Travis County

Purchasing Office Items
Added to Consent
Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AM

Approve contract award for cyber liability insurance coverage, RFP No. 1901-028-KE, to sole respondent, USI Southwest, Inc. (Commissioner Daugherty)


Department:PurchasingSponsors:Commissioner Gerald Daugherty

Meeting History

Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft


Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

9:14 AMCommunity job fair, which will be held wednesday, July 31st, street, hall of government. Hours are between 10:00 a. M. And 12:00 p. M. The job fair will be hosted by travis county workforce development in collaboration with veteran services. For more information about the job fair, you can contact workforce development task force. Our information is located on the travis county website. The remainder announcement i'll turn over to victor garcia.
9:15 AMGood morning, judge, commissioners. Victor garcia with justice planning and i'll be making the same announcement in spanish. [speaking in spanish].
Thank you so much, guys. thank you so much for these job fairs.

9:15 AMAnd have excellent results.
Thank you.
So that does it for our county announcements. Next we'll go to consent motion. The consent motion is designed to capture agenda items that I think are noncontroversial and would receive unanimous vote of the commissioners court, but sometimes i'm wrong so I will check in with the commissioners and see if anyone would like to deliberate these items before voting them. And I just noticed you are wearing a three-piece seersucker suit and that is awesome.
9:16 AMSummer suit, summer day.
You are rocking it. c1 through c4. 6, 8 --
I had a question on 8.
8 will not be on the consent motion. 10.
Got a question on 10.
Oh, gerald is back. [laughter] 12, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, and 30.
9:17 AMMove approval of consent items.
All those in favor?
I have a question before we vote on that. I had understood central health was going to present today, but this is on consent.
Only the tax exemptions. they mirror our tax exemptions.
Thank you.
We have a motionen a second. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. Okay. So let me just mark this, keep track. On our no action list, we have two items. Agenda item number 3 for emergency services, there is no action today. And agenda item number 27, we're doing more work on that and it will come back. Next we'll go to our public hearings. I'm going to take 2 first. Receive comments regarding the resubdivision of lot 2, block a, wells branch, face o, section 2 in precinct 2.
9:18 AMMove the public hearing be open.
We have a motion by Commissioner Daugherty, seconded by Commissioner Gomez. All those in favor? The public hearing is now open. I'm going to go ahead and read the action item as well just for grins. It's going to sound similar. Consider and take appropriate action on the resubdivision of lot 2, block a, wells branch, phase o, section 2, 2113 west wells branch parkway, city of austin two.
Mile jet in between 2.
Good morning, anna bowlin, travis county tnr. The purpose behind this request is to split this lot into two lots so the business going on one of the lots can have its own lot. I know of no objections and we recommend this item.
9:19 AMIs there anyone in the audience who has questions, comments, relevant information for the commissioners court's consideration.
Move the public hearing be closed.
A motion by Commissioner Shea to close the public hearing, seconded by Commissioner Travillion all in favor? That passes unanimously.
I just have a comment.
Do I have a second?
We have a second moved by Commissioner Shea, seconded by Commissioner Travillion the resubdivision and the comment.
And this is just really to underscore how closely we're looking within the limits we have under county law. Even with a small action like this, we have to determine if there is sufficient water for firefighting. And we've also -- we also require that there be more than one way in and one way out. And i'm assuming this meets that.
9:20 AMYes.
Yeah. so it's just a -- there are very few things we can do under the law, but we are rigorous even on something as small as a resubdivision.
Right. when we look at this, we look at, you know, what was originally platted and whew we need now, and, you know, I think there was a business previously on this tract. This is -- we find this meets our requirements and we recommend this item.
Thank you.
All those in favor? that passes unanimously. Next we'll go to our other public hearing, agenda item number 1 and action item number 9. 1 is receive comments regarding setting the salaries of elected officials for fiscal year 2020. Do I have a motion to open the public hearing?
So moved.
A motion by Commissioner Gomez, seconded by Commissioner Daugherty to open the public hearing. All in favor? That passes unanimously. The public hearing is now open. I'm going to read action agenda item number 9, consider and take appropriate action regarding setting the salaries of elected officials for fy 2020.
9:21 AMThis particular item is the public hearing item on July 9th the commissioners court approved plaguesment of an ad in the austin chronicle with the proposed maximum fiscal year 2020 salaries for our elected officials. The advertisement did appear on July 19th of the chronicle. The court does have a copy of the advertisement as it appeared as attached. This particular public hearing will -- the court is asking for input on the setting of those salaries. You also have a copy of the order attached. Once the court votes on the setting of those salaries, there is a notice that statue tory required for our officials to grieve, that's five days. If any of those elected officials grieve, we are required to provide a hearing within ten days of that, and we have selected individuals from the public to serve on that grievance panel. Are there any questions regarding this particuar item part of public hearing?
9:22 AMQuestions? is there anyone in the audience who would like to give comment, ask questions or has relevant information to this agenda item in the public hearing? Seeing no one to give public comment, why don't we close the public hearing and we'll go to the action item for the deliberation of the commissioners court. Of course, the final action is as staff stated.
Move the public hearing be closed.
All those in favor? that passes unanimously. Okay, so let's go to agenda item number 9. Commissioner Daugherty, I believe you had comments.
9:23 AMYes. whichever one of y'all wants to take a stab at this. Explain to me and everybody that's listen how we have come up with this suggested salary for the travis county commissioners court.
So -- so overall just the way that we approach compensation here at travis county, we look at what's called our market. To give an overall basis of compensation, compensation increases can be based on several things here. It can could be based on what is the cost of living adjustment. It could be based on performance, and that's within our policy of chapter 114. It can also be based on market. With this particular increase, it is based on market. What we do is we go out into the market and we look at what's referred to as a relevant market. That particular relevant market is determined and voted on by the commissioners court. This year specifically we looked at redefining our relevant market, which was based on cost of living, and for our employees we looked at cost of living, we looked at growth, we looked at population size. For this particular item with our elected officials, we looked at the population size of those counties. We then used third-party data from our texas association of counties. Data that they collected in 2018 to look at comparable salaries. So titles in comparable counties. Based on that, we took the average of those salaries and determined the salaries for this year for those elected officials. Last year we presented to the court that information for all our elected officials. The court then decided to fund those increases -- or to take approach to fund those increases in third. Last year a third was approved and so our elected officials received that increase. This year to move to market, there are two pieces left. A third this year and a third next year. Due to advice from our budget office and our budget office is here, the recommendation was to go ahead and fund the last two pieces of that recommended increase to move our elected officials to salaries. That brings us to this item today, which, of course, is to set those salaries aligned with the market as we did research last year for.
9:25 AMIt's difficult for me to understand what market is with elected officials salaries because I find if you go to the communities where we have used to benchmark where we need to be, I find that to be very, very arbitrary. And let me tell you why I think that's arbitrary. A couple of good examples. If we are trying to use as a benchmark from -- even if you average -- I mean let's just take paris county -- harris county. Harris county pays their commissioners $172,000 a year. Harris county has 4. 6 million people. Travis county has 1. 2 million people. Now, I wouldn't suggest, I mean since that is 25% of the population of harris county that travis county ought to make 25%, I mean that would be, what, $45,000. On the other hand, if you don't want to just use population, perhaps you might want to use general fund budgets. General fund budget in tarrant county, less than 700 million. Ours, 850 million. Now, perhaps you make that much money in tarrant county because you do a pretty good job of running a 2 million person county, which is what tarrant county is, with our 1. 2, they have 40% more people. They have almost a 25% less general fund budget. Perhaps those people ought to make their salaries. This thing to me is a -- is a two-prong and a two-part issue. Number one, I think comparing our salaries to other counties in the, I quite frankly don't care what people make in pennsylvania or the other areas, I don't think that's applicable, I don't think it should be. Number one, I think it's arbitrary for us to come up and suggest that we would go in two years from $106,000 to 150 -- over $150,000. That is well over a 30% increase. What would you suggest or what would you think that we might be talking about rank and file salaries in the next couple, three weeks? Aren't we talking about maybe one, maybe two, maybe three percent increases? That's what we've talked about the last couple of months. I just -- I mean tracy, I just find it -- let me let you answer that.
9:29 AMSo we look at -- so and he look at salary in keeping with the market with various tools. Of course, we've used in the past what are called across the board increase where individuals get a 2% or a 3% increase. But in conjunction with that, we also use market. And we do that so that we keep pace with the movement in the market. Most recently the court heard and approved our recommendation to move our county's minimum wage from $13 to $15. Of course, that would be somewhat of a significant increase if you look at the percentage increase as well. But, of course, yes, we do look at across the board increase, which is what you reference with the 2 to 3%, but we also look at market. This year we looked at all of our classified positions relevant to the market and we saw some of those move multiple pay grades as well. With our elected officials, I don't think, and I don't know the last time we looked at the market for them, and so you are seeing a significant gap. You referenced bexar county, and bexar county's pay.
9:30 AMI didn't reference bexar county.
I'm sorry, harris county. you referenced harris county. Harris county's pay for their county Commissioner Is around $180,000. But also in that calculation we included bexar county, which is $122,657.
And their population is?
1.95878. this is based on 2018. We also included colin county, whose population is 969. Their salary is 122, but we included dallas, harris as well as tarrant, so that's how we got the average. This is the same approach that we use for our classified pay scale as well, so we feel like we are efficient with the data, we feel like the data is effective for us, and we feel like it's an equitiable approach when using the same methodologies as our classifieds.
9:31 AMWell, beg to differ. I understand what you all did with hrmd. The other part of this from my thinking that this is wholly arbitrary to come up with these kind of figures that we are to pay ourselves, part of that -- and the judges as well. I want to bring the judges into this because I see a couple judges that have shown up. I'm just as bothered by the fact that we are seeing some of the increases that I don't think are defensible to the people up and down the hallways in this building. I think it is an insult for us to sit here and to take a 30 -- over a $30,000 raise this year after taking a $13,000 raise last year. I mean, I just don't know how we do that and look at people and just, you know, because we can do it, because we're the commissioners. Isn't it odd that we have -- that we have a public hearing today and no one shows up? And I know why that happens because people are scared out of their gourd to come down here and to say something about this. The reason that I pushed you and hrmd to ask the question about what the rank and file people felt about the salary increases, and quite frankly, I mean, you know, it was, you know, not the easiest thing for me to get done because I think that my -- my in what happened is is that sometimes you don't want -- you are afraid to ask the question that you are afraid of what the answer might be. And I will guarantee you that the 5500, 5400 employees that we have in this county do not understand and they are not happy with the fact that we will sit and take a $30,000 raise this year after a $13,000 raise last year. I mean, I just think that it is embarrassing for us to do this. We have the power to do it and we have the obligation to do it, I understand that. I mean the Judge Has clearly -- and I her that unfortunately that is our responsibility to do this. But after having come out of the session that we came out of and what we are trying to do, I mean what we are trying to show in this community about what we are going to try to do, I fear that, you know, we're probably going to go to a 79999, you know, with effective tax rate because we probably need to look at doing that because of what we know that we have to do with the 3. 5. But whenever you look at things like this, and with us trying to show that we really understand and that we really are serious about really getting our house in order, and that's going to be pretty difficult to do because we got a lot of things that we have to spend money on and we have a lot of things that we need to spend money on. So i'm very sympathetic to that. In the 13 years that I have been -- or near 13 years on this court, I have never seen anything that I think is more -- I don't want to say uncomfortable, I mean -- that I find it's so difficult to understand why we would do this as a court. I know this is not y'all's -- you are just bringing us the information. I do challenge the way that the numbers are put together because I do think that it's quite arbitrary. I mean, I don't know why bexar county pays this, tarrant county pays this, dallas pays this. I mean, if there were some legitimate reason as to why those salaries were set at that way, and i've looked up a number of articles, I mean where people are really concerned in other areas about what the electeds election to pay themselves. You know, I don't know that i've seen an article yet that people get voted out of office by doing it so I assume people just feel like, well, you can just do it. Let me say something about the judges' salaries. I know that -- I mean today the judges make -- the district judges, let's leave out the county judges. We know how they are attacked somewhat compensationwise to the district judges. The district judges make $140,000 from the state. Travis county elects to pay them an additional $18,000. So they make $158,000. We've got 29 judges, I think, somewhere, you know, 29, 30 judges. Ten of them will go from 158,000 to 194,300. Another number that I just think, are you kidding me? If you're not making 194, you are making 184. I mean from the 158, that's -- those are big increases. I thought, and I think that with the $18,000 that the county elects to pay, because that's the max that you can pay the judges, the district judges on top of the 140, I thought for sure we would take into consideration, you know, the $18,000 that we pay given the fact that they've gotten bumps from the legislature to take it 26, 28, $36,000 in addition. I'm not saying they are not worth it. It puts me in a really bad spot, I mean I wish the judges could vote for their own salaries, but that's not the way it's set up. It's up to the commissioners court to do this. But I do think that this is a -- it's a fairness issue, on one hand, and i'm really not happy with the way that we have come up with getting to $150,000 because I don't think that you can justify that. If you really look at all of the factors in where people need to be paid as elected officials, I just don't think that it -- it's not a practical argument. It's totally arbitrary. It plays into our hand, but quite frankly, bottom line, and i'll say this and hush. I think elected officials need to have the same increase that the rank and file people have, and I think that that is the fairest thing that we should do. I think every one of us knew what the job paid when we took the job, and from a strictly a fairness situation, that's where I think that we ought to be. And when it comes time to make the motion, I will make that motion. I realize that i'm probably not going to get a second, but that's how I stand and where I stand, you know, with this particular issue. So I appreciate what you all have done. If there's something that you think i'm totally off base on, todd, you, tracy, alex, I mean by all means I don't want to leave something out. I want to try to picture this the way that I really feel like it needs to be pictured. So if i'm off base with something, well then let me know.
9:39 AMLet me ask this question because I think we've always followed the market even regarding rank and file. Employees. Have we not? We do the checking around the state of the counties that are comparable and we see what the market here in austin, which is probably more expensive than the markets in those other counties or those other cities. And so we try to keep up with the minimum wage as well. So we do follow the market. And that's -- that's the only fair way that we can kind of see where salaries ought to fall and wages ought to fall. Isn't that correct?
That is correct. we also spent time too last year as well as the previous year looking at what we referred to as compression. These are individuals who had been in their positions for a very long time and maybe not moved as quickly within the range so that they could be paid equitiably. And so we looked at that as well. So there are various tools that we use to try to keep our individuals to be paid aligned with the job that they are paying. Again what we do is we have to look in the market, the relevant market to see that, and with our rank and files we do make adjustments. Some of those adjustments at times appear to be very large just from points in time and not really doing those studies. My understanding is probably over the last six or seven years, we for sure have not looked at the market for elected officials. I ask todd. Todd has been here longer and can talk about that with elected officials.
9:40 AMThat's what I remember when we first started down this road with the market and our pay scale, we said at that time that we were going to try to meet the market. That was our goal. And we have done that, haven't we? In every instance when it's brought before the court?
9:41 AMSo for our classified employees, that's our objective. That's basically what the court has decided it wants to do, it wants to pay at market. We pay at the mid point. We regularly do market salary surveys for our employees, we do a comprehensive one every four year. We benchmark in the intervening three years. As far as elected officials go, we do take fairly regular snapshots. It's just that commissioners court is not always used, -- has not always used that information to essentially keep up with the market. I don't think it's any great mystery we're behind market. I think most of the commissioners who have been around know thatten a we've been behind market quite a while. Two years ago the court decided we've slipped too far behind market and we need to catch up. That's certainly understandable given the market data. Finally one last thing, Commissioner Daugherty, you asked a direct question so i'm going to try to answer as best as I can. You asked what is the rank and file going to get this year, and the obvious answer is I don't know because you haven't voted on it yet. I do believe, alex, correct me if I am wrong, there's 2% in the preliminary budget for some type of across the board increase and also 38% of classified employees will receive an increase out of the market salary survey.
9:42 AMAnd then the other thing is, you know, commissioner, yeah, this job is tough and we knew what we were getting into, but the buck stops here and we're the ones who are given the authority to vote on salaries. No one else in county government can do that. And the judges can't do that, the other elected officials can't do that, but the commissioners court, this is our job to do. And I think we ought to know what we're running for when we run for a member of the court that this is going to be a tough job. And that we're going to have to make these tough calls. And if we don't want to do that, let's not run for this job. And so that's the best solution I know to take care of this. And so I really -- you know, I can't speak for anyone else, but, you know, I spend a lot of time on this job when i'm not sitting here, i'm thinking about my job on my way home, I think about it when i'm at home. I take calls in the evening from people. So, you know, i'm not a 8:00 to 5:00 pi think I pay a the look of attention to my job and so the other thing to remember is that the ad that we printed in the newspaper gives the maximum amount that can be given to elected officials. We don't have to go to the maximum amount, but it's just a way of being open to the public that this is the max that we could give. We May not give that amount, but we may. But to not put the max out there and then figure out later that we need to do more research on the issue, we can't move up. We can't give more if it's not on the ad. So, you know, there's -- there's a lot of misinformation out there about what this ad meant or is saying. So, you know, let's kind of calm down and do our homework correctly and let's not put misinformation out there.
