Volume 3, Issue 4
May 11, 2011
Government contractors watching proposal to require disclosure of political donations

Mary Scott NabersGovernment contractors should definitely monitor the progress of a proposed new executive order that would require disclosure of political donations.   

The order, which was drafted last month, is similar to a bill called the Disclose Act which died in Congress last year. That particular bill was introduced with the objective of forcing government contractors to itemize all donations to federal candidates, political parties, committees or interest groups if their contributions exceeded $5,000 over a 12-month period.




High-speed rail funds redistributed
Michigan school executives shared
Public-private partnerships
Upcoming education opportunities
Other upcoming contracting opportunities
Where are they now?
Opportunity of the week
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High-speed rail funds refused by Floria being redistributed


Lion's share - $800 million - goes to projects in Northeast corridor

High Speed RailWhen Gov. Rick Scott of Florida refused the $2 billion in federal funds allocated to his state for high-speed rail service between Tampa and Orlando, officials from other states started licking their lips. Scott feared the number of users predicted for the rail project in the Sunshine State would not be as high as projected and that taxpayers would bear the financial burden of the train. 


When other states were invited to bid for the surplus funds, the U.S. Department of Transportation received 90 applications, seeking a total of $10 billion. Amtrak and rail projects in 15 other states applied and their allocations were recently announced.

The lion's share of the funding went to the Northeast corridor, to increase train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph. Nearly $800 million was allocated for those projects. Another $404 million went to the Midwest, including new segments of a 110 mph track between Detroit and Chicago. And finally, almost $340 million is headed to California and the Midwest for state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars. A route between San Francisco and Los Angeles will benefit from another $300 million headed to California for trains that travel up to 220 mph.


Among the awards:

  • New York - Rochester Station and Track Improvements - $1.4 million for a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for a new Rochester Intermodal Station on the Empire Corridor;
  • Texas - Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston Core Express Service - $15 million for engineering and environmental work to develop a high-speed rail corridor linking two of the largest metro areas in the U.S., Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston;
  • California Corridors - $68 million to acquire 15 high-performance passenger rail cars and 4 quick-acceleration locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridors in California; and
  • Amtrak - NEC Power, Signal, Track, Catenary Improvements - $450 million to boost capacity, reliability and speed in one of the most heavily traveled sections of the Northeast Corridor, creating a 24-mile segment of track capable of supporting train speeds up to 160 mph.  

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


Michigan schools share executives to make ends meet 


Education officials being innovative in dealing with budget shortfalls

Keith WunderlichBudget shortfalls, decreasing revenues and cuts in state funding are forcing school districts throughout the country to be innovative in trying to stretch their dollars. In Michigan, some schools are trying to avoid closings or no longer providing certain services by sharing their executives.

Keith Wunderlich (pictured) serves as superintendent of the New Haven Community Schools and as assistant superintendent of the nearby L'Anse Creuse Public Schools in Macomb County. Wunderlich said the program "makes sense financially." At least six Michigan districts currently share a superintendent with another district. The shared services include sharing a business official, a food service director and a special education director.  In addition to shared administrators, some Michigan schools also are consolidating business departments and other key services. All are helping prevent the dreaded "C" word - consolidation. And most officials realize that a district may have some reduction in service by sharing officials. Wunderlich noted, "We found a middle ground where people don't lose identity."


May 2011 Tx Bond Election

Public-Private Partnerships...

Innovative ideas result in new sources of government revenue


Group effort transforms shipping containers into fire training facility

It may not be pretty, but it's functional! That's the word on the Johnstown (Pennsylvania) fire department's new facilities. A public-private partnership is responsible for the transformation of six shipping containers and a vacant industrial lot into a training facility for Johnstown firefighters. Painted fire-engine red, the three-story structure will replace an abandoned building as the site of the new training facility. The department was awarded a $100,000 state grant and then the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority leased the site for the training facility to the city and prepared the lot for construction using federal funds, with brownfield funds to remediate the site. A local steel fabricating company then assembled the building for a cheaper cost than any other builder. What were once six used shipping containers was transformed into a state-of-the-art training space that could become a prototype for a national product with features to test firefighters' skills.

