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[00:00:01]

I BELIEVE THIS IS OUR SONG ONE.

WE'RE GONNA GET STARTED AT T X N IF YOU'RE READY.

GOOD MORNING EVERYONE.

IT IS JANUARY 18TH

[CALL TO ORDER]

AT 9 32.

I'M ALISON ALT, I'M CHAIR OF AUDIT AND FINANCE, AND I'M GOING TO CONVENE THIS MEETING.

I'M JOINED ON THE DIAS BY, UM, THE MEMBERS OF THE AUDIT AND FINANCE COMMITTEE AS CURRENTLY CONSTITUTED COUNCIL MEMBER POOL, COUNCIL MEMBER FUENTES, AND COUNCIL MEMBER KELLY.

UM, WE HAVE, UM, ONE MAIN ITEM ON OUR AGENDA.

WE'RE GONNA START THOUGH WITH OUR MINUTES.

[Public Communication: General]

DO WE HAVE ANY SPEAKERS THIS MORNING? WE HAVE TWO IN FIRST ON SPEAKER.

OKAY, GREAT.

SO WE'LL START WITH PUBLIC COMMUNICATION, AND I DON'T HAVE THE NAMES FOR THOSE, SO, UM, IF YOU CAN TELL ME THE NAMES, PLEASE.

THAT'S GREENBERG AND MARY CALL.

OKAY, THANK YOU MS. GREENBERG.

IF YOU WANNA COME UP, YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES.

CHAIR ALTA AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE.

MY NAME IS BETSY GREENBERG AND I'M A MEMBER OF THE ETHICS REVIEW COMMISSION.

I ATTENDED YOUR MEETINGS IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, AND I'M HERE FOR A THIRD TIME TO ASK THAT YOU CONSIDER RESOLUTIONS THAT THE ETHICS REVIEW COMMISSION PASSED IN JULY OF LAST YEAR.

THESE RESOLUTIONS RECOMMEND CHANGES TO SECTION TWO DASH SEVEN OF THE CITY CODE.

IN PARTICULAR, THE PARTS OF THE CODE THAT DESCRIBE WHAT IS REQUIRED TO BE LISTED IN THE STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL INTEREST.

AS COUNCIL MEMBERS, ONE OF YOUR IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES IS MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT LAND USE.

AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC NEED TO BE ASSURED THAT THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEMBERS DO NOT HAVE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST WHEN MAKING THESE DECISIONS.

SO THE PURPOSE OF THE FIRST RESOLUTION IS TO REQUIRE THAT INTEREST IN REAL PROPERTY BE IDENTIFIED EVEN WHEN THE PROPERTY IS HELD BY A CORPORATION PARTNERSHIP OR OTHER ENTITY IN WHICH THE OFFICIAL OWNS A SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST AS DEFINED ELSEWHERE IN THE CODE.

INTEREST IN ENTITIES ARE DISCLOSED CURRENTLY, BUT THERE IS NO CURRENT DISCLOSURE ABOUT REAL ESTATE THAT THESE ENTITIES OWN.

SO THIS CODE CHANGE WOULD IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY.

THE SECOND RESOLUTION WOULD FURTHER IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY BY REQUIRING THAT THE CITY CLERK POST TO THE CITY'S WEBSITE THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORMS FILED BY ELECTED OFFICIALS AS WELL AS CANDIDATES FOR ELECTED OFFICE.

CURRENTLY, THE FORMS ARE AVAILABLE, BUT ONLY WITH THE PUBLIC INFORMATION REQUEST, WHICH MEANS IT CAN TAKE WEEKS TO OBTAIN INFORMATION.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO INCLUDE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ETHICS REVIEW COMMISSION WHEN YOU DISCUSS FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS AT THE END OF TODAY'S MEETING.

IF YOU'RE TROUBLED BY ANY ASPECT OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME OR THE COMMISSION LIAISON TO DISCUSS YOUR CONCERNS.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, MS. GREENBERG.

MS. KALE, YOU HAVE THREE MINUTES.

OKAY.

HELLO, MY NAME IS MARY KALE.

I WANNA THANK YOU, FIRST OF ALL FOR YOUR SERVICE TO THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

UM, I'M RIGHT.

I'M SPEAKING TODAY AS A CONSTITUENT TO EXPRESS MY SUPPORT FOR THE PROPOSED CODE CHANGES RECENTLY RECOMMENDED BY THE ETHICS REVIEW COMMISSION.

BOTH RESOLUTIONS ARE DESIGNED TO IMPROVE ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY AROUND THE IMPORTANT LAND USE DECISIONS THAT FREQUENTLY GO BEFORE CITY COUNCIL FOR CONSIDERATION.

THE FIRST RESOLUTION AFFECTS ANYONE REQUIRED TO FILE THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE FORM, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF SOVEREIGN BOARDS, THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS.

IT REQUIRES SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST IN REAL ESTATE BE EASILY IDENTIFIED RATHER THAN SIMPLY LISTED AS PART OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS SUCH AS LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS, REAL ESTATE TRUSTS, OR OTHER BUSINESS VEHICLES.

THE SECOND RESOLUTION RECOMMENDS THAT THE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS BE PUBLICLY POSTED FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND CANDIDATES.

I BELIEVE THAT BO BOTH OF THESE PROPOSED CHANGES BY INCREASING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY, WE'LL SUPPORT A STRONGER, MORE RESPONSIVE CITY GOVERNMENT FOR ALL OF AUSTIN'S RESIDENTS.

AND I HOPE YOU C WILL CONSIDER INCLUDING THEM FOR EVENTUAL CONSIDERATION BY CITY COUNCIL.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU MS. CAL.

UM, WE WILL NOW MOVE

[1. Approve the minutes of the Audit and Finance Committee meeting of December 13, 2022.]

