Wednesday, April 29, 2020

City Animal Shelter Seeks Bids for Adoption Services

The City of San Angelo issued a request for proposal (RFP) for animal adoption services.  Proposals are due May 12th.  Shelter Director Morgan Chegwidden previewed the new arrangement with the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee in October 2019.

The scope of services includes:

In October staff indicated by memo changes from the prior relationship with PAWS.  They include:
  1.  Assigning the spay/neuter and rabies vaccine expense of adopted pets to the selected vendor; 
  2.  Allowing the selected vendor to set and collect their own adoption fees; and 
  3.  Opening the hours of operation to be set by the selected vendor no longer requiring them to match city shelter hours.
Those changes were not in the draft RFP shared with the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee or the current version on the city's website.

The City contracted with Concho Valley PAWS for shelter veterinary services in 2018 but received little service in 2018 or 2019.  PAWS performance under the vet contract has hardly been "exceptional."

PAWS contract with the city expired the end of February but is renewable in one year terms.  I believe the city and PAWS are timing the new arrangement with the opening of PAWS new facility.

Concho Valley Homepage reported:

In 2020, Concho Valley PAWS’ adoptable animals will be getting a new home — the “David and Judith Hirschfeld Adoption Center.”

“We have leased land directly next door to the San Angelo Animal Shelter so the accessibility to the animals is functional,” explained Wilson.

The center will be built in two phases. Phase one has been underwritten by David and Judith Hirschfeld. 

“The front building will offer office space for our adoption staff, a spay/neuter clinic, a training room, a party room and an education room,” added Wilson.
 Phase two is the physical space for adoptable animals, with plans for over 50 kennels.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted shelter operations yet there is no mention of this in the RFP.
The medical community recently learned the coronavirus can be passed on to pets.  

While San Angelo has avoided widespread, serious COVID-19 cases over 58,500 people have died in the U.S. from the disease.  Serious illness or death is not a valid reason for the shelter to accept an animal under its surrender policies.  

Also, there is also no language regarding who performs spay/neuter surgeries prior to adoption or the mandatory microchipping. Why is this notable?  Local ordinances require:

All animals adopted from the animal shelter shall be spayed or neutered and microchipped prior to release.  No animal shall be eligible for adoption unless spayed or neutered and microchipped.
The City has hidden behind Concho Valley PAWS in the past when asked for compliance information.

Animal Services has provided an update that this (rabies certificate) is not a document of the city – an external vendor provides these services.
The City's standard contract language addresses ownership of documents and public information obligations.  A new arrangement looms, one that gives more responsibility to the contractor. 

Update 5-15-20:  The city's website indicated:

It's interesting City officials could send an RFP to area rescues after ignoring repeated offers from one listed rescue to buy the city's excess veterinary surgical equipment.  The City donated said equipment to Concho Valley PAWS which was under contract to conduct spay/neuter surgeries for the shelter but not performing.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Coronavirus Testing Demand Drops in San Angelo

San Angelo Health Department statistics indicate COVID-19 testing fell in half since April 11th.  Local Health Authority Dr. James Vretis lamented the drop on KLST yesterday.  Dr. Vretis hopes to test employer and other groups to better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. He indicated tests are available for the public at Shannon's remaining drive up testing location at the corner of Beauregard and Oakes Street in downtown San Angelo. It is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.

With fewer tests being conducted the number of positive cases remained at 41 for the last six days.  However, six of the last nine positive cases were the result of community spread. 

Update 4-24-20:  The City reported a 42nd case of COVID-19, a woman in her 40's who was diagnosed in another state.  She lists her residence as San Angelo and that is why her case is added to the total for Tom Green County.

Friday, April 17, 2020

ASU President Brian May Disappeared Overnight

Texas Tech regents accepted Dr. Brian May's resignation last Friday evening. Angelo State University staff and supporters learned of this shocking change via e-mail on Saturday.  Texas Tech's announcement expressed no appreciation for Dr. May's hard work and numerous accomplishments since 2012.

How could this happen?  I imagine Texas Tech blamed Dr. May for the racist incident between two ASU students.  Tech had a student shoot and kill a university police officer in October 2017.  That incident occurred under Chancellor Robert Duncan's tenure.  Current Chancellor Ted Mitchell assumed the role in October 2018.  The Texas Tech student was charged with capital murder in November 2019 and could face the death penalty.

I don't believe one episode of student violence, however disturbing, cost Dr. May his position.  But it likely damaged his relationship with Dr. Mitchell.  That relationship broke completely on April 10, 2020.

Had Dr. May done something so terrible to cause an immediate resignation?  Many who knew Brian May loved him.  He was kind to and interested in ASU employees.  Could Dr. May have a private face that differed from the one seen by the public?  Sure.  But what happened a week ago was so in-congruent with Angelo State's Ram Family had known and experienced with their leader.

While his resignation could have been the result of a poor personal choice it is more likely the result of Dr. May standing up for ASU and the people he served.  The novel coronavirus instantly wrecked the U.S. economy and devastated energy prices.