9:44 AMCommissioner Gomez, I don't think --
Hold on a second. let me see if the other commissioners have comments.
Just a couple of things. i've been proud of the work of this commissioners court, of our commitment to the rank and file consistently. The first year that I had the honor of serving on the court, we started our focus with pay grade 18 and below. And we built a three-year plan which we funded in two years to address -- to address their needs. We have also -- we've also worked to put other resources in place. Certainly not enough, but it has not been for a want of effort. Also want to make sure we read into the record that when we talk about our county law judges, our county court at law judges, they've only gotten two raises over the last 13 years. You know, fy-7 and fy-13. And we ask a lot of them, we require a lot of them and we have an excellent set of judges. And I think that it is our -- it is our job and it should always be our goal to make sure that we treat our workforce as well as we possibly can because our workforce is our outward face to our constituents and to our community. You know, I think that, you know, we do the best that we can with what we have and we make intentional decisions to serve our community, and, you know, I at the end of the day, i'm proud of the deliberation, i'm proud of the effort and I want to make sure that we're always looking after the entire workforce and that we look to take care of them first.
9:46 AMCommissioner Shea.
At a philosophical level, I mean this is a difficult action, there's no question about it. And that's probably why nothing has been done with commissioners' pay and other elected officials' pay for ten years. The last one 2008?
9:47 AMThat's not correct.
Well, let's find out from staff.
On a market salary, to look at market. And I think we are all in agreement that that's an important thing to do for our employees. We've made that a priority. To do this market salary survey to understand what is the average pay for this kind of work in the market. Some that we can try and keep our employees as current ago possible. Otherwise we've had problems where we're losing people because they can make more money doing that same job somewhere else. But for me this is a -- this is a really important philosophical issue. I don't think that democracy is well served when only the wealthy or the independently wealthy can afford to serve as representatives. I just don't think you get the full perspective from the community. And I know that some of the pay levels have made it difficult for people who would otherwise be very good public servants to be able to afford to serve. And if you just looked at your professional that if you just did it on population and because travis county is a fourth of the population of harris we should maybe get paid a fourth, you literally wouldn't be able to afford to live in travis county.
9:48 AMWhy 50% of our -- like 50% of our employees make.
Correct. that's why we have worked so hard to do these market salary surveys and not spent money on other things in order to raise their pay to the market. That's what this action is. And it is a difficult action. It's -- it is uncomfortable, but we are executives, we don't have a county administrator. We are carry that burden -- I know you want one. We've chosen not too because the majority of us feel we do a good job and we are will to shoulder that responsibility to actually run the county and be responsible for it. So this is -- this is a difficult and uncomfortable action, but I think it's warranted. And I think in particular if we stick to the three-year implementation, we voted on it last year. I intend to stick to it this year.
9:49 AMCommissioner Daugherty, did you want to say something else?
Well, I just wanted to say to Commissioner Gomez, I don't think that we put inaccurate information out. Now, I will say that anybody in this audience and any of us that when we publish what we are going to publish, I bet you those are the salaries that people get. So to make it sound like, well, we're going to take this action, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that's what they are going to get paid, yes, it does. I know exactly what that means. There's not going to be a person that would say, well, we put the max on there, but, you know, we need to reconsider this. That's not going to happen. I mean, the commissioners are going to make $152,000 a year from in two years from $106,000. That's what they are going to make t judges are going to go up, you know, not all the judges. I think there are, like, five judges that with the legislation they wouldn't get longevity and they would get -- I mean so I would be supportive of them getting the 18,000. I mean, I think there's a way that we can be fair, you know, to folks and then still give them the bump that we give, you know, all the other folks. We make this sound like that, well, we just got to do this. No, we don't just have to do this. We don't have to take this kind of salary increase. He -- we need to show our employees as much as the rest of the people in travis county that we understand that a 30,000 or a, you know, more than -- over a $30,000 increase, almost 40 in two years is really hard to convince people that that's what we ought to do. And again, I say i've never seen anybody's campaign literature that says elect me and i'm going to -- you know what, I got a tough decision to make, but I think that we have been behind and I don't think that we have been rightfully paid. That's hog wash. I mean, I mean I think that we deserve raises and i'm willing to have raises. I just think this is an insulting raise and I think it's very difficult for me to explain to anybody -- we fill up this room, I mean --
9:52 AMCommissioner Daugherty, do you have new comments to make because --
I have a motion to make.
And my motion would be that we publish the prices -- or the compensation amounts to increase not the judges because the judges have already got their legislatively, they've got theirs, but everybody else gets whatever we give the rank and file, that's the amount of increase that we give ourselves. That would be my motion. Whenever it comes time to do that.
Is there a second for that motion? That motion dies for lack of a second. Is there another motion?
I move approval of the salaries as advertised in the ad.
As proposed by staff for the advertisement?
9:53 AMYes.
Do I have a second?
I have a clarifying question. Do you need a second before we have --
This is enthusiastic --
Commissioner Daugherty, this is a difficult decision. Is what's published in the paper the recommendation from pbo the increase be done this year completely instead of the three-year implementation that we originally voted on?
Yes. it's the maximum amount that can be given. Which would include year 2 and year 3 of the strategy as discussed last year.
I would recommend the substitute motion that we stick to the three-year implementation that we voted on last year.
We don't yet have a second, that's true. So is there a second for Commissioner Gomez's motion? Seeing no second for Commissioner Gomez's motion, that dies for lack of a second. Now we are to Commissioner Shea's motion, which so to stick to the three-year implementation which means the first year was last budget cycle, the second year would be this budget cycle, then we would see whether we could fund the third piece in the next budget cycle under the 3. 5% revenue cap. That would not include the judges because that is a decision of the texas legislature.
9:54 AMIt's what we voted on last year. Just for clarification, what would be roughly the next year's cost if we were to stick to that three-year implementation plan that we voted on last year? Just ballpark. Because we're not talking enormous amounts.
The cost for the year 2 is $144,966.
So year 3 would be roughly 144,000?
Correct. the total of year 2 and 3 is 301, 542.
9:55 AMNext year it would be roughly 144,000.
I'll second that.
We have a motion and second basically to stick with our vote from last year.
With the inclusion of -- the recalculation for the judicial salaries based on legislative action. Is that the intention?
Clarification. you mean all elected officials; is that correct? Or only the commissioners court?
It's what we voted on last year.
It's all elected officials.
It's the three-year implementation we voted on last year. And that's that 144,000.
For total cost of year 2.
Just for context, we spend $166,000 on our paper budget this year. Just to provide a context.
We have a motion so stick with our strategy from last year which is a three-year implementation that excludes the judges bump because it's mandated. Anything new? All right. It is -- I do want to say i'm certainly going to vote for this motion. I think that it was a good plan to implement on a three-year phase -- phase-in. We will be being base salaries here next year under a 3. 5% revenue cap and 200,000 more or less is going to be much more difficult to find. I want to remark there was nothing arbitrary, the word 'arbitrary' has been used repeatedly here. There is nothing arbitrary about our analysis. One can disagree with the methodology, but it was not arbitrary. The austin american-statesman utilized the same methodology and came up with the same result that we were 25% below market. So I would not characterize that as arbitrary, but that disagree.
9:57 AMTell me what you're talking about with the statesman. Are you talking about the statesman article that was put in the paper in the last week?
That the paper took exactly what we are talking about --
And looked beyond texas as well at counties with similar population. And came up with the same result.
Well, that's odd, I mean, you know, because i've talked to the statesman --
Again, the statesman may, as you do, disagree with our actions based on the methodology. I'm simply responding to your terminology arbitrary with regard to the methodology. There is nothing arbitrary. You can disagree with the actions taken from the analysis. I'm simply saying the austin american-statesman came to the same result. Whether they agree with what we decided to with that result. I just want to be clean in our language.
9:58 AMJudge, what I mean by
The proposed increase is part of a plan to get pay up to market rate after the department found in 2018 that their pay was significantly out of line with what officials make in other large texas counties. The statesman verified this in its own analysis.
Well, of course they're going to get the same thing. It's not like we gave false numbers.
I'm sorry I brought it up. we have a motion.
Yes. I want this room to understand I stick by the term arbitrary, because I don't think that there is necessarily justification for what you make in harris county. I would argue that as well. If you really . . .
Further clarification on the motion.
I'm sorry?
For further clarification on the motion.
Yes, ma'am.
9:59 AMLast year, when the court was talking about elected officials' salaries, it did not include in its plan the da or the county attorney. And so if you're going with last year's plan, what are you meaning in terms --
We're not. clarification. The motion is to take a second bite this year from all of the elected officials that were included in the market analysis and in the proposal by staff. I'm just saying it's similar in strategy. We are continuing our strategy.
I'm only asking so that once it's over we know.
Let me make sure. the motion is that we take all of the proposed movement in market for all of the elected officials contained in this year today's backup and take it incrementally up this year and the remainder next year with the exception of the judges. Is that the intention of the movant?
10:00 AMWould you repeat that?
Sure. barbara just raised the issue of including the da and ca. And we are, yes?
I intended for us to stick to what we voted on last year.
But barbara raised the issue the county attorney and distribute attorney were not included last year.
The district attorney got an increase from the legislature, correct?
No. okay. Let me try this again.
I'll clarify. my motion was to stick to what we voted on last year with no changes.
That would be what barbara is raising is, if we stick to the motion we did last year, it would leave out the da and the ca. They were not included in the motion last year.
They would get a three-year implementation increase, correct? Or would it not include the correction -- it wouldn't include the correction --
10:01 AMThis is muddy. i'm sorry. Really, that muddied what I believe the intention of the commissioners court was.
I need to clarify. there was, on the market salary survey, the da and the ca were left out. We've since corrected that. So would my motion of sticking to what we voted on last year include the market salary survey adjustment to their pay?
No, it does not.
Okay. so then that does need to be included. And that was what you had clarified. I misunderstood.
The da and ca increases have been advertised at the maximum, but they haven't been decided.
And we adjusted their pay based on market salary work and then augmentation to that. We have an unusual configuration. Todd, maybe you can speak to this. I know there was some confusion about them not being included, which would result in them getting less pay than others that work under them.
10:02 AMSo, the ca and the da -- the proposal salary that was in the ad is essentially based on the relationship to the district judges and the county court at law judges.
Which has been the practice, to tie their pay to those positions.
It has been a -- I wouldn't say it's been directly tied in the past, but it's certainly been a factor. So the problem, if the motion is to go back to the plan that was came up with in 2018, the ca and da really weren't included in that study because we are configured differently than the peer markets. You need to decide if you want to continue to go ahead with the ca and the da as is proposed in the ad and say we're going to have some type of linkage with the district judges, or alternatively what you could say is we will adopt a two-year strategy to get them there. I don't know which one you're going to do.
10:03 AMThe judge's clarification was that they be added in at the recommended pay that had been part of that proposal.
Because of the linkage, the judges, ca and da since they're a bundle, they would remain the same. But we would implement year two of getting to market for all the other elects.
That clarification.
All right. and that was seconded by Commissioner Travillion?
I'm fine. I want them included.
That clarification.
I have a question. so, what happens request the with the judges' salaries in this motion? Do they continue to make $18,000 from the county along with longevity pay the state just gave them? Is that your intention?
10:04 AMYes, that is my intent.
It's not a supplement, per se. It's part of the job. They have other jobs to do besides being on the bench.
When was the last time judges got a market adjustment from the texas legislature?
Let's ask.
Five or six years ago.
About five or six years ago.
So, the reason for their carve-out, essentially, is because the judges -- the district judges' salaries are set by legislature. And we peg the county court at law judges' salaries, and the ca and da and to some degree the jp's as well off of that trigger.
So they don't get the 3% or 2% across the board to keep us floating up.
10:05 AMDo we have to pay $18,000 to judges, or is that discretionary, and is there a sliding amount that you could pay? We have paid them 18,000. I don't have a problem.
That is discretionary, yes.
And I know that you at least have some thought about that, because you mentioned something at a former meeting about that we were going to --
Research, and I rolled back. frankly, I did the research and I rolled it back in recognition to what the market looks like for lawyers who do this kind of work and are interested in judicial positions. And what I found in doing some research was that lawyers take a very large pay cut to choose to be judge. they take a considerable pay cut. And furthermore, as judges they stay at the same salary for five and six years at a time without any movement in their salary at all. So it became apparent to me that with some research, I had to roll back that statement. I was, frankly, concerned about the flat 18,000 bump. But I recognized that it's unlikely that they're going to get another such bump from the texas legislature for at least five or six more years, most likely.
10:06 AMWell, for the record, there are eight judges that have between 0 and 4 years. So they don't get longevity. So they just have their 18.
The longevity amounts to less than $6,000, I think. That's different from the 18,000.
No, i'm talking about what they get, what the legislature has given them. So, between 0 and 4 they get nothing. Between 4 and 8 they get 14k. Between 8 and 12 they get 28k. And 12 and plus they get 36,400. That is what I have --
10:07 AMIf you look at just those numbers, yes, they seem colossal. When you look at the overall salary that results and you compare it against what attorneys of their level of experience in private practice are making, it's a whole different analysis.
If it's money, stay in the private practice and don't run for the bench.
Then we will see a serious erosion in the quality of our judiciary.
You pay your waiters a wage that is comparable. I don't think it's fair to say everybody --
You can't compare the private sector to the public sector.
I don't think you can say --
I get to money from the public sector to run my businesses. Those are two completely different things.
10:08 AMI don't think you should say we want good leaders for government and we're not going to pay them what is equitable for their work.
I agree with you, it is our job to go back and look to see if this is justified. My first blush was, that's a huge increase the legislature gave. I need to look at this. That's going to be a big hit on our budget, paid by the taxpayers. We should take a look at that. That's our job as a commissioners court. I took a look at it. I came back going, ugh, yes, it's a big hit on our budget. And they have been suppressed in their salaries for a number of years. And they're unlikely to see another increase for another number of years. That's the trend. That's how it usually goes. Even though the legislature -- the legislator's retirement is pegged to district Judge Salaries. You would think politically that would drive increases. And it doesn't. I was surprised by that. I had assumptions that were faulty. And I took a look.
10:09 AMThere's one question that I have about the da and the ca and the relationship with the judges' salaries. I want to make sure that we achieve the goal that we are after, which is, you know, to make sure that those salaries are in alignment and that the judges aren't going to be making more than the da and the ca as well. Does this proposal get us there?
The proposed salary for the da and ca puts them at an appropriate level slighty above.
It's set at 5% above the maximum that -- for example -- the district Judge Can make, or the county court at law young can make. The county attorney, 5% above the ccl judge, and the district attorney, 5% ahead of the district judge.
10:10 AMSo it does peg appropriately there. And also, one clarifying note. We had in the backup that the constables would all be brought to the same level to correct for our anomaly last year, correct? So that's in there, just so you all know.
Thank you.
And that includes next year as well, not just this year but next year as well?
It would bring all the constables to the same.
Constable five would still be below.
We need to correct for that.
And for year two, have we addressed the da/ca problem in year two as well?
We have not. so just kind of a recap of the setting of elected officials' salaries this year versus last year, there's several components this year, one of which is funding to the market directly, which we've just heard from the court that I think there's something pending and there's discussion about funding at a third a third, the same as last year. The district and county attorney were not looked at last year. This year we set a calculation, 5% tied into the district judges and the county court at law judges for the district and continue attorney -- county attorney, for this year. We heard about the $18,000 maximum supplement the county gives. There was discussion already on that part, which is relevant to setting salaries this year. Also, the part about the constables -- the constables, if we paid them a third, a third, a third, the constable five is still not paid at market. However, the other constables are, because they grieved a their salaries last year. And the court approved to move them directly to the market. So we still have constable five if we do the third, a third, a third, would still be behind the other constables just based on action from last year. The last piece of that is the justice of the peace tenure for longevity. This particular setting of salaries this year moves the justice of the peace longevity at 12 years versus 16 years. And that's a county decision as well. So, there are literally five pieces this year to setting the salaries. The funding it to the max, which we heard maybe the court is doing a third. The county attorney and the district attorney salaries, which we hear that the court is reflective of what we're proposing this year, the 18,000 supplement as the max, which I think we're still waiting for that with the clarification, the constable five, moving constable five to the market to align them with their peers, and then we still have the justice of the peace tenure, moving it from 16 to 12.
