Volume 4, Issue 17Aug. 8, 2012
Federal bill funds highway, transit, safety projects

Mary Scott NabersHighway capacity in the United States has been growing slowly in recent years. Government officials hope to reverse the trend. With the recent signing into law of the federal transportation bill, there is at least some hope.


The signing of the $100 billion federal bill was historic - and significant - because it was the first major surface transportation law Congress has approved since 2005. The last transportation bill expired in 2009 and nine short-term extensions had been tacked on over the years. What Congress passed is a two-year surface reauthorization bill that funds highway, transit and safety programs at current funding levels through the end of FY 2014.




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Voters reject transportation tax
Long Beach attacks budget deficit
Upcoming education opportunities
Other contracting opportunities
Who's winning the contracts?
News about P3s
Odds & ends
Where are they now?
Calendar of events
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
Transportation officials kept close eye on Georgia vote


But Atlanta area voters overwhelmingly reject regional infrastructure tax initiative

Kasim Reed
Kasim Reed

Although transportation needs in many areas of the country are growing, the economy is and dwindling revenues are preventing many states and communities from addressing these needs. In Atlanta, Georgia, voters gave a resounding "no" to an election proposing a 1 percent sale tax over a 10-year period, with the proceeds to be applied to nearly $7.2 billion in transportation projects in a 10-county area surrounding the city of Atlanta.


For the election, the state was divided into 12 multi-county regions and voters in each region held elections to decide the fate of the proposed tax to fund transportation projects only in their regions. Officials were hopeful that since voter were voting to support projects in their own areas, they would support the initiative. Not so. The vote failed by a 63-37 percent margin in the Atlanta region alone and only three of the special district races won a favorable vote.


Officials were hopeful that the recent passage by Congress of a new surface transportation bill that guaranteed funding at current levels for transportation projects throughout the country would influence the local vote. Apparently it did, but in the wrong direction. Voters may have thought that if Congress sought not to increase funding in light of the nation's infrastructure needs, the costs could be pushed down to the local level. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed acknowledged that fact after the election. "We lost the 'confidence in government' argument," he said.


Some supporters also said that if the projects listed among the needs could have shown they would have a positive impact on traffic mitigation, or what the effect would be if the issues did not pass, they would have been seen in a more favorable light by voters.


Long Beach to merge agencies, outsource services


City officials looking for ways to deal with more than $17 million shortfall

Bob Foster
Bob Foster

Facing a budget shortfall of more than $17 million, officials for the city of Long Beach, California, are facing desperate measures, and trying to avoid the fate of numerous other California cities - bankruptcy. Among their solutions - merging of some agencies, outsourcing some services, reforming the city's pension program and facing the possibility of worker layoffs.


In Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster's proposed budget, both the city's fire and police departments will face major cuts - $9 million for the police and $1 million for firefighters. The effects of the police department cuts will mean merging two divisions of the city and terminating two facilities' leases. The fire department is looking at a different model for its paramedic service, including one paramedic and one medical technician in each partnering, instead of the current two paramedics. Some firefighters and police will be cut through attrition and more than 100 unfilled posts would be eliminated.


Other money-saving proposals cited by the mayor are the possible merging of the Public Works, Water and Gas & Oil departments, restructuring employee compensation and outsourcing of services such as tree trimming and other services that can be performed at less expense by the private sector.


Foster said the city has little choices left. He said if these types of savings efforts are not instituted, the city will "financially deteriorate" to the point that it can no longer perform necessary services for its citizens. Long Beach is just one of a growing number of cities facing financial hardships and fear of bankruptcy.


Collaboration Nation

Michigan district's low-performing schools to be outsourced


Emergency manager turning over all three campuses to private firm charter school

Joyce Parker
Joyce Parker

One of Michigan's lowest academically performing school districts is hoping to change the fate of its students by outsourcing all three of its schools. Some 1,000 students will be affected. Joyce Parker, who was appointed emergency manager of the district, said the school system's expenditures exceed its revenues. The state bailed out the district with emergency funds in February and is expected to do so again this month.


The Highland Park district is planning to turn over its schools to a private, for-profit charter school company. It marks the second time a Michigan school district has taken this action because of financial problems. Parker, who is in full control of the district and who made the decision about converting to a charter after a merger with a nearby district was scrubbed, called the district's financial problems "immense," saying the district was forced to look at "nontraditional ways to get the district back on track." Similar action in moving to charter schools is reported in schools in Georgia and in New Orleans.


