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TipSheet: Travis County, 5.02.2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 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.

18. Receive presentation by the Purchasing Agent on short- and long-term goals of the Purchasing Office. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Now that new Purchasing Agent Bonnie Floyd has had time to settle into the gig, the Commissioners Court is eager to hear what vision she has for the Purchasing Office. Floyd took over after her predecessor, Cyd Grimes, unexpectedly retired at the end of February. She now oversees the powerful office that wields the county’s checkbook and manages all procurement contracts.

22. Approve and execute Contract No. 4400003126, Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS) on behalf of Dallas County, for Forensic Analysis and Expert Witness Services, and ratify prior expenditures pursuant to contract terms. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: With all the change and growth happening in central Texas, a certain quip has found some popularity: “Don’t Dallas my Austin.” So far as DNA forensics testing is concerned, advocates of that refrain are out of luck. Thanks to the closing of the Austin Police Department’s DNA lab last summer, the Travis County’s District Attorney’s Office is looking beyond our borders for help in investigating DNA evidence. One part of the solution appears to be this partnership with Dallas County’s Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. Curmudgeons might find some consolation in the fact that it’s not Portland.

26. Receive update regarding “Sanctuary City” policies at state and federal level, and take appropriate action. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Travis County found itself in the hot seat earlier this year when Sheriff Sally Hernandez changed her department’s policy towards honoring detainer requests by federal immigration officials. That of course led to accusations that the county is a sanctuary community, an ill-defined descriptor that nonetheless is not necessarily awesome to be associated with during the current political climate and administration. In a recent visit with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Mayor Steve Adler attempted to get some clarity on these issues, and this item will hopefully add some contours for the benefit of anyone who is at least mildly confused by the goings-on.

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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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