Department Operations Updates: April 11, 2022

This post includes a summary of recent Dallas County department operations updates relevant, specifically, to members of the Dallas County Commissioners Court.

Team updates include:

Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS)

Director: Jeffrey J. Barnard, M.D.

Jeffrey J. Barnard, M.D., Director and Chief Medical Examiner of SWIFS

Our department welcomed Deborrah Pinto, Ph.D., Forensic Anthropologist, in January 2022.

Dr. Pinto earned her Ph.D. in biological anthropology from The Ohio State University and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Dr. Pinto completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS) in Houston, Texas. After completing her fellowship, she joined the staff of HCIFS as a forensic anthropologist, where she served in several capacities over 10 years. Dr. Pinto organized a state-wide conference on child abuse diagnosis and investigation and conducted a review of injury patterns of inflicted injuries on infants. She served as the identification manager for four years, overseeing all aspects of the identification process, including the disposition of unidentified decedents. While at HCIFS, Dr. Pinto coordinated training and accreditation activities and organized an annual Topics in Forensic Sciences Conference. She also reviewed and updated legacy unidentified decedent cases and performed full forensic anthropological examinations on exhumed remains.

At SWIFS, Dr. Pinto will continue to focus on unidentified decedents through her leadership on a department FY2022 Objective to create and maintain a fully electronic unidentified decedent case record for approximately 500 legacy Office of the Medical Examiner cases without positive identification. Dr. Pinto’s research interests include forensic anthropology, skeletal biology, bone histology, trauma, and biomechanics.

Deborrah Pinto, Ph.D., Forensic Anthropologist

SWIFS is collaborating with Information Technology to convert existing Crystal Reports used for management and public information reporting to SSRS format, significantly improving the usefulness of the reports and enabling ongoing maintenance of the report by IT.

The ongoing report conversion is expected to assist with the realization of two of the department’s FY2022 Objectives and Key Results: 1) development and production of a monthly department performance  measures report, which requires the generation of statistical information to guide SWIFS management decision-making and 2) generation of laboratory data on five “drugs of interest” to identify and understand local drug trends and corresponding demographics; the data will be evaluated, summarized and submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Sample excerpt of converted report in new format

Public Defender’s Office

Director: Lynn Pride Richardson

Lynn Pride Richardson, Chief Public Defender

Our department has implemented business process improvement strategies to ensure effective management and application of our resources.

  • We continue to conduct monthly, and sometimes weekly, office-wide trainings for all employees, which includes orientation for new employees.
  • We have fine-tuned orientation materials to improve employee onboarding process and training materials for employees who either have been recently hired or desire promotion and advancement within our office.
  • We continue to monitor employees’ workloads to track effectiveness and efficiency, especially new attorneys and staff dedicated to reducing COVID backlog cases.
  • We are developing and maintaining relationships with stakeholders and community partners by meeting with them on an ongoing basis, primarily monthly or quarterly.
  • We continue to work with Dallas County IT and our case management vendor, Journal Tech, on the implementation of and training on the new case management system.
  • We are in the planning phase to prepare for the FY2023 budget process.

Our department’s implementation of a new public defense case-management system is on track to be completed by the end of 2022.

Our department’s administrative and executive teams continue to meet regularly with county leaders, community partners and other court stakeholders:

  • University of North Texas School of Law
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Dallas County Administration
  • City of Dallas South Dallas Drug Court
  • North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (NTBHA)
  • Behavioral Health Leadership Team (BHLT)
  • Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB)
  • Dallas County Criminal Justice Department
  • Dallas County District Attorney’s Office
  • Dallas County Criminal Courts
  • Dallas County Sheriff’s Office
  • Unlocking Doors
  • TORI (Potter’s House)
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association
  • Gideon’s Promise
  • National Association of Public Defenders
  • Churches and community-based organizations

Our office continues to engage with existing and potential funders for new programs and office initiatives.

We submit quarterly reports detailing our operations to current funders and submitted proposals quarterly to existing funders. We expect that these proposals will result in a continuation of our programs.

Our office is excited to onboard the following new positions: Backlog Court Division, Community Outreach Coordinator, Social Worker Supervisor who will work with the Public Defender Engagement Team, and Administrative Assistant.

Our office continues to work diligently to provide effective legal representation to all clients post-pandemic.

We congratulate Priscilla Latham on her new position as Administrative Supervisor where she is responsible for hiring, managing, supervising, and mentoring clerical support for the entire Public Defender’s Office.

Read more about Priscilla in our latest “The People Behind Dallas County” story.

Priscilla Latham

Small Business Enterprise (SBE)

Director: Jesse Crawford 

Jesse Crawford, Director of Small Business Enterprise

Our department remains committed to our core mission of creating a level playing field on which small businesses can compete fairly in our procurement process, through our ongoing outreach and capacity building partnership efforts.

SBE is proud to announce our successful partnership and execution of the School of Construction with the Beck Group and City of Dallas.