TO ITEM ONE, THE MINUTES.

DO I HAVE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE MINUTES? COUNCIL MEMBER KELLY MOVES APPROVAL AND COUNCIL MEMBER FUENTES SECONDS THAT ALL THOSE IN FAVOR? THAT IS UNANIMOUS ON THE DIAS.

AND WELCOME TO COUNCIL MEMBER RYAN AL ALTER, UM, WHO IS JOINING US, UM, THIS MORNING AND HOPEFULLY WILL BE JOINING US AS A MEMBER

[00:05:01]

OF THIS COMMITTEE.

UM,

[2. 2022 Austin Water External review presented by Dr. Lynn Katz, Director of the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of Texas.]

SO WE'RE HERE TODAY AT THIS PARTICULAR MEETING, UM, TO DISCUSS THE EXTERNAL REVIEW OF AUSTIN WATER.

UM, WE'RE HERE THOUGH BECAUSE AUSTIN KNIGHTS DESERVE SAFE AND RELIABLE DRINKING WATER.

AFTER THE FEBRUARY, 2022 BOIL WATER NOTICE THE FIFTH MAJOR INCIDENT WITH OUR WATER QUALITY AND SUPPLY.

IN AS MANY YEARS, I FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN EXTERNAL REVIEW OF THESE RECENT WATER SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS AND OUR COMMUNITY TO IDENTIFY WHAT WENT WRONG, HOW TO PREVENT FUTURE FAILURE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE THE OVERALL RESILIENCE AND FUNCTIONING OF OUR WATER SYSTEM.

I TASKED OUR CITY AUDITOR WITH ORGANIZING THIS INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF OUR FIVE MOST RECENT INCIDENTS BY A RE RESOLUTION THAT WAS CO-SPONSORED BY COUNCIL MEMBERS TOVO FUENTES ELLIS POOL, AND KELLY, UM, THREE OF WHOM ARE ON THE DIAS WITH ME TODAY.

THIS WAS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY ON FEBRUARY 17TH AT THE COUNCIL MEETING.

UM, SHORTLY AFTER THE WATER BOIL.

TODAY WHAT WE'RE GONNA DO IS WE'RE GONNA HEAR A BRIEFING ON THE FINAL REPORT FROM THE CITY AUDITOR'S OFFICE AND THE UT CENTER FOR WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT, WHICH WAS COMMISSIONED TO LEAD THE EXTERNAL REVIEW.

THE WATER AND WASTEWATER COMMISSION WILL HEAR A SIMILAR PRESENTATION THIS EVENING WHILE THE EXECUTIVE TEAM FROM AUSTIN WATER IS ON SITE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND MAKE AN INITIAL RESPONSIBLY, AUSTIN WATER WILL SHARE THEIR DETAILED IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE FOR REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS AT A JOINT MEETING WITH THE AUSTIN WATER OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ON FEBRUARY 15TH.

WE ARE STILL DETERMINING WHETHER THAT'LL BE, UM, IN THE MORNING OR THE AFTERNOON.

I WANNA SPEAK BRIEFLY TO THE PROCESS, UM, BECAUSE I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT, UM, THIS EXTERNAL REVIEW IS NOT ONLY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN DELIVER THE SAFE DRINKING WATER, BUT ALSO TO REBUILD TRUST IN AUSTIN WATER.

IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THROUGHOUT THIS PROJECT, AUSTIN WATER HAS WORKED WITH THE OFFICE OF THE CITY AUDITOR AND THE UT REVIEW TEAM TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO FACILITIES, DOCUMENTATION, AND PERSONNEL, AND THAT AUSTIN WATER IS WORKING ON AN IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR 49 OF THE 53 RECOMMENDATIONS.

WITH 19 OF THOSE ALREADY UNDERWAY, AUSTIN WATER HAS ALSO COMMITTED TO PROVIDING REGULAR UPDATES TO THIS COMMITTEE AND THE AUSTIN WATER OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.

UM, TO KEEP US ABREAST OF THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS, I WANNA THANK THE AUSTIN WATER LEADERSHIP TEAM, ESPECIALLY INTERIM ACM GOOD AND NEWLY APPOINTED DIRECTOR RALES ROLSON FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO CHANGE AND TRANSPARENCY DURING THIS PROCESS, RETHINKING OUR APPROACH TO EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND STEWARDSHIP OF OUR RESOURCES.

NOT AN EASY TASK, AND I'M HEARTENED BY THE RESPONSE TO THIS REPORT SO FAR AS WE WORK TO REBUILD TRUST BETWEEN OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR UTILITY.

IT IS MY HOPE THAT AUSTIN WATER WILL ALSO SHARE CLEARLY WITH UTILITY COM CUSTOMERS, WHAT THEY HAVE DONE AND WHAT THEY'RE DOING TO PREVENT FUTURE BOIL WATER NOTICES, WATER OUTAGES, AND OTHER SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS.

I WANNA PAUSE BEFORE WE GO INTO THE REPORT JUST FOR THOSE WHO ARE WATCHING WHO HAVEN'T READ THE REPORT, UM, TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS REPORT IS AN IMPORTANT STEP TOWARDS RESTORING TRUST IN OUR UTILITY, BUT IT IS NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT THE CITY HAS TAKEN OR IS TAKEN FOR THOSE LISTENING.

I WANNA HIGHLIGHT THAT EVEN BEFORE THIS REVIEW WAS COMMISSIONED, OUR WATER UTILITY HAD ALREADY TAKEN STEPS TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES THAT LED TO THE FOUR INCIDENTS WITH OUR WATER QUALITY.

AND WHILE THIS REVIEW WAS IN PROGRESS IN 2022, AUSTIN WATER TOOK STEPS TO IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS MADE IN AUSTIN WATER'S INTERNAL AFTER ACTION REPORT.

