Volume 2, Issue 48
April 6, 2011
Government, industry teaming up on cyber security

Mary Scott NabersThe whole world worries about cyber security. Threats related to the Internet keep government and industry technicians working continually to assure that networks are protected from cyber attacks and sensitive data is secure. A number of national business organizations are calling for closer collaboration between government and industry.
The Office of Budget and Management reported recently that cyber attacks against the federal government increased 39 percent last year. That is a significant increase. And, even more frightening is the fact that in the last fiscal year, there were 41,776 reports of significant cyber incidents involving malicious intent in the federal network. In some incidents, the stakes were extremely high.




Florida could privatize more services
Private sector partner sought for bridge
New York to spend $542M on technology
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.
Florida lawmakers seeking to privatize more services


Shifting state jobs to private sector aimed at saving millions of dollars

Mike Haridopolos Facing a $4 billion state budget gap, lawmakers in Florida are giving a lot of privatization opportunities for state government services a second look. During the Jeb Bush administration, the state began a move toward seeking private sector vendors who could provide state services more efficiently and less expensively than state government. 

One of the major areas under consideration is the state prison system. One plan being circulated would have about one-fourth of the state's prisoners being housed in private facilities and a third of Florida's probationers monitored by private sector firms. 

Privatization of some of the state's prisons would follow on the heels of a variety of other privatization endeavors, including toll roads, personnel management, information technology and even child adoption services. Already seven of the state's prisons and four mental health facilities are run by private sector firms. The number of services privatized is expected to increase over the next few years, particularly with the support of Gov. Rick Scott. 

Senate President Mike Haridopolis (pictured) said the state is looking for ways to save money. He said he would much rather reduce spending on prisons than on education. Although privatization would displace many state employees, most would have the opportunity to hire on with the private sector firms. And in most instances, private sector firm salaries and benefits are not as costly as those of the state.

Other plans are likely to promote privatization of medical, dental and mental health services for the prison system, which Senate figures say would save $75 million per year. 


Washington State exploring private sector partner for bridge


Cash-strapped states looking for other revenue sources for projects 

Judy ClibbornA new bridge across Interstate 5 is being designed, but funding to pay for the $3.6 billion construction project has not been secured yet. However, planners have already been looking at splitting some of the costs among two states, the feds and local funding through bridge tolls. With state budgets already taxed, the two states involved - Washington and Oregon - are having a difficult time figuring out where their $450 million each share will come from. In fact, they may look to the private sector as a partner. A House transportation bill includes $425,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of using different financing methods on the bridge.

Rep. Judy Clibborn (pictured), who chairs the Transportation Committee, said the goal of the study is to show some new and innovative financing tools. That means looking at the advantages and disadvantages and costs of public-private partnerships. Clibborn said most of the projects are tolled facilities that a private sector partner could use to recoup its initial investment in the projects. She said the study would give officials "very interesting and compelling information."


May 2011 Tx Bond Election

New York to spend $542 million on technology improvements


Wiring, behind-the wall projects, computer purchases on tap for schools

John WhiteDespite impending teacher layoffs, reduced construction spending and reductions in state aid, New York City's Department of Education is planning to increase markedly its technology spending. For next year alone, officials are talking about $542 million that will mostly be used for wiring and other upgrades to city schools. The goal is to provide more online learning and computerized, standardized tests.

"If we want our kids to be prepared for life after high school in the 21st century, we need to consider technology a basic element of public education," said John White (pictured), a deputy chancellor at the Department of Education.  


Current wiring connections are insufficient, say school officials, as technology has improved. The schools plan to spend $465 million to upgrade connections at 363 schools next year and $315 million for more schools in 2014. Officials note the need for bandwidth is ever-increasing. The capital budget from which these funds are being drawn also will include money for classroom computers, but officials did not say how much. That generally comes from each individual school's budget or from grant funds, so the amount per school fluctuates.


Upcoming education opportunities


Georgia district in design stage for new high school

Larry HoskinsThe Atlanta Public Schools expect by May to have completed a $56 million purchase of more than 50 acres for construction of a new North Atlanta High School. APS Deputy Superintendent of Operations Larry Hoskins (pictured) and then the architect chosen will do a complete design for the new school. At least one of two buildings on the site will be used for the new school. The new school will need both an auditorium and cafeteria. Officials say the majority of the project will be renovation. Construction is expected to begin by January 2012 with an 18-month completion schedule.  


Massachusetts school district plans new middle school construction

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has approved plans for a new middle school building in Fall River. The 130,600-square-foot building will be built on the site of the old middle school. The state will pay for 80 percent of the construction costs, which should be completed by 2013.