Today's management practices emphasize dollars and data over everything else.  Dr. May stood for people, a minuscule priority in a world where human resources is "strategic."  HR exists to implement executive priorities, not take care of workers.  Saying "No" is not acceptable in a top down hierarchy.

I believe Texas Tech asked Dr. May to do something he would not do, as a man of conscience.  Did they ask May to reduce ASU employees by X percent?  Did they want him to use technology in an invasive manner or add busy work to a soon to be depleted workforce?  We can't truly know as no one is talking.  

We do know what is in our hearts, which broke in the sudden resignation of Dr. May.  I am sure ASU's Interim President is competent and deserves a chance to lead.  But not acknowledging the tremendous loss of Brian May and faculty, staff and student's heartbreak could turn the Ram Family into a dysfunctional one.  Texas Tech robbed the ASU family of the chance to say thank you and goodbye to the leader they loved.

Enough pain looms on the horizon in our COVID-19 world.  Taking away the opportunity to honor a beloved leader is a strategic management decision.  And for many it hurts like hell.

Update 4-19-20:  University of Arizona announced furloughs and pay cuts for employees.  Closer to home Baylor University made $80 million in budget cuts for the coming year.

Update 7-13-21:  Some believe Dr. May was asked to resign after giving employees a 5% pay increase.  Texas Tech administrators viewed his action unfavorably after the COVID-19 pandemic began and revenue sources dried up.   San Angelo Live took an interest in this story, reporting findings from investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino.

Update 6-8-22:  Dr. May resigned in the midst of a sexual harassment investigation.  The Standard Times received documents from Texas Tech detailing the events that led up to his resignation.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tom Green County Reaches 40 Cases

Johns Hopkins University tracks global coronavirus cases on it website.  The data can be viewed at a county level and Tom Green County's information can be seen above.  Yesterday the City announced its 40th positive test result for COVID-19.  The patient is a woman in her 20's and she had no known contact with a positive case.  This is our 10th case of community spread. 

Update 4-17-20:  Case #41 is a female teen and the result of community spread.  Six of the last nine cases have been community spread.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Frontier Communications Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

A company press release stated:

Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) (“Frontier” or the “Company”) today announced that, together with its subsidiaries, it has entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement (“RSA”) with bondholders representing more than 75% of Frontier’s approximately $11 billion in outstanding unsecured bonds (the “Bondholders”). The RSA contemplates agreed-upon terms for a pre-arranged financial restructuring plan (the “Plan”) that leaves unimpaired all general unsecured creditors and holders of secured and subsidiary debt. Under the RSA, the Bondholders have, subject to certain terms and conditions, agreed to support implementation of a Plan that is expected to reduce the Company’s debt by more than $10 billion and provide significant financial flexibility to support continued investment in its long-term growth. To implement the Plan, the Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries voluntarily filed petitions under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the Southern District of New York. 

Frontier expects to continue providing quality service to its customers without interruption and work with its business partners as usual throughout the court-supervised process. The Company has sufficient liquidity to meet its ongoing obligations. Under the RSA, trade vendors will be unimpaired for both pre- and post-petition obligations.
The word bankruptcy was only used to describe the court and legal code, not the process Frontier had declared.  Flashback to better times..

On July 1, 2010, Verizon Communications distributed Frontier Communications stock to its shareholders..
Frontier's stock price reached $124.50 on February 20, 2015.  Sadly, it's now 26 cents.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Dr. Brian May Resigns with Little Thanks

Angelo State University President Dr. Brian May submitted his resignation on Friday. This news is heartbreaking for many in the Angelo State family.  A press release stated:

The chairman of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents and I have accepted Brian’s resignation as president of Angelo State University,” said Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, in a prepared statement. "We wish Brian and his family well.”

The news stunned ASU employees and supporters.  Also shocking was the lack of appreciation for years of hard work Dr. May invested in the university, which had numerous achievements under his tenure as President.

Leading a university became more challenging with the coronavirus outbreak spanning the globe.  Dr. May has been concerned about student safety as many youth believe "it won't happen to me."

Unfortunately, a ASU student played a racist prank on an international student which escalated into violence.  The story spread beyond San Angelo.

Angelo State University has a strategic relationship with Sejong University in Seoul, South Korea.  I don't know their level of concern about the incident. but I would expect them to take it seriously.  Dr. May wanted all ASU students to treat one another with respect and dignity.

There is another reason to keep ties between ASU and Sejong University strong.  The United States has much to learn from South Korea's response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The racist student prank turned violent may simply be a disturbing backdrop for Dr. May's resignation. 

Texas Tech's press release had far more information on the interim replacement than Dr. May.  Knowing what he's done for the university there is a significant lack of appreciation for his leadership and numerous contributions.  It's sad to see in these difficult times.

Update 7-13-21:  Some believe Dr. May was asked to resign after giving employees a 5% pay increase.  Texas Tech administrators viewed his action unfavorably after the COVID-19 pandemic began and revenue sources dried up.   San Angelo Live took an interest in this story, reporting findings from investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino. 

