August 31 marked the end of our fiscal year, and a lot has happened in this last year. Since September 2018, the agency has gone through Sunset review, a legislative session, and changes in the leadership team. The agency has been busy implementing the Sunset recommendations and statutory changes. The new leadership has been instrumental in revamping the agency’s front line communications, and the rollout of several new online tools has resulted in significantly shorter hold times and an overall better experience for people contacting the agency.
From the Desk
August is here with all of its heat, and it’s the last month of the fiscal year for the Agency. August also means both the Commission and Board will have their regularly scheduled meetings this month and that the agendas will be busy –as they always are after a legislative session. And for this session especially since we underwent a Sunset Commission review and need to implement all of the changes that resulted from that process. Many rule amendments are needed to implement these changes and also some significant budget adjustments to accommodate those requirements.
The Inspector Committee met on July 15 for its quarterly meeting. There was a lot on the agenda, as this has been a busy year in our industry. The Standards of Practice Subcommittee is still in the review process and asked the full committee for direction on whether to keep the standards more general or to get specific on a multitude of items. The consensus was to keep them general overall but to update the current standards to meet some newer criteria. The Education Subcommittee has been working tirelessly on creating the new pre-licensure program. The program was proposed to the Comm
The future of the Plumbing Board has been on the minds of many inspectors since the end of the legislative session. As a result of action taken by Governor Abbott, the Plumbing Board will continue until 2021; please be sure to see our article on this to get all the information you need.
This month we published two articles that I thought would be helpful to share with you that reflect some of the required changes outlined in the final report from the agency’s sunset review process.
The 2019 Legislative Session is finished. While there was no legislative action that specifically relates to the regulation of inspectors, the Agency Sunset Bill passed, which deals directly with the regulatory authority of this Agency. Several other bills that impact the licensing authority of all regulatory agencies also passed. The Agency is determining what rules need to be recommended, some of which will likely come before the Inspector Committee at its July 15 meeting.
The Commission met for its regular quarterly business meeting on Monday, May 6th and we had a full agenda. It was my very first meeting presiding as the newly appointed and confirmed Chair, so it was quite an experience getting prepared in the very short period after my confirmation on April 24th. At this meeting, we also welcomed two new Commissioners who were confirmed on May 1st - Barbara Russell of Denton and Chief Deputy Sherriff Jason Hartgraves of Dallas County.
I am thrilled to be able to lead with some great news – because of enhanced staffing, improved training, real-time flexibility in response management, and more precise phone system programming we’ve employed, in recent weeks the average hold times for calls received by the agency’s contact center are under five minutes! Also, the average for all of April was about five and a half minutes, so we are still improving. Our goal is to keep doing so methodically and sustainably.
The Inspector Committee had a full agenda for its April meeting. The meeting was accompanied by the newest appointments to the Inspector Committee, as well as the incoming General Counsel for the Real Estate Commission, Chelsea Buchholtz. There was also significant representation from multiple trade associations and education providers as well.
I would like to begin by publically welcoming the three new members to the Inspector Committee, who were appointed in February. Mike Morgan of Brownwood was appointed as a new inspector member, to serve a six-year term, and Robert John Daehn of Aransas Pass and Dave Motley of Garland were appointed as public members to serve two-year terms. In addition, Lee Warren was reappointed to another six-year inspector term and public member Barbara Evans was reappointed for an additional two-year term. I want like thank all of the inspectors who took the time to submit their applications.