South Dakota State seeks private partner for two new residence halls

David ChicoineOfficials of South Dakota State University are likely to see RFPs from private developers for a public-private partnership to build two new residence halls. The housing units would be apartment-style living spaces with possible retail space on the ground floor. A shortage in on-campus housing is impacting both retention and recruitment on campus, SDSU officials say. The northeast corner of the campus is the likely location for the two halls, but President David Chicoine (pictured) said the northwest corner will be looked at in the future. Chicoine pledged transparency. "We wouldn't do anything without informing everybody who would have an interest in it," he said. He also said the retail space would be small, probably including a small coffee shop and a convenience store to serve students.


Florida community to welcome new high school construction

The Seacrest Country Day School campus in Naples, Florida, will soon have a new high school campus after the school raised the money necessary to build the $1.5 million building. Officials hope to break ground on June 1. The Village, as the high school is called, suffered water damage and mold in February and it was deemed necessary to replace the facility. The school board mulled either replacing portable buildings at a cost of $700,000 or building a permanent high school facility. The trustees committed $1 million to a new facility and the school got commitments from parents and friends of the school for the remaining $500,000. The new school will have nine classrooms, three resource rooms and office space for administrators and space for meeting, college counseling, computer access and study.


Weber State to finally get Davis campus expansion project

Weber StateWeber State University is about to get its much-needed David campus expansion (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering). The $40 million project will see construction of the new facility at WSU's satellite Davis campus. The state will pay for $31.5 million of the project. The 120,000-square-foot building will facilitate 1,500 college students and several hundred charter high school students. It will also supply masters-level courses to a local technology company's employees. The new building may also house laboratories, food services, fitness facilities and a small ballroom. WSU eventually hopes to be able to put up 10 buildings to serve 12,000 students at its 106-acre David campus.  


Millions in school bond elections being held this week in various states 

A variety of school bond issues are being decided throughout the country this week. Among them are the following:

  • Three proposals are on an Anchorage, Alaska, bond issue. Proposition One calls for more than $37 million in bonding authority to complete renovation and additions to the Service High School, including an auditorium expansion; Proposition Two includes more than $16.8 million to fund design of a career, technical and vocational education at the West/Romig campus and for future renovations at one K-8 and three elementary schools; Proposition Three has a $17 million price tag for improving and expanding Career, Technical and Vocational Education programs at existing schools, including seven high schools, five middle schools and the King Career Center; and
  • In Shawnee, Oklahoma, voters in the Macomb area are deciding an $800,000 bond issue. The proceeds would pay for the addition of two classrooms at the Macomb Middle School, including bricking of the exterior of the school and adding a concession stand and storm shelter.


University library gets $1 million donation to assist with makeover

Ann HammondThe new owner of the former Northside Public Library in Lexington, Kentucky, has received a donation from a major provider of printers and ancillary equipment to help give the facility a facelift. The library is now in the hands of the University of Kentucky. The makeover will help the university establish a center to train math and science educators throughout the state. The printer provider plans to donate up to $1 to assist with the transformation. "We're quite happy that the location is going to continue to be used for educational purposes since that is what we used it for," said Ann Hammond (pictured), executive director of the Lexington Public Library system. The former library location will not only be convenient for teachers, said university officials, but it will also be used for ecological research by UK personnel. The facility was purchased by the university in 2008 for $1.2 million, and the university expects to spend $2 million on its renovation. That renovation is expected to start in August and be completed a year later.


Two school districts gearing up for May bond elections

Two school districts have voted to put school bond elections on the May 10 ballot. In Nebraska, Hitchcock School District No. 70 will float a $7.4 million bond election. The proceeds of the bond sale would be used to build a new elementary school building in Culbertson and add a new classroom wing to a school in Trenton. The bond election would include new construction and mechanical, electrical and fire system upgrades in existing buildings. The bond proceeds would also pay for furniture and other apparatus for the buildings. 


The Ellensburg (Washington) School District will put a $49.34 million bond issue before voters on May 17. The board has requested the county put the bond issue on the May ballot. If the bond passes, the board will purchase five acres of land adjacent to two school properties. The bond issue would allow for the replacement of the Morgan Middle School.


University of Southern Mississippi hopes to build new business building 

Bob PierceA private fundraising campaign is under way for the University of Southern Mississippi to build a new business building. Among the $423 million in a bond bill approved by the State Legislature is $15 million toward the business school. If signed into law, the bill coupled with an allocation from the legislature two years ago will bring the total for the school to $26 million. The building is expected to cost $33 million. The remainder of the total is expected to be made up through private funds. It will include $7 million and an additional $3 million for an upkeep endowment, according to Bob Pierce (pictured), vice president for advancement. Pierce said $2 million of the $10 million has already been raised. The timeline for start of the project has not been determined.


