Dan Jasinski Speaks Out About TxDOT Sunset Hearing Yesterday

I, Dan Jasinski, was present from start (8:45 a.m.) to finish (~10:00 p.m.) taking only one 5-minute break ~11 a.m.

I found this Sunset hearing quite informative and entertaining! The Sunset staff and panel members (their questioning and listening/HEARING) are to be commended for their exemplary demonstrated efforts and sincerity!

As one of the last grass roots testifiers after 9:00 p.m., I can attest to the actual fireworks beginning around 6:00 p.m. with a grand finale occuring after my own inputs with (1) two long-term, former TxDOT employees testifying to internal TxDOT corruption (begun 2002 timeframe by new political supervisors replacing en masse old guard retirees), (2) a New Braunsfel decorated veteran surgeon testifying to obvious fraudulent TxDOT planning documents that would allow eminent domain land seizures, and (3) a TURF/co-chair exposing yet another TxDOT "work-around" against legislative oversight. TxDOT/CEO Amadeo Saenz returned twice to respond to panel questioning and Amadeo's bumbling performance has certainly painted a darker future Sunset for TxDOT.

I was able to relay this info to American Statesman editor Fred Sipp (I was pleasantly shocked he actually picked up his publicized phone number) because Ben Wear obviously left the Sunset meeting prior to any entertaining fireworks base upon another unprofessional (i.e. incomplete like a 4th-innning baseball score and/or inaccurate -- hey, Ben, you missed the fat lady singing and must think Dewey beat Truman!) newspaper report by Ben in today's paper (Dallas newspaper did report on the first Saenz recall, or memory lack thereof).

BOTTOMLINE -- Sunset is still accepting remarks 7 or 10 more days. I, for one, intend to provide them another thought-through input emphasizing the "new and improving" TxDOT regime operations demonstrated and documented during the July 15 Sunset hearing as we present did experience.


Anonymous said...

wow! very interesting news!!

Anonymous said...

Because of the Sunset commitee and the 1.1 billion dollar mistake, about 1100 TxDot employees will lose their jobs.The one that made that mistake should have been the one reprimanded but instead he was given a raise. The regionalization of TxDot will cause employees to be displaced or lose their jobs.And if you are lucky enough to stay you will have to reapply for your job and take a cut in pay.This info is being kept very hush hush for now.The top brass has been telling the emplyees for months that nobody would lose their jobs, but sounds like the higher ups,as usual,will keep theirs and the little guys will not have one.

Anonymous said...

So very correct. We are having meetings going on as we speak and are being told very little even though the D.E.'s know way more than what they are letting on. Support functions are being cut and I will bet dollars to donuts that they will be outsourced. There is an ongoing contract with IBM that is in the billions of dollars for them to manage our network, even though TxDOT has been running and building there own network some politician decided we needed a big fat contract to save a few million. Spend billions to save millions. Give me a break. Here are a few examples of how IBM has made TxDOT more efficient. Lets say an engineer deleted an internal (secret) document and needs to get it restored. Sounds simple enough don't ya think.
1. Engineer calls district IT staff to let them know that you need to recover a file.
2. District IT puts a trouble ticket in to Austin IT staff
3. Austin staff informs IBM
4. IBM calls there local paid sub-contractor who the majority of these people have no clue WTF they are doing. They have been known to load the tape mechanism wrong and get the tapes out of order, etc. They have up to a week to respond. So it could take up to a week.

Old TxDOT way of restoring a file

1.User calls District IT staff and tells them that they need a file restored.
2.District staff walks over and loads tape and restores file. 30 minutes tops.

So as a user and a taxpayer what way makes more sense.

The district IT staffs have slowly been losing rights to manage the very network that they built and are being forced to give it to a company who does not know anything about it and has struggled to maintain the same customer service as was had before they took over. Our D.E. told us outsourcing is not the answer but yet they continue to contract everything from fleet maintenance, sign fabrication, signal jobs, ROW functions, and now IT support will be slowly phased out for big fat contracts for the corporate world. And the public is told it will save money. Outsourcing and contracting saves time not money. If TxDOT does not have the man power or the means to complete a project in the needed time then by all means contract it out, but to contract/outsource work that can be done in house is a complete waste of taxpayer money because we all know the private sector paycheck is always way more than a state paycheck and will always cost more in the long run.

Throw out the politicians and get TxDOT back to the way it was back in the day. Improve and expand our existing infrastructure and get off this toll road bandwagon as the public does not want it. After all who do we work for.

Anonymous said...

I came to work at TxDOT for the reputation that they had for being like a family, for having job security, and insurance for my family. I could easily make alot more money in the private sector but I truly love my work and my fellow co-workers, money is not everything. I have been shocked by what has been going on at the upper ranks of TxDOT. Over the past year or so the employees seem to have a feeling of hopelessness as they slowly watch there job become some corporate giants bonus check or a function they had is contracted out to a design firm with a TxDOT contract. I have watched this organization go from a streamlined, efficient, customer focused "HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT" with dedicated employees from top to bottom (just look at the district retirement walls) to a corrupt, contract happy, confused, "Corporate/Political Train Wreck" with huge turnover. It used to be that no one would want to leave the highway department. Now they can't keep anyone but highly paid engineers and directors. Why? Well maybe because they want to contract everything out...is that not what Perry wants? Here is an example of a job opening within TxDOT. A signal technician regardless of experience would come in making roughly $22000 per year. I have seen these guys in the middle of intersections, 30 feet up in the air, risking there life repairing signals in rush hour traffic. Then you have Engineer positions that have a pay range from $8000 to $13,000 per month. So we have an engineer that works 2 months and makes as much as a guy risking his life on a daily basis does in a year. Don't get me wrong some of the Engineers at TxDOT earn what they make but you can't get quality dedicated employees if you keep feeding the upper ranks the best food and the lower level employees the leftovers. You do not need an MBA to see what is wrong with TxDOT. In my opinion it would be an easy fix. Agree with above statement: Adjust the top ranking TxDOT salaries and put them on notice to stop the under the table political contract deals. This would with out a doubt save way more than 35 million by cutting 1100 jobs. Trust me I have seen the salaries and the amount of these ridiculous contracts.

Anonymous said...

Everything you're saying and then some! Have you heard the new "buzz phrase" the regionalization ppl have come up with? Get ready...here it comes..."Equally busy"...Yep, that's right..."Equally busy." I wonder how many thousands of dollars a consultant made from TxDOT to come up with THAT jewel! If you're a TxDOT employee like me, all I can say is Bend Over, and hang on, 'cause here it comes! Don't think that this will stop with HR, Accounting, Shop and Warehouse, Basically, everyone group 14 and under best be looking over their shoulders, because it's gonna get ugly up in here!

Anonymous said...

I'm an engineer with TxDOT and don't even come close to $8,000 dollars a month and I don't know any TxDOT engineer that makes that amount. You must be talking about the engineers that are in administration because the design and construction personnel where I work won't see that kind of money in a lifetime.