Ryan Adams, City of Irving TX, is back with the second part of Southwest of Center.
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Mount Up: Cities Must Gear Up
Texas cities face a challenge in the 84th Legislature. They must keep from being enacted bills that are detrimental to cities, work to pass necessary legislation to provide necessary services to their citizens, and do both while maintaining a positive working relationship with the Legislature, their own representatives, and the many other stakeholders who have something to gain or lose in 2015.
Whether you hail from our state or another, municipal organizations must be attuned to the pulse of their state legislatures and exercise more control over their fortunes.
- Have a plan – Well before any session, develop your Legislative Agenda. The agenda dictates what issues or bills you will seek passage of, support, oppose, or take no action on. With City Council adoption, you will have official authority to execute that agenda.
- Engage your entire organization – The leadership of your City, especially if they are involved in professional organizations, will have a very concrete idea of what the issues are and how other cities feel about them. Engage your entire Leadership team in the formation of a Legislative Agenda.
- Use your allies – You’re not alone. Utilize and engage with existing allies who share your common interests. This may be your state municipal league, coalitions of cities, professional organizations and your local elected delegation.
- Be aware of everything, but keep track of the important things – There are far too many pieces of legislation to keep track of (just ask a legislator). You have other duties that will keep you from committing 100% of your time to following every bill. It’s important to be aware of the legislation that is being introduced, but do not waste time on following everything. Actively track only the bills that will have the greatest impact on your City.
- Speak clear, speak often – When feasible, have a presence in your state capitol. Send your elected leaders and subject matter experts to testify on the bills that greatly impact your city. Be polite and factual, but also be constant and clear in your cities position. Leave no ambiguity whatsoever.
- If something should be changed, then change it – There are many reasons why laws should be created and amended. If your efforts to provide the best services possible to your citizens are being impeded by a state law that is unfair, antiquated, or technically deficient, don’t sit idle. The problem will not fix itself. Laws are created and amended because people perceive that there exist problems that need to be solved. Be one of those people and solve your problem.
When the dust settles and the session is over, there will be winners and losers. It isn’t easy for a state of 27 million people to figure out what policies are best for everyone. Every person with a hand in the legislative process is doing the same thing – trying to do the best that they can, the best way they know how. This is the process that we have and while it is difficult, frustrating, and exhausting, it generally works and works well.
Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn
Next time you’re in San Antonio, TX, don’t forget to stay at the Menger Hotel. This former boarding house and brewery dates back to 1858 and is immediately adjacent to the Alamo. It hosted Theodore Roosevelt at least three times, most notably in 1898 when he used the bar to recruit Rough Riders, who fought in Cuba in the Spanish-American War. The bar is practically a Teddy Roosevelt museum housing quite a bit of memorabilia. In 1876, the first public demonstration of barbed wire ever was held outside the hotel and orders taken afterwards inside. In 1885, Richard King, the south Texas entrepreneur and founder of the King Ranch, died at the Menger. In fact, the hotel also holds the unofficial title of “The Most Haunted Hotel in Texas.” Finally, the breakfast buffet is wicked awesome.
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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs in Texas
City Manager, Alvin, TX
City Manager, Baytown, TX
Director of Economic Development, Leander, TX
Finance Director, Uvalde, TX
Socioeconomic Modeling Program Manager, Houston-Galveston Area Council
Human Resources/Payroll Specialist, Tomball, TX
Budget & Management Analyst I, San Antonio, TX
Management Fellow, San Antonio, TX
Management Analyst, San Antonio, TX
Human Resources Generalist/Recruiter, College Station, TX
City Administrator, Pinehurst, TX
Senior Risk Analyst, Allen, TX
Human Resource Director, Taylor, TX