(This report represents a summary of events of the meeting,
and is not necessarily complete nor an exact transcript of testimony.)
Public Safety Commission Meeting
Friday, May 22, 2009, 10:30 a.m.
Criminal Law Enforcement Auditorium
6100 Guadalupe, Bldg. E
Austin, TX 78752
The Public Safety Commission convened as posted to consider and take formal action on the following agenda items:
I. CALL TO ORDER
10:30: 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 Lt. Col. Lamar Beckworth, 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)
Don Dickson of TSTA spoke on behalf of the District 7 Capitol Troopers stating that in the past they have been subject to ridicule from within and outside of the Department, but the heroic actions of the 4 troopers on last week in providing life saving support for Rep. Kuemp In my opinion, the most important statement in the Deloitte report was to make the Department unified. I think that this incident shows that these men and women working at the capitol have a difficult job and are wonderful ambassadors for the DPS to the thousands of people who visit the Capitol annually.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
A. Discussion and possible action regarding the procurement of an information management intrusion detection system
Chief Brian Lane discussed the Conflikr virus that struck the Agency on April 14 and took two and a half weeks to get completely eradicated. We have worked with AT&T and I’m seeking an ongoing contract of $700,000.00 per year for three years to assist in protecting our systems from further attacks. Comm. Clowe asked some questions regarding cancellation provisions of the contract, and Chairman Polunsky asked the Commission if it was acceptable to defer a decision until the request could be discussed further in Executive Session.
B. Report, discussion and possible action regarding the after action report on computer virus containment
Chief Brian Lane – I have provided a report and will be happy to answer questions. On April 14 we discovered the virus, and on April 28, we declared the virus fully eradicated from our systems. While the time to correct this was too long and not acceptable, I report that it took heroic efforts on the part of my division, partner vendors, and other departments to correct this problem as fast as we can. We are leveraging loaned equipment and loaned support that we are looking to address.
Comm. Barth asked what is the Departments policy regarding jump drives.
Chief Lane reported that with the new security software that has been installed since this infection, the current jump drive policy is “Business Use Only”. I am confident that the system is adequately protected from potential infections at this time.
Comm. Barth asked Chief Lane to investigate and report on what other state agencies have as policies for jump drive.
(After Executive Session) Comm. Clowe – Chief Lane said that he would have a contract to review, but he does not, so Comm. Steen moved to allow Comm. Clowe and Comm. Brown to act on behalf of the full Commission to work with Chief Lane and authorize a final contract.
Motion carried unanimously.
C. Discussion and possible action regarding overtime and compensatory time policies for Department employees
Comm. Brown said that Chief Logan and she are continuing work on this and hope to have a report soon.
D. Discussion and possible action on year-end repair and rehabilitation projects
Col. Lamar Beckworth – Chief Oscar Ybarra is posting on the screen. We afforded approximately $2.6 million for deferred maintenance, and we have prioritized those needs. We have identified $662,000 in seized money, and we are asking the Commission’s permission to allow us to spend $640,000 for additional deferred maintenance items that we have identified.
Chairman Polunsky asked for further explanation of how the seized funds are to be used.
Col. Beckworth said that as long as it does not go to permanent structures, other law enforcement needs are acceptable including equipment and training.
Chair Polunsky asked if Col. Beckworth felt that new carpet and air conditioning repair would be considered “law enforcement equipment”.
Col. Beckworth responded yes, and said that he can provide precedent documents to that effect.
Chair Polunsky said that he is looking forward to seeing the documentation, and would like the PSC to review the policy of the use of the seized funds.
Chair Polunsky: What is the downside of deferring the decision.
Chief Ybarra: a 30 day delay when we only have 3 months left in the fiscal year to complete the necessary contracting processes might make it difficult moving forward.
Comm. Steen suggesting deferring the vote until it could be discussed further in executive session. Agreed.
