State workers cut while firm spends

Source: Brenda Bell, American-Statesman, Updated: 1:09 p.m. Thursday, November 3, 2011

For more than a year before the state canceled its $144 million contract with an engineering firm it had hired to handle more than $1 billion in federal hurricane disaster relief grants, state managers warned that the firm, HNTB, had radically overspent its budget and should be relieved of most of its duties.

In the end, it was some of those same supervisors at the Texas Department of Rural Affairs who were fired and HNTB that carried on “full steam ahead,” in the words of one of the supervisors….

…In February, Rural Affairs Executive Director Charlie Stone laid off his disaster recovery division — about 35 employees, almost all of them earning a fraction of the salaries the government was paying HNTB — and outsourced their work to the contractor…..

…HNTB is a Kansas City-based company with deep ties to Gov. Rick Perry’s administration, having given close to a half-million dollars to the Republican Governors Association, which Perry formerly led. It was the lead consultant for Perry’s proposed (and eventually abandoned) Trans-Texas Corridor highway project.
Outside contractor pushed to outsource disaster recovery program
Source: Brenda Bell, American-Statesman, November 19, 2011

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