexico) could begin this year. The $400 investment is contingent on the New Mexico Legislature eliminating its tax on locomotive fuel, which the legislature is in the middle of doing. A bill eliminating the tax was passed out of the House Transportation and Public Works Committee last week. The Santa Teresa rail project could create up to 3,000 jobs in the state when it is being constructed, along with as many as 600 full-time positions. Work is expected to begin this year and continue through 2014.

Nation's airports will need $80.1 billion in upgrades over next five years

Greg PrincipatoA survey by the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) estimates that $80.1 billion in capital projects at airports throughout the country will be needed over the next five years for capital projects. That includes upgrades, runway expansions, terminals and other infrastructure. "These projects are considered essential to meet forecasted passenger and cargo growth," said Greg Principato, ACI-NA president. The largest share of the capital work necessary, according to reports on 107 airports, is at large hub airports. Those airports alone account for nearly half of the funding necessary - at $39.9 billion. Work on terminals would require most of that funding - $22.7 billion. Airfield capacity projects would cost $14.5 billion and airfield reconstruction projects total $13.4 billion.


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 Ann Ravel.


Ann RavelAnn Ravel has worked in local government for decades. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her law degree from Hastings College of the Law. In 1977, she joined the Santa Clara County Counsel's Office as a deputy, advancing to chief deputy and then chief assistant. She was appointed county counsel in 1998. In May, she was appointed by the Obama Administration as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division, where she headed the Torts Branch and the Office of Consumer Litigation. The office was charged with litigation relating to drugs, consumer products, trade and highway traffic safety. Ravel was recently chosen by California Gov. Jerry Brown to replace Dan Schnur as chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission. Before her appointment, Ravel said the agency could deal more fairly with the officials it regulates. Ravel will begin her new post in July.


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In addition to writing successful grants for public and private funding, Ann Brockette, Ph.D., has taught grant writing for nearly a dozen years and brings that experience to the Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Special Services Division. Brockette is knowledgeable regarding public funding requirements, is noted for the accuracy and readability of the documents she produces and can put together a team of writers with credentials in grant writing to meet clients' needs. Brockette has drafted grants for education, social services, health care, economic development and law enforcement. She has a reputation for helping clients win funding time after time. For a complete portfolio of SPI experts and services, to inquire about specific services or to inquire about becoming a part of SPI's new Special Services division, contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3917 or For information on other individuals in SPI's Special Services division and their areas of expertise, click here.
Federal Expert Needed


Chris VeinEric FingerhutJack FortnerSan Francisco Chief Information Officer Chris Vein (top left) is White House bound as deputy chief technology officer for innovation in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, under Aneesh Chopra. Although his term is not set to expire until March 2012, Eric Fingerhut (top center), chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, has announced that he will step down March 13, but expects to continue working in higher education. Jack Fortner (top right), a senior partner in a prominent New Mexico law firm in Farmington and a former San Juan County commissioner, has been reappointed to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has announced his transition team: David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry and the departing mayor's chief of staff; Sarah Pang, an insurance firm executive and former aide to the outgoing mayor; Steve Koch, who served on the economics and international trade team of the Obama-Biden transition; the Rev. Byron Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God on the South Side and former CIO for the Chicago Housing Authority; Judy Erwin, former state representative and former director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; Felicia Davis, former police officer and Kendall Bowden HightArt JohnsonBill MaloneCollege administrator; and Rebecca Gonzalez, vice president of a social service provider. Bowden Hight (middle right), former director of Information Technology Services at the Railroad Commission of Texas, will bring more than 25 years of public and private information technology experience to his new position as CIO of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Palm Beach County School District Superintendent Art Johnson (middle center) is ending his career with the district, but will stay on for 90 days offering assistance to interim superintendent Bill Malone,(middle left) a former deputy chief operating officer. Mike Rogers, Wayne County (Michigan) roads director, has been fired apparently following complaints regarding the slow removal of snow in a storm that dumped 10 inches of snow in the area. Roger Ellis, who began his career with the Lubbock Police Department as a patrol officer in 1983 and later became a homicide detective, member of he Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force and commander of the negotiation team, was recently named the department's 21st police chief. The San Juan College Board of Trustees recently voted to terminate Carol J. Carol SpencerMike TachaRobert CrowleySpencer (bottom left) as president of the Farmington, New Mexico, community college when her contract was up for renewal, naming former vice president for learning at San Juan College and former Mohave Community College president Mike Tacha (bottom center) as interim president. Robert Crowley (bottom right), president of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corp., recently resigned as head of the state's venture capital firm, a post he has held since 2002, effective June 30. Norfolk (Virginia) City Manager Marcus Jones has hired a new budget director, Sabrina Joy-Hogg, a policy and planning specialist for Virginia's budget office, effective March 1. Mike McLaughlin, a fire division chief for the city of Merced (California) since 2007, has been named fire chief, succeeding Chief Ken Mitten, who served the department more than 40 years. Ed Bonahue, who has served as associate vice president for academic affairs and chair of humanities and foreign language at Santa Fe (Florida) College and has been serving as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs since May 2009, has been named the new provost of the college.


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NASCIO planning 2011 Midyear Conference in D.C. in May

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) will hold its 2011 Midyear Conference May 3-6 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Among the topics will be the evolving role of the state CIO and IT's impact in state government transformation. The annual conference provides an opportunity for state government and corporate members to discuss issues facing the IT field in both the public and private sectors. For more information and to register, click here.


TxDOT Fort Worth Small Business Briefing conference 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services reaches across Texas to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with state entities. The Fort Worth Small Business Briefing conference is set for April 20. Information will be available to help small business owners better understand how to 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. The final conference is planned for San Antonio on July 20, 2011. 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 12-15. 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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