DPSOA Public Safety Commission Meeting Summary – 11/19/2009

Public Safety Commission Meeting Thursday

November 19, 2009, 10:30 a.m.

Criminal Law Enforcement Auditorium
6100 Guadalupe, Bldg E

Austin, TX 78752

SUMMARY

(This report represents a summary of events of the meeting,
 and is not necessarily complete nor an exact transcript of testimony.)

The Public Safety Commission convened as posted to consider and take formal action, as necessary, on the following agenda items:

I. CALL TO ORDER

10:37 am: Chairman Polunsky called the meeting to order. In attendance: Chairman Alan Polunsky, Commissioners Tom Clowe, Carin Barth, Ada Brown and John Steen. Also present were Director Steve McCraw, Dep. Dir. Lamar Beckworth, Dep. Director Brad Rable, and General Counsel Stuart Platt.  A quorum is present.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Minutes were approved unanimously.

III. PUBLIC COMMENT (members of the public wishing to address the Commission are subject to a time limit of 5 minutes and must complete a Public Comment Registration Card located at the entry table)

Donald W. Dickson, Parker Law Firm on behalf of TSTA: I offer a prayer for the safety of our officers throughout the holiday.

I would like to address the proposed “Integrity Policy” which admittedly I haven’t seen. I’m not sure why we need a new policy since the Supreme Court laid out guidelines as far back as 1972.  I haven’t seen a lack of integrity is any more or less of an issue now.  The Department already has a 5 inch thick policy.  What concerns me is that with the incredible amount of paperwork that an officer has to fill out, that the Department has been inconsistent as to when the “truth” requirement is absolute, such as when officers finish an in-service at 3:00, they are told to fill in their paperwork as having left at 5:00.  Integrity means everything to officers, and when they are tripped up by a detail, it shouldn’t have to follow them for their entire career.
Commissioner Brown explained why the Commissioners feel that this integrity policy is so important.  If there are supervisors that are instructing a trooper to do something that is not ethical, we want to talk to that supervisor.  I don’t think that it is our intention to trip up officers on typos or honest mistakes.  We do want to send a clear message from the top to the bottom that we demand integrity throughout the Department.
Col. McCraw added that the core value of the Department is integrity.  The vast majority of our ranks follow this down the line.  We want to draw a clear line that if you are caught in any lie that could jeopardize the ability of the state to prosecute a crime, it will not be tolerated, and they will no longer be a trooper.
Comm. Barth – That is just what we are trying to do, end the environment of fudging. 
Chairman Polunsky –  This commission is doing everything we can for the rank and file troopers on the road, but we will have a zero policy for anything other than the truth.
Mr. Dickson suggested that perhaps a non-disciplinary ruling could be made by council when there is a question of which version of the “truth” should be entered into the record.

IV. DIRECTORS REPORT

Colonel Steve McCraw – Our next step in our charge to improve homeland security is to lay out a strategic plan.  We anticipate an 18% increase in population along our border.

  • Another Deloitte recommendation was to create a counter-intelligence initiative which is what we are doing with our fusion center and we are building a policy to coordinate other fusion centers, like the one in Laredo/Webb County, activities across the state.
  • TXDOT – The barrier cables along our highways are an impediment to DPS responding to accidents.  We are asking for access points that will allow emergency vehicles to cross the median in response to incidents.  We are also wanting TXDOT to address the problem of setting up CVE inspection stations like the one in San Marcos that puts our officers and the public in danger due to the backup that such inspections necessarily cause.
  • Later today you will hear about DPS’s response to the horrific incident at Ft. Hood, and I would like to commend everyone for the excellent job that they did in this difficult situation.
  • We continue to work to improve coordination with Public Prosecutors to improve communications across various law enforcement agencies.
    Chairman Polunsky questioned Col. McCraw about the need and duplicity of regional fusion centers when we are working hard to make the DPS fusion center in Austin the finest in the state.  Col. McCraw stated that some of these centers have been funded by various grants, and have some significant track record.  It is our focus to coordinate these centers and benefit from their expertise and communication.
    Comm. Steen asked what Col. McCraw feels are his major accomplishments  and challenges in his four months as the Director.
    Accomplishments:

