Department Operations Updates: May 9, 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:

Facilities Management

Director: Greg Gray

Greg Gray, Director of Facilities Management

Facilities Management oversaw the renovation of approximately 8,000 square feet of space at the Homeward Bound facility as part of a deflection program.

The facility’s newly renovated wing will provide up to 16 beds, medical offices, and other components to provide an alternative to arresting individuals suffering from mental illness who have committed certain low-level, non-violent misdemeanor offenses.

The project is a joint venture between the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, Dallas County, the Dallas Police Department, Parkland Hospital, the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (NTBHA) and Homeward Bound Inc., and is designed to help stop the cycle of arrests, detentions, hospitalizations, and homelessness.  

The Dallas County Records Building is coming closer to completion, and the remaining few departments will be moving into the building at the end of May.

These departments include the Commissioners Court, County Administration, Budget, and Planning and Development. We look forward to having everyone in the building and fully realizing the Courts’ vision for consolidating operations. 

The Mesquite Government Center design is in process.

Commissioners Court awarded the contract to the design-build contractor Suffolk and Moody Nolan Team, and project management is being overseen by EJES/JPC. We’ve met with all involved stakeholders, and we are looking to finalize the designs soon and move forward with construction. The building will be a two-story structure that will provide contemporary workspace for the Tax Office, Justice of the Peace, Constable, Juvenile Probation, and mixed-use space for early voting and other community events. This new location will also provide ample parking for building operations and community events.

Dallas County recently purchased 10 acres on Belt Line Road and 175 to build a new, state-of-the-art fire station to service the unincorporated areas of Dallas County.

This project is in its infancy, but Facilities Management and the Fire Marshal’s Office look forward to replacing the existing fire station that was built in 1970 that no longer meets the needs of the department. We are also looking to build a new household hazardous waste collection site at this location that will complement our location in Garland.  

The escalators that connect the basement to the first floor at the George Allen Courthouse have reached the end of their expected lifespan and are scheduled to be replaced starting at the end of May. 

The work is expected to last for approximately 10 weeks and, when finished, will provide a modernized experience that is sure to bring George Allen years of trouble-free operation and round out our elevator/escalator modernization projects at that location.

Facilities Management has introduced the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) program to all of Dallas County. 

The CMMS has been fully rolled out to all of Dallas County and will modernize the way we interact with our customers to receive, process, and complete work orders. In addition to being easier to use, the new CMMS allows departments greater control and awareness of work order statuses. Each department has identified key personnel to input work requests and receive updates about work orders. Additionally, CMMS will help identify trends in equipment trouble/failure rates that will give us much-needed insight to help reduce equipment downtime that may affect departments.

Our department recognizes Felicia Requena Ortiz, Facilities Assistant Director of Capital Improvements, for her work in improving our capital program. 

Felicia oversees our entire Fiscal Department that manages our day-to-day funding and briefing needs, as well as developing our capital improvements plan. Since she came to Facilities, Felicia has turned the capital program around. She has planned out the next five years’ worth of building improvements, directly leading to improved fiscal responsibility and planned repairs. Thank you, Felicia, for your great work!  

Planning and Development

Director: Luis Tamayo

Luis Tamayo, Director of Planning and Development

During the past quarter, the Planning and Development Department welcomed Elizabeth Allen to the team as Assistant Director.

Elizabeth holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in public affairs. Being no stranger to the organization, Elizabeth has dedicated the past 10 years of service to Dallas County. She started her journey with Dallas County in the Commissioners Court Clerk’s Office as the Administrative Services Coordinator for the County Clerk. There, she was instrumental in moving the County away from processing court orders with typewriters by implementing an online agenda management system. Elizabeth was later promoted to Capital Improvement Program Manager in the Facilities Management Department, where she assisted in funding millions of dollars towards improvements in County-owned facilities. Elizabeth brings a wealth of knowledge to the department and looks forward to making contributions to the success of Planning and Development.

Elizabeth Allen, Assistant Director of Planning and Development

In other staffing news, Commissioners Court recognized long-time employee David Mackey on his retirement after 34 years of service to Dallas County.

David Mackey served as the inspector for homes built through Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants, homes built in unincorporated areas of Dallas County, as well as serving as the Park Ranger for the Dallas County Preserves.

During this last quarter, 12 projects were under review or consideration for incentives to locate in the County, expand their existing facilities, or create and/or retain jobs in Dallas County.