(After Executive Session) Chief Oscar Ybarra, Finance. The capital items that need approval by the end of this fiscal year. If we move forward with bidding, we can have the contracts ready by the July meeting, which will cut it really low, and we could award the bids upon approval at that meeting. August 31, 2009 is the end of the Fiscal year. Chair Polunsky asked Chief Colley to research if any Federal moneys would be available for some of the coastal repairs. Chief Colley agreed to look into it.
E. Approval of grant application of Psychological Services Bureau for Other Victim Assistance Grants
Chief Valarie Fulmer – We feel that this is a very important that we move forward with this.
Comm. Steen – move for approval as read by Counsel Platt. Seconded by Comm. Barth.
IV. 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
Adjourn to executive session at 11:42 am.
Reconvened at 3:30 pm.
Return to item IV-B
VI. ONGOING BUSINESS
A. Reports, discussion, deliberation and possible action regarding the following:
1. Procurement of a project management contract to implement organizational changes and planning regarding the development and administration of the project management plan
Comm. Clowe – We are still working on this but have nothing to report at this time.
2. Department organization structure
Beckworth In lieu of the planned meeting I will ask to consider this at the next PSC meeting.
3. Internal audit services contract
Walker – Audit and inspection. We should have a draft around the 5th of June, if the swine flu didn’t slow the process too much.
4. Executive search firm services for executive director and management positions and interview processes for those positions
Nothing to report at this time.
5. Implementation of Driver License Reengineering, New Driver License System, and options regarding implementation, including consideration of current key contract relationships and possible expedited contracting processes during the implementation phase
Chief Brown – we are operational in Garland and have very good success. The users like the new system. We will install the Capitol Office next week, and then move on to the North Lamar Office. We don’t anticipate downtime for these installations. Once those have been completed, we will move forward with a modified expedited schedule.
Comm. Barth asked questions regarding how much time it should take to process a 16 year old’s license.
Chief Brown responded 10 minutes for initial, less for renewals.
B. Update, discussion and possible action regarding the recruitment policy committee
Comm. Brown – we have held our first meeting, but would like to defer discussion until we have more to report.
C. Discussion and possible action regarding the ongoing Sunset Review recommendations and other legislation affecting the Department and the Public Safety Commission
Michael Kelley – Chief of Government Relations – There have been more bills filed this session and we are tracking over 1100 that relate to the DPS. Of those 1100+ bills, 610 have fiscal notes, of which 234 would have a fiscal impact. Michael introduced his staff and briefly described their functions which included Janie Smith (Legislative Liaison), Rhonda Trumble, and Sarah Hendricks. He went on to discuss the DPS issued “State Official ID Cards” that they issue every two years to the legislators (and staff if requested), explaining the statute that allows them a free pass during session regarding certain offenses (they cannot be detained when trying to get to the legislature).
Chief Kelley went on to explain the DPS Sunset Bill, HB 2730, which took 18 weeks to move through the House, and 1 week to move through the Senate. The Senate will allow debate on only 23 amendments when it gets to the floor. The Senate may try to pass vote it out tomorrow (Saturday).
Oscar Ybarra, Chief of Finance, discussed the Budget, SB1, and explained that the legislature is only funding 49.24% of the DPS Exceptional Items Request (including the Schedule C pay raise). He went over his side-by-side Exceptional Item Summary.
D. Update report, discussion and possible action to develop an approach for transforming the administration of the Driver License Division to a civilian model
Chief Brown – As the exceptional items list has been working through the Legislative process, and our original request for 264 Civilian FTEs has been cut to 160 FTEs, so we are working through the process of figuring out how those 160 employees will be placed and where we will have to cut.
E. Discussion and possible action regarding review and reconsideration of physical readiness standards for commissioned officers of the Department
Chief Fulmer – we know that the vehicle push surface is not completely level, so we are looking to get a reassessment and approval for a new surface that is level and get new numbers for that test to the Commission next week.
F. Discussion and possible action regarding security measures for Department
Chief Fulmer – we have a vendor coming in next week to do an assessment and will have a complete report shortly after that.
A. Commission member reports and discussion
None to report.