County seeking developers for P3 to save school building

Wendell DavisCounty officials in Durham, North Carolina, have decided to use the funds they had approved for upgrades and renovations to the historic Whitted School building instead to try to lure a private partner to do what is necessary to bring the building back for modern use. The original plan was to replace the roof, remove asbestos and secure the facility - a $1.5 million project. But Deputy City Manager Wendell Davis (pictured) has since proposed using $210,000 to patch the roof and secure the building while using the remaining $1.3 million for developer incentives. Developers and architects mostly agreed that spending $1.5 million as originally planned would still be just a band-aid approach to the problem. Davis said they all told him that "those funds could be better used as incentives for a developer, and obviously with that kind of public participation it would put them in much better position in terms of their ability to go after the tax credits." They did, however, recommend focusing on the roof immediately before further damage is done.


Bridges could see advertising to increase state revenues

It's a rather odd public-private partnership, but it's still a P3. Five bridges on the Hudson River are going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars through advertisements. The New York State Bridge Authority, which owns and maintains the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges - has announced that it will sell advertising space in the front windows of toll booths. The authority, which receives no taxes and few grants, gains all of its operating costs through tolls. So selling space in the toll booth windows is a viable way to bring in additional funds.


Upcoming education opportunities


Ohio school district successful in passing its bond issue

Wade LucasThe Olentangy (Ohio) school district has successfully passed a $24.4 million bond issue. The levy request will generate approximately $25 million per year and will be used for salaries, utilities and supplies. The bond issue will build a new elementary school, add $3 million in new technology and $3.9 million in capital improvements. Superintendent Wade Lucas (pictured) praised voters for passing the bond vote saying it is indicative that "the community places a high value on education."


Maryland adds $11 million to school construction funding

Maryland state officials have approved close to $11 million in additional school construction and renovation funds for Baltimore County. The money will be used for an addition to the Hampton Elementary School and renovations at Milford Mill and Parkville High Schools. The Hampton project includes a 300-seat addition costing $5.4 million. Parkville High will see $2.6 million in renovations, as will Milford Mill High. Architects have already finalized the design phase for Mayfield High School and bids for construction on that facility are expected to be sought this summer.


Oklahoma education board transfers budget preparation power

Janet BarisseFollowing up on legislation that passed in April, the Oklahoma State Board of Education voted recently to transfer budget preparation power for Oklahoma's public schools to state Superintendent Janet Barresi (pictured). The legislation would have taken effect 90 days after the legislature adjourned, but the board voted to go ahead and implement the provisions of the law. The new law allows Baressi to control and direct the Department of Education, the board is still responsible for supervising the state's public school system and adopting policies and guidelines. "This is allowing me to run the department," she said, adding that she did not expect the public would see any difference at all.


Ohio school district voters approve bond issue

Voters in the Willard (Ohio) School District recently passed a .75 percent income tax and levy to help build a new building. The school also passed a bond issue for the purpose of building a new school, renovating and improving the sites and purchasing land to be repaid over 32 years.


New school complex aimed at all aspects of educating children

Geoffrey CanadaIt's being called a "holistic" education complex. The $100 million Harlem facility, 60 percent of which is being paid for by city taxpayers, will not only include school facilities, but also a community center, recreation rooms and a health clinic. Geoffrey Canada (pictured), "Waiting for Superman" educator said the facility is "not just a school." Rather, he said, "We're trying to give all the support our kids are going to need in one place." The state-of-the-art building will feature 52 classrooms with Smart-boards and computers, three science labs, a two-floor library, a gym, auditorium, cafeteria, fitness  room and dance studio. The city's Department of Education has pledged $60 million for the 135,000-square-foot building. Promise Academy has put up another $40 million in private funding. The New York City Housing Authority is involved as well, with the Harlem Children's Zone playing NYCHAT $7 million to build on its land.