The private firm - Leona Group LLC - has vowed to improve the learning environment and increase student performance rates. Charter schools, because they are generally not bound by many administrative rules of public schools, can educate students at a smaller cost per student than traditional schools.


Parker said the district's financial woes were exacerbated by the fact that the schools did not cut staff when enrollment declined, causing per-pupil costs to rise.


Upcoming education opportunities


North Carolina community college planning bond vote for November

Stephen Scott
Stephen Scott

Wake Tech, formerly Wake Technical Community College, in Wake County, North Carolina, has slated a $20 million bond vote in November to fund a building program. Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech, told commissioners the college will grow by about 50 percent over the next six years as the campus looks to expand to facilitate additional training of students for high-demand jobs. The county will contribute another $10.2 million in tax revenue to help meet the campus' needs. There are currently 65,000 students who attend classes at Wake Tech, and there are 6,000 that remain on a waiting list. Wake Tech got its request in before the Wake County schools. The school district, too, is experiencing growth and is currently putting together a list of its project needs. That list will also go before the commission, which will have to give its approval before a bond issue can be called.


Arkansas Higher Education Board approves university budgets

Capital construction and renovation projects including technology center upgrades, laboratories, residence halls and additional classroom space totaling $213 million are part of the educational and general operations budgets approved recently by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The money will support all public colleges and universities and technical centers in the state for the 2013-2015 biennium. The approval by the board means $77 million for the first year of the biennium for the state's two- and four-year colleges and universities and technical centers and a recommended increase of $58 million for non-formula entities. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is in line for $41 million of that total. Total funding needs for the two-year and four-year entities, determined by enrollment and other factors, would be $874 million.


Harford Community College to seek bids for new $28 million joint project facility

Mark Behm
Mark Behm

Bids are expected to be sought as early as September for a $28 million, 55,000-square-foot facility on the campus of the Harford (Maryland) Community College. Approved recently by the Maryland Higher Education Commission, the facility is a joint project of Towson University, Harford Community College and Cecil Community College. It will be used for baccalaureate programs for students who have already complete two years at Harford or Cecil community colleges. Mark Behm, Towson's interim vice president for administration and finance, said no major hurdles are expected that would slow the process. Morgan State University has the option to finance 50 percent of the building and offer its own degree programs there. It has until next spring to decide if it wants to participate. Harford officials say they feel they are close to starting construction of the new facility.


Merger of two Massachusetts schools to result in new construction

The merger of the Maquan and Indian Head schools in Hanson, Massachusetts, will result in construction of a new combined school building to be built on the Indian Head School property. The Indian Head School was in need of some costly repairs, including a new roof. A total of $500,000 was appropriated for a feasibility study to develop the best solution for the physical and educational problems at the Maquan School. The new combined school will replace both of the old schools. The Indian Head School will be demolished. The new facility will include 129,000 square feet plus an 8,000-square-foot, full-size gym. Estimated cost of the project is $53.24million, $42.6 million of which is for construction costs. Once the Massachusetts School Board Authority signs off on the project, Hanson voters also will have to give their approval.


Virginia school includes new school, additions in its facility plan

Doug Schuch
Doug Schuch

Bedford County (Virginia) schools have included a new middle school and additions to an existing middle school at a cost of $44 million in its multi-year facility plan. Also in the plan are $63 million more for other costs and debt payments through 2030. The document projects, which have not been approved yet, are based on the hope that the efforts for the city of Bedford to become a town would result in approximately $5 million more per year that could be dedicated to the state education aid received annually. Superintendent Doug Schuch called the plan a starting point for what he hopes will lead to the annual review of projects. Many of the projects are the result of deferred maintenance. The middle school project carries a price tag of approximately $30 million. The new town would lease the Bedford Middle School to the county while the new school is built. Officials are hopeful that if the plan passes, the new school could open in August 2016. The additions proposed for Forest Middle School are estimated at $14 million, and that project would have a proposed completion date of 2015. Some of the other projects in the plan include additional classrooms at Bedford Elementary, auditoriums and improvements at Liberty and Staunton River high schools, replacing classroom mechanical units at Bedford Primary and Thaxton Elementary, resurfacing of tracks at three high schools, a new air conditioner for the gym at Staunton River Middle and boiler and fuel oil tank work at Thaxton Elementary.


