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TipSheet: Travis County, 2.01.16

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The County Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its website.

10. Consider and take appropriate action on a task force on Public Improvement District (PID)-related construction wages, training and working conditions consistent with the Better Builder Program. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: After formally passing a PID policy framework at last week’s meeting, the Court will appoint a task force to sand down the finer points, particularly around affordable housing issues and conditions for construction workers involved in the projects.

11. Consider and take appropriate action on the sunset of the existing Community Focus Committee for the Civil and Family Courts Complex and the creation of an Advisory Committee to continue work on the issues surrounding the need for additional facility capacity for the Travis County Justice System. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: As the county reorganizes its efforts to potentially build a new civil courthouse, commissioners will take a vote on whether to dissolve the citizens committee that provided guidance on the plan that voters ultimately rejected in November. Because local governance and committees go together like peanut butter and jelly, the court will also likely create a brand new body to help staff create a new courthouse strategy.

12. Discuss and take appropriate action on Palm School Committee and Committee Charge. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: Another committee! After months of discussion, the court will finally (fingers-crossed) vote to create a committee to explore options for the county’s Palm School property. The last time this came up, it was postponed after Commissioner Gerald Daugherty expressed frustration that it’s proposed membership and charges leaned heavily towards preservation of an extremely valuable piece of downtown Austin real estate.

16. Consider and take appropriate action on authorizing the subcommittee of County Executives for the selection of Operations Management County Executive (OMCE) finalists with the tasks of: a. Implementation of Performance Evaluations of the departments within Operations Management (Facilities Management, Human Resources and Records Management); and b. Supervisory authority over the departments within Operations Management, including but not limited to: 1) Providing executive direction, supervision and management to these departments, including oversight of staff and any necessary personnel actions; 2) Reporting to the Operations Management Subcommittee of the Court until an OMCE is hired; and 3) Assisting the new OMCE’s transition into the organization. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: A wise reporter once wrote an old saw about local governance, committees, and delicious sandwich contents. It should be noted that subcommittees fit into that paradigm as well. In this case, the Court will likely appoint a subcommittee to iron out the details involved in the creation of a new executive position that will supervise several county departments.

17. Receive report and discuss the demographic profile of Travis County Employees as compared to the available labor force. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Does the Travis County workforce reflect the diverse populace which it serves? Backup material indicates that it might actually be more diverse.

19. Consider and take appropriate action on an appointment to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Board of Directors. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: After interviewing three candidates for the position on Thursday — including incumbent Charles Heimsath — the Court will decide whether to appoint a fresh face to the CTRMA board or stick with the veteran who has been there since 2009. Heimsath’s reappointment would raise the hackles of a coalition of activists who challenged the Court last week to fill the position with someone outside of the real estate and land development sectors.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Travis County Commissioners Court: The legislative body for Travis County. It includes representatives from the four Travis County Precincts, as well as the County Judge. The County Judge serves as the chair of the Court.

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