University of Missouri plans renovation project on facility

Gwynn Hall on the campus of the University of Missouri is awaiting a facelift. Plans for renovation are being ironed out and construction could start in summer 2013. The facility, part of the College of Human and Environmental Sciences, would have cost more to repair than to completely renovate it. The renovation is expected to last 15-16 months. The new building will have carpet, new windows and ceilings. A new elevator will be added and a second stairway installed. Some $8-$8.5 million for the renovation will come from the campus and the rest will come from the College of Human Environmental Sciences.


WKU approves capital construction plan during quarterly meeting

Gary RansdellThe Board of Regents of Western Kentucky University has approved the university's 2012-2018 capital construction plan and prioritized the top three projects. Those projects include renovating the science campus, replacing underground infrastructure, constructing a new Gordon Ford College of Business and renovating Grise Hall. Renovating the science campus would include construction of the Thompson Complex Central Wing, removing the Thompson Complex North Wing, revamping the Hardin Planetarium and adding space for the SKyTeach program. WKU President Gary Ransdell (pictured) said providing space for the SKyTeach program, designed to prepare students wanting to teach science and math in middle or secondary schools, is a priority.


Looking for P3 Opps?

Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Funding for expansion of San Jose convention center approved

Chuck ReedSan Jose (California) officials have approved $120 million in funding for an expansion project on the city's McEnery Convention Center. The project includes adding 125,000 square feet of meeting space, a new ballroom and renovation of the existing structure. When completed, the addition will bring the total square footage for the facility to 550,000 square feet. The expansion is being funded by a dedicated hotel tax that can only be used for capital improvements at the center, according to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed (pictured), who acknowledged the funding from hotel owners during "challenging budget times." The convention center will remain open during the construction, which is expected to be completed in September 2013. The new additions are expected to help the city attract meetings, which in turn will provide economic benefits to the city.


Contractors can sign up for Tuscaloosa debris removal contracting work

Some $75 million to $100 million in local cleanup efforts are expected following the devastation caused by tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Contractors seeking debris removal work can apply online through the general contractor working on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps already has a general contract in place for storm cleanup in this region. Contracts for activities related to a natural disaster are let every five years and the current contract is with a Tennessee firm. Contractors interested in work can go here to fill out the necessary forms. The general contractor also often hires local firms as subcontractors because they are already in the area and ready to work. Specific requirements for potential Alabama debris cleanup subcontractors are listed on the signup page of the general contractor's Web site.  


Alabama courthouse project nearing selection of contractor

The Lauderdale County (Alabama) courthouse renovation project is one step away from advertising for a construction contractor. The county commission has authorized the project's architect to begin advertising for contractors to submit bids. The project will be advertised for three weeks. The commissioners are seeking to find a way to best utilize the space in the courthouse. Once the bids are opened and a contract awarded, work could begin in the net 30-45 days. The renovation will involve every floor of the courthouse and is expected to take almost a year to complete. The old jail will be turned into the new sheriff's office. The juvenile probation office will move into where the sheriff's office was and the old probation office will be added to an expanded district attorney's office. A new grand jury room will be added to the second floor. Most of the other renovations are minor.


Governor urges use of local contractors in Alabama tornado cleanup

Robert BentleyAlabama Gov. Robert Bentley (pictured) is urging the use of local contractors and workers as the state digs out from under the devastation and damages caused by last month's killer tornadoes across the state. If a local jurisdiction uses a private contractor for debris removal, the State of Alabama will assume the non-federal cost share for 30 days from the date the local jurisdiction notifies the contractor to proceed.  If the local jurisdiction requests the US Army Corps of Engineers perform the debris removal, the State of Alabama will assume the non-federal cost share for debris removal for 30 days. Bentley is urging the use of local workers and contractors and said he would be "watching it very closely" to ensure locals get their fair share of contracts. He cited federal regulations that mandates preference be given to organizations, firms and individuals residing or doing business primarily in the affected area of the emergency.