FOR THE MOST RECENT WATER QUALITY ISSUE, THE FEBRUARY, 2022 WA BOIL WATER NOTICE.

IN OTHER WORDS, IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE WILL HEAR TODAY IS ONLY ONE PIECE OF OUR UTILITIES AFTER ACTION WORK.

I'LL CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO APPENDIX TWO B OF THE REPORT BEING PRESENTED TODAY, WHICH LISTS AFTER ACTION REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE VARIOUS INCIDENTS AND THEIR IMPLEMENTATION STATUS.

I WILL NOW INTRODUCE, UM, COREY STOKES, WHO IS OUR AUDITOR, AND THANK YOU TO YOU AND YOUR STAFF, UM, FOR OVERSEEING THIS EFFORT.

THIS WAS INDEPENDENT OF THE CITY MANAGER'S OFFICE.

UM, IT WAS PROCURED, UM, UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE CITY AUDITOR.

THANK YOU MS. STOKES, WITH THAT EXCELLENT INTRODUCTION.

UM, WE, SO AS YOU KNOW, WE DID THIS AS A RESULT OF THE COUNCIL RESOLUTION LAST YEAR.

UH, WE WENT OUT AND CONTRACTED, AS MENTIONED WITH THE CENTER FOR WATER AND ENGINEERING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS.

AND THEY HAD, UM, MANY, UM, SUBCONTRACTORS WITH D VARIOUS, UH, EXPERTISE, UH, THAT WERE ASSEMBLED AS PART OF THIS TEAM.

SO TODAY, DR.

LYNN KATZ, WHO LED THAT TEAM WILL BE PRESENTING DR.

KATZ.

[00:10:01]

WRONG WAY.

DR.

THANK YOU.

AND IS IT THE CENTER FOR WATER AND ENVIRONMENT? YES.

YEAH.

GOOD MORNING.

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

THANK YOU.

AND THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO PREVENT THE PRESENT, THE FINDINGS OF OUR EXTERNAL REVIEW, UM, THAT YOU SO ELOQUENTLY, UH, DESCRIBED OUR GOALS FOR US.

I WANNA START BY, UH, PROCEEDING WITH THE OBJECTIVES OF THIS WORK.

AND BEFORE I DO, I'LL INTRODUCE MYSELF, LYNN KATZ.

UH, I'VE BEEN THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AND I'M ALSO A PREP PROFESSOR IN CIVIL ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS.

AND I'VE BEEN THERE SINCE ABOUT 1998.

SO YOU CAN DO THE MATH.

UM, THE OBJECTIVES FOR THIS REPORT ARE SHOWN HERE.

AS COUNCILWOMAN SAID, WE'VE REVIEWED FIVE WATER QUALITY INCIDENTS THAT WERE IDENTIFIED BY THE CITY COUNCIL THAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN OCTOBER, 2018 AND FEBRUARY, 2022.

WE EVALUATED WHETHER CURRENT TECHNOLOGY IS SUFFICIENT FOR MEETING REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS.

WE EVALUATED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ITS ABILITY TO MEET DESIGN REQUIREMENTS.

WE EVALUATED OPERATIONS TO MEET, TO DETERMINE IF THEY COULD MEET DESIGN FLOWS DURING NORMAL CONDITIONS AND EXTREME EVENTS.

AND BEYOND THAT, WE WERE ASKED ALSO TO PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO INCREASE RESILIENCY MOVING FORWARD AND IDENTIFY RELATED ISSUES THAT CAN IMPROVE THE OVERALL RESILIENCE AND FUNCTIONING OF THE UTILITY.

WE ADDRESS THREE KEY QUESTIONS AS PART OF THIS.

THE FIRST WAS, HOW DOES THE WATER QUALITY THAT'S PRODUCED BY THE WATERSHED IMPACT THE RAW WATER QUALITY ENTERING THE PLANT? AND WHAT ARE THE RISKS CREATED BY THAT? AND AGAIN, WE CONSIDERED BOTH NORMAL OPERATIONS AND EXTREME CONDITIONS.

FROM AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE, ARE THE PROCESSES CAPABLE OF HANDLING THIS RANGE OF WATER QUALITY? AND THEN FINALLY, FROM A STAFFING AND ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVE, IS AUSTIN WATER POSITIONED TO OPERATE THE PLANT OVER THE RANGE OF WATER QUALITY CONDITIONS THAT HAVE BEEN OBSERVED? SO TO DO THIS, WE ASSEMBLE THE TEAM.

OKAY.

YOU'LL NOTICE THE THREE SQUARE BOXES IN THE CENTER THAT HIGHLIGHT THREE DIFFERENT AREAS, UM, WHERE WE ASSEMBLED THREE DISTINCT GROUPS OF OUR TEAM TO FOCUS ON.

SO THE FIRST IS OPERATIONS DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS AND WATER QUALITY.

THE SECOND IS ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, COMMUNICATIONS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE.

AND THE THIRD IS INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENERGY REQUIREMENTS.

NOW, UM, ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THIS TEAM HAVE, UM, ARE ACADEMICIANS AND OR CONSULTANTS WITH YEARS OF EXPERIENCE.

SO WITHIN THE OPERATIONS GROUP, UH, SARAH CLARK, PHIL BRAND NEWBERG, AND CHRISTINE OWEN HAVE DECADES OF EXPERIENCE IN WATER TREATMENT PLAN OPERATIONS WITHIN OUR ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, COMMUNICATIONS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE GROUP.

CASEY FS IS AN EXPERT IN WATER INFRASTRUCTURE SYSTEMS AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT.

CARRIE STEVENS IS AN EXPERT IN ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY.

AND, UM, HARRY EVANS WAS A FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF AT THE AUSTIN FIRE DEPARTMENT AND LED OUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE, UM, REVIEW.