Five projects considering incentives to locate in Dallas County are no longer under consideration. This includes one project that did not meet County policy, three projects proceeding without County incentives, and one project that chose to not proceed with its project.

During this last quarter, two projects received Dallas County assistance via tax abatements. These projects include a new headquarters office in Uptown Dallas and a new furniture manufacturing facility in Mesquite.

In the second quarter, the Replacement Housing Program kicked off two home projects in our partner cities of Balch Springs and Wilmer.

The Replacement Housing Program is also pleased to report that three 15-year liens on homes in the program were released during the quarter.

This means that the participants of the program successfully completed all the requirements of HUD, and now own their replacement homes outright.

Planning and Development awarded $226,554 in HOME funding to Builders of Hope, a certified Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), for the construction of the five homes under its West Dallas affordable housing Homeownership Project of Los Altos Neighborhood.

The Planning and Development Department has continued to progress on achieving its OKR goals, including:

  • OKR 4.2: 1,000 of 2,600 linear feet of installed water/sewer lines
  • OKR 4.3: Completed: Design and bid of 5,500 linear feet of water/sewer line
  • OKR 4.4: 800 of 1200 linear feet of street reconstruction was completed in Balch Springs

Our department has several ongoing projects, including:

  • Balch Springs – Street reconstruction (Cochise Drive & Rustic Trail)
  • Cockrell Hill – Water project for Dempster Street and Ogden Avenue
  • Combine – Water project
  • Duncanville – Sidewalk reconstruction project (Forest Hill)
  • Farmers Branch – Hollandale water/sewer project
  • Glenn Heights – Neighborhood survey to assess viability of a project
  • Hutchins – Senior Center rehabilitation
  • Lancaster – Touchless entry and water fountains
  • Sachse – Sidewalk installation project
  • Seagoville – Drainage project and street reconstructions
  • Wilmer – Adams Street water project

Public Works

Director: Alberta Blair, P.E.

Alberta Blair, P.E., Director of Public Works

Dallas County’s Public Works Department was represented at the Southern Dallas County Inland Port Transportation Management Association (IPTMA) Symposium #5, held at Cedar Valley College on March 31. The symposium hosted over 80 attendees from diverse interests and backgrounds from all over Dallas County and the North Central Texas region. 

The IPTMA’s mission is to help participating organizations attract and keep great employees. By understanding and addressing the broad transportation needs of employers and employees in the Southern Dallas County Inland Port area, IPTMA promotes access to jobs and helps local businesses and the community grow.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price gave a welcome at the symposium, which was led by IPTMA Executive Director Laura Freeland. The program also included welcome statements by Dr. Joe Seabrooks, President of Dallas College Cedar Valley, and Dallas City Councilperson Tennell Atkins. 

Ms. Freeland then led an informative update on the year’s activities for the IPTMA, emphasizing the service levels and ridership data from the service area. The audience was then presented a series of three panel discussions.

Alberta Blair, Director of Dallas County Public Works, led the session “How will Transportation and Infrastructure keep pace with Inland Port Growth?” with Nadine Lee, President of DART, and Michael Morris, Director of Transportation, NCTCOG.

Other panel topics included, “What makes the Inland Port the Fastest Growing Industrial Market in the US?” and “How will Plaquemines Port Impact the Supply Chain Issues in Dallas?” Each of the panels entertained questions and comments from the audience, and the event’s interactivity led to a great success overall. 

A video recording of the symposium can be found at https://youtu.be/QL_hM3fzRy8.  

Organizers and presenters at the symposium included: (L to R) Dr. Joe Seabrooks; Mike Rader; Gordon Shattles; Tennell Atkins; John Wiley Price and Laura Freeland
Vicinity map IPTMA
IPTMA boundary with major employers

Consolidated Services

Director: Christopher Hooper

Christopher Hooper, Director of Consolidated Services

Fleet Operations was recently ranked No. 28 in the 100 Best Fleets in the Americas awards ceremony.

Several metrics were used in the judging, and we are proud to have placed so highly among the elite fleets in the Americas. Fleet Operations staff has worked diligently to achieve this prestigious honor and was recognized as the #1 County in the entire State of Texas to receive this award.     

Fleet Operations recently purchased several electric vehicles (EVs) for pilot testing with multiple service departments.