10:13 AMLet me try this from parliamentary procedural standpoint. Whoo, i'm surfing now. Let's take this as individual waves instead of trying to drink the whole ocean. First, would the movant and the second be all right if I take these five parts in pieces, in which case I would need to have your motion withdrawn so we could do it in pieces?
I'll withdraw so we can clarify. I know there are questions about what we're going to do in each case. I'll withdraw it.
Is that all right with the second?
That's fine with me.
So, first piece. the judge, county attorney, district attorney suite of salaries, which are pegged to the legislative decision, May I have a motion with regard to that piece?
So move.
We have a motion from Commissioner Gomez. Do we have a second?
10:14 AMI have a clarification question. I May second. You're talking about the supplement we paid to the judges of the 18,000?
No. i'm just talking about the legislatively set -- let me say what pieces i'm going to talk. Barbara, this May answer your question. First i'm going to take the salaries -- the base salaries and the legislative piece as well as those salaries that are pegged to that for the ca, da, the county court at law judges. That's piece one. Piece two is going to be the 18 --
I don't remember all five of the details on this. Can we take these in order? I was trying to clarify if that motion included just the judges, or others. So the d,a and ca pegged to the judicial pay that follows partly from what the legislature did, which we can't do anything about.
10:15 AMRight.
That's the motion. I will second it.
We have a motion by Commissioner Gomez seconded by Commissioner Shea. And for anybody else who's interested, the motions after this are going to involve the $18,000 supplement, the jp longevity year, the constables --
Constable five?
All of the constables. there'll be a suite. And then all other elected officials. Okay? So, this motion is just with regard to the district court judges' legislatively set salary, which includes their longevity steps, and those other elected positions that we peg to that, which are the remainder of our judiciary, and then our county attorney and district attorney. And that's a motion by Commissioner Gomez, seconded by Commissioner Shea. All those in favor?
10:16 AMBarbara -- hold on. barbara, please don't muddy the waters. Will this help us?
It's going to muddy the waters but it's necessary. I am sorry. You have no reason to vote on what was legislatively set for the district judges.
I know.
What you are voting on --
This is --
But, the legislature has said that the county court at law judges must be paid a thousand dollars less than the district judges who are at the same level of service as they are. Until you know what you're doing with the 18,000, you do not know what you're doing with the county court at law judges, because if you were to choose to do something --
10:17 AMDo you want us to vote on the 18,000 first?
That would make it a lot --
Great. will you withdraw your motion?
So move.
Will you withdraw the motion that's pending?
Is that okay with the second? you move the 18,000. It really would have been helpful if you had given this advice before today and told me what order you felt it needed to come in. I'm frustrated. We have a motion for the 18,000.
We have a second. all those in favor of the 18,000? That passes unanimously.
No it doesn't.
I'm sorry. one opposed. So that's a 4-1. Now, next, we'll go to the previous motion, which was the legislatively set salaries. I agree with the county attorney's office with regard to the da -- I mean, the district judges. We don't need this vote because we have to do it by legislation. But this motion also contains all of the other salary decisions that are pegged to it. So, we had a motion by Commissioner Shea seconded by -- i'm sorry. Motion by Commissioner Gomez seconded by Commissioner Shea. Is that motion reurged?
10:18 AMYes.
One question for clarity.
Are we talking about two years for the da and ca, not just the first year?
No. we're talking about taking them all at once.
Otherwise you would have a year where they were significantly behind the co-hart coho they're pegged to.
Don't want them to be behind.
Can't do anything.
And is that a fair statement?
Yes. I was going to say, that amount is reflected in the ad, the amount you're voting for, the county and district attorney.
Why can't we divide those out, judge? why can't we divide this vote? I'll vote for what the ledge said. I can't do anything about the ledge.
If you would like to make --
An alternative motion, you're welcome to. We have a motion and a second. All those in favor? All those opposed? That passes on a 4-1. Next, let's go to the longevity. The longevity number of years set by the legislature for the district judges and hence the county court at law judges, because we peg to them, is now at 12.
10:19 AMYeah, so it's actually -- you're voting on footnote five, which is to base judicial longevity for justice of the peaces with at least 12 years of tenure at $6,300.
So move.
We have a motion and a second. Is there deliberation on that motion? All those in favor? Those opposed? That's a 4-1. Next, let's go to the constables. The issue with the constables was that the constables other than constable five grieved a partial increase to market last year. And the grievance panel of citizens agreed with them and suggested to the commissioners court that we take them to full market. We could not take five to full market because he had not grieved. And we had already posted. So is there a motion to take all of the constables to market this year?
10:20 AMSo move.
Now, know that the other constables already are at market. So essentially it's just taking five to market. But i'm calling them a suite. I think mercury is in retrograde right now, y'all, just saying. We've got a motion by Commissioner Gomez seconded by Commissioner Shea. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. So, this would be the final motion, I believe, necessary to get us to the next agenda item. All other elected officials not yet discussed by any of these motions would get a salary increase of one-third, which would be the second third of their market adjustment. And with the intention of looking at the final third of their market adjustment in the following budget year.
10:21 AMSo move.
Second. and just for context, the backup includes what was posted. So for those remaining seats, this motion is half of what is listed in the ad.
No. what's listed in the ad is the full salary. So what you need to say is --
10:22 AMThis is just one-third? I thought the proposed change listed in the ad specifies combining the second and the third year. So technically what's listed in the ad, if people are going off that, what we are voting on now is half of what was listed in the ad for these remaining positions.
Half of that increase, not half of the salary.
Half of the increase that's listed in the ad, because it combined the second and third implementation year. We're sticking to the three-year implementation that we voted on last year.
That is correct. so for the balance of the positions, if they look in the proposed change and divide that by half, that would be the proposed change.
Exclusive of, obviously, county attorneys, district attorney, and the constable five.
That's what I moved approval.
That's what I seconded.
10:23 AMOkay. all those in favor? Those opposed? That passes on a 4-1.
See, commissioner, the ad sets the maximum.
So, just for next steps, i'd just like to remind everybody that we will be notifying our elected officials of the setting of the salaries. They have five days to grieve this particular decision. And then within ten days we're obligated to set a public hearing, of which, again, the public would help us decide with that information, so.
Thank you.
Thank you for bearing with me as I had a roberta's rules of order fit on the dais. [ laughing ]
All right. so that does it for agenda item number 9. Next let us go to -- it is 10:24. Let's go to agenda item number 5.
10:24 AM5 is to consider and take appropriate action on the grant application on the texas indigent defense commission for a public defender office in travis county.
Good morning. i'm roger jeffries, county executive of justice and public safety, here with jessica rio, county executive of planning and budget, and kimberly pierce, director for justice planning. We have some folks, meg and mark from criminal courts administration. We're here to talk to you again about the application to the texas indigent defense commission for the establishment of a public defender office in travis county. As you recall, i'll do a quick recap. We submitted the initial application back in the early part of may. The application at the time, which included the establishment of the public defender office as well as enhancements to the capital area private defender service. The initial budget was about $16 million. What it did not include, which was part of the grant application, was the cost of 24/7 magistration as well as concurrent increases in cost in the civil side for indigent attorney fees as well as space costs. Pbo and jessica and her staff went back and redid the analysis. We came back to you and said that total package would be $21. 6 million. I don't think the planning and budget office office was in a position to recommend that because of the cost and considering the imposition of the revenue caps and senate bill 2. We did go back and consult with you all and the judges and the other stakeholders and decided to take out 24/7 magistration at least for the time being, which reduced the cost to -- I believe it was about $15 million. We came and discussed that with you all last a week. There was some discussion around what was actually taken out. We had reduced one of the investigators. Talking to the texas indigent defense commission, some of our stakeholders and you all, the decision was made to add the investigator back in. So we're here today to present to you a final proposed budget, which would include 76 ftes. It would include -- and that would be 67 for the pd office and the seven for capd, and the nine is a reduction from the eleven from the previous proposed. And that was a caseworker and a legal secretary that we trimmed. And so that's where we are. It's down to $15 million in that final year. We would submit that a part of that over the next five years would be grant funded from the texas indigent defense commission. They had asked us when we submittsubmitted our application in my to come back with information, among them the potential impacts of senate bill 2. That's what we just presented to you. They asked us to look at if that would impact the 30% caseload, the percent of cases that the public defender office would take. And we've decided that we can still take 30%, given that staffing structure. They also asked us to look at the way the capds caseloads were measured, and the base the capds attorneys were measured in their effectiveness. And meg and mark will talk to you about that. They asked us to look at the basis for the cost for the case management system, which the planning and budget office and our i. T. Department and capds looked at that. And we have information on the basis of that. And finally -- we'll revisit this after mark and meg speak to you about monitoring and caseloads. They did ask for an oversight structure to be submitted with this final application. You all a couple of weeks ago approved the categories, and I think you might want to talk about filling those categories today. Unless you have any questions on the budget, i'm going to ask meg and mark to talk about the caseloads and the measurement.
10:28 AMI just have a quick comment.
Commissioner Shea.
I did inquire about whether or not we could utilize any of our existing staff. And I particularly asked the auditor's office to look and see if they could help with any of the financial functions, particularly checking the invoice for the hourly pay for the private attorneys and they can't because they perform a review function. But I think that's going to be an important thing for us to continue looking at, is there any other way that existing staff can help perform some of these functions and can help us offset the cost of creating the new office.
10:29 AMSo, i'm meg ledyear with the criminal court administration. So, as roger said, tidc asked us to come back and talk about how we're going to measure caseloads and work on controlling caseloads, and then how the enhanced supervision of caps attorneys is going to work with the grant. So, for caseloads -- so, as you May know, we currently use a carrying caseload, which means that at a point in time every month we look at how many cases an attorney is currently handling. Right now they can hold at a time 90 felonies and 100 misdemeanors that are currently active. So that's not considered best practice, because it encourages attorneys to churn cases. So if you get cases disposed, you can then take new cases. So best practice is really a carrying caseload. So the plan is to phase in carrying caseloads, which means an attorney can only get a certain number of appointments in a given year. That caps their yearly caseload. And we're going to phase in this over the time of the grant to match the tidc guidelines. So, the tidc guidelineses are 108 felonies per year or 226 226 misdemeanors. They give a breakdown based on the level of charge. We'll use a weighted management system to allow us to create equivalent cases and match those numbers. For -- as we phase in, we're going to make sure that any cases that are paid hourly are within those tidc guidelines. The cases that are still paid at a flat rate May exceed those guidelines during the phase-in period. And part of the phase-in will be to make sure that all of the wheels -- all of the attorney types that we need -- so, high-level felony, mental health attorneys, etc. , are going to be covered, because there's some concern that as we phase in these caseload limits the wheels where we have a limited number of attorneys on we May not have enough coverage. We're going to make sure that the plan allows for that coverage. In terms of performance management, we talk a lot about performance measures around here. I just wanted to make sure that we're on the same page. So there's system performance measures, which are the things that we've listed in the grant so far. So that's looking at how does the overall system perform, what are case outcomes on average. Today i'm going to talk about attorney performance, so how are we going to monitor individual attorneys. So, two ways we're going to change our attorney tracking. One is updated complaint tracking. So a lot of stuff we've talked about is how attorneys interact with their clients. Right now, caps takes in attorneys and puts them in a spreadsheet, but we don't really have a comprehensive way to pull that data to code those categories of complaints to really have a comprehensive view. And this will allow us to really better identify patterns of complaints that we see against attorneys.
10:32 AMAnd will this be public?
No. I mean, I don't know, actually.
10:33 AMOkay. if we can flag that, I would like information about that later, and further information at some point about how this will be used, if it can be used to say to attorneys, if you're not --
With your client, etc., etc., you can be removed from the wheel for capds? Okay.
So that information will be shared with the review committee, which is the committee that determines whether attorneys can stay on the wheel.
That's right. I wanted to clarify that. Yes.
That information will definitely be shared with the review committee.
I want to get an idea of how you plan to get quantitative versus qualitative measures so that we're not just looking at output measures, but we're looking at outcome measures as well.
I just . . .
So let me just talk a little bit about the attorney performance.
Piece, because I think it ties into that. And then we can talk about it. I agree that's going to be one of those places where there's always a significant challenge and that we look for ways that we can better identify that qualitative part. In terms of attorney performance, that's really going to be tied in many ways to the hourly billing. So currently we monitor a lot of those case outcomes that are things that we can get from the court data. So we look at case outcomes. We look a lot at attorney bonding, at their visits to the jail, because that's recorded. But additional monitoring will be possible because of hourly billing. So attorneys will be required to track the time that they spend on different activities. We're going to match that to the reporting categories from the tidc time sufficiency study. They give goals of how much time people should be spending on different areas. And we can look and see where attorneys are meeting a -- or not meeting those areas. If we think about communication, right now we have the attorneys record when they first contacted a client, when they first met face-to-face with a client, but that's really just yes,dy that, kind of a check mark. With hourly billing we'll be able to see how often did they meet with them past those initial check mark dates, how long are they spending with people, are they meeting people at times that weren't when someone was brought to court. We can understand the actions. Those were more inputs into the performance, or how attorneys are behaving. But it gives a lot more understanding how do those outcomes occur.
10:35 AMAnd will there be -- I guess -- clear -- either requirements or expectations? One of the most frequent complaints we've heard from people who have been represented is they never met their attorney until they appeared in court. So will we be able to make clear that there's either a requirement or an expectation that the attorneys will meet with the defendant before they're showing up in court for a trial, hearing, or whatever?
10:36 AMSo, there are currently standards, but bradley can talk about how they plan to implement that.
Yes, commissioner. I think the short answer is yes. Currently attorneys are required to meet with their clients at or before the court date. It would depend on how quickly they're brought to court. For some clients it will be the first time they're in court either because they're out of custody, or for -- it's a good thing, really, because we're bringing clients to court so quickly. And a lot of case types now after they've been arrested are as little as one day. So for some clients, their first meeting will continue to be at their first court date because the attorney May have been assigned only a day or two before. But yes, this whole system we're talking about allows us to monitor activities, but also have the ability to create new requirements and monitor new requirements. We were so h challenged in the past twofold. We didn't want to create a requirement that we couldn't monitor. That's not very effective to tell people we're going to Judge You based on x but we have no way of evaluating whether you actually did x or not. The system, the changes we're making, the way the data will be collected will allow us to set new requirements, be able to monitor those requirements, and also as part of our ongoing conversation with you, attorneys will be compensated for that. That is a challenge we've had in the past, piling on too many uncompensated requirements, say a monthly visit to del valle or, you know, whatever it might be that we would like to see attorneys do. Some are able to make time and some haven't. We haven't been able to make that a hard requirement because it was uncompensated. It solves several problems at once. We'll be able to require things because we'll be compensating the attorneys. We'll be able to check that they're happening so that we can have integrity when we say you have to do this and take action when you don't. It solves quite a few problems with regard to the supervision of attorney because it naturally provides a lot more detailed information than we've had in the past under the flat fee system.
10:38 AMThank you. thanks very much.
So to get back to Commissioner Travillion's question about qualitative data, so, part of the plan for the public defender is to work with caps to develop better client surveys. So currently, caps does have a client survey online. Clients can go to that. Client communities are notoriously difficult to engage in surveys. And so there's sort of a high he level of staff time that's needed. So we're hopeful with the public defender and the increased staffing that we can get together and create better client surveys. And that way when we look at the difference between the public defender and the caps, it will really have some voices of the people who are using the services. So that's one of the main qualitative data gathering initiatives that I think is part of this grant.
10:39 AMSo, that does it for our additional backup with regard to the monitoring piece that will be included as an amendment to our grant proposal. We voted previously on the categories of the individuals to serve on the organizational committee. Today with how we would like to populate those categories, because today is our last day to change those categories or increase the number on that organizational committee based on what y'all's preferences are. I have spent some time with many of the interest groups that have been involved in this issue. I've spent some time over the last weeks since we took that vote on the 16th with the groups that have been involved in the issue for literally years. [ chuckling ] to try and achieve at least a baseline proposal that would be balanced, and all these individuals have said yes, they would like to serve, and yes, they would like to serve with the other individuals that i'm going to suggest. But this is a decision of the full commissioners court. So, just as a baseline, if y'all will recall, it was a seven-person organizational development committee that included one academic, one private defense attorney, one public defense attorney, one justice involved individual, one community advocate, one representative of the commissioners court, and one retired criminal Judge Or civil judge. what I would suggest as a slate is, in the academic position, that andrea marsh be appointed. In the private attorney position that jerry morris be appointed. That in the public defender position alex bunnen from the harris county public defender's office. In the justice-involved position, darwin hamilton, who is on the board of grassroots. In the advocate position, afeelia zapata, formerly of austin interfaith. And in the retired criminal Judge Or civil Judge Position, because there is still some uncertainty there, I would suggest we punt to the judges themselves to make an appointment -- a recommendation for appointment next week. So, that is my proposal.