AND THEN THE THIRD GROUP WAS THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND AN ENERGY REQUIREMENTS.

AND THAT WAS LED BY A TEAM AT BROWN AND CALDWELL, UM, ENGINEERS WHO REVIEWED THE INFRASTRUCTURE WITH RESPECT TO DESIGN REQUIREMENTS AND, AND CURRENT STATUS.

AND YAL GLAZER, WHO'S A RESEARCH ASSOCIATE WHOSE EXPERTISE IS IN ENERGY.

WE SENT THESE THREE TEAMS OUT INDEPENDENTLY.

AND I'M REALLY EXCITED TO REPORT THAT ALL THREE TEAMS CAME BACK WITH A CONSISTENT SET OF OBSERVATIONS AND SIMILAR RECOMMENDATIONS, WHICH GAVE US A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN OUR FINDINGS.

SO WHEN WE STARTED LOOKING AT THE, UM, THIS PROJECT AND WORKED WITH THE CITY AND AUSTIN, UH, AUDITORS, UM, TO LOOK AT, YOU KNOW, HOW TO GO ABOUT THIS, THE FIRST THING WE SAID IS WE HAVE TO PROVIDE A SCOPE THAT MAKES SENSE THAT WE CAN DO IN A TIMELY FASHION AND ANSWERS THE QUESTION RAISED.

SO TO DO THAT, WE DECIDED TO FOCUS ON THE ULRICH WATER TREATMENT PLANT.

FIRST, BECAUSE THERE'S COMMONALITIES BETWEEN ALL THREE PLANTS.

THEY ALL OBTAIN WATER FROM THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER.

THEY ALL USE, UM, AS A KEY PROCESS IN REMOVING HARDNESS AND TREATING WATER TO MEET REQUIREMENTS, UH, WITH LIME SOFTENING.

AND THEN WE DECIDED TO FOCUS SPECIFICALLY ON ALL ULRICH WATER TREATMENT PLANT BECAUSE IT'S

[00:15:01]

CRITICAL TO THE SERVICE TO SOUTH AUSTIN.

IT'S THE MOST COMPLEX OF THE THREE TREATMENT PLANTS.

YOU CAN SEE IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT FIGURE HOW THE SIZES OF THOSE CLARIFIERS CHANGE.

AND SO THAT MAKES EVEN OPERATING THESE, UM, FAIRLY COMPLEX CLARIFIERS MORE CHALLENGING WHEN YOU HAVE DIFFERENT, UH, SIZES ACROSS THE PLANT.

IT WAS IMPACTED BY FOUR OF THE FIVE EVENTS IDENTIFIED BY THE AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL, AND IT'S BEEN SUBJECT TO SIGNIFICANT STAFFING CHANGES OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS.

SO WE THOUGHT THIS WAS THE KEY PLAN TO FOCUS ON DURING OUR WORK.

ALTHOUGH MANY OF OUR RECOMMENDATIONS EXTEND TO ALL THREE PLANTS.

OKAY.

OUR APPROACH WAS TO PROVIDE MULTIPLE LINES OF EVIDENCE THAT SUPPORTED OUR, UM, OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.

UH, WE RESEARCHED BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, STAFFING AUSTIN WATER POLICY PROCEDURES, TREATMENT, PLANT DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS, PLANT MAINTENANCE RECORDS, ASSET MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS, CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT TRAINING MATERIALS, WATER QUALITY DATA, HISTORICAL DATA FROM SOURCE WATER MONITORING, HISTORICAL, RAW, AND FINISHED WATER DATA AFTER ACTION REPORTS, ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS.

UH, LIKE AUSTIN WATER, WE CONDUCTED OVER 25 INTERVIEWS WITH PERSONNEL ACROSS AUSTIN WATER WITH, UM, GOING FROM ASSISTANT DIRECTORS ALL THE WAY DOWN TO OPERATORS.

WE REVIEWED THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND OPERATIONS AND COMPARED IT TO REGULATIONS PROVIDED BY BOTH THE STATE AND THE UH, NATION.

AND, UM, WE LOOKED AT EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR OPERATORS TO FOCUS ON STAFF HIRING AND, UM, PROMOTION.

AND THEN FINALLY, WE COMPARED, UM, THE, UH, UM, INFORMATION TO, UH, FOR COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC INFORMATION TO DOCUMENTS SUCH AS THE AMERICAN WATERWORKS TRENDING IN AN INSTANT, A RISK COMMUNICATION GUIDE FOR WATER UTILITIES.

SO I WANNA FIRST THANK AUSTIN WATER AGAIN BECAUSE THEY WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN PROVIDING ACCESS TO ALL OF THIS DOCUMENTATION THAT WE RECEIVED FROM THE UTILITY OPENING UP, UH, TO THE PERSONNEL, TO INTERVIEWS AND, UM, FOLLOW UP MEETINGS AND, UM, ANSWERING QUESTIONS AND VERY, UH, RAPID RESPONSE.

SO THANKS FOR THAT.

I WANNA MOVE ON NOW TO LOOKING AT QUESTION ONE.

SO THE FIRST OF OUR QUESTIONS, WHICH IS, UM, HOW DOES WATER QUALITY AND, UH, IN THE WATERSHED AFFECT THE WATER QUALITY ENTERING THE PLANT? AND THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER WATER QUALITY IS CONSISTENT WITH RESPECT TO KEY WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS OVER, UM, LONG PERIODS OF TIME THAT WE STUDIED, BUT IT'S SUBJECT TO SPIKES IN ITY DURING STORM EVENTS.

SO WHAT I'M SHOWING YOU HERE IS A PLOT OF DATA THAT WE COMPILED, UM, FROM, UH, WHAT WE RECEIVED FROM AUSTIN WATER FROM 2000 TO 2022.

