Why you are qualified?
As Controller is the key accountant and investor for the City of Houston, I am uniquely positioned as an accounting professional with over 40 years of relevant experience. I have previously worked for two large “Big Four” accounting firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, and Ernst & Young, LLP. Having most recently served as Marsh and McLennan’s Managing Director, which is a global company leading professional services in risk, strategy, and people management while advising clients in over 130 countries. As managing director, I served to oversee annual revenue, at Marsh and McLennan, of over $20 billion while assisting corporate and public sector leaders navigate an ever-changing environment through a multi business strategy. Pairing my professional experience along with my service on the Houston City Council as Chair of the City’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs committee overseeing the budget of over $5 billion dollars, it is a natural evolution to seek the office of City of Houston Controller. While serving as Budget and Fiscal Affairs Chair I worked with the City Controller, to provide public access to the City of Houston’s payroll, expenditures, and revenues through the City’s Open Finance Project, which allows all Houstonians to take a deep dive into the city’s finances. My intimate knowledge of the City of Houston’s budget, inner workings of city processes, financial impacts of legislation, as well as financial prowess to know how to take the City of Houston’s financial health to the next level set me apart.
Fiscal Responsibility – The City of Houston continues to grow each year and the burden to deliver public services continues to be stretched to the limit. My private sector management experience, background as a local school board member, and service on the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority have given me a blueprint on how to make agencies work, even thrive, on fewer tax dollars. I have used my experience at City Hall to pass a Zero Based Budget amendment as well as establish, for the first time in City of Houston history, a Lake Houston Maintenance Program. Furthermore this fiscal year we have moved to an outcome based budget and I have been successful in helping to establish the City’s first ever OPEB Trust reducing the City liability by $3.4 Billion.
As the Chair for the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee I have been successful in advocating for increased transparency in the City’s procurement and financial process. Additionally, I have advocated for public access to the City’s financial information through recommending a public facing website to be managed by the City Finance Department, which has resulted in the City’s Open Finance Project which publicizes Houston’s revenues, expenditures, and payroll.
Pension team – The City of Houston’s Subcommittee on Pensions and Debt Service had clear objectives which were to achieve cost avoidance, budget neutrality, reduce unfunded liability, and reach a solution that removes future pension liabilities from the City’s investment portfolio. As chair of this committee, it was my duty to work closely with the City’s Finance Director and Controller to accomplish these goals. Over the last 8 years the City’s unfunded liability has been reduced by nearly $10 billion dollars while also for the first time in the City’s history was essential in securing the City of Houston’s first ever trust, to support future liabilities related to other post-employment benefits (OPEB).
- Created an OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) Trust Account to future reduce this long term debt liability.
- Reduced Pension liability from $8.2B in 2016 to $1.8B today.
- Reduced OPEB liability from $5.2B to $2.2B today.
Character – My character is a pillar of my humanity, I have a public servant heart with a passion for bringing together the government and its constituents with openness and integrity. A perfect example of that is that while I was Houston City Council Member, I never allowed Marsh & McLennan to bid for Houston business. I am a God fearing man, who is a faithful parishioner at St. Martha’s Catholic Church. In every vote I have made on City Council, I have been open when questioned about my voting record. I serve the people of my District faithfully and look forward to serving the City of Houston with that same passion and openness.
Business Policies Supported
- Supported the City’s 10-year financial plan, putting the City of Houston on the path to be at the forefront of financially secure municipalities
- Supported Digital Kiosks to promote City Attractions and Local Sites”What I’d like to challenge our council members to consider is this: The energy industry is a lot different than it used to be,” Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin said. “How do we blend our future with the innovation center that we’re building.” https://abc13.com/digital-kiosk-houston-billboards-city-council-vote/10584483/
- Supports Paid Parental Leave “It’s something that we can afford because it’s the right thing to do, and it’ll keep our employees happy, and it will make your place the place where people want to go to work,” Martin said. https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/politics/2022/04/07/422718/city-of-houston-employees-could-get-paid-parental-leave/
Post-Harvey Recovery and Resiliency – Since Hurricane Harvey devastated District E in 2017, I have been working diligently to the bring projects to District E that not only rebuild the District back to pre-Harvey conditions but build our community forward with resiliency in mind.
I have been successful in working with Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, State Senator Brandon Creighton, and State Representative Dan Huberty to approve the dredging of the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston. Additionally, I have worked with Senator Ted Cruz, Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Kevin Brady, Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and former Congressman Ted Poe for the addition of crucial floodgate infrastructure that will be added to the Lake Houston Spillway Dam by 2023. To date we have secured over $70 million for the new gates and I am diligently working to finalizing the last bit of funding this legislative session.
In addition to fighting for federal projects for the District, I have been successful in working with local agencies to secure several local projects like the removal of sediment from Bens Branch and Taylor Gully. Additionally, I have been successful in advocating for vast improvements along Horsepen Bayou and Berry Bayou. Projects like these will have a tremendous success in assisting to reduce the risk of flooding to District E residents.
- Secured over $220M for dredging the San Jacinto River and Lake Houston.
- Secured over $160M to construct eleven gates on the existing Lake Houston Dam to create a “flood control” structure.
- Secured over$150M to widen and improve North Park Dr. in Kingwood.
- Secured over $12M to widen and improve El Dorado Blvd. in Clear Lake.
- Secured over $1M to resurface Crenshaw Rd. from South Shaver to Allen Genoa in the South Belt Ellington Area.
- Secured $100M to improve drainage and reduce flood risk for Freeway Manor and Gulfway Terrace Subdivisions.
Economic Development – The key to any city’s financial security is economic development. While serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority, I was successful in attracting high profile events to District E and bringing in new economic development to our city.
I have continued to use my knowledge and success to represent you on Houston City Council by providing additional dollars from my Council District Service Fund to promote economic development within District E through strengthening the City’s relationship with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, with developments like the Houston Spaceport.
Public Safety – It is paramount that our first responders have the correct equipment and facilities to do their jobs. In District E, our Houston firefighters and paramedics inherited facilities that were originally designed for volunteer operations. Due to recent weather related damages, I am dedicated to providing our professional firefighters with improved permanent facilities.
Since the implementation of Council District Service Funds, I have allocated over half a million dollars to provide our District E firefighters with needed equipment and improvements to their facilities. I utilized these dollars to purchase new booster trucks for HFD Stations 63 and 103, provide new supply hoses for HFD Stations 52 and 72, repair the modular building at HFD Station 53, construct a new watch office at HFD Station 102, install new storage facilities at HFD Stations 65, 72, 94, and 105, as well as other facility improvements to fire stations across the District.
It is equally important that our police officers, who are protecting our neighborhoods, have the best equipment and training possible, which is why over the last several years I have provided funding for various police overtime, I-45 Corridor Crime Initiative, speed-trailers, rechargeable road flares, and bike patrol equipment. I also worked to maintain current staffing levels at both the Kingwood and Clear Lake HPD substations.
Finally, I have worked hard partnering with local area Constables to target crime hotspots and increased traffic enforcement for our neighborhoods to help keep our communities safe. My approach has earned our campaign the endorsement and support of the Houston Police Officers Union and the Houston Police Retired Officers Association.