Miami-Dade officials anticipating calling school bond election

After receiving initial approval from the Miami-Dade School Board, a $1.2 billion bond election could soon be approved for voters in the district. Now, the district will take its proposal before the Florida Department of Education for approval to issue the general obligation bonds for the project. The district will also submit a list of schools and their needs. If approved, the issue could be on a November bond election. Officials say there are about $2 billion in deferred maintenance projects and capital needs at the schools in the district. The proposal is not without detractors. Some of the local population favors consolidating some campuses and doing whatever is necessary to avoid a tax increase.


Southern Oregon University awarded grant for biomass cogeneration plant study

Mary Cullinan
Mary Cullinan

Southern Oregon University has been awarded a $250,000 grant for a feasibility study regarding the possible construction of a biomass cogeneration plant. The 1.2-megawatt plant being proposed would replace older boilers that are now used to heat campus buildings. The proposed plant could meet all of the university's electrical needs and 70 percent of its heating demand. SOU President Mary Cullinan said the goal is to make the campus climate-neutral by 2050, so the biomass option is a good one for the university. The feasibility study could take up to two years, with a focus on using slash and other forest byproducts, wood pellets or other biomass fuel to produce the heat and electricity needed on the campus. Officials estimate the cost for building such a plant on the SOU campus would be about $12 million. The city is interested in helping out with the project that could produce an alternate energy source beneficial both to the university and the community.


New York University gets OK for expansion plan in Greenwich Village

New York University has won approval from the City Council for an expansion plan that will see the construction of four buildings that will add classrooms, dorm rooms and office space. Greenwich Village residents were on hand to voice their opposition at the Council meeting. Officials say the construction will mean much-needed jobs when building begins in 2014. The university said it is badly in need of new classrooms and residential housing for students because of the growing student enrollment.


Headlines from around the nation


Widening of Panama Canal will remake world trade patterns


Construction boosted by gas-drilling boom 


(To view these stories, click here and look under "Around the Nation.")


Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Massachusetts legislature approves $1.39M transportation infrastructure bill

Legislators in Massachusetts waited until the 11th hour, the last day of the legislative session, to pass a $1.39 million transportation infrastructure bill. It authorizes $685 million in borrowing for highway and public transportation projects. That amount will be matched by federal funds. The bill also includes "earmarks" for pet projects in the districts of certain legislators. Missing from the final version of the bill was proposed language that would allow corporate naming rights for Boston's mass transit system stations. Most of the funding will be for highway and bridge repairs and railway expansion.


RFP released for new operator for Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Theatre

Lionell Thomas
Lionell Thomas

A request for proposals was recently released by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for a new operator for the Lincoln Theatre. The operator, in exchange for an annual license fee, will be entitled to any revenue. If revenues decline, the city will have the option of adjusting the license fee from year to year. The RFP stipulates that the successful bidder must maintain the theatre's history and legacy. The new operator will be charged with managing all aspects of the theatre, including staffing, management, booking and marketing. Lionell Thomas, executive director for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, said that when his organization took over operation of the theatre, it was in hopes of creating a sustainable business model but now it appears "that in the best interest of the theatre today, a commercial model must be developed." During that eight-month period, the theatre was used as a mixed-use facility, hosting film, comedy shows, concerts and other performing arts events. Officials are hopeful a new operator will continue using the theatre for those types of events.


California city considering advantages of outsourcing park maintenance

Parks maintenance work in Carlsbad, California, could be outsourced to a private company. The City Council has agreed to pursue outsourcing as a way of cutting costs. Consultants recently reported that outsourcing park maintenance could save the city between $1.7 million and $3.68 million if all maintenance, including tree-trimming, mowing, weed prevention and irrigation system repairs is taken over by the private sector. The action of the council does not ensure that these tasks will be outsourced, only that they are studying the issues and analyzing costs before making a final decision. Some members of the council favor the proposal so that an RFP can be issued and they can see what the real costs will be through competitive bidding. The city already outsources some of its landscape maintenance.  


