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Organizational Changes

Over the past eight years, I have looked for ways to make our organization more efficient and effective and reduce administrative overhead. In continuing this effort, effective January 2, I am reorganizing a number of departments to improve efforts in transportation planning, downtown development, and redevelopment of adjacent neighborhoods.  The consolidations will further streamline our operations and enhance our service delivery, resulting in a net reduction of one executive position.

The first consolidation is Capital Improvements Management Services (CIMS) and Public Works into the Transportation & Capital Improvements Department.  This consolidation will create an organizational structure with a heightened focus on street transportation.  It elevates Transportation Planning to a major City focus while becoming more proactive and strategic.  The combined department will unite transportation efforts across the City for improved coordination with external entities such as VIA, MPO, TxDOT, Bexar County and the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority.  I have asked Mike Frisbie to serve as Director for the merged department. Mike has been with the City for more than six years serving as the CIMS Director and City Engineer and leading major initiatives for the City including the 2007 and 2012 Bond Programs.    I would like to thank Anthony Chukwudole for his service as the Interim Public Works Director since August.  He has demonstrated strong leadership over that time and will continue to provide that leadership as the Assistant Director over the Street Maintenance & Traffic Division.

The second consolidation will move the Downtown Operations Department under the Center City Development Office (CCDO).  This will allow a closer tie of Downtown events, parking, maintenance and leases to the development of Downtown San Antonio. Lori Houston will continue oversight of CCDO.  Lori started her career with the City in 2002.  Jim Mery will serve as the Deputy Director over the Downtown Operations division.  I would like to thank Jim for his work as the Interim Director of Downtown Operations.  His work and leadership has been instrumental in improving Downtown through the Riverwalk Capital Improvement projects and Downtown Tuesday.

In addition to the above changes, I have appointed Melody Woosley as Director of the Human Services Department. Melody has been with the City of San Antonio for 15 years, beginning as a Management Analyst with the Human Services Department in 1998. For the past five years, Melody has served as an important leader of the department including serving as the Interim Director since December 2012. During her time with the City she has supported and led critical City Human Services functions such as Head Start, Child Care Services, Family Assistance Centers, Café College, Homeless Initiatives and Senior Services. Melody has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Southern Methodist University.

I also have asked Mike Etienne to serve as the primary City staff member over the EastPoint Program, a $60 million redevelopment effort on the East Side, including the PROMISE & CHOICE Federal Initiatives, as well as overseeing City lease functions, Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and Property Disposition.

With the consolidations, changes were made to the departments the Executive Leadership Team members oversee.  Peter Zanoni will oversee the Transportation & Capital Improvements Department and the EastPoint Program.  Carlos Contreras will continue to oversee the Center City Development Office.

Animal Care Services Update

Animal Care Services staff is launching a new program that will allow employees within ACS to experience and assess the duties of a veterinary technician. The employees will work in the clinic 1 day per week as a vet tech for a 10-week period.

During this time, they will experience first-hand the job duties and responsibilities of a vet tech in a shelter clinic environment. Staff will learn to vaccinate pets, administer medications, assist in treatments, and prep for surgeries.

This is a voluntary program for those wishing to participate. ACS employees who participate will also learn how to recognize symptoms of disease or improve their existing knowledge of disease symptoms, which will aid in maintaining a healthier shelter population.

Later this month, ACS will formally open the new multi-use pet center at Brackenridge on Friday, October 25, with a press conference and open house.  These facilities will assist with the ACS strategic plan ensuing the adoption of over 3,000 additional pets and the spay and neuter of over 4,000 pets.

In an addition Petsmart Charities has awarded a grant to animal care services. The $50,000 will be used to provide additional surgeries, community outreach expenses and other services, including medical supplies and veterinary services. The grant funding will be included within the FY 2014 budget for enhanced enforcement and spay/neuter activities.

Public Works Update

In fiscal year 2007 the City Council approved the initial five-year rolling Infrastructure Management Program (IMP) for targeted neighborhood street, sidewalk and drainage improvements.  Our FY 2014 IMP that was recently adopted as part of the budget totals $54 million and includes over 1,160 infrastructure projects.

The Benefit of the IMP that residents have realized includes certainty in our work schedule; transparency with our public on what we are scheduled to complete over a five year period; and, coordination with other utilities in our planned infrastructure investments

The Department of Public Works is launching a new community outreach initiative this month to better educate the community on the detail of the scope of work included within the recently adopted IMP.

10 informational sessions are currently scheduled in each one of the City Council Districts with the respective Neighborhood Association Presidents and/or Board members.  After engaging with neighborhood leaders, the Public Works Department will work with the Council Districts to arrange additional opportunities for broader public participation.

The intent of the sessions is to inform the residents on the core services Public Works provides to the streets, traffic signals, sidewalks and traffic signs, drainage infrastructure, alley maintenance and other maintenance items.

In addition to the informational sessions, Public Works is also: providing new and timely program information on the department’s website and, creating signs to be posted at all IMP and the capital project sites.    The signs will include brief project and point-of-contact information to inform the public and provide them a phone number to call if they have questions or concerns.

Communications and Public Affairs Update

Public Technology, Inc. a nonprofit technology organization of the National League of Cities, will announce that San Antonio is designated a Citizen-Engaged Community for 2013-2015.

Public Technology, Inc. challenges local government to achieve high standards in citizen participation, seamless service delivery and democratic accountability.

The designation focuses on best practices and standards in three key areas for call centers:

  • Citizen Participation Processes
  • Integrated Communication Channels
  • Technology reporting of Performance measures

This year, the City implemented the following 311 improvements which resulted in the award designation:

  • 311 Call Center Performance measures posted on the website and updated monthly
  • Open 311 system with mapping of all service requests
  • Mobile app for top service requests.

Other large cities awarded the designation this year include:

  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • San Francisco, California
  • City and County of Denver
  • City of Charlotte North Carolina
  • Colorado, Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • Orange County, Florida
  • Sacramento, California

The announcement will be made at the PTI 2013 Technology Leadership Conference, October 13-15 in Philadelphia.  Look for the logo on our website later this month to promote this designation.