Massachusetts approves funding for expansion of health school

The Brookline Health School will benefit from approval recently by the Massachusetts Building Authority for $3.3 million for its expansion. Among the projects that are part of the expansion are the addition of eight classrooms. The total cost of the expansion will be approximately $8.8 million, with the school paying for the remaining $5.5 million. Some work will begin at the health school this summer, but most will be during the upcoming school year next year, with a completion date of the fall of 2012.


Federal Expert Needed

Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Approval given for final design process on Oregon light rail project

Neil McFarlaneApproval for the final design process has been given for Oregon's 7.3-mile light rail project. Plans can now go forward for TriMet's proposed Orange Line. TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane (pictured) said the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) approval will ensure the region's top transit project "stays on schedule as it moves closer to construction." Before the FTA approval, TriMet was restricted to designing only about 30 percent of the project. Before approval, the FTA inspected documents that were designed to show that TriMet could design, finance, build and operate the new line. The final design status allows authority for design, real estate, demolition, utility relocation and purchase of such materials as rails and ties.


Vermont House passes $544 million transportation package

A $544 million transportation spending package has been passed in the Vermont House. The transportation budget is $137 million more than the pre-stimulus transportation budget, addresses road and bridge repairs and rail service. Among the projects to benefit from the funding would be more than 100 miles of interstate highways and 135 miles of state highway. Following a harsh winter, state roadways that deteriorated as a result of the weather will benefit from a bill that more than doubles spending on those repairs. The budget also includes $112 million for bridge and culvert repair and money to leverage $80 million in funds from a federal railroad grant.


City developing list to add to infrastructure needs, improvements

Robert GarzaBy refinancing existing general fund bonds last December, the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, has created an additional $10 million in bonding authority. The City Council now is developing a list of priority projects that would add to the city's infrastructure or pay for improvements. "We have a refined targeted list of capital projects to pursue," said City Manager Robert Garza (pictured). This money is separate from legislative priorities promoted during the recent legislative session in New Mexico. That session ended without legislation to pay for proposed improvements. Among the city manager's recommendations are a $3 million fire station training facility, a $1 million east side Public Safety Complex and $1.5 million for flood control.


Feasibility study OK'd for Holmes County, Ohio, expo center

Officials of the Holmes County (Ohio) Exposition Center and Agricultural Center Board have contracted for a utilities and feasibility study for the possible construction of a new expo center. Among the projects needed to be accomplished are extending the water and sanitary sewer to the campus of the new fairgrounds. The board has also hired a firm to conduct a feasibility study for the development of the proposed expo center. That report is due later this month and will include assessment of site considerations, rough site diagramming, preliminary construction costs, events marketing, estimated operational costs and next steps. No local tax dollars will be used to fund the project.


California city prepares for construction of new civic center

Gary DavisOfficials in Elk Grove, California, have chosen a site for their proposed civic center. Council member Gary Davis (pictured) said he sees the civic center as an "economic driver" for the city. "It will be a huge economic impetus for us," he said. Among the users the city will seek out are those that will use athletic fields and a competitive sports complex. But the initial push will likely be for a library, children's discovery center, community center and performing arts center. Officials expect the sports-related part of the center to climb up the priority ladder. Construction is expected to begin in about a year. 


County in Oklahoma looking forward to building new courthouse

Officials in Rogers County, Oklahoma, are looking forward to the upcoming start of construction of their new courthouse. The $18 million facility is currently in the design phase, with bids for construction to be opened later this month. Ground is expected to be broken between May and June. The four-story, 102,000-square-foot facility will be constructed east of the current courthouse that was built in 1941. County voters approved a sales tax extension for construction of the building and a countywide 911 dispatch center. Land is currently being purchased for the 911 center. The $1.5 million facility will be about 5,000 square feet. The new courthouse will house all county administrative offices except the election board and the sheriff's office detectives.


New water treatment facility planned for city in Ohio

Gary MilnerA new water treatment facility will be built in Delaware, Ohio, paid for through an increase in water rates. Council members have agreed that since the facility will not be seen by the public, it should go the least expensive route on construction related to aesthetics. Mayor Gary Milner (pictured) said spending $40,000 for appearances on a building few will see did not make sense. An issue from the new plant will be what to do with the liquid waste it creates. The original plan called for the discharge into the Olentangy River, but federal environmental officials may not allow that. If the water were ever to get too low for the river to dilute the discharge, which is heavy in salt content, it could become toxic to mussels and fish in the river. If the federal government does not approve the discharge into the river, the city could face additional funding needs if it has to send the discharge to the waste plant.


Looking for P3 opportunities?

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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.



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 John Omachonu.