     
     
     

    • 1. The leadership team that I have been able to build with the Commission’s help
      2. The demonstrated efficacy of the Regional system that was recommended by Deloitte and has proven to be an efficient model
      3. The TXDOT partnership that we have just discussed. Coalitions and partnerships are going to be critical to our success when competing for limited financial resources

    Challenges:

     
     

    • 1. As Don Dickson pointed out, the 5 inch policy manual poses many challenges and we are working to address this.
      2. On the service side, Dep. Dir. Rable is working to address our HR from recruitment to retirement.
      3. We are challenged by getting the additional black and whites that the legislature and the governor has given us outfitted and on the roads in a timely manner.

    Comm. Clowe thanked him but suggested that he left out a few accomplishments, including progress in cleaning up the DL Division, and improving the concealed handgun licensing issuance timeline, and your hands on approach to improving recruiting.
     

     

V. NEW BUSINESS

A. Discharge appeal hearing and possible action regarding DPS Employee Jonathan Barnett

Mr. Barnett has dropped his appeal, having been convicted in a criminal matter.

B. Report, discussion and possible action on the Fiscal Year 2010 Operating Budget

Sheryl McBride, Asst. Director for Finance at DPS.  Comm. Barth’s assistance in preparing this budget has been invaluable. Some months ago it was identified that there were non-funded items that need to be addressed.  We have identified $23,409.822 in unfilled salary positions of which we propose using approximately $17,300,000 towards the non-operating expenses, leaving a shortage of $6,056,950, and another $10,164,965 in motor vehicle inspection fees  and crime records receipts that could be applied to the operating costs leaving a shortage of $776,662. Our total unfunded shortage is $6,834,612.

First – Budget Variance Framework FY 2010 Item Description:

Non-Operating

  • 1. Stipends for bi-lingual officers cannot be covered out of the highway patrol budget – $608,988
    2. State Auditor classification costs – $406,959
    3. Lump Sum Retirement Payments – $2,125,000 (not included in the LAR)
    4. Non-Commission Salaries – $3,091,212
    5. HP HQ, Regional Staff & Breath Test – $4,034,360 (51 additional positions + bldg costs)
    6. Reorganizational Expense – $2,242,499
    7. Drivers License Salary Civilian Model – $1,600,000
    8. Concealed Hand Gun Demand Projection – $2,842,854
    9. Generator Finish Out – $400,000

Operating Costs

  • 1. Utilities – $2,071,323 (requested in the LAR but not approved by the legislature)
    2. Gasoline (Appd at $1.38/gal) $6,966,980 (again requested but not approved)
    3. DPS Building Assessment – TFC – $350,000

Total:  $26,740,175

Comm. Clowe – The latest organizational chart was approved 10/29/2009.

Comm. Barth asked Col. McCraw about the 11.5% overage cost and how the Department was going to deal with it.  Col. McCraw explained that because of a newly mandated procedure of having to purchase cars like all other state agencies due, through a dealership.  To address this, we are going to be forced to accept 11.5% fewer cars.  We used to be able to negotiate purchasing our vehicles directly from the manufacturer and were able to make better deals.

Items for Future Consideration

  • 1. HQ Security TFC Design Specs – $350,000
    2. HQ Security Construction – TBD
    3. Recruit School Dorm Safety and Water – $4,000,000
    4. Recruit School 10 Weeks 2010 – $921,761
    5. Recruit School Starting 7/2010 – $645,233 (first 7 weeks – remainder to fall into 2011)
    6. Information Technology Critical Salary – $1,100,000
    7. General Counsel Additional Staff – Procurement – $443,050
    8. Texas DPS 75th Anniversary – $25,000
    9. Private Security Technology Request – $2,200,000

Total – $9,685,000

Asst. Dir. Bowie –  in response to Chairman Clowe’s question, we hadn’t considered passing along the additional funding request for the Private Security Bureau to the beneficiaries of that request.  We will look into that.