10:42 AMDo you need a motion on it?
I know that there have been other conversations as well, though. So, we could take a motion on that and then open it up for deliberation.
I move approval.
We have a motion by Commissioner Shea seconded by Commissioner Gomez. Additional suggestions for individuals or how to skin this cat? Commissioner Travillion.
I'm going to recommend joseph parker, who is a licensed attorney, who has worked in the travis county attorney's office, and who is a local minister as well.
In addition or in place of? because i'm happy to . . .
10:43 AMIn addition.
Add that.
So, to increase the size of the governing committee to eight.
Well, now, I like the idea of seven, so I guess it would be a replacement. There are a number of places that he could fit. But I want to make sure that there is significant diversity in this group, particularly underrepresented groups. And I think having an attorney with a solid, strong involvement in these types of issues would be critical.
Would you consider just making an additional position? That might be a little bit easier of a lift, rather than replacing. I'm assuming in a replacement you would be looking at a replacement either in the private attorney context -- but that was really thought of as a criminal defense attorney position -- or in the community advocate position.
10:44 AMI have no preference. if we want to have eight instead of seven, i'll fine with -- i'm fine with that. I'm more interested in not just diversity, but the experiences that pastor parker brings to the table.
He is tremendous, and i'm so grateful that you got him on board, because I asked him a couple months ago and he was like no, i'll give you advice, but. [ laughing ]
That's welcome for me as the movant. I had a question. I guess we immediate to clarify if it's acceptable.
Is it acceptable to the second that it would be eight?
I need to request the demographic breakdown of the nominee. I neglected to ask that before my motion.
10:45 AMBased on the motion with eight slots, including pastor parker, that would be one white female, three white males, two african american males, one female hispanic, and then it's a wildcard with regard to the Judge Selection.
Commissioner, just for clarification, you didn't say anything about the commissioners court rep. Do you want to address that?
Oh, i'm sorry. I left roger off. I'm suggesting roger as the commissioners court representative, and that way if -- you know, any member of the commissioners court wants to go to these meetings, they're welcome to. But roger would carry our message.
And would that make it four white males, then?
10:46 AMNo. it's still three white males, depending on what happens with the Judge Position.
So, we have a motion and a second for a an eight-person organizational development committee. So we would need to change it to eight. And with this slate of individuals. Any further deliberation? We have a number of people here who wanted to speak on this item. Do any of you all wish to speak on this specific motion? So we're good to take this motion, but then we'll take additional comments? There are a couple of people who do want to speak on this motion? Come on down.
10:47 AMSeth, private defense attorney, former public defender. My only point is that if the idea is to let the current travis county judges select -- I should say recommend -- a Judge -- a retired Judge Or former Judge To bee be on this, I bring it up because of Commissioner Shea's question about the demographic breakdown. If you know, how many nonwhite male retired judges are there in travis county? Because to suggest that it could be a wildcard is not really fair if we're limited to only white mmale judges.
10:48 AMI would direct you to the bulletin board for the travis county commissioners court. There's been a correspondence with regard to the judicial appointment. At this point, probably the highest probabilities are between a current retired Judge Who is a white male and also a civil Judge Who is a black female. In travis county we do have some -- d judges of color. And then there's also a suggestion to go further afield for a retired Judge From another county, possibly. So your point is well taken, but at least with regard to, you know, the likely decision here, our presiding district Judge Is an african american female. And our presiding Judge Over the criminal courts is at african american female.
Right. but -- that's fine. We're talking about the board for the public defenders. So as long as it's clear that y'all can go outside of travis county, it sounds like some other options are there. My second and last question would be to Commissioner Travillion, or I guess more for the whole court. The -- in adding this 8th position, it sounds like we're adding somebody who doesn't have criminal defense experience, is that accurate?
10:49 AMI I know that he was --
State prosecutor.
Pastor parker was previously a prosecutor.
Okay. but no criminal defense experience.
I don't know that that's the case.
I'd have to ask him to be sure.
Well, you know, whether he has criminal defense experience or not, he has been a person who has been a solid person in the civil rights community for a long period of time. He has been a person who is responsible for helping put the police oversight board in place. I am perfectly comfortable with his skill set and what he brings to the table.
10:50 AMHow many -- based on the current proposed makeup of the board, how many people there would have criminal defense experience? Obviously there's a public defender, there's a private defense person, so that's two.
With regard to the proposed panel, one, two, three, four, five out of the eight would have criminal law practice. And four out of the five would have criminal defense experience.
10:51 AMOkay.
Shall we go to the next person?
Yes. I was trying to finish up my thoughts here and not feel pressured or rushed. My name is ms. Torres with eyes for austin. One of the people that was involved in a six-month-long conversation that has led up to today's. And if I May say, I feel that I am a lot more worried now than I started six months ago. What I have heard in regards to this motion that all you commissioners have decided to take is that basically the status quo representation in travis county is going to continue and that is a white male, you know, leading on an issue that directly impacts people of color -- black and brown people in particular. And it's not good enough. And this was one of the things that we were trying to prevent in being an active voice in fighting every piece and every step along the way to be included in this oversight board that at one point became a very -- conversation. And although there was one person on -- there's only one person that was part of the original conversation, of a public defender office. That is what i'm communicating to the community, you know, that we will have a public defender office whose oversight will be composed of predominantly the white male, with legal experience, yes, but not all public defender office, which is the charge of this office. And that's very troubling, you know, that we do not have representation for a person of color that is a woman. Now, like seth mentioned earlier, the wildcard really feels uneasy on who that person is going to be. And previous to the other conversation, some of the other things, it's just i'm really sad to hear as well that there will be it feels like little community input now on this oversight. And I cannot say anything further. I know that in the last vote we reached out to a couple of commissioners, which we only got a response from one of the commissioners in regards to the vote that was supposed to happen. And, you know, there's been little engagement and little questions asked as to why were more of the people involved in the original conversation part of this oversight committee, you know. I thought that we had established that expertise were not just people with a law degree, but people with lived experience is also an expertise. And there's only one black male that represents that in this oversight board. And I think we need more. If there was an addition made for somebody that has a formal education that has experience, why can't there be more room made for a person that has lived experience? That is an expertise that continues to get dismissed. I'm angry. And i'm really upset. And i'm bewildered as to what message I will take back to folks. Is this the end of the conversation? No. We will continue to hold everybody accountable, including the legal system, via different programs that we will establish. But it is disheartening. And I think that as far as recommendations are being made to capds via public defender office input, again, it's going to be led by white males. For this survey that is going to happen, how do we know it's going to be be accessible or understood by the community if there's no community input? That is -- it feels like i'm not being heard. And it reflects -- the actions reflect that. And I guess i'll end there.
10:55 AMThank you.
Good morning, my name is ms. Price from texas advocates for justice. When we started this fight, I wanted to hold true that you all would make the right decisions for the community as a whole. Everyone knows that travis county is the largest county in the united states that doesn't have a public defender's office. And when we're making these decisions, we have to also include the population that we're going to serve. And from what i'm reading and hearing, we're in the same boat that we were in when we first started this race. You guys are not including diversity. You want to make budget cuts. You cut out immigration attorneys and social workers. We all need to understand that public defenders, they have certain skill sets. If we're going to represent the population that we serve, we need to have immigration attorneys included, put that back un in the budget. We're not cutting our budgets for people's salaries, we're cutting out people that's going to help our community, that's going to serve our community. We're still being represented by, like they all said, predominantly white people. If we're going to move forward and change the way society views us, and let them know that travis county is really not racist, we do make decisions based on everybody as a whole, then we need to show that. And what i'm seeing and reading right now is that you guys are cutting out everything that represents diversity. And that's sad. We're not moving past racism,-we'r we're operating under a racist diocese, commissioners, attorneys, not attorneys, but those people that are in power. And in order to change that dynamic, in order for us to come here and not speak racism, then we have to do better. And what y'all are showing me today is that y'all are still upholding the standards of racism by not including diversity on the committees, by only having one male black representation on that committee. No person that has direct imly impacted from incarceration is represented on that committee. If we want to do the right thing, you guys have to do the right thing. You have to make that change. And from what i'm seeing, you all are not ready to make that change yourself. So when I go back out in our community, I will say that we're still dealing with racism. The public defender's office, the population that they're going to help is predominantly black and brown people. And how can you say that we're fully represented if I look at the table and it's still all white people making decisions, all my life? We're not moving this is showing you have absolutely no regards for the black and brown community and that's sad you can sit there stone faced and willing to move this vote forward without that representation.
10:59 AMJust as a point of clarification, the motion before us with an eight-person committee with these individuals, individual names included, depending on how the judicial appointment goes is half white and half of color. And includes justice involved and community advocates.
If Commissioner Shea wouldn't have brought up joseph parker -- I mean, i'm sorry, Commissioner Travillion, i'm sorry, wouldn't have brought up adding joseph parker, none of you would have brought up a black person. You wouldn't have thought about it. I'm just saying --
Again, I would invite you to take a look at the list.
However you want to go back and forth with me about that, it's clear it's out there.
The object of the list was to achieve diversity. So I hear --
11:00 AMBut it's not --
Diversity is improved% with the addition of pastor parker.
But it's still representing predominantly white people. Bottom line --
Yes, there are white people on it.
Okay, so why can't we open it and put more diversity on it?
I'm sorry. [inaudible] correct. There's not one latin x representation. There's some scholarly people in the latin x community that would be able to step up and represent that community.
We do have a long-time advocate from the hispanic community that's been working in this area for a number of years.
We could have done better and by increasing the number as in the original proposal there was -- it was a bigger oversight committee that included more directly impacted voices and that's what we're getting at. We were having to choose against one person representing everybody wearing many hats. That is unfair and the people that always end up being pinned on that I side is always a person much color. This was not a matter of who was going to be on there, it was a matter of representation of directly impacted people. And again, stating to -- it was a -- what we we ended up with was an oversight committee to the liking of the people in charge of it which was white male.
11:01 AMJudge, is it possible in number 4 justice involved individual to find another person from the community?
Who is that person?
Darwin hamilton.
Co-chairs grass leaderships board and also sits on our reentry round table.
11:02 AMIs he african-american?
Again, not a matter of who but a number of -- the number of people that were allowed on this. The spots that were created. Why couldn't there be more space for directly impacted people, right? And to have two people there and another space for a community advocate. Where is the representation on there?
This is an organizational development committee. We did have a stakeholder, indigent legal stakeholders committee that was very robust. I'm going to go to ms. Woog for her comments. We have a standing motion, an active motion.
To the conversation that was just being had, I wanted to put out there I think there was an original intention of having an odd number of people on this committee for voting purposes. So you all could consider adding another spot to bring it to nine, which would still be a manageable number, but would increase representation from people who were directly impacted. The other piece I wanted to talk to you briefly was about the judge's position. I understand the -- I wanted to emphasize the importance of someone not currently taking hearing cases in travis county so right now the designated spot is for a retired Judge Or a civil court judge, and a retired Judge Could still be hearing cases in travis county. I think it's really important to maintain that distance between the public defender office and who is currently sitting on the bench at all in our jurisdiction.
11:03 AMThank you.
Point well taken. Commissioner Gomez, did you have comments with regard to the motion?
I think what we're trying% to get to is a workable number of people so that -- so progress can be made. So do you think that nine people would be still workable? So we can kind of balance the committee a little better with people from the community?
11:04 AMAny number is workable. this is an organizational development committee so the larger it becomes, the more difficult it is to meet and manage. So there have been many discussions over the last several weeks about the -- you know, the optimal size, but, of course, any size will work. The smaller it is the more practical it is.
And that usually works except when you have a community that wants to really be involved, then you have to kind of consider all of the interests that people have and experiences that they have.
Right. the charge to this group is that it would remain in place for four years or five years, depending on the duration of the grant, and it would be charged with recruiting, interviewing and making a recommendation to the commissioners court on the hiring of a public defender, and then work with that public defender and be a sounding board for that public defender in the on-boarding of the office. It's a very active and practical organizational board. It's not the same as the stakeholder committee.
11:05 AMI understand.
But we have a motion for eight. If what you're suggesting is an alternative motion for nine, I would ask that in the alternative motion you state your intention in the motion for how the ninth would be categorized and filled.
Well, I think we can have more than one advocate, can't we, community activist or someone who is justice involved, as those two indicate.
11:06 AMSo how about -- are you suggesting an alternative motion for an organizational development committee of nine members that would include two community activist advocate positions?
That would be a good start.
Does that stipulate justice involved in you can be a community advocate and not have that lived experience.
Community/justice involved.
I'm willing to accept that as an alternative or substitute motion.
If you would like to style it as a friendly amendment. Whose motion was it?
I think I made the motion.
It's an alternative.
Was it Commissioner Shea's motion? So Commissioner Shea is accepting it as a friendly and it was your second.
Uh-huh. okay.
Yeah. and how would that slot be selected? Are you suggesting that there are many different ways to fill that slot. We could ask the two individuals that are proposed in this slate to select a third or we could ask tidc to select the third, or we ourselves could go out and recruit and select?
11:07 AMWhy don't we take a nomination from the community people?
I would prefer not to do that on the dais because we would not be reaching out -- this is not representative of the full interested groups, I would think.
But they are the ones who are here.
They are the ones here with the suggestion, the improvement.
We had a -- this group needs to work very well together.
And I would suggest that we spend the week casting this in a way that we're sure that this is going to be a team.
11:08 AMHas to be somebody who can -- you know, who will put in the time and the effort to accomplish all of those tasks that need to be accomplished.
But I think there's a clear intent that we are acting to expand the size of the committee to include more representation from the justice involved community and the advocacy community. But i'm happy to take a week for that ninth person.
That would be fine, and look around.
A communication from reverend parker that he is willing to serve and he brings a very broad background to the board.
And we're taking another week to hear from the judges as well. This would be to take another week to hear from the judges and to hear from the advocate and justice involved community for a ninth spot.
And can we add a request that the judges be considering a person of color for that retired Judge Position and that they not be actively hearing cases as a retired judge?
11:09 AMLet's take that as -- let me also have a roberta's rules moment. Let's first take a motion on the size of the organizational development committee and the categories of membership. Because we already voted it once with seven. Now I would suggest we vote it with nine to include --
A second position for justice involved/community advocate position.
Right. and then I would suggest that joe parker be an additional community -- that's also a community advocate position. Because really you are suggesting pastor parker, who is a wonderful suggestion, not for his work as an attorney so much but as a civil rights advocate and bridge builder, is my perception.
11:10 AMCivil rights advocate, I think it's a bonus that he has a legal background. Because of relationships on both sides of the aisle. I mean to be able to represent community folks and have conversations with lawyers that only lawyers can have.
So he's number 8 on our list.
This is on the -- a nine-person board with these stipulations about both the judicial position and the justice involved community advocate position.
Uh-huh. so we have a motion and a second for a nine-member group with these categories.
With the names we've already mentioned, leaving the judicial position and this additional community activist -- advocate/justice involved blank. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. That's awesome. So next was your suggested motion with regard to --
11:11 AMDo we need to make a motion? I'm hopeful people making the selection on the judges will either review this discussion and get the sense of the court or do you need a formal motion that we request the judges consider a person of color and someone who is not currently hearing cases as that retired Judge Slot.
I think that would be helpful.
Okay, I make that motion.
Do I have a second? gomez. Any deliberation on that motion? All those in favor? That passes unanimously. And then we also need a motion with regard to amending the grant proposal to include the budget as laid out as well as the monitoring as laid out.
Excuse me. we are here --
11:12 AMI am so sorry. yes, I am so sorry. I got caught up with that motion. Y'all come on down. Q. Thank you.
My apologies. I just got swept up in managing that.
Thank you. good morning. I guess it's still morning, yes. My name is maria emerson. I'm a member of san jose catholic church, and i'm a member of a group called advocates for social justice reform. On the tidc grant, one of the things we're encouraged that an evaluation or a performance piece is part of that. And i'd like to address that part. Recently you received a document called the client bill of rights, and hopefully you have had the time to read it and study it. We, the advocates for social justice reform, believe that the principles in that document are very important in the development of an evaluation. For caps ds and the public defender offices. I'm glad, Commissioner Travillion, that you brought up the piece of the quantitative versus the qualitative because that's what I believe that document includes as a qualitative part, which I think needs to be part, a central part of this grant. Not only that, that the evaluation piece should be a requirement for the mac operation and for the public defender. And that there be an annual report of the qualitative part especially that is given to you, of course, and given to the public. We need to know the quality of representation that is being given. Today after four years of the macc operation, we have no idea other than subjective opinions that are given to us by clients. And it would be very good to know a performance data- driven instrument that we can see that there has been quality representation for people that look like me largely and people who look that are black and brown, and people that cannot afford to hire representation. So it's important that we in the community get that feedback and get to know what exactly we're paying for. So I would appreciate, we would appreciate that inclusion into that contract. More specifically in those areas, and thank you very much.