AND AT WHAT WE'RE PLOTTED ON THE Y AXIS IS RAW WATER TURBIDITY.

AND WE'VE HIGHLIGHTED AREAS WHERE YOU SEE SIGNIFICANT SPIKES HIGHLIGHTING THAT THE SPIKES THAT WE SAW IN 2018 ARE, UM, THAT WE SAW IN FALL OF 2018 DURING THAT EVENT IS SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER THAN MANY OF THE OTHER SPIKES THAT HAVE BEEN SEEN OVER OVER YEARS.

WE ALSO NOTICED THAT THIS RELATIVELY CONSISTENT, UM, WATER QUALITY THAT EXTENDED OVER THE 10 YEAR, 11 YEAR PERIOD, OR SORRY, 22 YEAR PERIOD THAT WE LOOKED AT, UM, ALSO HELD FOR TOTAL ORGANIC CARBON PH, TOTAL HARDNESS AND ALKALINITY.

SO OTHER WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS THAT ARE KEY TO THE OPERATION OF A LIME SOFTENING PLANT.

OKAY, THE OTHER THING I WANT YOU TO NOTICE IS THAT EVEN THOUGH WE SAW THOSE SPIKES IN THE RAW WATER QUALITY, WHEN WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE FINISHED WATER QUALITY OVER THAT OVER, UM, FROM 2011 TO 2022, YOU'LL NOTICE THAT THE FINISHED WATER TIBIDITY IS CONSISTENT AND CONSISTENTLY LOW AND FALLS BELOW THE REGULATIONS REQUIRED BY TCE Q OR, AND, AND, UH, THE PRIMARY DRINKING WATER STANDARDS, WHICH SAYS THAT IT MUST BE LESS THAN 0.3 NEPH LOME TIMIDITY UNITS.

THIS IS A UNIT TO QUANTIFY CLOUDINESS, AND BASICALLY IT'S ABOUT THINKING ABOUT LIGHT SCATTERING.

AND THIS VALUE OF 0.3 IS, AS I SAID, A NATIONAL STANDARD REFERS TO AVERAGING OVER OR LOOKING AT THE MONTH.

AND THEN AT NO TIME CAN THE TURBIDITY GO HIGHER THAN ONE NTU YOU.

SO THE ONLY EVENT THAT LED TO A TURBIDITY INCREASE ABOVE THAT VALUE OR ABOVE ANY OF THOSE LED TO THE BOIL WATER NOTICE

[00:20:01]

OF 2000 WAS THE 2018 FLOOD EVENT.

THE 2022 BOIL WATER, UH, NOTICE WAS NOT A RESULT OF THE WATERSHED.

AND SO IN THIS SLIDE, I'M FOCUSING JUST ON THAT WATERSHED PROPERTIES.

OKAY, THERE WE GO.

ALL RIGHT.

SO MOVING TO QUESTION TWO FROM AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE, ARE THE PROCESS HE'S CAPABLE OF HANDLING THIS RANGE OF WATER QUALITY.

WE DO BELIEVE THAT THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS, UM, APPROPRIATE TO TREAT RAW WATER FROM LAKE AUSTIN, AND THAT THE PROCESS DESIGN ALIGNS WITH REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS.

SO THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE FOR THIS ISSUE, SUGGESTING THAT THE PLANT IS APPROPRIATE AS WE LOOK AT THIS PLANT, SORRY, I'M LOSING THE, UH, THERE WE GO.

OKAY.

UM, WITH, AS I SAID, THIS IS A LIME SOFTENING BASED TREATMENT PLANT, VERY WELL SUITED FOR THE RAW WATER QUALITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER, WHICH HAS, UM, UH, SUFFICIENTLY HIGH HARDNESS AND ALKALINITY THAT YOU WANNA REMOVE, UH, THE HARDNESS FROM THE WATER, IT MEETS REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS.

UM, AND, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'D LIKE TO POINT OUT IS THAT LIME SOFTENING, UM, PROCESSES, UH, REALLY BENEFIT FROM VERY STABLE WATER QUALITY.

SO THE PROCESS THAT'S USED THIS UPFLOW CLARIFIER THAT YOU SEE, UM, IN THE, ON THE RIGHT IS, UH, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE MORE CHALLENGING TYPES OF PROCESSES.

IT REQUIRES MORE EXPERIENCED OPERATORS.

AND IT'S NOT A SYSTEM THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BASICALLY START UP OR, UM, CHANGE CONDITIONS ON THE FLY, TAKES SOME TIME, TAKES HOURS TO GET THINGS MOVING GOING, AND IT TAKES TIME FOR THE, UH, FOR A NEW, UM, CLARIFIER TO BE BROUGHT ONLINE SO IT'S NOT, UM, ASSOCIATED WITH VERY RAPID CHANGES IN SYSTEM CONDITIONS.

OKAY.

OH, SORRY.

THERE'S ONE MORE THING I WANTED TO COMMENT ON THIS SLIDE AND IS THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE AS WE DID THIS REVIEW IS THAT THE ULRICH WATER TREATMENT PLANT TYPICALLY OPERATES AT ABOUT 35% OF THE RATED CAPACITY.

AND SO SEVERAL OF OUR RECOMMENDATIONS POINT TO THE NEED TO LOOK AT THESE PROCESSES AT THE RATED DESIGN CAPACITY OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL, UM, MONTHS AND YEARS, BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T BEEN TESTED AT THE 167 MILLION GALLONS PER DAY THAT THEY WERE RATED FOR.

SO THAT IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT.

ALRIGHT, SO BEFORE I MOVE ON TO QUESTION THREE, I WANNA REVIEW THE RESPONSIVENESS TO AUSTIN WATER, TO THE INCIDENTS THAT WE IDENTIFIED.