Comm. Barth questioned the significant costs of running the recruit schools and upgrading the academy.

Col. McCraw said that they are considering doing in-service training at regional facilities, which could provide a significant savings.

Comm. Barth suggested that the Department look at putting in a “Ford” fix for now, rather than the Fire Marshal’s “Cadillac” solution.

Chairman Polunsky put the Director on the spot by asking how much the “patch” solutions are costing the Department. He asked Col. McCraw that if he didn’t know that number, who is responsible for knowing what that cost is.

Comm. Barth moved to approve the $26,740,000 as laid out, with the stipulation that no new, unfunded non-commissioned positions or hires are added.

Chairman Polunsky admonished Finance that he does not feel that going back to the “unfilled positions salaries” cookie jar year after year.

Commission passed the motion unanimously.

Comm. Clowe moved to approve the HQ Security ($350,000) and the 10 Week Recruit School ($921,7610 and leave the remaining Future Consideration items for further discussion and action at the next PSC Meeting.

Comm. Clowe withdrew his motion until later in this meeting or perhaps the next PSC Meeting.

Valarie Fulmer, Assistant Director for Administration, reported back to the Commission that the recruit classed utilize a total of 25 commissioned personnel and 14 non-commissioned personnel.

Chairman Polunsky asked where Ms. Fulmer got the information, and she replied from the Academy staff.  He suggested that all departments should consider having more support staff on hand for the Commission meetings.  He has noticed that the crowd has thinned at these meetings.

4:45 pm,  Chairman Polunsky asked to return to this agenda item, and after discussion in executive session, the Commission would like to take further action.  Comm. Barth, despite reservations of the $4,000,000 price of the Dorm Safety and water issue, I would recommend that we move the academy off campus.  Comm. Clowe agreed and said that the long term fix has to be addressed.

Comm. Barth moved to authorize $1,000,000 of the $4,000,000 to take appropriate emergency actions to move off campus for the interim and to move forward with getting a engineering and cost proposal for making the necessary remodel to the Academy to meet the Fire Marshall’s required updates.

Passed unanimously.

Comm. Brown moved to postpone the 10 week recruit school and not extend further offers.  Second by Comm. Clowe.

Passed unanimously.

All other items will be deferred to later meetings.

 
C. Discussion and possible action to define Contract Review Board and role of
Commissioner on the Board

Comm. Barth – I’ve been working with Valarie Fulmer to differentiate between the large contracts from those that don’t need direct Commission oversight.  She asked Stuart Platt to review the contracts and recommend the ones that are appropriate for oversight, and particularly the ones involving exigent matters.

D. Discuss and possible action on proposed Mission, Vision, Goals and Values statements for the department

Col. McCraw – I’ve been working with my Leadership Team to develop these statements:

Mission – What we do… – “Protect and Serve” (Texas)
Vision – How we do it…
Goals – Where we are going…- “Combat Terrorism and Crime, Public Safety, Lead in Response and Recovery, Provide World Class Services” (these are not prioritized).
Values – Why we do it… – “Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence, and Accountability”

We recommend keeping our same motto: “Courtesy, Service, Protection”.

Comm. Clowe moved to adopt the recommended statements.  Comm. Brown seconded.  Approved unanimously.
    

VI. ADJOURN INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION (if required) to consult with legal counsel regarding pending or contemplated litigation or settlement offers or to receive legal advice on items posted on this agenda; deliberation regarding real estate matters; consideration of any other items authorized by law, including personnel matters, the Directors action of discharging employees as identified in this agenda; ongoing criminal investigations

Commission adjourned to Executive Session at 1:30 pm.
Reconvene: 3:50 pm.