11:15 AMThank you.
Thank you.
Yeah, go ahead.
So the client bill of rights was presented to the capds in its second year to their board of directors. Well, from the get go, but it was adopted by the board as part of their foundation and training for all the attorneys that come through for representation. So it's not a new document, but it's a required document, it would be a way to help, as ms. Emerson said, to find the outcomes and the quality of work. Thank you.
Go ahead.
11:16 AMHi. i'm -- my name is laura ann gerson, a member of temple beth shalom and social justice reform. Our group believes representation as magistration is very important, and I know you do also. However, we are well aware that you are concerned with the cost. However, we think that the effective use of magistration May off set the need for a large increase in the cost of attorneys that the county is required to provide for low-income individuals who are accused of criminal -- of a criminal matter. We respect the imposition of the 3. 5% property tax cap will affect the overall budget next year and thereafter. We, however, believe that representation magistration should be considered a priority. Additionally, Judge Eckhardt, we believe you recently stated there May be a possibility of other funding. We recommend that all avenues of funding be researched for the creation of magistration. And thank you.
11:17 AMThank you.
Now, are we talking about 24/7 magistration, is that what you are talking about?
Yes, sir.
And to be clear, and we could get staff to opine on this as well, we're in favor of that. We're just trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of how that would operate and how we would cost it out. We can't put it in the grant yet because we don't fully -- it's not cooked enough to put it in the grant. We're still in conversation with prosecution, with defense, with the judiciary, with the city, because most of the magistration is actually done by municipal court judges and municipal magistrates, to figure out how that would work. It's not in the grant. It doesn't mean we're not working on it.
But there is that possibility if you have that representation at magistration, some of those cases will not go further, in which case you are not paying for an attorney to represent them. So there will be a cost savings potentially over here.
11:18 AMI think one defense attorney was quoted in the newspaper as referring to it as preventive care, which I thought was a very good metaphor. We're not at all saying we're not looking at that. It's just not ready -- it's not grant proposal worthy yet, but we're still doing that work.
Thank you for letting me make --
Absolutely. Mr. Harris.
I do have a clarification -- oh,, wait until you are done and then ask questions of staff.
Sure. thank you, county Judge And commissioners for the opportunity to speak. Chris hair race. I live in precinct 1. Harris. I think I wanted to really mention two things. One is as it relates to the -- the overview that's planned in I believe will year 3 of the grant, to look at both capds and the public defender's office, you know, i'm excited to see the additional monitoring and things that are going to be happening of capds and oversight that's going to be taking place immediately. I do think it's really important that -- that they start immediately capturing the data, both the capds and the public defender's office in uniform ways to allow that oversight, that review process that happens in year 3 to be as comprehensive and as apples to apples as possible. So I think some analysis up front of what capds is capturing as far as data points, both qualitative and quantitative to your point, Commissioner Travillion ensuring that systems and processes are put into place in capturing what is needed to be captured in evaluating that information in expensive and thorough -- extensive and thorough application. Other than that, I really, you know, this is really kind of about the previous conversation, but I just think it deserves to be said that, you know, the extensive, what I would call meddling of the judicial in this process has been unfortunate. I understand that the law gives them a lot of power as relates to the fair defense plan and the ultimate signoff on this grant, but, you know, their insistence on the insertion of certain things into what was originally just a public defender grant, their attempts to establish an oversight board with their presence, active judges present on it, and now they are choosing of a retired Judge On it all are beyond the pale and wouldn't be happening if we were talking about a prosecutor office. Given the aba guidelines, given the judiciary's role in this, it needs to be said that they should be checking temperatures, even though the law doesn't do it for them, and should be removing themselves from this process. And really they should be removing themselves from capds as well. The defense of folks, indigent or otherwise, should be independent of the judiciary. And it's going to be really incumbent on this county, the community, the media to ensure that independence of these organizations moving forward so that they can operate in the best defense of clients and clients first moving forward. Thank you very much.
11:21 AMThank you.
Thank you.
Judge, one quick thing, as part of the revised budget, one of the things when we met with some of the former members of the ils task force last week, they requested in the first year that the attorneys -- the idea is to hire the public defender and the two division directors, for them to be able to take cases if they would like to just to get their feet wet. The previous proposal said there would be no cases taken that first year so we're going to amend that.
11:22 AMFor that flexibility.
Commissioner Shea.
Could you speak to the evaluation issue that the speakers raised? Is there no evaluation for capds until the third year? Can you just describe what is in the proposal and how both the public defender and capds will be evaluated and if that will be a public report? I am interested in having some kind of annual public reporting on outcomes so that we have some idea of how this is working.
So there is an independent evaluation funded in fy 2022.
Is that the third year?
Yes. $200,000 is in the budget for that.
Does the grant anticipate that the data for that evaluation will begin being gathered at the very beginning or not until the third year?
It would have to be.
It would have to be.
Yeah, so the plan is to gather data from the beginning.
11:23 AMOkay.
That's part of the reason that there is money in the budget for the public defender to get a case management system. That's going to be one of the keys to them collecting data and for caps to be able to enhance some of their systems so that we can collect the data that we need in order to go hourly and to do the evaluation and monitoring that we have. There's also a plan for, as we said, more clients outreach and sort of data gathering from -- directly from clients. So the plan is to begin gathering -- I mean we already gather a large amount of data, there have been. We did do an evaluation of capds and i'm happy to send that to people. But the plan is to continue to gather the data. Some will be court data that we already gather, some will be defender specific data that they will begin gathering in the public defender and that we gather for capds.
I think if we could, I think it would be important to get the lessons learned at this point, to identify what you've looked at. Because real the key to effect I have evaluation is designing the performance measures. Exactly what data and where and what frequency it is capital metro toured at and -- captured at, and the best route is to learn from the lessons of our last two or three sets of data.
11:24 AMThe evaluation you said was available, was that an annual evaluation? What was the time frame?
That's the evaluation we presented a year ago april. So that was April 2018.
But that was just for --
That was for capds, for the --
Time period.
Yes. what we did is we looked at prior to capds and after capds data, we looked at the changes in representation over that time. And so that was for the beginning of the capds. We do do internal evaluations on an ongoing basis. We are looking at data all the time. Internally caps uses data to evaluate attorneys. What I will tell you is the biggest lesson we've learned is that particularly when you are looking at individual attorneys, that the signal is very noisy so you are getting a lot of variation in cases that people take. That the outcome measures are not as sort of tight as you would like it to necessarily use as a chopping -- you know, like a very strict line. We haven't found that to be true, but we do look at the data all the time. We look at changes in how caps is performing and we are happy to share that with people.
11:25 AMBut i'm really interested in the rubric, though.
Yes, and we have that. so in terms of what data we're collecting, I can share that with you and then what measures we look at. I mean, we have tons of measures, but the ones we look at sort of at the top. The one that gets the most play and sort of the world has been this outcome gap between retained and appointed council, and I think that that's an important gap to look at, but I think that we need to remember that there are differences in the people that are in those two groups. So it's really looking at the change in that gap over time that I think gives us the most information. And then I think as we go forward the plan currently is to randomly assign defendants to public defender or caps, and that will allow us to do what Mr. Harris g about, an apples to apples comparison of the two groups. Because if we randomly assign people to the offices, then we have a better -- the randomization helps control a lot for those differences among --
11:27 AMI'm really thinking about functional decisions, spaces, you know, what is --
I'm just trying to manage time. There's going to be a lot of question and a lot of participation, which is super positive as we get into the qualitative and quantitative analysis aspect of this grant. I don't think there's any question that we want that though. If we could go ahead and vote that todayen a then continue our conversations about how we might enrich or use our analysis, that would be super helpful. I just have some other agenda items we need to get to this morning and we're at 11:30.
Would it be scheduling a work session to get more information and have a discussion as a report about how we want to either augment or tweak or whatever? So that will be a mechanism for us to get more detailed information as to what metrics you are using to evaluate and the process for it.
Let's start I think with annual reports, and actually what you put togethe already, and then how they've influenced the metrics you have in mind going forward, and then whether you consider them to be output measures or outcome measures, how do we get to outcome. So if we could use that as a starting point.
11:28 AMThat would be great. Commissioner Shea.
One more clarification. how many immigration attorneys are included in the public defender proposal? After we've made these modifications for costs, how many immigration attorneys will be left?
I believe there's --
There could be owners so they are not immigration attorneys per se, they are padia attorneys that inform of the immigration -- the impact on their immigration status with regard to the criminal case.
That category.
We have four immigration and research attorneys, three are immigration attorneys on the pd side. We removed one in the revised budget so there's still two immigration attorneys left, and we took out the research attorney and added two immigration attorneys to capds. There's a total of four new immigration attorneys.
11:29 AMRight now we just have one, correct, with capds?
I think so.
This will be an increase of four or a total of four where the capds?
So a total of five. thank you.
Do we have a motion and second with regard to -- did we already take a motion and second -- okay. I'm looking for a motion on the amendment to the grant proposal for the updated budget and quantitative, qualitative monitoring.
Second -- so moved.
Do I have a second.
We have a a motion and second. All those in favor? That passes unanimously -- no, sorry. That passes on a 4-1, and I think that concludes all the actions we needed today, which is our drop-dead date to get the grant to tidc and we thank you very much for being in the audience, Mr. Burkhart.
11:30 AMJust to be clear, it's the same budget that was presented and went over last week, it's just one investigator was added?
So i've done my job.
Investigator was added back in. Thanks so much. I've got three more items i'm going to try and reach this morning. Let's take agenda item number 4 -- instead of 4 let's take up 14. Consider and take appropriate action on the following regarding travis county code chapter 28, economic development incentives. A, placing a moratorium on new applications and b, directing the staff to research revising the policy to align it with commissioners court goals and focus on programs for which external funding can be leveraged. This is not an unexpected item. We were aware under a 3. 5% revenue cap, it would be highly improbable we would be able to entertain preferential tax treatment in order to see corporate relocation. We do not intend to go back on any of our deals already in the pipe, but we just won't be able to afford to do these kinds of deals moving forward. So we need to take a look at our policy and adjust it based on the new normal. So that's -- that's all this is. There is nothing retributive about this and does not change the status quo with regard to preferential tax treatment agreements we already have.
11:31 AMGood morning, jessica rios. There is a power point to this agenda item and we'll start there and they will take over when they come down. So the agenda item starts out with a little history of what our current county code chapter 28 economic development incentives policy is, and as you can of travis county are met. In addition to a moratorium, we need to better understand our statutory limitations. We feel that there is potentially a lot that we could do with this policy that we're not currently doing. And i'm just going to review this section of the statute that will highlight this. So, this is from the local government code. To stimulate business and commercial activity and a county, the commissioners court of the county May develop and administer a program for state or local economic development for small or disadvantaged business development to stimulate, encourage, and develop business location and commercial activity in the county, to promote or advertise the county and its vicinity or consult a solicitation program to attract conventions, visitors, and businesses, to improve the extent to which women and minority businesses are awarded counties contracts, to support comprehensive literacy programs for the benefit of county residents, or for the application of the arts. In your backup, we have provided you with specific potentia changes that we feel May be made under this policy to better achieve travis county goals. We've linked specific ideas with our comprehensive economic development strategy, also known as the ceds, developed over the span of a year with input from 70 stakeholders and more than a thousand residents in developing the county's first economic development strategic plan, which was presented to commissioners court earlier this year, but has yet to be adopted. The strategy has specific examples for how we couldism could improve the policy. I've linked them but i'm not going to go into specifics today. So, in addition to a moratorium, we are asking for direction from the court for an exploratory research phase so that we can adequately do the research to understand ways that we can improve the sp policy. We'd like to research what other counties have done while across the country and collaborate with the city of austin on lessons that they learned through their recent incentive policy revision process. We'd like to better understand the county's statutory limitations regarding funding sources as well for the policy and research other tools that are available to travis county. And we'd like to research best practices and better understand what's needed in travis county by engaging with stakeholders to gather input and tools for long-term success of the spoil is. Policy. So, just to recap again, I sound like a broken record a little bit. But our recommendation is specifically we ask that commissioners court approve a moratorium on all new applications for economic incentives under this policy, effective immediately and provide staff direction to begin an exploratory phase. If the commissioners court approved a moratorium today, we would start that preliminary research into the possibilities with the policy and then staff would come back to commissioners court for further direction on developing next steps such as a stakeholder community engagement plan. So that's all we have. So if you have questions, yeah, let us know.
11:46 AMI believe there are a couple people in the audience who would like to give comment. Would you all --
Okay. who would like to give comment on this item? Come on down.
Good morning, i'm mike rollins, president of the greater austin chamber of commerce. I'm here representing our organization in opposition to a moratorium for a number of reasons. One, I think as was previously said in february, an economic development strategy that had been in the works for mea more than a year with best practices and an outside consultant was brought forward. There is a strategy for consideration on the table. The other and most important thing in our opposition is that during such a time of moratorium, there could be opportunities for the county to be involved where it could get an additional $2 million in revenue from a new business coming here that would be paying ad valorem tax, involved in a 381 agreement. I know 312 was mentioned, but it is my understanding that the county does not have an active 312 policy, so abatements are not used in travis county. My 16 years here, I believe travis county has about four different 381 agreements with companies that our organization worked with and brought to the commission for consideration on it. So, my sense is that it's fine to continuously improve your policy, explore best practices, which I think the report in February showed best practices in it. But I think it would be a mistake by the county commission to put a moratorium on any consideration that May have the opportunity to bring as much as $2 million or more annually, a new ad valorem to the county, obviously saving taxpayers money over the long haul, and obviously a way to grow new customers is the way I like to use the analogy, versus just relying on existing customers to pay more. Judge, i'm happy to take any questions.
11:48 AMCommissioners? any questions for Mr. Rollins?
Judge, I don't like the message that the word moratorium sends. I do think that that, you know, sends a pretty strong message. I know that, mike, correct me if i'm wrong, but you all struggle a little bit with the city of austin over this same thing. Is that right?
11:49 AMThat's correct, commissioner.
And, you know, I do think that there are a lot of people in town that think that we are fat and sassy and, you know, why bring any more people. You know, it generally revolves around transportation. And people get pretty agitated about good god, the last thing we need is, you know, more businesses coming to town. But, you know, that's really short-sighted and misguided, I mean, if your attitude is that we've got all that we need. I mean, that's always been a feeling that i've had. I do think that, you know, mike, you know, we are trying to get our arms wrapped around, you know, best practices. I mean, and there are some things that we obviously need to do. And then especially in consideration of the 3. 5% cap, you know, next year. I mean, you know, we really can't afford, you know, to lose anything, number one. You know, it makes it even more difficult, because I would imagine that this department is going to tell me we don't have enough people to do some of these things, which is, you know, something that I resist with ftes. But i've never been one to cut my nose off to spite my face. I mean, if you can paint a good enough picture for me about if you spend this money I can return this money. I think you've got to be smart enough. And you have to know enough about what you're talking about to make sure that that can happen. And -- but I personally do not like the word moratorium. It's not saying that, you know, that I would go to the department and say you have to spend all this time on this thing. It's a different message when somebody comes to us and says, okay, you know, we're really backed up. We don't have enough folks and it May take us a little while d to get this deal done, very ,,,versus saying moratorium. Correct me if i'm wrong, mike, but I would think that term frightens y'all the most.
11:51 AMThat is correct. and quite candidly as a travis county resident, what i'm hopeful for is that when there are opportunities for an investment -- a capital investment, which is all the agreements that the county of travis has used in the past, at least where we've been involved, that is actually adding revenue into the county, which at a time when I think all revenue is going to be important, we need to grow it instead of, you know, waiting to see if our existing customers can live with the constraints. We need to do everything we can as a county to grow revenue. The chamber does an annual poll of public opinion, and consistently for the past several years citizens have, over a 70% margin said, please continue to have good job opportunities for them. And the only way that I think we can do that is -- you know, businesses are very evolving. Some are acquired, move out of the area. They close for various reasons. Most economists will tell you you're going to lose 4 to 6% of your jobs in your community annually, so you've got to replace those jobs.
11:52 AMLet me ask this. of our seven current rebate agreements -- when we talk about a rebate agreement, that is preferential property tax treatment to this corporate entity. What are the seven corporate entities that still enjoy preferential property tax treatment by the county?
11:53 AMSamson, apple, hid global, two solar companies, and the domain, and charles schwab.
