Another power struggle between Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature over TxDOT's direction is expected

TxDOT's Challenge

Under Scrutiny as FY '09 Kicks Off

By Richard Williamson, The Bond Buyer

DALLAS - The Texas Department of Transportation begins its fiscal year this week with new leadership, a record $8.3 billion budget, and $1.5 billion of newly mandated bonds amid a challenging political environment.

With another tough legislative session coming in four months, the department must justify its existence in the Sunset review process after taking sharp criticism in a special audit for a $1.1 billion accounting error.

The Sunset Review Commission, a 12-member legislative body that reviews the policies and programs of more than 150 government agencies every 12 years, may have already set up a power struggle between Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature over TxDOT's direction.

Under its current structure, TxDOT is supervised by the Texas Transportation Commission, a five-member board appointed by the governor. The current TTC chairwoman, Deirdre Delisi, is Perry's former chief of staff, replacing the late Ric Williamson who shared Perry's enthusiasm for privately financed toll roads and the mammoth Trans Texas Corridor.

If the Sunset Review Commission's report is adopted, the TTC board would be replaced by a single commissioner appointed for two years instead of the current six-year terms for board members. The Sunset report also recommends another review in four years instead of the standard 12 years to reconsider whether TxDOT should continue to exist.

"The Sunset review of the Texas Department of Transportation occurred against a backdrop of distrust and frustration with the department and the demand for more transparency, accountability, and responsiveness," the report stated. "Many expressed concerns that TxDOT was 'out of control,' advancing its own agenda against objections of both the Legislature and the public."

Read the whole article HERE.


Anonymous said...

The infamous James "Ass" Bass is still employed at TxDOT after the $1.1 billion dollar accounting error happened on his watch? How come all the higher ups at TxDOT are protected. TxDOT is like the friggin mob.

Anonymous said...

You would figure that if TxDot really wanted to run itself like a business they would fire Mr."Ass Bass". Instead they are going to let him play with more money. Go figure. That's why everything is screwed up.

Anonymous said...

Really, what is the point of crying and bitching on this forum. Nobody reads it and if they did they don't care. If you think the legislature is going to do anything about all the frustration they say they are feeling, you're kidding yourself. Think about it, you would think that the District Engineers would be worried about their jobs and their employees jobs, but instead they are worried about making sure the Truck Roadeo takes place this year even though there is no state contest, and it's no longer mandatory. Come on, open your eyes people. Nothing will get done. Nothing!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you're right nothing will ever happen as long as we allow lobbyist to operate within our political system. But it is a shame that at the very least the District Engineers would not step up and inform all employees of what is going on within TxDOT regarding all the regionalization plans. We all know that it is still going to happen yet they continue to hold private/secret meetings without any information passed along to the workforce. We are just sitting ducks. All we can do is vote to change the leadership of our Texas government in hopes that they can clean up the mess Perry and his corporate interest buddies created. Talk about a helpless feeling. Everyone has the decision to leave TxDOT, and a lot of folks have, but if you already have 10-15 years with the department you hate to just walk away from that. That is really a helpless feeling, you are almost at the mercy of these incompetent crooks.

Anonymous said...

What regionalization plan? You know as well as I do that there is no such thing. The reason the District Engineers aren't informing the employees of the lastest developments is because Sanez has no idea what the next step is in the plan. It's something they made up last minute just to appease the legislature this next session and make it look like they're trying to make TxDot more "transparent." TxDot is the most powerful state organization in Texas and they know that. You can bet that the governor won't allow for such drastic changes no matter what the sunset review recommends. So anyone who is concerned about losing their job because of regionalization, I wouldn't worry about it. You'll continue to have a job at this miserable place like everyone else because nothing is going to change.

Anonymous said...

Guess what the new attempt at transparency is? They are forcing the districts to come up with a 4-year pavement management plan that will be obsolete before it is completed. This is the brain flash of David Casteel. The committee that looked into this suggestion told Casteel that this plan was not a good idea and Casteel said do it anyway. Here is the scary part, this is just another show for the legislature. The four year plan will be popsted on the TX-Dot web site even though the information is bogus and Casteel knows it. This should raise the trust of the department!!! You cannot imagine the amount of resources that are going into this rediculus plan all across the state. This is another example of why TX-Dot is in such horrible shape. Inept leadership who care only about making a name for themselves. David Casteel is an example of some of the worst kind of leadership or lack thereof I have ever seen. He is not a leader or a manager, but an egomaniac who is going to cause further public distrust and damage to the ailing TX-Dot credibility. I have worked for this agency for 30 years and have always worked above and beyond what was required. putting in many more hours than required because I care about what I do. I have seen the good and bad times, but our current administration is the worst of the worst.

Anonymous said...

If TXDOT was as good as it was to work for 30 years ago I would stay longer and work for the joy of it but, that is not the case. TXDOT has turned to be run by cold hearted people with no direction in mind. Although the direction should be to the best interest of the tax payer as it was from the begining but, now, is more to line thier own personal pockets with tax payer money at the highest level. No, this is not the TXDOT I know 30 years ago. I bailed out due to lack of trust and saddened by those left behind who have invested too much time to lose and have no option but to stay and suffer to at least reach the rule of 80 and get out and work somewhere else.