VII. ONGOING BUSINES
Reports, discussion and possible action regarding the following:
A. Report, discussion and possible action regarding recruitment policy committee

Comm. Ada Brown – Almost half of the current recruit class come from current DPS Troopers, and only 11% came from the current recruiting efforts. We have 5 recruiters in Austin and 7 regional recruiters, and 0 full time recruiters.  We have a Lieutenant, 4 Sergeants and 4 Corporals in Austin.  These recruiters primary responsibility is to THP not to HR.  I recommend that we: 1. add at least one full time recruiter; 2. Move the recruiter office on the HQ campus (currently in Bldg C on HQ campus) or move to a public venue like a Mall; 3. Create and distribute a uniform recruit data form that our troopers in the field can carry with them to hand out when appropriate; encourage troopers to have a community presence – wear uniforms to events etc. (Asst. Dir. Baker has been very supportive for this) ; we have 7 wrapped recruitment vehicles (one per region) and I would like to see more; we have no materials to distribute – we need a brochure;  we need more of these pop-up “billboards” for use at recruiting fairs; if we bumped the Corporal to a full Sergeant position it would help to retain recruiters and compensate them for not being able to have secondary employment; I recommend a $1,000 incentive to employees that bring in a recruit that gets commissioned.; diversify our skill set recruiting; our website is inadequate in the recruiting area; buy a “joindps.org” domain address…easier to jot down or remember; Consider adding the pop-up displays at all of the DL offices; create a marketing advisory board to create great branding too; consider guaranteeing a duty assignment before the Academy start; develop a mentor program for recruits and families; create a regional liaison program for recruits and families for relocation; advertize the college credit available from the Academy; try to get the legislature to allow college tuition reimbursement for troopers and their immediate families.

Col. McCraw commented that these were very well thought out and he felt that he would like to move quickly to adopt them. Comm. Barth commented on the tuition reimbursement being tied to longevity, but that would have to be approved legislatively.

Comm. Clowe commented that the recommendations are rife with great ideas, and now we have a new Assistant Director of Human Resources, Jesse White, and I feel that we need to turn these recommendations over to him to get these things done.

Chairman Polunsky asked Col. McCraw for an update on progress at each of the PSC meetings.

B. Report, discussion and possible action regarding overtime and compensatory time policies for Department employees

Comm. Brown, asked that this item be move to a future meeting, perhaps in March.

C. Office of Inspector General interview process, status report on the search, discussion and possible action on the appointment

Comm. Barth – I am moving along and hope to have something to report at the next PSC Meeting.

D. Report, discussion and possible action on procedures for appointing and monitoring the status of specially commissioned persons under Government Code

411.023 and 411.024 as well as Code of Criminal Procedure Articles 2.121 and
2.125:
1. Review and commissioning process for retired and former Department personnel
2. Review and commissioning process for persons not retired or previously employed by the Department

Duncan Fox – Asst. Counsel – replying to Comm. Clowe’s previous inquiry regarding the Special Ranger Commission, these are limited enforcement .

E. Report, discussion, and possible action by the Commission regarding modification and transformation of the DPS organizational structure  approval of personnel placements and salaries pursuant to Government Code chapter 411, Secs. 411.005, 411.006 and 411.0071

F. Report, discussion and possible action on Departmental proposal for policy on integrity expectations for employee conduct

Col. McCraw laid out the Integrity Policy in a presentation and made the motion to have the Integrity Policy approved by the Commission.

Passed unanimously. (Commissioner Steen had already left.)

G. Report, discussion and possible action regarding purchases using seized funds

Already covered.

H. Report, discussion and possible action on department recruitment

Already covered.