Okay. I get it that the word moratorium is an ugly word with regard to a chamber of commerce. However, in the lead-up to a 3. 5% revenue cap, we hotel had had extensive conversations with the business community that preferential tax treatmnt for our wealthiest constituents was not going to be an option under a 3. 5. This is not news. [ chuckling ] we simply cannot afford to give preferential tax treatment to our wealthiest corporate citizens, or prospective wealthy corporate citizens, under a 3. 5% revenue cap. We're struggling to figure out how to make the investments necessary in transportation infrastructure so that they won't be more expensive later. We're struggling with how to make the necessary investments in human resources so that things won't be more expensive later. We're struggling with how to make investments in social services and justice services so that our job in providing justice won't be more expensive later. So this is a like to have that we simply can't afford under this new normal. That's all there is to it. I know that moratorium is a scary word, but that's the fact of it. This is not re-tribetive, it's simply a like to have that we cannot afford.
11:54 AMWhy --
Commissioner Shea, i'll come back to you.
I have a couple of questions. I think literally hundreds of local government elected officials came and testified to the legislature that this was a terrible idea, to put these revenue caps in place and that it would hurt our budgets, it would hurt the ability of local governments to engage in economic incentive programs, it would literally force us at some point in the future to have to seriously consider cutting our services. And if you just look at the timeframe for the gap in terms of the city of austin budget and the travis county budget, we'll be hitting that in what, three years? I think we have a $30 million shortfall.
11:55 AM6 million within four years.
$36 million shortfall with four years. What was the chamber of commerce's position on the revenue caps?
We did not oppose the revenue caps or support it. And I think as the Judge Alluded, we had many conversations in regard to that. I know response in the business community. It was not just austin, was that this was not a matter that the business community was going to be impacted on -- impact the outcome on, is what I mean to say. My sense, commissioner, as we've talked to the city of austin over the last several years, I think the travis county tax base growth and new revenue has averaged between 20 and $40 million. So to me, it's a risk of a missed opportunity to continue to be selective. There's no question that travis county has been very selective with four 381 agreements in the 16 years i've been here and doing it. And I think the number I recall from the slide point presentation -- I think it was 75 million or something close to that. Maybe it's for the four. I know one of those has invested 12 billion in new tax base. To me, that's a very significant number, notwithstanding another one, 300 million and the other not too far behind that, because I think very judicially on the 381, the travis county commissioners is make sure that the citizens of travis county is getting more from what the incentive agreement is working with the business.
11:57 AMI'm sorry.
I do understand those arguments, that there's a greater rate of return over time. But I think it's important for everybody to understand -- your community becomes less attractive if you can't afford to fix the leaking sewer lines, if you can't afford to fix your streets, if you have to cut back your law enforcement or firefighter or public safety staff. And I will point out, for the record, standard and boozboozpoors, after the legislature issued the revenue caps, they said, texas local governments could face budget headwinds and credit quality strain from property tax reform. It's not good for communities across the state. And it certainly wouldn't be good for the ability to attract businesses if you have to say to people, sorry, we're going to have to cut our budget for law enforcement or sewage treatment, or drinking water treatment because we don't have the funds, because of property tax reform. And I will note for the record, the dallas chamber of commerce did come out against property tax revenue cap so-called reform because they understood it would be bad for business. I don't think we're saying stop any future work with the business community. What our staff, our professional staff who I respect, is telling us is, we need to take a break while we reevaluate what policy would make sense. And I think that's a very reasonable proposal. Whatever you call it, I think it's a very reasonable proposal.
11:59 AMOther commissioners?
Yeah, I was here when the bottom fell out of the economy in '85. And I thought that the chamber took some very significant proactive steps, you know. It broke down the economy into specific industries. And high-tech was one industry that was focused on, the capital area training foundation with the chamber, with the cluster of industry folks who we were recruiting to come here did specific things, with the school district, with local governments to make sure that everyone understood that there was a partnership, that there would be a long-term continuous relationship. It was something that we could go and talk in communities about so that they knew that we were connected and working together. I think that we've come back into a period where we need to demonstrate our partnerships and work and make sure that as we are recruiting folks, that they are producing the types of things that historically we've given abatements for. What are we doing as it relates to training programs? What are we doing as it relates to, for example, teacher training. There were teacher training opportunities so that teachers knew what the students needed to know in order to work in that industry. We actually had a system that we worked together. And I think it has been fabulously successful. I think that we need to work together again in this market to analyze, you know, where the jobs are, where they're coming from, how we are creating a value for the community at large as we pursue programs like our 381 program. I think that we probably need to have clearer and more robust relationships and programs that demonstrate the value to everyone, because everything's going to be on the table as we move forward. So, I would love to sit down and talk about how we engage the business community, and how we engage our other partners, whether they're isds or community colleges, to make sure that people really understand that this is an investment that will have a return. I think the arguments that have been happening have occurred because some folks find it difficult to define the return, and therefore have been squeamish about the investment. So, I think that we should be looking at all partnerships that make sense, and where we can draw it up and define it as clearly as we did in '85, I think that you'd have a community that would be willing to move forward. But what i'm hea hearing staff tell me is we haven't defined those things as well as we should at this point. And until we do make those definitions, then there's a question as to whether this investment really gives us the return that's necessary to continue it. So, i'd love to sit down, work together, and figure out how to show this community that this is an investment, and it will pay off.
12:02 PMThank you, commissioner. I guess in the last 15 years, through the chamber, we've invested a little over $20 million in public education for our region. And that is to help our graduating seniors to be better prepared for a career opportunity, or into postsecondary education with where there's a certificate, two-year, or four-year degree. The needle has been moved from 52% going rate on a career opportunity or postsecondary education to we're now hitting about 65% on the latest data. That translates into more than $130 million in tuition assistance that we've been able to help disadvantaged students get on an annual basis most recently. In addition to that, as you May well know, Judge Eckhardt with mayor adler two plus years ago called for a regional work force summit to make sure we were addressing as a community, as a region -- in fact, where the jobs are and people that will be trained to do it. We played an integral role in that regional job plan and we are also involved through workforce solutions in actually executing against that plan. We actually have on-boarded somebody that is actually working with businesses to try to identify the intern opportunities as well as the training opportunities. So we fully understand. And I think the business community has demonstrated through opening up their resources that they're committed to making sure that our area residents continue to have those job opportunities. My concern, again, has been -- it's not only the message on moratorium, it's that are we being maybe a little bit in some degrees, you know, penny wise to be long-term where we might miss opportunities ma -- back to manufacturing where we can increase those manufacturing distribution jobs who actually make significant ca capital investment in our community. If you invest $12 million in the community you're most likely not going to pick up and walk away from that. So I understand. And we encourage the city all the time, which they just went through, to get public input like the plan that was done in february. It had over a thousand public inputs into it during the past year. But don't stop doing anything. Learn along the way to make the modifications. And I think the city did that a year ago this past fall, adopted a new plan but did not put a moratorium, did not drop their other plan in the meantime, because it does send a message. Now, you can interpret whether that's the message you want or not.
12:05 PMPut it to staff. staff, do you currently have the capacity even to evaluate a proposal if the chamber of commerce walks through the door with one today?
12:06 PMWe don't have a good model. It's with a very old model that's used, developed by the university of georgia. The university of georgia got out of the business, sold the model to the city of austin, and under contract with the city of austin, we use it when we need it. But it's a very static model. And it doesn't capture what we really need it to capture.
Judge, mike, I would say, help us. I mean, you know, we've got a department that's stretched. People have come at us. And I think that we can figure this thing out. I mean, you know, I don't think that the things that you have said are hyperbole. I think that the chamber is the instrument that brings the businesses to this community for the jobs that all of us are trying to figure out, you know, I mean, can we find the kind of jobs that everybody, you know, needs. Now, obviously manufacturing is tough because just manufacturing is tough for the country. But I don't want to put you in a spot to where because there's a word there everybody goes don't even go there. Obviously we can't do everything that comes at us and y'all wouldn't expect us to do that. But the places where you could help our department -- and I don't know what that would be. But if we can get this, you know, moratorium thing out, which I am supportive of, but know that we need some help. I mean, that we're going to come and say, okay, chamber, what can you do to help us. T. You would likely do that.
12:08 PMWe participated pretty deeply in the last consultant for a year. I -- you know, I can only speak to what i'm aware of. I've been here 15 years at the chamber. I can remember four active 381 agreements that we worked with that the commissioners did. I May not be aware of a lot of things going on right now. -i'm not aware of any that we're processing through the county right now. Diana May be. My team May not have told me about any of them. I'm aware that we have three that are potentially looking at central texas. I won't say what government unit. But it's not like we're getting lots every day now. And especially that qualify.
An investment banking firm wanted to locate in rolling wood and we said no to that, because it was an investment banking firm that wanted to relocate to rolling wood.
12:09 PMSure.
I wasn't even in those conversations. So that's a new one for me, which is one of the problems that we're seeing. And there have been others recently that have gone over to the chamber offices to meet with their employees. And part of the problem, too, is based -- I mean, we can only do what -- and reiterate what we've seen court tell us and tell the public from the dais. And you all have been very strong on the dais, pretty much, about not wanting to use property tax for anything other than the must-dos. And you have been also -- when i've taken items as -- into executive session for a very specific request from a specific company, you all have pretty much said no, not really. And so then what I have to do is when i'm going to these meetings at the chamber talking to these companies, the policy says we're open for business, but I know that you're not that interested in these agreements. So i'm going out on a limb as a staff person and telling these companies, you know, that's not really anything the court has liked in the past. You know, are you sure? Do you really want to go this way? And so it also puts staff in a really tough position, because we're having to go out there and talk. And there's always the confidentiality agreements that need to be signed. And I don't want to be speaking for you unless I know specifically what you want me to say.
12:10 PMMaybe we can split the baby here. The chamber has really been working with us on many of these issues. It's the preferential tax treatment proposals that we are allergic to right now because we are almost entirely reliant on property taxes. And so giving a preferential tax treatment to a specific corporate entity is just going to be difficult to the point of impossible for us under the current rubric. That said, one thing that we know has reurn on investment is when a business sector needs an infrastructure improvement that will be a benefit to any business in that area. And to any, frankly, resident in that area. So if the business community wants to come forward and say listen, we've got a big corporate entity that would love to move here but they say they can't make it work unless we have a more robust transit system, county, will you invest in a transit system, we'll say yes to that. That's just an example, goodness. Let me get one that would be happy for you. If they say listen, we could really have a significantly more business opportunities at the wyatt oak hill, i'm just using examples. If the chamber comes to us and says will you invest, will you speed up investment in a piece of public infrastructure that is going to greatly benefit this business sector or this location, we are much warmer to that and can do that, because that benefits all. Where we're really struggling and we need to do research and figure out what's even within the realm of possible under our current normal is preferential tax treatment to specific companies. We could certainly speed up tax investment in public infrastructure that's a benefit to the business community. That's something that we should be in constant communication about so that we don't appear -- because we're not -- unfriendly to the business -- our business constituents.
12:13 PMJudge, you know, again, moratorium is the word, the message that concerns us most. The court has always followed the practice of case by case, whatever it is. And we understand that on it. So we have no issues. I mean, you're charged with evaluating for all citizens of travis county, is this a good opportunity or not a good opportunity. You know, as far as we're concerned we're happy with the way that opportunity can present itself and then you have to make a decision on it. I think just the word moratorium and saying we're shutting down is just not the way that we think we should portray ourselves to the business community.
It's toxic.
I know, but it's truthful. We're saying we are not going to entertain 381 agreements because we want to attract all business with educated and healthy workforce, fair courts, with a good transportation system, with an attractive environment. These are the things that we are making investments in and they clearly have a return on investment for all travis county residents, not just for some.
12:14 PMAren't we really saying that we just want to be very careful about what we do? I mean, I wouldn't even mind it if something comes to deanna and say mike, i'm calling you. I'm calling jeremy. This is somebody that's coming, I don't really have the time to do this, how big a deal is this? Y'all are the ones that are going to go this is a big deal. We're going to help you every way that we can, whether it's sending somebody over to help you or -- that'se looking for. I mean, we're looking for a pathway here that doesn't send -- I mean, we've already got a tough message out there because 80% of travis county is the city of austin. They're tough cookies. You know, that's up to them and I respect that. But we've even got, you know, deals with them. Let's find a way to take that word out. The message has been sent to you, mike, that you've got to help more than what you have. And all along we're going to be doing these best practices. And we're going to be coming up with things, because there are some times where, you know, abatements -- they make sense. I mean, you know --
12:15 PMThere is am ample research on the areas of which abatements make sense. Generally speaking it's brownfields, redevelopment areas, they are geographically specific. Often the abatements brought to us are in the general downtown area, the city of austin. That is not best practice. I will tell you, if the chamber says i've got a thousand manufacturing jobs that want to locate in southeast travis county, and they're going to hire straight out of our workforce development programs, but they're going to need a tax abatement for a ten-year period to make this deal sing, that's something that we would look at. We don't see that very often. As a matter of fact, I can't think of any. [ laughing ] so --
12:16 PMHome depot, there was somebody that was sort of in that line that you were talking about. The deal didn't get done. But we're -- y'all are looking for that. I mean, as much as you're into education it's kind of like we know not everybody is going to go to college.
That's to the point. we need to look another our policy and the best practice. There is 30 years of research on the return on investment for these things when they work and when they don't. Generally speaking, I respect the chamber a lot. But the chamber disagrees with me on this. Really, they're geographic specific. They take specific areas of low opportunity and they transform them. They do not do tax abatements in areas that are already high-opportunity with already high employee capital that's being brought in from elsewhere. We do need to retool our policy. We do need to take a very close look at it and use it much more strategically. And I applaud staff for bringing this forward. So, a moratorium is appropriate as we take a look at what we expect to accomplish with this policy and how we expect to accomplish it. I know it's a difficult word, but it's truthful. It's just truthful.
12:17 PMYou can be truthful and not poke somebody in the eye.
Why don't with c we call it a pause?
If the chief concern is the semantics, we're suspending taking any applications while we re-examine our policy and try and understand what capacity we have and how we want to dedicate our resources. Is that fair?
And identify additional resources. So we always thought this would be a temporary cessation, not a permanent one.
12:18 PMSo we'll say just for a stalking horse that we come back with updates on how we're going to proceed and we will reevaluate this pause after the new budget cycle begins.
Judge, I do have a question. Because the county is so -- almost singularly dependent on property taxes, we just have -- we have a lot less room to maneuver. And any property tax that we waive for somebody else, that burden gets transferred onto mostly our residents. So I would actually love to have the chamber support for the county getting access to the h. O. T. Taxes.
Commissioner, I understand what you're saying. The only thing that we May have a difference of opinion on -- I don't take for granted that a business is going to locate in travis county on it. So we're not giving something that we already have as citizens of travis county. Now, I do agree with what the Judge Just said. And that is, as I understood, judge, that there was a thousand job manufacturing, high capital investment, wanting to go to disadvantaged, targeted areas of travis county. We'll say east travis county, southeast travis county. Something that we've advocated for several years on that and actually paid to have a study to identify those tracks and anything east of 35 and southeast specifically on it, we did a heat map to show the highest highesest density of manufacturing is in southeast travis county. That's what we advocate for, just sometimes -- i'm not suggesting the county Commissioner Has done this. This is the way texas operates property tax. That funds a lot of things in texas. We do not have income tax. I don't see that that's going to ever happen, at least while i'm around in my lifetime in texas. So we do have high property tax on it. Travis county, city of austin happens to be one of the leading high appraisal areas in the state of texas. So it's very difficult for manufacturers who are going to invest whatever the number is to be able to afford to do that when they can go somewhere else. That's why I don't take for granted that they're going to be coming to texas, or travis county. And sometimes --
12:20 PMWe need to evaluate what is the investment that's going to be most attractive to seeding that kind of industry, and at least in many conversations I have with the manufacturing industries in travis county, not inside the city limits, it's not tax abatement they're looking for, it's water wastewater infrastructure. If we can contribute toward wastewater extension that's what gets them excited, not the tax abatement. If they're locating in southeast travis county or unincorporated eastern travis county their property taxes are relatively low, that's why they located there in the first place. What they want is infrastructure. And that is what's more likely to seed that kind of industry for those employees, no at the gacs. Tax abatement. That's why we need to look at goals. Is it to attract apple, or is it to attract the industries that we think are more likely to employee the employ t individuals in our 10,000 by 2021 plan.
12:21 PMDo your comments mean you are supportive of the county having access to the h. O. T. Tax?
We have not begun to look at that.
We'd love to have your support.
We'd be glad to look at it.
So we'll be looking at our public improvement districts, which in many case process s provide the funding for infrastructure programs. We will be looking at the full suite of the tools in the toolbox for economic development. But more and more, under the 3. 5% revenue cap and the research for the last 30 years for what we know is do-able for us, 381 agreements to specific companies are perhaps not the most robust tool. We need to take a look at that. Then we will have the same conversation.
12:22 PMWe don't have to have --
Next week. we can do that.
We've got to find a way to get moratorium out of it.
Pause. and then we come back --
Is a pause -- I mean --
After the new fiscal year begins.
Which is October 1?