Illinois county looking to use tax revenue for computer upgrade for court system

Keith Brown
Keith Brown

Officials in Kane County, Illinois, are likely to dedicate a portion of its sales tax receipts to upgrade technology for the county's court system. A task force has recommended diverting a portion of the sales tax to design and install an electronic case management system. Officials are looking at using approximately 6 percent of the county's special public safety sales tax to generate $800,000 or more for the project each year. The system being sought carries a multi-million-dollar price tag. Kane County Judge Keith Brown, chairman of the county technology task force, said this is a good first step toward implementing the system. Officials of the courts say their practices are outdated and no longer efficient and it is difficult to share documents. Estimates of the cost for the system top $12 million, with an expenditure of approximately $3.8 million next year alone. Brown said the sales tax revenue could be used to back bonds issued by the county if necessary and added that he thinks other funds may be available as well.


Indiana officials looking to outsource Hoosier Lottery
The state of Indiana is seeking bids to outsource its $791 million lottery. Officials are looking for a private firm to take over the marketing, sales and distribution services related to the Hoosier Lottery. The state will become one of the first to strike a major outsourcing contract since the federal government approved states being able to engage in non-sports online gambling. In the request for proposals, the state is asking bidders how much income they expect to return to the state from draw games, instant-win tickets and Powerball. Bidders can also submit an "enhanced" bid that might include a proposal for expanding the lottery by adding other games online. The state earns about $200 million from the lottery each year, but state officials are looking to improve on that number and become one of the top five systems in the country. While lottery income fell in 2008 and 2009, it is making its way back and officials are looking for it to improve to make up for anticipated casino losses if neighboring states enter into that venue. Under the rules of the bids being sought, the lottery commission would continue to set game rules and jackpots and its staff would continue to conduct drawings, pay prizes and vet retailers. The winning bidder would have to deliver the income it guaranteed, but could earn back part of that through earned payments and a possible contract extension if it meets and exceeds objectives.
Gemini Global Group

Who's winning government contracts?


Check out these recent awards:


  • Gohmann Construction Inc. has been awarded a $3.2 million contract, the first construction contract for the Ohio River Bridges Project, to design and build a 3,000-foot road section that will ultimately connect State Road 265 and the future East End Bridge with the 6,000-acre River Ridge Commerce Center.
  • ASM Research won a contract worth up to $300 million from the U.S. Department of Defense for research and development.
  • Science Applications International Corp. was awarded a federal contract valued at up to $27,549,302 by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, for advanced hardware, computing tools and training in Kihei and Maui, Hawaii.
  • Kapsch TrafficCom IVHS, Inc. has won two contracts totaling $79 million by the Texas Department of Transportation to design, build and integrate the managed toll lane systems for the LBJ Express and North Tarrant Express projects in Texas.
  • Luminex Corp. is being awarded an $11.6 million contract to develop a biological agent detector for the Department of Defense to develop a flexible and highly portable diagnostic instrument capable of rapidly detecting biothreat agents and host response biomarkers that are indicative of systemic disease.
  • Elusys Therapeutics, Inc. has been awarded additional funding from the U.S. Government, valued at $50.2 million, for the advanced development of ETI-204 (Anthim), an investigational agent for the treatment of anthrax infection following a biowarfare attack.
  • Xerox won a $57 million contract with the city San Diego to provide network, voice and data communications services.
  • Aegion Corporation's Corrpro Cos. Inc. subsidiary won a two-year contract worth up to $8.2 million from the city of Houston to provide professional engineering services for the city's Corrosion Prevention and Rehabilitation Program.
  • Blythe Development Co. has been awarded a $38.8 million contract by the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the first phase of road improvements for Macy Grove Road in Kernersville. The contract is for widening Macy Grove Road , building an interchange where Macy Grove Road crosses Business 40 and building a new bridge crossing over the Norfolk Southern Railroad and East Mountain Street.
  • Gohmann Asphalt & Construction Co. has been awarded a $90 million contract by the Indiana Department of Transportation to build a 6 1/2-mile section of the Evansville-to-Indianapolis Interstate 69 extension in Monroe County. The company's contract includes building an interchange in Monroe County to provide access to a connector road to Ind. 445 in Greene County.
  • KBE Building Corp. was awarded a $14.5 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense to build a food commissary at the Navy's Groton submarine base in Connecticut.
  • JMW Construction Corp. has been awarded a $1.6 million contract to construct a 5,000-square-foot fire station on Grassy Key.