AND I WANNA FOCUS ON THE WATER QUALITY AND TREATMENT, WHICH IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE TWO FIRST, UM, OBJECTIVES OR, UH, QUESTIONS THAT WE'VE ANSWERED.

OKAY.

I ALSO WANNA HIGHLIGHT THAT IN ALL OF THE INCIDENTS THAT WE SEE, THERE'S NO SINGLE CAUSE, BUT RATHER A SERIES OF COMBINED AND CASCADING ISSUES THAT LEAD TO THESE TYPES OF EVENTS.

OKAY.

SO THE FIRST IS, AND, AND I THINK THIS WAS SAID EARLIER, AUSTIN WATER HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS TOWARD IMPLEMENTING A MAJORITY OF THE AFTER ACTION REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS ALREADY.

AND THESE HAVE IMPROVED RESILIENCY, WE BELIEVE.

OKAY, SO I'M GONNA START WITH THE FIRE FOAM INCIDENT BECAUSE WE DIDN'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THIS IN THE REPORT.

UM, BECAUSE AUSTIN WATER REALLY HAD NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CAUSE OF THIS INSTRUMENT, AND WE BELIEVE THEY RESPONDED APPROPRIATELY TO THE ISSUE.

UM, AND, AND, UM, RAPIDLY RESOLVED IT WITH AUSTIN, WITH, IN COOPERATION WITH AUSTIN FIRE DEPARTMENT, THE OCTOBER, 2018 BOYLE EVENT.

THIS WAS A WATER QUALITY EVENT IN WHICH THE TURBIDITY, ALKALINITY AND HARDNESS CHANGED.

UM, THIS, YOU KNOW, CHANGED TREMENDOUSLY.

IT WAS AN UNPRECEDENTED EXCURSION FROM TYPICAL WATER QUALITY PARAMETERS AND, UM, WOULD'VE BEEN A CHALLENGE FOR ANY, UH, TREATMENT PLANT TO RESPOND TO.

BUT, BUT FROM THE AFTER ACTION REPORTS, ONE OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE STUDIES THAT WERE DONE WAS THE ADDITION OF A POLYMER SYSTEM TO PROVIDE FURTHER RESILIENCY.

THAT POLYMER SYSTEM HAS BEEN INSTALLED AT ULRICH, AND IT'S NOW BEING INSTALLED IN THE OTHER TWO TREATMENT PLANTS.

AND WE BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL PROVIDE FURTHER RESISTANT RESILIENCY.

WE HAVE REVIEWED THE DATA THAT CAME OUT OF THE TESTING OF THE STORED WATER FROM THAT, AND, UM, AGREE WITH THE FINDINGS THAT A POLYMER

[00:25:01]

SYSTEM COULD BE HELPFUL.

THE ZEBRA MUSCLE ISSUE, WE BELIEVE THIS WAS A, UM, AN ISSUE IN WHICH THERE WAS DELAYED RESPONSE AND IT WAS MORE REACTIVE THAN PROACTIVE TO AN EMERGING ISSUE.

UH, THERE WAS TREMENDOUS DATA THAT WAS BEING PRESENTED NATIONALLY AT CONFERENCES AND, AND IN DOCUMENTATION THAT ZEBRA MUSCLES WERE SPREADING TOWARDS AUSTIN.

UM, AND WE FELT LIKE, YOU KNOW, THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED, BUT THE, THE AUSTIN WATER HAS RESPONDED TO THIS IN THEIR AFTER ACTION REPORTS, THEY'VE INSTALLED, UH, COPPER SULFATE SYSTEM TO, UM, HAD THAT OFF INTER IMPLEMENTING A, UM, A, A NEWER SYSTEM AS WELL THAT WILL ALSO HELP RESOLVE THIS ISSUE IN THE FU FUTURE.

IN CONTRAST TO THAT THOUGH, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE NOTICED AND WE LOOKED AT, UM, WAS THEIR RESPONSE TO ANOTHER EMERGING CONCERN THAT'S COMING OUT, WHICH IS CYTOTOXINS, OKAY, THESE CONCERNS AND THEIR, THEIR ABILITY TO ADDRESS THIS OR, OR APPEAR TO BE A LOT MORE PROACTIVE.

THERE'S BEEN MEANINGS GOING ON, THERE'VE BEEN DISCUSSIONS, AND THERE'S ALREADY A REPORT OUT SAYING, HERE'S, UH, AN APPROACH THAT WE CAN EMPLOY TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES, UM, IF THEY BECOME APPARENT.

AT THIS POINT, WE HAVEN'T HAD ANY SER ISSUES WITH IT AT THE PLANT, SO I DON'T WANNA ALARM ANYONE.

UM, BUT MY POINT IS, IS THAT THIS IS A PROACTIVE RESPONSE, AND I THINK IT SHOWS POSITIVE SIGNS FOR AUSTIN WATER MOVING FORWARD.

WINTER STORM EARLY HIGHLIGHTED THE CRITICAL ROLE OF ENERGY RESILIENCY AND AUSTIN WATER IS MOVING FORWARD WITH, UM, THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN REQUIRED BY SENATE BILL THREE.

UM, AND FINALLY FEBRUARY 22ND, BOIL WATER.

THIS WAS A SERIOUS AND AVOIDABLE FAILURE THAT EXPOSED SOME OF THE MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES, UM, INCLUDING STAFFING, TRAINING, INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS, UH, EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND MANAGEMENT.

AND SO THIS IS ONE OF THE AREAS WE SPENT A LOT OF OUR RECOMMENDATIONS BECAUSE WE FELT LIKE THIS IS WHERE ATTENTION NEEDED TO BE.

OKAY.

SO MOVING FORWARD, AS WE THINK ABOUT RESILIENCY IN THE FUTURE, WE CAN FOCUS ON QUESTION THREE, WHICH SAYS, FROM A STAFFING AND AN ORGANIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVE IS OPERATE THE PLANT OVER THE RANGE OF WATER QUALITY CONDITIONS OBSERVED.

