I just heard we lost a giant. Frumencio Reyes Jr. is no longer with us. A good friend and longtime political activist and leader in our community. I will have more later.
The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) put out this statement yesterday. Where are the Latinos? Prove me wrong. Maybe some of these folks have Anglo surnames but are Latino. See the GHP statement here:
HOUSTON – The Greater Houston Partnership today announced several organizational changes in the first week of its new president and CEO, Steve Kean, who assumed the role on December 1. All current leaders in the organization will remain, with several elevations to a new executive leadership team, and some changes to reporting relationships.
Katie Pryor has been elevated to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In this expanded role, she will continue to lead the Partnership’s development and other revenue activities including annual membership campaigns, special events and programs, and long-term fundraising efforts, as well as lead engagement opportunities for the Partnership’s member companies and board of directors. In addition, she will oversee the organization’s people and culture, finance and accounting, and information systems departments. Pryor joined the Partnership in September 2020.
Taylor Landin has been elevated to Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer. Taylor will continue to lead the team of public policy and advocacy professionals who work to advance the Houston business community’s policy priorities at the federal, state and local levels. This is Landin’s second stint with the organization, with his first taking place from 2013 to 2015, and returning to the organization in May 2018.
As part of these promotions, Steve Kean has also created the Office of the CEO, which will be comprised of both Pryor and Landin, along with the organization’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Clint Pasche.
This group will lead the organization’s strategic planning process and work alongside the Partnership’s Executive Committee, Board of Directors, members, and staff to ensure alignment and successful execution.
“I believe this shared leadership model will produce better outcomes on the strategies, opportunities, and issues we’ll address at the Partnership,” said Steve Kean.
The organization’s economic development efforts will continue to be led by Craig Rhodes, Vice President, Regional Economic Development and John Cypher, Vice President of International Investment and Trade. Patrick Jankowski, the Partnership’s Chief Economist will remain in his role.
The organization’s key initiatives: UpSkill Houston, Houston Energy Transition Initiative, and One Houston Together will continue to be led by Peter Beard, Jane Stricker, and LaTanya Flix, respectively. Flix will lead the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work with the new title of Senior Vice President, Inclusive Leadership and Opportunity as the initiative focuses its efforts on driving change in two areas where the business community can have the greatest impact: creating pathways for upward mobility and increasing supplier diversity.
The Partnership is the Houston region’s leading business organization, championing growth across the 12-county region by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success.
“I have always known Houston to be a region focused on creating opportunity. And as I’ve visited with many across our community over the last few months since my appointment, I have seen this opportunity-creation mindset in our region’s corporations and startups, political leadership, educational institutions, economic development partners and so many other organizations,” Kean concluded. “There is strength in the unity of spirit we have here in Houston; and our ability to collaborate and work together is what sets us apart from other cities around the country.”
Steve Kean, and incoming board chair, Eric Mullins, Chairman and CEO, Lime Rock Resources, will offer their strategic vision for the organization at the Partnership’s Annual Meeting, February 9, 2024.
Show me the Latinos? Maybe I am wrong.
The featured photo is from a breakfast reception this morning at Atser for State Sen. John Whitmire. D. Fred Martinez, pictured right of State Sen. Carol Alvarado is part of our Baseball Buddies group. Fred is in charge of Atser. Still campaigning.
A primer for the next H-Town Mayor. From the Chron:
In Houston, the mayor’s responsibilities extend well beyond serving as the face of the city. Under a “strong mayor” system, the nonpartisan elected official oversees all city affairs and has the authority to appoint and remove any city employee in accordance with the law.
The mayor also serves as the head of City Council and, until recently, had near-total control over City Council’s weekly agenda. However, this dynamic is shifting due to a recently approved charter amendment that allows any three council members to band together and place a proposal on the agenda.
Mayor Sylvester Turner, constrained by term limits, will leave office in January. The race to succeed him has narrowed to state Sen. John Whitmire and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who received 42.5% and 35.6% of the vote, respectively, in the November general election. Since neither candidate secured a majority, they are set to face off in a runoff election on Dec. 9.
Here’s what you need to know about the scope of authority that comes with being Houston’s mayor.
The Houston mayor acts as the city’s general manager and official representative, earning $236,188 per year, according to the city’s latest payroll data. This position ranks as one of the highest-paid jobs at Houston City Hall.
As the chief executive officer, the mayor ensures that all city laws and ordinances are properly enforced. The mayor is also tasked with signing all proposals approved by City Council, keeping council members informed about the city’s financial status and drafting the annual budget for council approval.
The mayor is in charge of all administrative aspects within the government and holds the power to appoint department heads, subject to confirmation by the council. Additionally, the mayor can remove any of these directors without council approval and make personnel decisions about other city employees as permitted by law.
Beyond executive and administrative powers, Houston’s mayor also presides over City Council with voting privileges.
Until recently, the mayor could block nearly any policy idea from reaching the council for discussion or a vote. In November, however, 83% of the Houston electorate voted to approve a charter amendment to loosen the mayor’s control over the council’s legislative agenda. Now, any three of the 16 council members have the ability to place an item on the agenda for a vote.
In the United States, cities generally adopt one of two governance models: the “strong mayor” or the “weak mayor” system.
In a “strong mayor” city like Houston, the mayor has almost complete administrative authority. In a “weak mayor” city like Dallas, the mayor’s executive powers are more restricted – with greater authority vested in an appointed city manager or the city council.
The power of Houston’s mayor stands out even among “strong mayors,” as no other major city in the country allows its mayor to set the council agenda, according to former Mayor Annise Parker.
Critics argue that the system places too much power with a single elected official. But Parker said the process enabled her administration to thoroughly review upcoming proposals and avoid overwhelming the weekly meeting with underdeveloped or legally unsound policy ideas.
“You solve a lot of problems before they get there,” Parker said. “And again, if you have a good mayor, they’re already meeting regularly with council, they’re using the committee structure so the council members have input into things that are happening.”
While the new ability for council members to add items to the agenda will impact the mayor-council relationship, Parker said she does not anticipate it to significantly weaken the mayor’s power.
“The mayor retains complete administrative authority under the charter, and every city employee still reports to the mayor,” she said. She added that any attempts by council members to infringe on this power will be dismissed as illegal motions.
City Attorney Arturo Michel agreed with Parker’s assessment, saying that the new process will simply put more items on the table for discussion.
The city, however, will need to put safeguards in place to make sure that council members do not accidentally violate the Texas Open Meeting Act. For example, members discussing potential proposals should refrain from emailing or texting other members in a way that could involve enough members to constitute a quorum.
“I think it’s a legitimate concern. I don’t think it’s a given,” Michel said. He added that the city will develop a set of guidelines to advise the upcoming council body on appropriate communication practices and to ensure compliance with the law.
The Chron E-Board take today is on the City of H-Town finally addressing the water bill mess. There is no mention in the take on the outstanding reporting by KPRC-TV Channel 2 investigative/consumer reporter Amy Davis. Come on!
We are done with early voting. Saturday is your last day to vote in the City of H-Town runoff.