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    News about public-private partnerships (P3)


    Virginia city studying using P3 to construct four new schools

    Paul Fraim
    Pau Fraim

    Norfolk, Virginia, will join other areas of the state, but will be the first school division in the Hampton Roads area to use a public-private partnership (P3) to build schools. The new financial tool was made possible by the passage of the Public-Private Education Act in 2001, which allowed private companies to submit unsolicited proposals for school construction and for cities to request proposals. Wise County in Virginia already has used the act for the construction of two high schools. Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim supports building several schools over the next few years with P3s because the city has other large projects it has undertaken. A Norfolk builder has proposed building four schools in as many years for $11 million less than a traditional design-build contract. The builder cites economies of scale, current low construction costs and interest rates on borrowed funds as the key to lower costs. He also promises on-time delivery and a guaranteed price. The proposal is being studied by a committee and if the city chooses to use a P3, it will seek proposals form other developers, looking for the best value. The city has set aside money for two new schools, but officials are hopeful that a P3 agreement will stretch their dollars more.


    P3 will help build HOV/HOT lanes on Interstate 95 in Virginia

    The Virginia Department of Transportation has inked a $925 million contract with a consortium of private companies in a public-private partnership to build HOV/HOT lanes on Interstate 95 to Stafford. The group of private companies will build 29 miles of express lanes from Garrisonville Road in Stafford to Edsall Road in Fairfax County. The project, expected to begin in the next month, will have a completion date of late 2014. It is expected to create close to 8,000 construction jobs and $2 billion in economy activity in the area. In addition to the express lanes, the project also includes 2,000 new park and ride spaces in Stafford and Spotsylvania and more in Prince William and Fairfax counties. The consortium includes Transurban DRIVe and Fluor Enterprises Inc., operating as 95 Express Lanes LLC. The private companies will pay $854 million of the $925 million project. The state will pay $71 million in public money. In return, the private companies will have a 76-year concession on the road while the state will maintain ownership and will oversee the private company's activities. Once the express lanes are completed, motorcycles, vanpools and vehicles with three or more people in them can ride the lanes for free. Other vehicles will pay a toll that will vary depending on traffic conditions.


    Public-private partnership proposed for Wisconsin city's downtown area

    Confluence Project
    The Confluence Project

    The Confluence Project (as seen in the accompanying artist's rendering), a public-private partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the city of Eau Claire and a private partner would result in a mixed-use development in the downtown area. The project would include a performing arts center, a public plaza and residential housing and a retail complex for the university. The project, with a projected cost of $88 million, could begin as early as the summer of 2013 if financing is secured. The project would be located near the intersection of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers downtown. If funding is in place by late spring of next year, officials said site work can begin the following summer. The remainder of the proposed timeline calls for the mixed-use building to be completed by fall 2015, the plaza to be completed by spring 2016 and the arts center completed by winter 2016. The facilities would be situated on a 4.7-acre plot. Commonweal Development, the private partner, said efforts will be made to retain some of the character of the old buildings that will be demolished to make room for the new ones. Much of the $88 million in costs would come from the state for the university's part of the properties. The city and county would contribute $14 million to $15 million and philanthropic sources donating $10 million to $12 million.


    Tysons Corner looking at public-private partnership for transportation projects

    Seeking both public and private sources, officials in Tysons Corner, Virginia, are looking for funding to expedite the $2.7 billion in road and transit improvements necessary over the next four years. Officials are seeking the assistance of landowners, developers, the county, the region and both the state and federal governments to help with the cost of 113 million square feet of development expected through 2050. The funding is expected to come from federal grants to possible new tax districts. Among the projects to be funded are the $1.2 billion new Dulles Toll Road connections to the widening of Route 7 and the extension of Jones Branch Drive. That project alone is seeking $701 million in public funds for improvement outside of Tysons and another $506 million in private funds for improvements within Tyson. Officials are looking to the state, federal, regional and county sources to fund approximately $77 million for neighborhood and access improvements including sidewalks and hike and bike trails. Transit improvements and operations amount to about $889 million. Officials think that about half of the $506 million private sector investment could be generated by a tax district and the other half could come from development fees.


    SPI Training Services

    Odds & ends



    • The California Highway Patrol is seeking bids for a contractor to provide all personnel, labor, tools, equipment, materials, permits and licenses necessary to provide Janitorial Maintenance at the CHP El Centro Area Office.
    • The California Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking bids for parking lot sweep and steam cleaning services.
    • The California Department of Transportation is seeking bids for an approximately $2.95 million contract to clean and paint bridges.