Minnesota announces program to improve 700 miles of state highways

Minnesota state officials have rolled out their Better Roads for a Better Minnesota program that is aimed not only at improving some 700 miles of state highways, but also in creating more than 9,000 jobs. The proposals spans four years and will specifically address highways currently determined to be in "poor" condition. Officials say if none of those roadways are addressed, the number of miles of highway in that category would increase to 1,900 by 2020. The funding for the $398 million program will come from current state and federal funds and previously authorized bonds. Some $980 million in funding has been previously committed through June 2014 for road projects.


Louisiana legislature gets capital construction proposal

The capital construction proposal for the next fiscal year has been submitted to the Louisiana State Legislature. In the document are proposed projects related to health care infrastructure, tourism, transportation, education and more.


A small sampling of the projects proposed for funding are:

  • $1.705 million for Louisiana State University's (LSU) Health Sciences Center to expand the emergency room at the University Medical Center in Lafayette parish;
  • $1 million toward LA Highway 335 road improvements in Vermilion parish;
  • $8 million toward the second phase of the Animal and Food Science Facilities Renovations and Modernizations at the LSU Agricultural Center in East Baton Rouge parish;
  • $7 million toward replacement and renovations of HVAC systems at the State Capitol in East Baton Rouge parish;
  • $1.18 million toward roof replacement at the Tyler Mental Health Center in Lafayette parish;
  • $170,000 for the replacement of the fire alarm and sprinkler system at the Office of Aging and Adult Services in East Feliciana parish;
  • $635,000 for Wastewater System Improvements for the Acadiana Regional Airport in Iberia Parish;
  • $2.32 million toward construction at Mechanical Plant at Louisiana State University in East Baton Rouge parish;
  • $965,000 toward bridge replacement, planning and construction for South Avenue H at Bayou Blanc in Acadia parish;
  • $420,000 toward the replacement of a water well at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in West Feliciana parish; and
  • $2.61 million toward HVAC replacement at the Louisiana Technical College Lafayette Campus.

Ohio county preparing for three water-related projects

Three multi-million-dollar water-related projects for the Portage County Water Resources Department have been given the green light by county commissioners. Among the projects is a $7.9 million biosolids reduction facility in Streetsboro, which is only awaiting confirmation from Summit County that it will pay its part of the project. Also approved were phases two and three of a Streetsboro trunk sewer line that carries a $2 million price tag and replacement of the tertiary filter at the Franklin Hills wastewater treatment plant for $1 million.


Las Cruces planning bond sale for capital improvement projects

Las Cruces officials are preparing for the sale of $11.5 million in bonds to be used for a variety of capital improvement projects. City Manager Robert Garza (pictured) said that after review of documents that will formalize the bond sale, a proposed ordinance will likely be presented to the city council at its May 16 meeting. "If everything goes as planned, a bond sale could be conducted sometime in mid-June and the city could begin implementing those capital improvements sometime after the start of the new fiscal year, in July," said Garza. The proposed projects include:

  • $1 million for the design and site acquisition for a public safety complex to include police and fire substations and a new Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority facility;
  • $1.5 million for maintenance, repairs and upgrades for existing city buildings and facilities;
  • $2.5 million to build a two-lane extension on Sonoma Ranch Blvd. scheduled to be open in August 2012;
  • $2 million for street renovations and dirt street paving;
  • $2 million for a new fire station to serve Las Cruces International Airport and the West Mesa Industrial Park;
  • $1.5 million for flood control projects - $750,000 each for improvements to the El Molino/Burn Lake/Essliner Park flood control project and for drainage enhancements on the East Mesa.

St. Tammany voters approve Slidell Memorial Hospital bond issue

Voters in St. Tammany parish in Louisiana recently approved a bond issue for Slidell Memorial Hospital. The hospital now will be able to borrow $25 million to expand its emergency room department. The bond issue will be paid off with revenue from an existing tax.


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 Garry McCarthy.


Garry McCarthyGarry McCarthy is a native of the Bronx, New York, and began his career in law enforcement by following in his father's and brother's footsteps in law enforcement with the New York Police Department. His brother was a New York State Trooper. McCarthy quickly climbed through the ranks of the NYPD, beginning as a patrolman. In 1985, he was promoted to sergeant, and in 1989 to lieutenant. In 1992, he attained the rank of captain and in 1997 was named deputy inspector. He was promoted to inspector in 1999 and was selected as Deputy Commissioner of Operations in 2000, serving as the principal crime strategist for the department. He commanded three separate precincts over a five-year period. In September 2006, McCarthy was named to head the Newark Police Department. The longtime law enforcement official was recently chosen by Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel to serve as Chicago's new police superintendent.