B. Budget Matters
Chief Ybarra – our bottom line dropped about $1 million dollars. You have the rest of the report.
C. Audit & Inspection Report
Farrell Walker – 3 completed audit report and 4 completed inspection report. I have two audit vacancies. I intend to work with Comm. Barth to staff up for the audit next year.
D. Division status reports on activities and action taken
Chief Fulmer – Administration – the Concealed handgun division continues to see record numbers of applications, but we are struggling to keep up. We are still holding at 60 days, but I’m afraid the April and May load will extend the processing time.
Comm. Steen asked what is her plan to address this.
Chief Fulmer said that the load has grown exponentially, while their budget has been cut. We are utilizing exceptional technology to help.
Comm. Barth asked Chief Ybarra if we could transfer money from unfilled positions.
Chief Ybarra agreed to try to look at making more funds available.
Chief Fulmer updated the Commission regarding the “Beautification of the HQ Campus”. They did a call for volunteers, and had a great response and had the first working session. We are using native, low maintenance plantings since there is no budget for ongoing maintenance.
Comm. Barth asked about the portable generators. It was reported that they would be delivered in 5 weeks.
Tom Ruocco – Criminal Law Enforcement – Reported about a successful kidnapping recovery out of Mexico – a good news report.
Working on organizing the use of T-Dex – and are cleaning up input to ensure good output.
Chief Brown – Drivers License Division – We are being evicted from the VFW hall in Katy where we have a small office, due to the traffic we draw. This will get media attention. We only have $900 per month allocated for rent, which will not nearly cover the commercial real estate in this area.
Chief Colley – Emergency Management Division – On April 27 we went to Level 1 operations – the highest level. All 22 million citizens of Texas would have anti-virals available. We were the only state in the nation to do this. It was a huge operation that THP helped with and I am very pleased with the coordinated effort.
We have conducted 22 exercises in preparation of hurricane season, and we will be attending meeting to further coordinate with other agencies. Asst. Sec. Ted Sexton is coming to Texas next week to get a briefing.
Chief Baker – Texas Highway Patrol Division – You have my report but I would like to bring you up to date on a project that we are working on. We are trying to get each of our regional recruiters in a dressed up Tahoe with “vehicle wraps” that tell a little better story about who we are and what we do. Sometimes the traditional B&W’s can be intimidating when rolling onto a college campus. He showed slides of the vehicles.
Tony Leal – Texas Rangers – We solved another 20 year old murder, without DNA help. The body was found in a car at the Lubbock airport in 1988.
We also were successful in solving a kidnapping case involving a 4 year old that utilized very coordinated inter-division cooperation outside of McAllen.
Comm. Clowe gave Chief Leal kudos regarding the excellent communication that is moving from Austin to the field.
Chief Lane – Chief of IMS – The FBI report having been infected by a virus much like ours and they have taken the same steps to disconnect from partner agencies but we will be watching to insure that we are not infected.
VIII. 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 employees Lucy Gunter, Bethany Zabcik, and Esther Galloway (Tx Gov Code 551.074)
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: Jerry Allen, James Cochran, Carlos DeLaRosa III, Joseph Fedor III, Charles Gunn, David Hammonds, John Holland, Curtis Hollis, Dennis Land, Ronald Morris, David Ross, Armando Saenz, John Allen, Barry Caver, William Cawthon
C. Discussion and possible action on adoption of proposed rule:
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY STANDARDS. Proposed new Rule 14.14, 37 TAC Sec.14.14, regarding Minimum Driving Record Qualifications, as published in 34 TexReg 1789, March 13, 2009
Move to pass A & C – Passed Unanimously
Item B – Comm. Brown read certain names of the Special Rangers list and asked that they be approved to be Special Rangers. Passed unanimously.
IX. ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDAS
X. DATE FOR FUTURE MEETINGS
Wed & Thur, June 17 & 18.
Comm. Steen asked Col. Beckworth to continue to work towards making these meetings more public friendly; he pointed to Chief Kelly’s presentation as the gold standard to shoot for.
Adjourn 5:02 pm.