Update 6-8-22:  Dr. May resigned in the midst of a sexual harassment investigation.  The Standard Times received documents from Texas Tech detailing the events that led up to his resignation.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

COVID-19 Cases Reach 32

The City of San Angelo reported seven new coronavirus cases.  The Standard Times reported:

The new cases include: 
- Male in his 60s, exposure to known case
- Male in his 40s, exposure to known case
- Teenage male, exposure to known case
- Young boy, community spread
- Female in her 30s, exposure to known case
- Preteen female, exposure to known case
- Teenage male, exposure to known case
Cases in our community are much younger.  78% of cases are patients in their 40's or younger.  The one death to date was a man in his 70's.  Five cases have no known origin and are considered the result of community spread.

Update 8:30 pm on 4-9-20:  A positive case was reported at a local daycare.  It's not clear if this is the young boy listed above as community spread or another case.   Local health officials have significant contact tracing to do as the city enters a Good Friday holiday.

Update 4-10-20:  The City reported its 33rd positive COVID-19 case, a woman in her sixties with community spread.  This is our sixth case in our community where the patient had no known contact with another positive case.

Update 4-11-20:  The daycare case is being handled by the Department of Healthcare Services as the child is a resident of another county.  City Health Director said children cannot go to daycare if they have a 104 degree temperature or higher.  She did not say anything about contact tracing and testing for those who may have been exposed via diaycare.  The city reported two news cases, bringing the total to 35.  Both are women, one in her 20's and the other in her 40's.  Both are cases of community spread

Monday, April 06, 2020

San Angelo's Second COVID-19 Cluster

San Angelo's tenth COVID-19 case spread the disease to three people when they visited a local business.  The man in his 30's had an unknown source of his disease.  Three women in their 40's contracted the disease as a result of this person visiting their place of work.  This is the second publicly known cluster.  A local family had the coronavirus spread through their household.

City officials stopped sharing information on new individual cases on their COVID-19 webpage.  They are sharing basic information about the patient's sex and age with the media for new positive tests.

Contrast this approach with South Korea, a country which used data and information to arm authorities and citizens to intelligently combat the COVID-19 threat.

The result of the tracking is not only used by health authorities but also made public via national and local government websites, free smartphone apps that show the locations of infections, and text message updates about new local cases. This help citizens avoid hotspots of infections.
South Korea mobilized massive resources right away to stop the coronavirus from overwhelming their country.  They have mostly contained their first wave.  The United States' COVID-19 tsunami may crest soon in hard hit parts of the country, but the water level is rising in non-hotspots.

Pray that those stricken with the disease make a full recovery and for the safety of family, friends and our community.

Update 4-6-20:  The City reported 3 new COVID-19 cases, two preteen females and a male 50-59.  The total is 24 cases.  All had contact with known cases in our community.

Update 4-8-20:  There are 25 cases of COVID-19, three of which have recovered to the point they are no longer being tracked.  The newest case is a male teenager with no known contact with a COVID-19 patient, making it another case of community spread.

Update 4-9-20:  A man in his 70's died from COVID-19   Case #1 and Case #9 were men in their 70's.  It's not clear which case died from city reports. 

Saturday, April 04, 2020

City Hits 20 COVID-19 Cases

The City of San Angelo reported three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 20 confirmed cases.  The three new cases are all are women in their 40s.  The Standard Times stated that none involved community spread.  The city's website provided no information on cases 18, 19 and 20.  The younger patient profile continued with sixteen of the first 20 cases in our community are under the age of 50.

San Angelo could see in a matter of weeks what other areas are experiencing.  Cases in the United States are going up an order of magnitude every 8-9 days.  Today the U.S. hit 300,000 cases.  It hit 100,000 cases on March 26th, 

This exponential growth should be concerning to area citizens.  20 could become 200 around Easter.  200 could be 2,000 by May Day.

Practice physical distancing, wear a mask out in public and pray for the safety of family, friends and neighbors. 
Update 4-5-20:  The City reported its 21st case today, a male in his 60's who got the disease from a known COVID-19 patient.  

Friday, April 03, 2020

Seven New COVID-19 Cases in San Angelo

The City of San Angelo reported seven new confirmed coronavirus cases in our community.  They are:

Case #11: teenage female, family member of case #7 (preteen female)\
Case #12: newborn male, family member of case #7
Case #13: male in his 40s, family member of case #7
Case #14: female in her 40s, family contact with another positive case
Case #15: female in her 20s, family member of case #6 (female in her 20s)
Case #16: female in her 20s with no known contact with a positive case, categorized as a case of community spread
Case #17: female in her 60s, travel-related case.
Our area has younger people testing positive.  Only four of our seventeen cases are people over the age of 50.  Thirteen are in their 40's or lower.  This may not hold but it seems unusual given what has been shared about this disease.

The newest confirmed cases show disease clustering in families.  Pandemics spread in the following pattern:  case, case, case, cluster, cluster, boom.  San Angelo may be near the boom phase. Everyone should wear a mask.