Mmhmm. I don't have a motion yet. Is there a motion?
Excuse me.
I would move that we follow staff's recommendation and call it a pause or a suspension. If the word moratorium seems to be the chief objection, the reality is our staff is in limbo about even getting these applications unless we give them a specific directive. Their recommendation to us is that we success spend suspend taki the applications until they can re-examine what resources could be available. I think that is a very reasonable recommendation.
12:23 PMI second that.
Thank you.
We have a motion and a second. Any further deliberation?
So we're just changing the word to pause?
Or suspend. because they've asked for a break until they can reevaluate the policy and come back with recommendations.
Well, I guess that's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I just think that there are better ways to do this stuff and to respect the organization that is almost exclusively responsible for bringing things into this community. Now, we have to pay for infrastructure. And you're right, judge, those are bigger incentives, I mean, in southeast. Where we go we can get in that game. But mike, you're seeing what we're struggling with. We can figure it out. If it's just a matter -- there are four things that come at you, deanna and you've got an open line into the chamber to say is there anything here I need to spend any time on. And if I have to spend some time on it i'm going to need some help from you, your staff, every way that you can possibly give me the help. That's the thing that i'm most concerned about. So, I mean, can you live with this pause sidestep or whatever we're calling it?
12:25 PMSo maybe what we're really asking for is a reevaluation period to study what's going on. And it will be presented to us in the new fiscal year. So a reevaluation rather than a moratorium.
And just to set expectations, October 1 is really soon. So right now --
In the new fiscal year. I didn't say in the first month of the new fiscal year.
Just making sure we're all on the same page as far as expectations on the timing, how soon we can come back. I have two vacancies. There's five people including me, and only britney works on the policy right now and me. And that's it for the whole county for everything on economic development, so.
Deanna, when somebody kohl' --comes at you, you're comfortable enough with your position to say, you know, unless i've got a commissioner, unless you've got somebody that is coming to me and saying I need to put time in this, I don't know why you just couldn't go, time out. I don't have the staff to do that. Now, i'll run it by a couple of people, but you can make that call. I mean, you can just go, can't do it. Britney, we're not working on that. Company x, we can't give you any kind of information on that. You go and you work the electeds. You go and you work the chamber.
12:26 PMThen it becomes the shiny object. If we want to go there and do the shiny object, this totally cool company is coming here but they won't come unless you give them a preferential tax treatment, and sidestep staff as the filter, that's a terrible idea.
They're not sidestepping. i'm not saying to sidestep.
We have a motion and a second. We're at 12:27, Mr. Scadden, who has been here all morning long with regard to the gcd would like to get resolution on his matter as well. All those in favor? Those opposed? 4-1. We'll combac -- come back with a schedule for periodic updates to the commissioners court. I would like to get agenda item number 26 handled. It's a $15,000 transfer from unallocated reserve to assist the gcd. Is that what it is?
12:27 PMSo moved.
Allocated, sorry, I said unallocated, I meant allocated reserve. Number 26, consider and take appropriate action regarding payment and reimbursement of costs and expenses related to the creation and organization of the southwest travis county groundwater conservation district. And it was a $15,000 budget transfer from allocated reserve to tnr?
And we have a motion by Commissioner Daugherty. Do we have a second?
12:28 PMSecond.
We have a second. i'm so sorry to rush you. Commissioner Shea, please.
I do want to note for the record that we have already spent $100,000 that was, I think, passed through the barton springs reserve for conservation district to enable the study of the trinity aquifer as part of this effort. I'm all for aquifer protection, obviously, but I want us to be very mindful of what kind of expectation is being created about how much money travis county will put into this effort. The legislature was told clearly that they were not allocating enough funding mechanism for this. So if the election creates this aquifer district, I want to be clear on the record that i'm not writing a blank check for the costs that are unfunded because the legislature did not give this gcd the tools to properly raise its revenue for operations. We cannot write a blank check on this, so I want that to be really clear. And i'm a huge advocate for aquifer protection, but the communities that are affected are just simply going to have to put more funds in.
12:29 PMI agree.
The unfortunate thing is we couldn't have gotten it out of the legislature if we would have written it any differently. We've always known that we are going to have to be the adults in the room to get this thing out of the ground and started. Now we've got to be very, very diligent, as we have discussed with rick. And he's gone over that with his board, that, you know, spending has got to be -- I mean, we're going to spend 50 grand just on the election. I mean, so -- but to get in this game is going to cost us some money. But we are going to have to be very diligent about what we spend.
Exactly. call the question.
Commissioner Shea.
12:30 PMI just want to make one clarification. I'm vicki from tnr. The $100,000 was not any part of that went to the groundwater conservation district.
I thought it was used to determine the trinity aquifer.
That's right.
That's what I said. but for the trinity aquifer which this gcd is being created to protect.
All those in favor? that passes unanimously with Commissioner Gomez temporarily off the dais. Thank you so much for staying all morning on that.
Thank you.
And thank you, staff, for being prepared to answer all questions, and working so closely with the barton springs edwards aquifer conservation district and the western travis county gcd looking at all of our options in order to collaborate and combine resources.
Thank you.
So, if there is no objection, and I doubt there is, we'll ay adjourn for lunch until 1:30 and come back and complete the rest of our agenda. &j
1:31 PMGood afternoon and welcome to the July 30 commissioners court. Next is agenda item number 28. Commissioners and Commissioner Daugherty will join us jointly. This is just an update. No action necessary by the commissioners court today. Thanks so much. I will state with the record we did take some action on the consent motion to mirror our tax exemptions that we provide to residents as well.
1:32 PMThank you.
And that voted positively. Take it away, y'all.
Good morning, Judge And commissioners. I'm president and ceo of central health and we want to thank you for having us here today to provide you this update. Central health is the health care district for travis county. We currently provide in some way shape or fund health care for one in seven travis county residents. Joining me here today I have yvonne from community care and jeff. We have at least one board member present that I can see behind me, manager greenberg. Now, the presentation today, if I could best summarize it, we'll talk about what we've done, what we're going to continue to do through the rest of this fiscal year and into fiscal year 2020 and some of the big pack force affecting our fiscal landscape and how we deliver care. There's a number of issues external to central health that will change the way we fund health care in travis county. This way you will have context and back drops so when we do come balk -- back in late august, you will have a sense of what's driving the numbers that you will ultimately see. First I want to remind the court this 2017 we had a performance review. This was a review urged by this court. That review was conducted throughout 2017 and concluded and presented in 2018. And there are some categories that you'll see throughout this presentation that touch on this performance review. One is improving specialty care access. Transparency of funding and services relationships. Increasing awareness of how central health delivers care. And then for sendero, the recommendation was fined ways to optimize the use of sendero and in this case it involves taking advantage of the federal risk pool system to be able to fund parents to have the option to be in either m. A. P. Or sendero ideal care. For fiscal years 2018 and 2019, some of the highlights, we had a 31% incease in people who had received health coverage screening and assistance in fy-18. Patients?
1:49 PMSo in this particular model what we're looking for is this program is specifically for the community as far as patients that live in the area. We do partner with the schools so that in the sense that we're good partnership, but as far as health for the particular teachers, that is something that we haven't put into this particular model. But as far as being there if they had any urgent issues, we would always be there to help anyone who needed our support.
1:50 PMOkay. i'm interested in looking at the model particularly the school based model so that if we've got kids -- and if their teacher is there as well, the teachers get to use those facilities. I'm interested in the feasibility of that. And then i'm interested in patients -- parents as well. If I can get my child seen there and then I can go there too, if I live in colony bus, I don't have to get on the bus for four hours, I can just go to overton school and get that addressed. I'm interested in the level of cares re provide at schools and whether we can address the needs of teachers.
1:51 PMThis first one that we're partnering with akins, isd is folks focused on the students and the families of the community. That's this first phase. I will definitely take the information that you are providing to us in your interest and we'll continue to do that research.
Thank you.
Is this time for questions?
Is there more presentation?
Why don't we try to get through the presentation and then have questions.
Thank you, jeff, cfo with questions.
2:01 PMCommissioners?
Go ahead.
I wanted to go back to the chart on measuring progress in my -- in primary care. That's an impressive growth rate. It's the chart that shows the total primary care visits increasing. That one. It looks like it's doubled, maybe a little more than doubled from 2005. Is that correct?
2:02 PMYes.
Which is really impressive. Was the starting number in 2005 essentially the old m. A. P. Patients, the number of old m. A. P. Patients that were being seen. Were you seeing almost 200,000 patients in 2005? I'm trying to remember when central health got up and running. So that number probably was the old m. A. P. Patients. Medical assistance people are nodding. I'm trying to get some frame of reference where that number could have came from.
Both the m.a.p. patients and the clinics that were transitioned by the city. At that time there would have been grants and sliding fee scale type patients.
There were probably walk-ins that weren't part of the m. A. P. Program. I want to acknowledge. I feel there were a lot of questions, people are frequently coming to this court and I discussed some of this with you yesterday with concerns, the wait times on the specialty care, what type of services was the public getting and I think you've been very responsive, worked really hard to increase access to specialty care and I think it shows people are not coming to the court and regularly raising these issues so I really want to acknowledge the work you all have done to improve access to care. And also to provide the care where the community really needs it. I think you are making real progress there. I did want to ask on the previous year, 2018-2019, the 31% increase in people who received health coverage screening and assistance, do any of these numbers include people who are also getting access to care through sendero? Do any of these statistics include that population?
2:03 PMI'm not advised but jeff, do you --
2:04 PMI don't think they do.
So that 31% increase is through the central health clinics, community care clinics, those locations or the private screenings.
I wouldn't include the enrollments.
And that expansion of medical access program and launch of m. A. P. Basic, how does that relate to sendero? That's what i'm trying to understand. Is there any relationship there? Not really - people are shaking their head no.
Health funding programs.
But m.a.p. is the essentially lower income population from there's some to shift to sendero like the 2 # 23 people moved to sendero earlier. I did have a question about that. If the cost was higher than expected on those m. A. P. -- I mean on those sendero claims, phrase claims costs more than anticipated. Can we assume that -- some large percentage of that came from the m. A. P. Parents who newly moved over to sendero? Is there -- is that probably accurate?
2:05 PMSpecifically it was those patients.
It was those patients.
So had they stayed in the m. A. P. Program, is it fair to say the m. A. P. Program would have incurred higher costs? From those patients?
They would have incurred costs related to the treatment of those patients, yes.
But would it have been higher than anticipated or was it simply given the trajectory sendero was on you weren't appearing those costs. I'm trying to understand how it was higher than anticipated.
I think we had estimates based to acuity of the patients and they simply were higher than we anticipated. I think we're trying to work through some of the data to understand that better.
And part of what i'm trying to understand is my -- my recollection from some of the performance review that encouraged greater transfer or encouraging next from m. A. P. Who were very ill to transfer to sendero bass because sendero got a much higher reimbursement rate than the m. A. P. Program.
2:06 PMThat's correct. it's another strategy we would have to try to leverage federal funding. This one typically we do it through other hospital based programs. This is just a sendero strategy that utilizes the aca risk adjustment.
So had those people remained in m. A. P. And not transferred over to sendero, there would have been a higher cost to central health to provide this care to them?
Yes, to provide the services.
It seems to me the strategy of trying to get these m. A. P. Patients into sendero and take advantage of the more robust reimbursement rate is a really a smart one fiscally but also provides those folks access to a more robust clinic network or access to more services? That was part of my understanding of the benefit of having these people transferred to sendero. It would be an improvement in their access to care. Is that fair?
2:07 PMCorrect. and brings down more funding to make that possible.
That's probably the biggest success that we're happy about. You know, the goal was to bring down more funding to extend access to care for these people. That is definitely happening.
And so will there be more of an effort to try and identify more folks who are in this chronically ill category and encourage them to transfer from m. A. P. If there are any still left in the program to transfer over to sendero?
We will have budgetary resources to examine that, but there's a lot of risk -- it's a good strategy, but have you to make sure you implement the strategy correctly. We are looking at it, we plan on allocating some budget, teri resources in order to look at expanding the program if it makes financial sense to do that. So we're evaluating the acuity, the risk scores of some of our existing m. A. P. Population and we'll look at aca always has risk involved in it, seems like almost a day-to-day basis, but certainly year to year. So we'll evaluate everything based on the most recent data that we have and use what we learn in the transition for this year to try to improve it even more next year.
2:08 PMSo i'll be interested in just sort of periodic updates where all that stands because it seems like this has been beneficial both for the people who are really sick and who can't really afford access to care.
And just as a reminder, commissioner, we're only six months into the transition so we're using as up to date data that we have, but there's still six more months in the sendero fiscal year. It's a calendar based year. So we're really using data up through June to project what the rest of the year looks like. So I just wanted to always caveat --
2:09 PMIt's not the complete year. I think that's it, but congratulations on responding to the concerns of the community and providing more access to specialty care and really putting the health care where needed.
And I understood the last time that we had a real serious discussion with y'all was that 500 was the goal to have on sendero, correct? You all remember that?
What was the goal?
It was 500.
Seriously ill individuals and it fell short, but you got people way sicker, right?
So -- not necessarily. I think it fell short of that, but I think it was only because of the time line. It wasn't because of a lack of operations or interest on the part of the candidates or anything. So it was a good -- in a sense it was a good pilot for the 220 and now it's up to how well it fits into central health's plans and whether we expand it.
2:10 PMThe funds you all have in your budget to address further recruiting, basically, of people to get on sendero, will those funds be sufficient to reach a higher goal?
So for our proposed budget, we will budget for 500 and adjust accordingly based to information we receive and as our bedder deliberates options that May exist.
So how much money do you all think it will take to recruit more?
Premiumwise, for 500 members, it's about $8 million.
2:11 PMOkay. okay. And I don't know what we were paying when we were covering m. A. P. Patients, but it was certainly one of our main mandates. And so when you all came along, we kind of passed that over to y'all, along with the tax money, i'm sure.
And I think we've discussed other issues that are germane to southeast travis county. I'm really looking forward to having those come on board.
Thank you.
Before long.
Mike, I -- while I don't want anything to leave east and southeast travis county, the thing that is glaringly, you know, obvious in these kind of presentations is I represent 40% of travis county, western travis county, precinct 3.
2:12 PMYes, sir.
And there are areas in western travis county that, quite frankly, need services. It's probably more my fault for not sitting down with you and saying hey, what are we going to do. I recollect couple four years moved a clinic out of jonestown. Jonestown is probably a pocket of people financially pretty strained. And, you know, the lakeway area, there's apache shores, there's cardinal hills. You know, there are folks there too. I mean, you know, the oxygen gets sucked out of the room in this -- in your world because there is such a great need east and the growth that's going east because affordability of being able to go out there. But I do want us to look at paying, you know, some particular attention to a couple of spots out there. When you all make a payment to seton or whoever, is there a menu of cost that you all get before you have to pay something? I mean if somebody needs this, can you look at a menu sheet and go, okay, that costs this much from this organization? Is that something that you all get?
2:13 PMSo --
If it were only that easy.
It should be a lot easier than it is.
Right. and when you look at hospital processing, it's a complicated matrix of charge masters and there's a whole -- i'm not going to get into it because i'm getting way out of in terms of my understanding of that, it's extremely complex. Right now there indirect fund, it doesn't work that way. I think what Mr. Canola was pointing out, as we transition to more of a claims based and transactional model, that we've start to see what those costs are. We can even take it a step further. I don't want to get too far ahead of this, but after some period of time of operating under that model, we could start to develop case rates where we do have greater transparency and what those costs actually are. I don't know if you wanted to provide insight.
2:14 PMWe might be able to give you some help. We ought to. The industry is moving that way. The industry is moving towards, you know, forcing, you know, the hospital organizations to say, no, you've got to tell us. I mean, you know, I thought I was out of the woods on some procedure that I had and out of left field comes a $700 bill to me. I know Commissioner Shea had the same thing happen to her. Y'all got to be faced with the same kind of stuff. So, you know, we're all in this together. And so I think it's going to take some prodding, you know, from some of us, you know, to approach, you know, the hospitals. You are right, it's very complicated. I mean, you know, kinds of like reading a bunch of bills that you get, you are like I don't know what in the world that even means. But if we can -- if we can give you some help, then let us know. Because I think it would help you all as well. The unfortunate thing is that to me it -- the salvation for sendero is to have a bunch of sick people leave m. A. P. And run to sendero. Because that's the only way that it kind of gets propped up. I mean, you know, because of the draw down and who knows what's going to happen, you know, with aca. But, you know, it's real obvious even if you have some extraordinary costs, it's like you got to do whatever you got to do to get people out of m. A. P. And into sendero. Just the draw down. Isn't that pretty right, wes, isn't that how it works, or mike?
2:16 PMGo ahead, wes.
Correct. for the sick people, it makes sense.