    • The Colorado Department of Natural Resources is seeking quotes for an educator-tested and evaluated wildlife educator curriculum guide based on best practices in education to be used to train pre-K through high school educators.
    • The Colorado Department of Human Services is seeking bids for legal auxiliary service for the Colorado Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

    North Dakota

    • The North Dakota Office of the Auditor is seeking bids for conducting a performance audit of the State Water Commission.
    • The North Dakota Department of Commerce is seeking bids for development of a high-quality, responsively designed consumer travel information Web site and flexible content management system.


    • The State of Nebraska is seeking a qualified contractor to provide certain laboratory waste packaging, handling, transportation and disposal services.
    • The Nebraska Public Service Commission has issued a request for qualifications for contractual serevices for gathering information to assist the executive director of the Commission in the selection and appointment of a qualified attorney to serve as the Nebraska Public Advocate.


    • Wichita State University is seeking bids for on-call electrical and mechanical services.
    • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is seeking bids for financial planning services and training assistance for public water supply systems.
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    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 Duriya Farooqui.
    Duriya Farooqui
    Duriya Farooqui

    Duriya Farooqui earned a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and a master's degree in public administration and international development from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. There she was awarded a fellowship on merit of professional promise. Farooqui focused on international economic policy and worked for the World Bank, The Center for Global Development and the Center for International Development at Harvard University. In 2004, Farooqui moved from the Boston area to Atlanta. She began her tenure with the city of Atlanta in the Finance Department in 2007. In 2008, she assumed the role of performance management director in the Mayor's Office to lead the city performance management program. She acquired significant experience in citywide operations and performance improvement before joining Mayor Kasim Reed's administration in January 2010 as the Deputy Chief Operating Officer. In that post, she was responsible for oversight of several departments including Public Works; Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Planning and Community Development; Information Technology and the Office of Program Management. Farooqui was appointed as Interim Chief Operating Officer in December 2011, leading initiatives within city operations and across agencies to improve public safety and performance of city services. Reed recently announced that Farooqui was his choice for chief operating officer for the city, and will have oversight and executive management of the Aviation, Fire, Police, Corrections, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Planning and Community Development, Public Works and Watershed Management departments.


    Opportunity of the week...


    An Iowa city has approved spending $1.877 million for a shelter house project. The current shelter, donated to the city in 1974, needs a new roof, windows and electrical upgrades. It will be more than double the size of the existing structure at 5,800 square feet and will serve as a tornado shelter, as well as having a kitchen, restrooms, an open interior and storage space. Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or




    Susan BentonKevin WashburnRobert FiteHighlands County (Florida) Sheriff Susan Benton (top left) has become the first female president in the 118-yar history of the Florida Sheriff's Association, succeeding Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson. Kevin Washburn (top center), dean of the University of New Mexico Law School and a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, has been nominated to head up the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, and will succeed Larry Echo Hawk, who resigned earlier this year. Robert Fite (top right), currently fire chief in Georgetown (Texas), has been hired as the new fire chief in Grand Prairie, replacing retiring Fire Chief Clif Nelson. Merrill L. Irving Jr., chair of continuing education and professional development at Miami Dade College, has been named associate vice president for continuing education, training and workforce development at Oakton Community College. Former Redwood City deputy city manager Magda Gonzalez has been chosen as the new city manager in East Palo Alto, replacing ML Gordon, who retired in March. R. Brian Nichols, dean of campus life and student development at Texas A&M University at Commerce, has been chosen as the new vice president for student development and engagement at Gannon Neil Theobald Gerard Robinson Gerard Robinson University. Indiana University senior vice president Neil Theobald (middle right) is the sole finalist to become the next president of Temple University and would replace former Temple President Ann Weaver Hart, who has taken over the presidency of the University of Arizona. Gerard Robinson (middle center), Florida Education Commissioner, has announced his resignation, effective Aug. 31, following public outcry over the state testing system and will be replaced on an interim basis by Pam Stewart (middle left), current public schools chancellor. Kevin P. Thomas, director of the academic advising and retention center at Western Kentucky University is moving into the position of director of retention and student success at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Shawn Hamilton, who resigned his post as Grundy County's (Illinois) administrator on July 31, has been hired as interim city manager for the city of Park Ridge, replacing Interim City Manager Juliana Maller, who will become Hanover Park's village manager. Barbara Palmer, former chief of staff to Mike Hansen, former head of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities who has taken another post with the Florida Senate, has been named to head the agency. Virginia Moon (bottom left), Virginia Moon Chong Porter Jose Espinoza former superintendent of the Ralston Schools, has been chosen the interim superintendent of the Omaha schools while a national search begins for a successor to the retiring John Mackiel. Chong Porter (bottom center), assistant vice president for constituent development and development strategy at Arizona State University Foundation is now the associate vice chancellor for health sciences development and alumni relations at the University of California at Davis. The Socorro (Texas) Independent School District has chosen Dr. Jose Espinoza (bottom right), a school improvement officer in the Houston Independent School District, as the lone finalist for SISD superintendent. Dan Heimmermann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Brownsville, has been named the new provost at Mississippi University for Women. West Melbourne (Florida) City Council unanimously selected Pennsylvania native Richard Wiley, who has been the police chief of Lower Swatara Township, as its new police chief. Daniel Henderson, a consultant for PC Connection, has been selected corporate relations officer at Keene State College.