 
I. Discussion and possible action regarding security measures for Department

Barbara Hinesly – Asst. Counsel.  We have 18 subcommittees and have had great support from affiliated associations including the DPSOA. We have met twice, we have a website up, we have an accounting plan being assisted by Mr. Haas.  Memorabilia, the commemorative Badge should be available in January.  DPSOA will be handling all of the other memorabilia materials.  We’re working on a 75th Anniversary yearbook.  We are looking at a kickoff date of April 10, 2010, in conjunction with the graduation date of the B-09 recruit class. The main HQ celebration is scheduled for August 6, 2010, and we have much of the activity already mapped out. We will have contingency plans for inclement weather.  Our next scheduled meeting is set for Dec. 10, and we will vote on the logo at that meeting.  This is also a great recruiting tool as well.

J. Update report, discussion and possible action on 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of the Department from the Diamond Jubilee Committee

VIII. REPORTS
A. Commission member reports and discussion

None

B. Finance Report

Cheryl McBride – CFO DPS – Reported the amount of seized funds that are available and listed possible items for its use.  Commissioner Barth said that she does not like relying on and using seized funds for ongoing budget items.  Col. McCraw agreed that seized funds are not a sure thing.

D. Audit & Inspection Report

Ferrell Walker, Audit and Inspection – you have my report, and we are working on two special projects for the Director.

E. Division status reports on activities and action

OIG – Interim Assistant Director (did not introduce himself). – request input from the Commission to set a budget for the Department.  We have several options.  Comm. Clowe suggested writing up his recommendations and distribute it to the Commission for review. It is recommended that it would be less expensive to handle this in house rather than outsourcing it.

Administration – Valarie Fulmer – nothing

CID – Nothing

Drivers License – Michael Kelley – Duke Bodisch has lent us Brian Smallwood to help us with our strategic implementation. We are going to remove phone answering duties from DL office personnel so that they can spend their time assisting customers.

Our new $48,000,000 system is being implemented much more efficiently through coordinated teamwork of the IT, Deloitte, training, and supervisors.

Chairman Polunsky suggested that we place signage on the DL facilities that automated defibrillators are on site and available to the public.

Emergency Management – Jack Colley – Nothing

Government Relations – Amanda Ariaga – Nothing

Highway Patrol – Chief Baker –

IT –  Nothing

Mike Simpson – Assistant Director for Law Enforcement Services – One of our charges is to better coordinate with other law enforcement agencies in the State.  We have worked out a trade of radio band width that we have but currently are not using to Houston, in trade for millions of dollars worth of resources that they will make available to us.  We are working out the details of the agreement.

We will be testing the field biometric fingerprint capabilities for on road DPS Troopers.  We will have to go out for bids and select a vendor.

We are purchasing a $1,000,000 DNA Robot, that should be able to double our DNA testing capabilities.

Regulatory Licensing – Nothing

Texas Rangers – Nothing.