OUR, OUR REVIEWS SUGGESTED THERE'S A SERIOUS DISCONNECT BETWEEN WHAT UPPER MANAGEMENT'S EFFORTS TO IMPROVE OPERATIONS, UM, AND, AND THE INTERACTION WITH THE PLANT AND ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PLANT TO BE ABLE TO IMPLEMENT THESE EFFECTIVELY.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE NOTICED IS THAT THE CURRENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, UH, HAS SOME CHALLENGES WITH RESPECT TO INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS, EMERGENCY RESPONSE, AND ATTENTION TO PLANT NEEDS.

IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT A PLOT THAT WE'VE PUT TOGETHER OF, UM, DIRECT REPORTS OR AND SECONDARY REPORTS TO ASSISTANT DIRECTORS, UM, YOU'LL NOTICE THAT THERE'S ONE THAT STANDS OUT, AND THAT IS THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OVER OPERATIONS WHO HAS A SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER NUMBER OF REPORTS.

NOW, WORK BY GORDON, UM, THAT WE CITED IN OUR WORK, SUGGESTS THAT A NARROW SPAN OF CONTROL IS APPROPRIATE FOR WORK THAT IS COMPLEX BY NATURE.

HIGH RISK RECEIVES A HIGH DEGREE OF SCRUTINY, REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF COORDINATION, AND IS GEOGRAPHICALLY DISPERSED TO US THAT FITS AUSTIN WATER.

AND WE AGREE WITH THIS CONCEPT OF NARROW SPAN OF CONTROL, KEY CONCERNS IDENTIFIED, UM, AS WELL INCLUDE, UM, EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP AND ADEQUATE STAFFING AT ULRICH.

WHEN WE TALK WITH THE PEOPLE AT THE, UM, PLANT THAT THERE WERE CONCERNS RAISED BY THE STAFF THAT INCLUDED POOR COMPENSATION FRUSTRATION OVER THE LACK OF EFFECTIVE TRAINING, ACCESSIBILITY TO THE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES THAT WEREN'T BEING ROUTINELY ACCESSED, AND THE TIME REQUIRED FOR, UM, CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS, UM, FUNDING TO BE, UM, FUNDED, SORRY, AND EXECUTED.

OKAY.

SO WE'VE GONNA HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE LOOKED AT BECAUSE AGAIN, THESE ARE THE KEY AREAS THAT WE WANTED TO FOCUS ON, WANTED TO FOCUS ON TODAY.

UM, THE FIRST IS TO ADDRESS ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE ISSUES BY ESTABLISHING CLEAR LINES OF SUPERVISION AND REPORTING EXPECTATIONS.

WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT THERE SHOULD BE A SINGLE PERSON IN CHARGE OF THE

[00:30:01]

ULRICH TREATMENT PLANT.

AND THIS IS A RECOMMENDATION THAT AUSTIN WATER, UH, HAS AGREED WITH, AND WE'RE EXCITED THAT THAT, UM, CAN MOVE FORWARD.

WE BELIEVE THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE GREATER EMPHASIS ON DOCUMENTATION, TRAINING, AND TEAM BUILDING, AND WE HAVE A NUMBER OF RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ADDRESS THIS ISSUE.

WE ADDRESS.

WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE, UM, AN EXAMINATION OF ATTRITION AND RETENTION, AND THAT THIS NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS, EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS, INCREASING COMPENSATION AND CAREER ADVANCEMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

WE BELIEVE THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE GREATER ENGAGEMENT OF THE PLANT STAFF AND THE ASSET MANAGEMENT OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES AND EMERGING ISSUES IN WATER TREATMENT.

AND FINALLY, WE BELIEVE THAT AUSTIN WATER SHOULD REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE CITY MANAGER TO STREAMLINE COMMUNICATIONS AND PROCESSES.

OKAY.

IN TERMS OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS, AGAIN, WE'RE GONNA GO BACK TO RECRUITING AND RETAINING SKILLED WORKFORCE ACROSS THE ORGANIZATION.

AND AGAIN, THIS IS AN EXAMPLE AS WHEN WE SEND DIFFERENT PEOPLE OUT TO LOOK AT THINGS AND TO, UH, TO INTERVIEW, WE'RE COMING BACK WITH SIMILAR FINDINGS.

UM, THE SKILLED WORKFORCE IS A KEY ISSUE.

WE BELIEVE TRAINING IS NEEDED FOR PLANT SPECIFIC PROCESSES, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND SCENARIO CHANGING.

THE DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS CENTER EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FACILITY APPEARS TO BE WELL DESIGNED AND SUITABLE TO HANDLE EVENTS.

AND AUSTIN WATER HAS A ROBUST ONLINE EMERGENCY PLATFORM VEHICLE, GEE, FOR, UM, HANDLING EMERGENCY OPERATIONS.

BUT MORE TRAINING IS NEEDED, UH, SO THAT ALL STAFF UNDERSTAND HOW THE AUSTIN WATER DECISION MATRICES OCCUR AND ARE CLEAR ABOUT ESCALATION PROCESSES.

SO WE BELIEVE THAT THEY NEED TO ESTABLISH, DOCUMENT, COMMUNICATE, AND CONTINUALLY REINFORCE NOTIFICATION THRESHOLDS FOR ESCALATION OF EMERGENT EVENTS.

AND THEN FINALLY, WE BELIEVE THAT THE SPAN OF CONTROL ALSO NEEDS TO BE REDUCED AT THE PLANT DURING EMERGENCY EVENTS, SIMILAR TO WHAT HAPPENS AT THE DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS CENTER.

