The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors on Tuesday voted to reaffirm its previous decision to negotiate with AECOM as the consultant to conduct a series of public outreach activities for initial input into development of the H-GAC sustainability plan.
Prior to the vote, a series of people addressed the board, including representatives of AECOM and members of the H-GAC Sustainability Committee who had recommended AmericaSpeaks as the top ranked consultant; as well as some citizens who object to the concept of sustainability as a government function.
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Following the public comment, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who was not at the meeting when AECOM was selected, made a motion to reconsider, which was approved on a vote of 14-11. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Following that vote, Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald moved to name AmericaSpeaks as the consultant. His motion was seconded by Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski.
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“If the motion fails, AECOM would be the firm that would stay in negotiations?” asked Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, who had made the motion to select AECOM at the June meeting.
“The June action would stand,” responded Montgomery County Commissioner Craig Doyal, who is chair of the H-GAC.
That motion failed on a vote of 6-20, thus AECOM is the consultant that H-GAC staff will negotiate with as the public outreach consultant for the public engagement portion of the sustainability plan.
The H-GAC board voted unanimously to approve recommendations by the H-GAC Workforce Board to close four of the 29 Workforce Solution Offices in the region, including Winnie, Downtown Houston, Spring Branch and Galveston. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“What we know is that we’ve got a huge demand for services,” said Rodney Bradshaw of the H-GAC staff. “There is a huge demand and it is tough to make these choices now. What the Workforce Board recommends is, where it’s appropriate and we can secure free space, that we try to set up itinerant offices near where an office is closed, if we can make those arrangements.”
Mayor Jaworski, who voted for the motion, said that the City of Galveston will provide free space in two community centers.
“I can tell you that the City of Galveston has made a proposal at two different locations on the island to provide free space with computers and a little module where people can sort of self-deliver their resumes to the Texas City office,” Jaworski said.
“We’ll get right on any offer,” Bradshaw said, agreeing to work with Galveston on the matter. “What we will hope to do is set regular office hours and regular days so people will know when services are available.”
The H-GAC board voted unanimously to amend its bylaws to permit the chair to name an ex-officio member from the Texas Legislature. Then Chair Doyal named Representative Garnet F. Coleman as the ex-officio member.
All other agenda items were approved with unanimous votes. Agenda
Austin County Judge Carolyn Bilski, Chambers County Commissioner Gary Nelson, Waller County Judge Glenn Beckendorff, Conroe Council Member Toby Powell, Deer Park Council Member Thane Harrison, Friendswood Council Member Deirdre Carey Brown, La Porte Council Member Chuck Engelken, League City Council Member Mick Phalen and Pasadena Council Member Darrell Morrison were absent and not represented by alternates. Wharton County Commissioner Chris King was represented by County Judge Phillip Spenrath, Houston Council Member Anne Clutterbuck was represented by Council Member Melissa Noriega and Houston Mayor Annise Parker was represented by Council Member Sue Lovell.