Makes sense for both. makes sense for the sick people --
No question about it.
And makes sense for central health as it relates to sendero.
So we have access to funding through aca, as long as it's here. We have access to funding for sick people. Makes perfect sense to use it, reduce the burden on central health, stabilizes their health too. In this case it's sick people where they can just pay premiums instead of playing claims. So there's some balance and that's what we will continue to work towards.
2:17 PMCommissioner, if I may, it is a balancing act though, and you are right, the name of the game is to give those m. A. P. Patients the opportunity to select sendero based on their risk score. But we have to balance this very carefully over time. As Mr. Canola pointed out, we're got six months of actuarial work so we're constantly looking at that, but also getting outside actuarial opinions even beyond because the last thing we want to do is set up programs that are not sustainable. It was not in the too distant past that sendero had to withdraw from a market in this region. And it is very disruptive to people's lives whenever you do this. We want to be responsible and make sure whatever products and programs we put out there they are with people year in, year out and don't have to worry about it.
Other questions?
2:18 PMI have one question.
Commissioner Shea.
In the past we've talk about services at the jail. This seems like a really obvious one where the community direct investment of the 35 million a year May also pay dividends. I know you were working on providing additional services. Is there any update in that area that you can provide? At the travis county jail where we have a permanent population -- not permanent, but a population that has a trend line of staying longer and they are sicker. So we can guarantee your patients will show up for an appointment.
Right. I don't have an update for you today in terms of what all any of our clinical partners might be working on, but let me look into that and i'll have to get back to the court.
We have had conversations with dell medical school, but I thought it was also in the context of larger -- any updates would be helpful. How did the transition move for the blackstock clinic go? There were concerns because they were so close to the medical school that there might be disruption when I moved to the southeast health and wellness clinic.
2:19 PMActually the transition went about as well as we could have hoped. We're checking the numbers now. The majority so far of on our patients moved along with us. It would probably take a few more months. As far as the patients, they are able to make their appointments. They have access to additional services that they didn't have before and I think that's also been very helpful at our southeast health and wellness location we have a mammography unit, we have x-ray. There's care management, our behavioral health counselors, our nutritionists, central health services around the zo omba class. We also partner with the texas food bank as well. So you have the volume of services along with our convenient care location that's there and we have a pharmacy on site. So you can see by the large number of services that they have that the patients suddenly they really do have a complete set of care delivery that he they didn't have in the previous location. And I think you are beginning to see, our patients are beginning to see the value of that as well and we'll closely monitor that. Our goal is always to have our patients receive the services where they need them, but also to make sure that we're maximizing so that they can come to a primary location additionally with the specialty units that are there as well. So you can see there's a significant amount of services that are available to the patients. And I think that helps with the resident program as well because they also have the partnership with the other residency programs that are occurring, and it offers that population health that a team-based care approach.
2:21 PMThat's fabulous. thank you.
Any other questions? I have a couple of questions. I'm just making some quick notes here. First of all, I do want to note that y'all expect a growth rate of just above 6% over the coming years. I only remark that because that was a number that most of the institutional columns, local governmental institutions were working with before the 3. 5% revenue cap. I am grateful that you all were not put in the cross hairs of that 3. 5. But I do want to recognize that it wasn't a crazy notion that all of the local governmental entities had an expectation of a 6% growth rate given that we have overlapping and sometimes identical constituencies. So i'm very grateful that y'all were not painted with that brush. So there's that. I want to also remark that the organization, central health has an organization that's been really nimble in seizing to whatever extent that you can given your capacity the various changes in policy that make it possible for us to serve our community in a state that has rejected medicaid. So this is a tool that is so important to us and I very, very much appreciate your nimbleness and willingness to look outside the box and take some calculated risks. I very much appreciate that. Third, on the question of sendero, i'm glad that it is currently, this current snapshot is good. I do want to remain vigilant, however, that sendero is an insurance company and it's only one of the insurers in the marketplace. It is cost competitive in the marketplace and although central health, you know, the property taxing entity has assisted it with a subsidy, its price point is not significantly different from the other marketplace insurers. Just doing a quick back of the envelope calculation, there are three other in insurers in the marketplace and the range of policies that are available for an individual, you know, a single parent head of household making less than $30,000 a year, it's pretty much the same price point whether it's oscar sendero, blue cross, blue shield, or am better.
2:24 PMWithin a hundred dollars a month, yes.
The price range is essentially it's, you know, between 7 and $800 nor that individual.
Depends which kind of plans they pick.
Sendero has a much anyway other he span to pick. Actually oscar has the widen.
It's not widest, it's different variations.
My point is while sendero is essentially a product of central health because of the subsidy, I do want to remark that it is one of only -- one of several insurers in the marketplace which sendero was created, we anticipated that there would be no insurers that would handle the population. So I just want to be careful about that. Insurance is a risk pool game. And when you are looking at a risk pool game -- I shouldn't say game, a risk pool enterprise, the larger your client population, the lower your risk. And the more diverse your client population, the lower your risk. Sendero has a very small client population with a -- an an acuity that slants towards the more acute patient. That is concerning just from a business model standpoint long term. It's currently stable and i'm very happy with that.
2:26 PMThank you for highlighting those issues and duly noted.
Let's keep an eye on it. for right now it's -- it's an appropriate investment. But I just remark that the probabilities if you -- if you play poker, the probabilities are not great under that scenario.
Do any of the other insurers get a premium subsidy from central health?
I didn't think they did. none of the other aca providers are getting a subsidy that allows really poor people to be able to afford this insurance like sendero is.
Thank you.
They are -- the -- but what i'm saying is if you go on health care. Gov and you put in a profile, put in any profile you want for somebody who is lower income, it will give you the various insurance companies that you could move off of m. A. P. Into. And sendero is only one of them. And it is not less expensive or more expensive than the other three.
2:27 PMBut there's a premium subsidy provided to the low-income people.
Not to the low-income person, it's provided to sendero.
And you make it available to your low-income customers, clients.
Mary smith who is purchasing the policy is paying -- what i'm saying is mary smith will be paying the premium and the premiums are competitive.
But don't you use that subsidy to off set the premium cost for the individual who is buying the insurance through sendero?
Correct. but just to separate those members -- for all our members, we're pretty happy that the plans are fairly competitive in prices. We've always tried to be the first or second-cheapest and we still are that for some of the lowest-cost plans. What happens is that is a savings that goes directly to the member. So every person of the same poverty level and age gets the same subsidy. They're allowed to pick a plan. They pay the difference, that remaining 50 to $75 per month. On the chap program, wealth central health funds it so make sure they can stay enrolled.
2:28 PMOtherwise a sendero plan would be more expensive than its competitors.
Is that accurate?
Let me try it this way. I put in a 50-year-old single mother with an income of $24,000 with one dependent, both of whom are medicaid-eligible. What comes out in a market comparison is that for oscar, you could get a premium rate depending on the plan between $5 $586 and $807. According to this, for sendero it would be between 765 and 858. Blue cross, $842 and $873. And for ambetter, $845.
2:29 PMFor the silver plans, yeah, that sounds approximately correct.
Those are the ranges, whether it was a silver, bronze, gold plan or whatever. Those are the ranges.
So if sendero gets in trouble, on this particular page, upcoming changes to healthcare financing, is that your fallback on trying to improve the care for indigents?
2:30 PMWell, I think --
I'm sorry, commissioner, could you ask your question again?
If sendero fails and they can't get on there, this particular page talks about upcoming changes to healthcare financing. And you talk about the ongoing negotiations with seaton under a payment model for hospital services. Is this what will be the backup plan in case sendero fails, for indigents?
This by default would be one piece of a backup plan. And first, if sendero were to be -- found to be a financially hazardous condition and that triggers all the regulatory actions to then shut the company down, there would have to be a concerted effort to transfer individuals to another plan who currently purchase on the aca marketplace. But then for those individuals that are at or below 200% of federal poverty level, we would reach out. Through our healthcare system that we have funding here, those individuals would have the opportunity to enroll in m. A. P. Or m. A. P. Basic. Or if they wanted to cobble together the means to try to buy insurance on the open market, they could. I don't want to represent this as the fallback plan should sendero fail. It's part of a much larger infrastructure that would have to be in place to help those people transition their care.
2:31 PMIt kind of sounds like we're going to leave them on their own.
No, ma'am. that's why I say it would be a concerted effort to help those individuals transition to care. We've already had these discussions internally. What were to happen if that were the case. There would be a significant amount of outreach effort, not just putting up a website, but person to person outreach to make sure that we were contacting individuals and explaining here's what's going to happen, here's what your options are come open enrollment time. If you look at the effort we undertook to move the m. A. P. Patients to sendero ideal care, it would be something like that plus. I've seen it before. My experience as a former insurance regulator, where companies did not do that. And that would not be the central health way. That's not the way we would treat people. We would work to make this as seamless a transition as possible, including after they transition make sure that their continuum of care is taken care of.
2:32 PMIt sounds like to me if we put more people on the sendero plan, then you're eligible to draw down some funds to complement the services of sendero, correct? If you go through to any other plan, would you be able to draw down any funds?
2:33 PMNo. because sendero is part of the enterprise, no, we would not. The strength of the enterprise --
Sendero to try to make it work. We use the federal funds to offset the risk associated with that. We wouldn't get that deal with another insurance company.
That's what I would think. So, I think we need to continue on toward the goal of putting more people on sendero.
Other questions? yes.
Could I have 15 seconds? I wanted to address a comment Commissioner Daugherty had. We did partner with lone star circle of care for a clinic in jonestown. It's been completely remodeled. And my understanding is they're providing services seven days a week. So i'm sorry, I tried to squeeze in and we jumped to another question. I just wanted to come back and mention that. Thank you.
2:34 PMThank you for that. and co clarifying, those were all bronze plans. None of the ones I mentioned were silver. The ones between 500 and the upper end of 800.
I think you're saying sendero was the second-lowest? I don't see it.
Sendero was the second-lowest and in the upper limb they're all on -- limit they're on par at the upper end of 800.
Our goal is to remain competitive. Honestly, the main goal is just increasing overall access, primarily for central health's people, which is the uninsured. So as long as we can be stable enough to make -- to offer a responsible opportunity for them, you know, we'll be here. That's the goal more than, you know, being -- i'd love to be able to say we had enough capital to offer everybody $100 cheaper insurance. That's not realistic. It's more just this idea of this balance a between central health and sendero. And to Commissioner Gomez's point, it is not in our forecast that we will be coming to central health for capital. That's not the design, so.
2:35 PMAll right. that completes our update. We really appreciate --
Thank you, commissioners, judge, we appreciate the time.
To smal -- Commissioner Daugherty's point, healthcare in the united states is more complicated than it should be. We appreciate your expertise in unraveling this and getting the best benefit for travis county constituents in need of healthcare. Thanks.
Thank you, members.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Out of here?
Let's check. i've got lots of things that I would like to get folks out of here, but there were a lot of things going on. So, let's take agenda item number -- we've got a number of things. I'm sorry, Commissioner Daugherty.
2:36 PMNo, that's --
Agenda item number 8, which you pulled from consent. Agenda item eight is to consider and take appropriate action on routine personnel actions and nonroutine personnel actions. You had questions?
Yeah. just to comment, is carlos still here? Yeah, I think he left. My only point on this was on b, chief deputy number 5. You know, obviously we put everybody on 66 a few weeks ago. And, you know, I made the point at that time that that chief deputy in five has a whole lot more folks that they have to manage. Now, i'm sure that carlos as identified who he's going to hire. He knows what the pay is. He's taken the job. But I wouldn't be surprised if, you know, at some point in time this subject matter might not be brought back up. That's the point I wanted to make. I move approval of eight.
2:37 PMSecond.
All those in favor? what is it we're moving approval of?
Agenda item number 8. the entirety of eight.
We have a motion by Commissioner Daugherty seconded by Commissioner Gomez. All those in favor? Unanimous. Agenda item number 10, Commissioner Daugherty, that was consider and take appropriate action on the budget hearing. I'm sorry, no. 10, consider and take appropriate action on a license agreement with the city of austin for the city's use of 50 parking spaces on the roof of 700 lavaca parking garage.
2:38 PMRoger -- so, these are 50 spaces that the city wants to use because they're going to be doing work at the old library. I think it's very interesting that the city of austin, with their stance on downtown parking, that they are going to come to us. You know, I guess we'll take the money. [ chuckling ] I mean, we all know that the parking down here is pretty stressed. I mean, are these workers? I guess these are going to be workers that's going to be doing things at the old library?
I did not go into detail. they said it was going to be for the work on the old library roof.
And I agree with them that -- to have the 50 parking space for four months, and our parking garage right here, because only they park on our roof, because it's empty all the time -- vacant all the time, I should say. And $7,500 a month for four months.
2:39 PMHey, we'll gladly take the money.
I just --
But I don't know the detail about the real estate section and the project, and what they're doing. It's beyond my --
Well, with everything that the city of austin does with parking downtown and how difficult it is to park downtown, I guess they're lucky that we have a parking garage that they can give us money for versus having these people take public transportation, or all the other things everybody wants people to do to not come downtown. I'd like for the -- maybe the city of austin will watch this and hear what I have to say about that. I move approval of ten. We'll gladly take their money.
They park only from 7:00 to 5:00 on we weekdays, not on weekends or after-hours.
I hear these guys want to take the train. [ laughing ]
2:40 PMYou bet they'll be on that train about as fast as they'll be on your bus.
A motion by Commissioner Daugherty seconded by Commissioner Gomez. That passes unanimously. Agenda item number 11, I pulled because Commissioner Daugherty, you wanted to discuss agenda item 18.
Yeah. and they're together. I mean, and this is just --
Let me call up the item. agenda item number 11, consider and take appropriate action on the budget amendments, transfers, and discussion items.
A1 is the one in particular that i'm talking about on 11, just recognizing that we have a $351,000 increase in the insurance. And I guess it really -- two things. Number one, I guess they're the only people -- falcon is the only people in the milky way that does this, you know, kind of coverage. And we're just, you know, strapped with the fact that there's one. And even they couldn't do it all. So they had to, like, spread all the insurance out to a number of folks. So just bringing it to everybody's attention that these new helicopters, with their cost and everything, all the toys that they have with them . . . When something goes over this much from what we have previously paid, and we find that we just have one person, how aggressive do we get with -- you know, you're just kind of like, as soon as they find out hey, they're going to be satisfied with just one respondent, throw this number out at them, what's our attitude?
2:41 PMAfternoon judge, commissioners, bill, risk management. We had -- there's a couple reasons we had to go out for rfp. The new helicopters, and we were not able to add on to our existing contract. Once we went out for rfp, the market condition for the higher value aircrafts, the insurance industry itself had taken a severe downturn. There was about 15 to 17 normal high-end insurers that carry rotor wing as well as aircraft. And out of those 15, the five that we have that did share are the only ones that were willing to quote. Nobody would carry the full amount. And the only reason aig took 50% is because we have been with them for quite a while. Everything is quota share and the rest of them would not even quote.
2:42 PMWe don't have any choice. they're expensive pieces of machinery, you know. We've got arguably now the best that you can have for all of the things that we want. But, you know, something jumps off the page when it's $351,000 more than what we've done. So, good enough explanation. The fact that you had to cobble together five different people to give you t the coverage you want for this kind of aircraft. But, whoo. I don't know if that's one of those things that we should even take into consideration when we start talking about going and getting, you know, a cadillac of something. I say cadillac, maybe we don't have a cadillac, we just have some machinery that really does a lot more than what, you know, our other ones have done, so.
2:43 PMCommissioner, chuck brotherton, county executive, emergency services. I'd offer when we started down this path, the aviation insurance market perhaps was not as severe as it is now. And it is my understanding that the market is going through an adjustment at this point that started over just the last couple of years. We May not have been able to predict it at the time had we taken it into consideration. For several years the market was kind of soft. There were a lot of carriers. But over time as the insurance industry experienced a year or two of severe losses across the industry they started looking for places to shave risk. And aviation appears to be one of those places.
2:44 PMIs this a one-year gig?
So we have the chance to -- maybe some more people jump in it when they see that -- obviously we can be fairly lucrative for you, unless you get tagged with, you know, people running into buildings with them or something. So, I move approval of 11, judge.

2:44 PMNumber 11. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. We'll go to 18, which is this item specific to that insurance contract. 18 is to consider and take appropriate action on a. Contract award for aviation insurance coverage rfp, and authorization for risk manager to inform falcon insurance agency incorporated of a commissioners court decision to reject the terrorism tria coverage.
2:45 PMThat's consistent with what we've done. We've denied the terrorism part of the thing. So I move approval of a and b.
We have a motion by Commissioner Daugherty seconded by Commissioner Gomez. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. I'm starting to sound like an auctioneer.
Thank you.
Thank you. next, let's go to agenda item number 7.