Opportunity of the week...
A city in South Dakota is planning a $30.6 million upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant. The project includes renovations and expansion. Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or


Roy RobertsJeff MossPatrice JohnsonFormer General Motors Corp. executive Roy Roberts (top left) has been chosen by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to serve as emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools, replacing Robert Bobb, whose contract expired but was extended through June. Jeff Moss (top center), a computer hacker who founded the annual Black Hat and DefCon security conferences in Las Vegas, has been hired as the chief security officer for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Patrice Johnson (top right), associate superintendent for the Clark County (Nevada) school district, has been chosen the next superintendent of the Jordan (Utah) School District, the first woman to hold the top job there, where she replaces Barry Newbold, who retired. The Southern University System's Board of Supervisors has named James L. Llorens, assistant chief administrative officer of the Office of the Baton Rouge Mayor-President and former dean of graduate studies, as the next chancellor of its Baton Rouge campus. Flint Walters, police investigator and former chief of Wyoming's Internet Crimes Against Children task force, is Wyoming's new state CIO, replacing Bob von Wolffradt. Winthrop University in Rock Hill Vice President Thomas Moore has been chosen as the new Gary SchenkelJoshua StarrKeith Johnschancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate, replacing John Stockwell, who is retiring. With the loss of its vice president to South Carolina Upstate, Winthrop University in Rock Hill has selected Debra Boyd, dean of the college of arts and sciences as interim vice president. Gary Schenkel (middle right), a former Marine training director who ran the Chicago Police Academy at one time and is a former top official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been chosen director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Joshua P. Starr (middle center), head of the Stamford (Connecticut) school district, has been chosen at the Montgomery County (Maryland) superintendent, replacing Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who is retiring. San Juan County, New Mexico, CEO Keith Johns (middle left) has announced his retirement, effective June 17, and plans to run for the County Commission seat being vacated at the end of 2012 by County Commissioner Tony Atkinson. John White, deputy schools chancellor from New York, will take over as head of the Recovery School District in Louisiana, replacing Paul Vallas, who is leaving to help rebuild school systems in earthquake-ravaged Chile and Haiti. Richard Warne of Livingston, California, will Gary MillerEileen BehrJohn Russotake over as city manager of the city of Twentynine Palms, relieving Interim City Manager John Tooker, who was appointed after Michael Tree resigned. Chris Skinner, deputy chief of the Hillsboro Police Department in Oregon, was recently selected chief of police for the city of Richland, replacing Chief Tony Corsi, who retired. Gary Miller (bottom left), provost and vice president for academic affairs and research at Wichita State University in Kansas, has been chosen chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, replacing Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. Whitemarsh's (Pennsylvania) first female police, Eileen Behr (bottom center), has been sworn in as Montgomery County's first female sheriff, after being appointed to the post when Sheriff John P. Duarte died in February 2010. John Russo (bottom right), a former Oakland, California, city councilman, will give up his post as Oakland city attorney to become Alameda's city manager on June 13. John Kay, who served as assistant city manager and then city manager of Clinton, South Carolina, has been chosen to be the next Washington, North Carolina, city manager. Chief Robert Lewin, new San Luis Obispo County/Cal Fire local unit chief, has appointed Rick Swan, an air tactical officer, a station and crew captain, and a battalion chief and fire marshal for San Luis Obispo County, as his deputy chief. Gus Vina, former Sacramento interim city manager, is the new city manager of Encinitas, California, replacing the retiring Phil Cotton, who was on temporary contract.


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TxDOT Ft. Worth Small Business Briefing conference seet in July 

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 final Small Business Briefing conference for FY2011 is set for July 20 in San Antonio. 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. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2. Planning for the 2012 fiscal year events is under way. Please visit for updated information.


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