The list of EVs include: 10 Ford Lightning pickups, 10 Ford Mach-Es, and three Tesla model 3s. These vehicles will have a number of uses, including freeway management, vehicle reserve units for law enforcement, public safety, and administrative staff. Additionally, Fleet Operations is currently pilot testing two all-electric buses for both the Juvenile and Health and Human Service Departments. These vehicles have a range of 120 miles per full charge and can carry up to 20 passengers including the driver. We leveraged our partnerships within the County to pilot test these units to help reduce our fleet’s carbon footprint. Using sustainable resources is a focal point for Fleet Operations, and we are hopeful that this new technology will help serve our community for years to come.  

Since its re-launch in early FY2022, the Fleet Operations’ Smith System Driver Training Courses has successfully added 33 safe vehicle operators to our Dallas roadways.

These trained drivers will contribute greatly to the organization’s goal of reducing the annual number of preventable accidents and dollars spent on vehicle repairs. This is possible through our partnerships with fleet liaisons of other service departments. Classes are offered throughout the year, and anyone interested in registering should contact Julio Cuin at 214-653-6529 or julio.cuin@dallascounty.org.

The Law Library publishes customer-centric articles to better assist the needs of their customers. The Law Library published its second article, Dallas County E-Online Resources, on its website on Feb. 1.

The article was also distributed to all Dallas County Judges, court coordinators and personnel, Dallas Bar Association Communications, and legal aid stakeholders. Preparation for the third article began in April 2022, to be published in May 2022.

Records Management (RM) maintains greater than a 90% fulfillment rate for file requests and is currently wrapping up a significant system update which will enhance the records retention destruction process which takes place at the Dallas County Records Center.

Our partnership with a third-party consultant (TMAC) is ongoing as we look to streamline and automate records request forms using SharePoint, making requests more convenient for our customers.

Consolidated Services recognizes the importance of communication, whether it’s internal or when communicating with the customer.

Our department participated in a communications training facilitated by professional consultants that focused on the importance of effectively communicating and identifying the target audience. More specifically, the training aided the department in examining the ways our target audiences access information and how we can influence and enlist the audience with our message. Furthermore, we learned why it’s critical to share a consistent message and how to get others to pick up and repeat what has been communicated. The training also covered how to handle tough questions, style issues and reviewed critical tools for successful communicators.

Fire Marshal’s Office

Director: Robert De Los Santos

Robert De Los Santos, Dallas County Fire Marshal

Dallas County Fire Marshal’s Office recently joined the North Texas Tire Task Force.

The tire processing industry is a necessary component in the recycling of used tires; however, the limited number of facilities and accessibility often leads to the illegal disposal of tires, thus passing the cost of removal on to the county/city taxpayer. Currently, the North Texas Tire Task Force is working on model policy and legislative wording to assist with Increasing regulation and implementing stronger penalties through legislative law changes. Historically, enforcement has been granted to state-level regulatory agencies. Dallas County Fire Marshal’s office is working with the task force to bridge enforcement language to allow local enforcement and shore up regulatory standards on a more frequent level. 

County partners are in the process of scheduling our second annual unincorporated cleanup event. This county-based collaboration includes the following group of stakeholders:

  • Planning and Development
  • Public Works
  • Health and Human Services
  • Road and Bridge 3
  • Fire Marshal’s Office
  • Household Hazardous Waste Collection/Consolidated Services
  • Dallas Sheriff’s Department

Our department recognizes Stacey Whiteside, Administrative Assistant, who was instrumental in coordinating the AED project for Dallas County.

Stacey started her career with Dallas County in 2007, working in the Auditor’s Office until 2009. She returned to Dallas County in February 2013 as the Administrative Assistant for the Fire Marshal’s Office and Marshal Service. She is a licensed telecommunicator and appointed TAC (Terminal Agency Coordinator) for the departments. She also manages the TCOLE files and the HR representative for 35 licensed Peace Officers and telecommunicators, including Security Officers.  

One of her proudest accomplishments is coordinating with Cardiac Science to have new G-5 Powerheart automatic defibrillators (AEDs) placed in all County buildings. Today, Dallas County has 105 AEDs in their buildings, and Stacey oversees their maintenance.

Just within the last month, these AEDs proved to be a lifesaver when a Dallas County employee had a heart attack during work hours. With the AED readily available, the help of office staff, and the call made to 9-1-1, the AED saved a life.

We are grateful to Stacey for her implementation of this important, life-saving initiative!

Stacey Whiteside, Administrative Assistant