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    Environmental Council of States plans annual meeting

    The Environmental Council of the States annual meeting is scheduled for Aug. 27-29 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs. On the opening day of the event, ECOS Executive Director Steve Brown will deliver a state of the states address. The luncheon keynote address will come from former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, who is currently director for the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University. Tuesday's keynote speaker will be Bob Perciasepe, deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, click here. To register click here.


    NASCIO planning annual conference in October

    The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is planning its 2012 Annual Conference for Oct. 21-24 in San Diego. The event will be at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Registration has opened and early bird rates will apply through Sept. 5. Among the events for state government members are a public sector leadership forum and a networking lunch. The State IT Recognition Awards will be presented on Monday, Oct. 22. The State Technology Innovator Award will be presented at a Tuesday, Oct. 23, luncheon. To view the agenda, click here. To register, click here.


    National Association of State Technology Directors set conference

    The National Association of State Technology Directors will host its 35th annual Conference and Technology Showcase on Aug. 26-30 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. The 2012 conference theme will be, The State of Service - Creating Business Value. The conference will feature presentations from public and private sector leaders, including Michael Rogers, MSNBC's 'The Practical Futurist' and Technology Expert, and Dr. Alan Shark, executive director, Public Technology Institute and assistant professor, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs & Administration. Technology experts from a number of private sector firms will also speak. To view the agenda, click here. To register, click here. Sponsorship information is available here.


    Executive Women in Texas Government plans November conference

    The Executive Women in Texas Government will sponsor its 2012 Annual Professional Development Conference on Monday, Nov. 5, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel-Spa and Conference Center located at 1001 East McCarty Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666. This full-day event features prominent keynote speakers as well as more than 35 workshops to provide participants with opportunities for hands-on learning and development of leadership skills for multiple career levels. The conference is open to all interested professionals and is designed for those working in government and for organizations that collaborate with government agencies. Members and non-members are encouraged to view the EWTG Web site for conference details.


    National Association of Social Workers plans annual state conference

    More than 1,000 social worker are expected for the upcoming 2012 National Association of Social Workers/Texas 36th Annual State Conference. The event is set for Friday, Sept. 7 through Sunday, Sept. 9 at the Westin Galleria in Houston. Among the speakers for the event are Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSWand his perspective on "The Social Work Story" and Vicki Hansen, LMSW-AP, ACSW, will discuss "What Social Workers Want" in the context of NASW's Social Work Reinvestment Initiative. Those attending will be able to expand their skills through targeted training, tracks representing a variety of practice areas including ethics. Supervision credits and licensing review courses for the LBSW and LMSW exams will also be available and exhibits will be open. For more information and to register, click here.


    GMIS International - "Connect with IT Leaders from Around the Globe"

    Shrinking budgets? Increased demands on your time? Staff resources consistently stretched to their limits? If this sounds like your government's IT department, you're not alone. Join your peers in Chicago, Aug. 19-22, for the GMIS International 2012 conference. The event will bring together IT leaders from city, county and state governments throughout the United States and abroad to review and share ideas and creative solutions to what have become common challenges throughout the United States and beyond. Click here for conference details and registration information.


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