The Office of Small Business Enterprise (SBE), in collaboration with the Beck Group and City of Dallas, launched the Beck School of Construction training session on January 25, 2022. The workshops are designed to strengthen effective working relationships with the small, minority and women-owned businesses (SMWBEs) in the North Texas area. This initiative creates an opportunity for participating SMWBEs to receive targeted technical assistance and business development training through local industry experts. Seventeen recipients will be tasked with completing a nine-month program that includes workshops and micro-classes centered on business development assistance to participating SMWBEs. 

To date, the following classes and curriculums have been conducted:

Session 1 – Business Development and Marketing – February 8, 2022

  • How to approach new business opportunities
  • Networking and establishing relationships early with decision makers 
  • Marketing your business effectively – website, social media, what is your “Elevator Pitch”

Session 2 – Bids and Proposals (Presented by Michael Frosch, Dallas County Purchasing Director) – March 1, 2022

  • When to respond to a bid
  • How to develop a successful and responsive bid/proposal
  • Chat / Bid Rooms
  • Software / Electronic Bidding Platforms (Beck, Dallas County, City of Dallas)

Dallas County continues to expand our SBE participation commitment through the successful implementation of workshops, seminars, and technical assistance programs, which promote equal contracting opportunities for all businesses who want to do business with Dallas County.

The fifth installment of the Town Hall series, hosted by Commissioner J.J. Koch, was held in-person and virtually on Thursday, February 10, 2022, at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Criswell College.

The purpose of the “How To Do Business With Dallas County” town hall is to shine a spotlight on the contracting opportunities available with Dallas County along a broad range of commodity lines.  The focus of each town hall is to provide small business enterprises with information in the areas of: Dallas County Office of Small Business Enterprise resources and tools; available current and forecasted contracting opportunities; best practices and an overview of SBE certification requirements.

Participants actively engaged SBE Director Jesse Crawford, Purchasing Director Michael Frosch, Public Works Director Alberta Blair and representatives of Dallas County’s recognized certification partner agencies—Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council (DFWMSDC), North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency (NCTRCA), and Women’s Business Council – Southwest (WBCS)—with questions through the virtual chat and in person.

SBE thanks all our Dallas County personnel for their time, expertise, and outreach support of our SBE initiatives.

Purchasing

Director: Michael Frosch

Michael Frosch, Director of Purchasing

Our department remains committed to delivering timely service to its clients through strategic and competitive purchasing while working diligently to maximize purchasing power and establishing business opportunities for local, small and minority communities. 

The Purchasing Department is actively involved in the design and implementation process of the County’s new financial system which is expected to be a “best in class” financial system.

Our department continues to implement contracts to support the client departments’ operational needs. To date for FY2021-2022, Purchasing has submitted 78 Court agenda items in the estimated amount of $81M, releasing 15 requests for proposals, and authorizing seven separate public auctions.

Our department commends the client departments on the continued reduction of the pick-up PO’s. Since FY2019 to date, the pick-up PO’s have decreased 83%!    

In collaboration with key stakeholders, we would like to highlight a few significant contract awards approved by the Commissioners Court to date:

  • March 22, 2022 – Four-year service price agreement for on-site American Sign Language interpreting services and Real-Time Captioning (CART) services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
  • March 7, 2022 – Three-year service price agreement for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software licensing, deployment, maintenance, and training services and a one-year service price agreement for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) consultation services.
  • February 15, 2022 – Two-year service price agreement with three one-year renewal options for third-party administrator to assist with the County’s proposed Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program.
  • February 15, 2022 – Five-year service price agreement for the purchase of laundry liquid injection system and laundry detergents, chemicals, and related products.
  • January 25, 2022 – Three-year software maintenance and support agreement for a master heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) automation building control system.
  • December 7, 2021 – Service price agreement for professional construction project management services and on-site representation for the Mesquite Government Center and a contract for the design of the Mesquite Government Center.
  • December 7, 2021– Five-year master agreement for the purchase of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters.

Our department continues to work in collaboration with the Office of Small Business Enterprise (SBE) to educate, promote awareness, competition, and create a more transparent public-procurement process. The following events were held during the reporting period with over 500 attendees:

  • On February 10, 2022, Michael Frosch represented the Purchasing Department and presented the “How to Do Business” presentation at the SBE coordinated Town Hall hosted by Commissioner Koch. This hybrid event was well attended. 
  • On February 28, 2022, Michael Frosch represented the Purchasing Department and presented “Bids and Proposals” presentation at the Dallas County School of Construction, held in partnership with the City of Dallas and Beck. 
  • On March 8, 2022, Kim Gould represented the Purchasing Department at the DFW Minority Supplier Development Council (MSDC) Hard Hat Construction Exposition at the round table event.

Our department welcomed four new employees during this quarter.

  • Marvin Kines, Buyer (February 14, 2022)
  • Dhestini Bizor, Buyer (February 14, 2022)
  • Claudia Marin, Administrative Assistant (March 14, 2022)
  • Candice Chretien, Buyer (March 28, 2022)

Congratulations to Zavieone Pirtle and Stephen Cordova, Buyers, for their recent promotion to Contracts Specialist in the Purchasing Department.