John OmachonuJohn Omachonu, a veteran of more than 20 years of international broadcasting experience and 20 years of veteran college teaching, earned his bachelor's degree in psychology, and his master's and doctoral degrees in mass communications from Howard University. He served postdoctoral administrative fellowships with the Freedom Forum's Leadership Institute for Journalism & Mass Communication Administrators, the Journalism and Mass Communication Leadership Institute for Diversity and the Management Development Program at Harvard University. Omachonu joined Middle Tennessee State University's College of Mass Communication in July 2004 as associate dean and professor of electronic media communication. He was the college's interim dean from October 2007 to September 2008 while the university sought a new dean. Omachonu has also served as associate professor and chairman of the Department of Communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, from 2000-2004 and was associate professor and chairman of the Department of Mass Communications at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. The longtime educator and communications expert has been serving as interim vice provost at Middle Tennessee State since July of last year. He was recently chosen by the university as full-time vice provost for academic affairs, effective July 1. 


Did you know...
Did You Know

...that SPI's government training team provides procurement workshops to public sector officials that offer professional Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits?


Opportunity of the week...

A city in Arkansas will soon be seeking bids for four major capital improvement water projects with a total cost of $25 million, including a 3-million-gallon elevated storage tank and installation of 18-inch and 24-inch water lines. Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or


Did you miss TGI?



Chip SimmonsFrancisco VazquezGary PerkowskiChip Simmons (top left), who began his career with the Pensacola Police Department in 1986 as a recruit and rose through the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief, has been named the city's new chief of police. Navy veteran Francisco Vazquez (top middle) was recently selected as the new associate director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and will serve as chief operating officer. Gary Perkowski (top right), former Carlsbad, New Mexico, mayor and retired educator, is the newly named interim superintendent of Carlsbad Municipal Schools. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in New York has selected David State, an assistant attorney general with the New York State Attorney's office, as its new general counsel, to replace David Gregory, who retired last year. Having lost its business and finance director when John Warfield resigned, the Alamogordo Public Schools have decided to hire Debbie Zurzolo of Clovis as a consultant until a new director is found. A Navajo Nation businessman, Arthur Allison, has been chosen by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as secretary of the state Indian Affairs Department. Broward (Florida) Schools Superintendent Jim Notter (middle right), has announced that he will retire on June Jim NotterFrank CoffinNancy Grasmick30, three years before his contract expires. Beaumont (Texas) Police Chief Frank Coffin (middle center), who has been a member of the city's police force for nearly 40 years and chief since 2006, has announced he will retire, effective Sept. 30. Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick (middle left), who has been in charge of the district for two decades, has announced she will retire at the end of June. Patricia Lucas, current assistant superintendent of personnel at Lincoln County (W. Virginia) Schools, has been named superintendent of the school, replacing David Roach, who is stepping down June 30. Lyndon Bonner, who has 16 years of experience in government management, will be North Miami Beach's new city manager, replacing Kevin Baker, who was fired last year. Steve McNeal, who has been serving as assistant superintendent in the Beloit, Wisconsin, schools, has been chosen as superintendent, to replace Milton Thompson, who is taking a job in northern Illinois. Ken Black (bottom left), head of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs since November 2009 and replacing former Secretary John Scocos, has Ken BlackRobert BellRichard Lemackresigned. Robert Bell (bottom center), who has served as interim city manager for Redwood City, California, since last November, has been named city manager, replacing Peter Ingram, who resigned. Richard Lemack (bottom right) is the new town administrator in Davie, Florida, replacing former town administrator Gary Shimun, who was fired in January. Detective Quentin Holmes, who has been with the Monroe (Louisiana) Police Department since 1985 and has worked in the patrol and detective divisions, has been chosen the new Monroe Police Chief. Lisa Brady, a veteran educator in the New Jersey schools, has been named superintendent of Dobbs Ferry schools, replacing Debra Kaplan, who is retiring. Paul Kreider, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Western Illinois University, will serve as West Virginia University's new dean of the College of Creative Arts, effective June 30. Twin Falls, Idaho, has named Assistant City Manager Travis Rothweiler as its next city manager, to replace outgoing City Manager Tom Courtney. City Clerk Marilyn McCoy is leaving the city of St. Charles, Missouri, after 40 years of service and will be replaced by Deputy Clerk Laura Whitehead.


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NAESP gearing up for annual convention, expo in Tampa in April

The National Association of Elementary School Principals will host its 2011 Annual Convention and Exposition on April 7-10 in Tampa, Fla., at the Tampa Convention Center. General session speakers will include Sir Ken Robinson, who will address "Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative" and Vernice Armour will address "The Three Ps of Success: Passion, Purpose and Positive Steps." There will be a number of extended learning sessions, while renowned experts in school leadership will set the stage for breakout sessions and concurrent sessions in five focus areas. Exhibit space is available. For more information and registration form, click here.


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.


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