IX. CONSENT ITEMS
The following items may be discussed and acted upon in a single motion or discussed
separately as determined by the Commission
A. Discussion and possible action on the Directors action of discharging probationary employee: John Hellman
B. Discussion and possible action on appointments of Special Rangers and Special
Texas Rangers pursuant to Government Code chapter 411, Secs. 411.023 &
411.024:  Special Rangers: Richard Leroy Alexander, Dwight Lee Gray, Jay Michael Griffin, William Lawrence Hill, Donald Myrl Jones, Kevin Lee McCasland, Garry Lee Parker
C. Review of pending contract: Information subscription service (Dallas Computer
Services, Inc.)
D. Discussion and possible action regarding donations as provided under Govt. Code Ch. 575:
1.  Authorization of Department to accept gifts of money or property
2. Acknowledgement of donation of the Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco of approximately 21.29 acres in Hidalgo County to the Department to build a regional office
3.  Acknowledgement of proposed donation of a radio tower, communications shelter and a generator in Colorado County
E. Discussion and possible action on adoption of proposed rules:
1.  Proposed amendments to Chapter 15: Rules 15.5, 15.7, 15.21-15.23, 15.25-15.31, 15.33-15.40, 15.42, 15.44, 15.48, 15.52, 15.54, 15.56, 15.59, 15.81-15.83, 15.85, 15.87, 15.91-15.93,  15.101, 15.113, 15.114, 15.131, and 15.163, 37 TAC Secs.15.5, 15.7, 15.21-15.23, 15.25-15.31, 15.33-15.40, 15.42, 15.44, 15.48, 15.52, 15.54, 15.56, 15.59, 15.81-15.83, 15.85, 15.87, 15.91-15.93, 15.101, 15.113, 15.114, 15.131, and 15.163, regarding Driver License Rules, as published in 34 TexReg 5327-5344, August 7, 2009
2.  Proposed repeal of Rule 15.8, 37 TAC Sec. 15.8, regarding Classified Driver
License, as published in 34 TexReg 5328, August 7, 2009
3.  Proposed repeal of Rules 15.41 and 15.47, 37 TAC Secs. 15.41 and 15.47, regarding Application Requirements-Original, Renewal, Duplicate, Identification Certificates, as published in 34 TexReg 5333, August 7, 2009
4.  Proposed repeal of Rules 15.111 and 15.112, 37 TAC Secs. 15.111 and
15.112, regarding Denial of Renewal of Driver License for Failure to Appear for Traffic Violation, as published in 34 TexReg 5341, August 7, 2009
5.  Proposed amendments to Chapter 16: Rules 16.3, 16.4, 16.8, 16.9, 16.11,
16.12, 16.34, 16.47, 16.48, 16.50, 16.51, 16.71-16.73, 16.75, 16.99, and
16.103-16.105, 37 TAC Secs.16.3, 16.4, 16.8, 16.9, 16.11, 16.12, 16.34,
16.47, 16.48, 16.50, 16.51, 16.71-16.73, 16.75, 16.99, and 16.103-16.105, regarding Commercial Driver License, as published in 34 TexReg 5344 –
5355, August 7, 2009
6.  Proposed repeal of Rule 16.91, 37 TAC Sec. 16.91, regarding Noncommercial Motor Vehicle Permits, as published in 34 TexReg 5353, August 7, 2009
7.  Proposed amendments to Chapter 18: Rules 18.1-18.4 and 18.21-18.25, 37
TAC Secs. 18.1-18.4 and 18.21-18.25, regarding Driver Education, as published in 34 TexReg 5355 – 5360, August 7, 2009
F. Discussion and possible action on proposed rules for publication:
1.  Proposed new Rules 28.171 – 28.175, 37 TAC 28.171 – 28.175, regarding preservation, cataloging, and delivery of biological evidence
2.  Proposed amendment to Rule 27.1, 37 TAC 27.1, regarding review of personal criminal history record

Comm. Clowe moved to approve all items except for D. 1 – which was a placeholder in case needed.

Passed unanimously, without Comm. Steen.

X. ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA
None

 

XI. DATE FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

December 11, 2009

XII. ADJOURN
 

Adjourn: 5:38 pm.

The Commission may take items out of the order in which they are posted on this agenda. Also, an item that has been adopted, passed upon, delayed or tabled for a later meeting may be considered or reconsidered at the same meeting.

The Public Safety Commission may meet and discuss in Executive Session and have action taken in an Open Meeting where required on the following items:
Government Code Sec. 551.071 Consultation and deliberation with legal counsel about pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer, or on a matter where the Commissioners seek the advice of their attorney as privileged communications under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas, and to discuss the Open Meetings Act and the Administrative Procedures Act with their attorney
Government Code Sec. 551.074 Appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of director, assistant director, and persons appointed to management team positions pursuant to Govt. Code Sec. 411.0071
Government Code Sec. 551.076 Deliberations about security audits, security devices, including deployment and implementation of security personnel and devices Government Code Chapter 411, Sec. 411.0041 Ongoing criminal investigations
Government Code Sec. 551.072  Deliberation of the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property, if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person
Government Code Sec. 551.073 Deliberation of a negotiated contract for a prospective gift or donation to the state or the governmental body if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person

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