SO OVERALL, UH, WE MADE OVER 50 RECOMMENDATIONS IN FOUR OF THE AREAS.

WE FEEL LIKE THE AUSTIN, UH, THE AFTER ACTION REPORTS HAVE DONE A A VERY GOOD JOB OF ADDRESSING A LOT OF THE ISSUES THAT WE SAW AS WELL.

THERE WERE STILL SOME REMAINING THAT WE WANTED TO, UM, HIGHLIGHT AND, UM, UM, THAT ARE PROVIDED IN THE REPORT.

ONE IS ASSOCIATED WITH WATER QUALITY VARIABILITY.

OKAY.

UM, THE POLYMER SYSTEM IS A VERY GOOD STEP TOWARDS RESILIENCY.

BUT ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS YOU NOTICE IN THE WATER QUALITY CHANGES THAT OCCURRED DURING THE 2018 EVENT IS THAT THE ALKALINITY AND HARDNESS ALSO DROPPED.

AND THIS CAN BE, UM, CONCERNING FOR A LIME SOFTENING PLANT.

AND SO WE THINK THERE SHOULD BE A REVIEW LOOKING AT WHETHER THERE'S POTENTIAL FOR, UM, THIS TO BE A CONCERN IN FUTURE EVENTS THAT ARE, AGAIN, VERY, VERY EXTREME.

UM, IN ADDITION, WE THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE A FOCUS ON EMERGING CONTAMINANTS LIKE THERE IS WITH SIANO TOXINS.

THERE ARE OTHER EMERGING CONTAMINANTS THAT COULD BE OF CONCERN THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED AS WELL.

IN TERMS OF THE DESIGN CAPACITY, I, I MENTIONED ALREADY THAT THE PLANT NORMALLY OPERATES AT ABOUT 35% OF CAPACITY.

WE REALLY THINK PROCESS TESTING NEEDS TO OCCUR, UM, AT DESIGN FLOWS TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, WE'RE PREPARED.

UM, EMERGENCY ENERGY RESILIENCE, AGAIN, WE BELIEVE THAT SENATE BILL THREE, THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN ITEMS ARE BEING ADDRESSED AND THAT THEY NEED TO CONTINUE IN TERMS OF PUBLIC COMMUNICATION EFFECTIVENESS.

THIS IS AN AREA WHERE WE SAW A LOT OF IMPROVEMENT FROM THE AFTER ACTION REPORTS, AND I WANTED TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT BECAUSE, UM, IT'S CLEARLY MORE PROACTIVE AND RESPONSIVE AND I THINK THEY'VE MADE, UM, GREAT IMPROVEMENTS TO THIS.

ONE AREA, THOUGH THAT WE DID WANT TO MENTION WAS THAT, UM, AT THE PRESENT TIME, THE, UM, THE CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER FOR DISPATCH DOES NOT REPORT TO THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COMMUNICATION.

AND WE THINK THIS IS A CHANGE THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN FROM OUR UNDERSTANDING, AND WE SUPPORT THAT FULLY.

WE THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR AUSTIN WATER TO OWN THEIR ENTIRE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

AND THAT DOESN'T MEAN BILLING .

UM, I KNOW ALL OF US ENJOY JUST GETTING A SINGLE BILL.

SO, UM, MOVING FORWARD AS WE MOVE TO, UM, AREAS WHERE WE THINK THAT, UM, MORE WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE, UM, ONE OF THE ISSUES

[00:35:01]

THAT CAME ABOUT IS A LOT OF THE LOW PRIORITY PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE MAINTENANCE HAS BEEN DEFERRED DUE TO STAFFING, UM, ISSUES THAT, YOU KNOW, WITH 30% OPEN STAFF POSITION, IT'S HARD TO FIND THE RESOURCES TO DEAL WITH, UH, DEFERRED MAINTENANCE.

NOW, HIGH, THE PRIORITIES ARE BEING PUT ON MAINTENANCE THAT IS ASSOCIATED WITH, UM, RISK TO HUMAN HEALTH AND, AND DELIVERY OF THE WATER.

BUT THERE'S A LOT OF OTHER MAINTENANCE ITEMS THAT, YOU KNOW, NEED TO HAPPEN ON A, ON A ROUTINE BASIS AT A PLANT.

AND, UM, THIS IS AN AREA THAT WE SAW SOME CONCERN.

OKAY.

UM, OF PARTICULAR CONCERN IS THE SOLIDS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, WHICH IS A KEY, A CRITICAL PART OF A, OF ANY TREATMENT PLANT.

IF YOU CAN'T GET YOUR SOLIDS OR YOUR RESIDUALS OFFLINE AND THEY, THEY CAN'T STAY ON THE PLANT, THEN YOU CAN'T OPERATE.

SO ONE OF THE AREAS THAT WE HAD CONCERN WAS THE, UM, THE CENTRIFUGES, THEIR AGE AND CONDITION, UH, IS SUCH THAT THEY REQUIRE A LOT OF MAINTENANCE, WHICH IS PUTTING MORE DEMAND ON THE STAFF.

AND, UM, THERE IN 2020, UH, THERE WAS A REVIEW OF THE SOLIDS HANDLING SYSTEM.

THE CENTRI FUSIONS ARE SET TO BE REPLACED, AND WE REALLY HOPE THAT THAT HAPPEN CAN HAPPEN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

FINALLY, I'M NOT GONNA TALK MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVE AND OPERATIONS, CUZ I DEALT WITH THAT ALREADY.

SO I JUST WANNA PROVIDE SOME FINAL COMMENTS.

ONE IS THAT AUSTIN WATER HAS A LONG HISTORY OF PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY WATER TO THE CITY.

OVER A HUNDRED YEARS, THE WATER QUALITY AND TREATMENT FACILITIES ARE APPROPRIATE AND FINISHED WATER MEETS NATIONAL ESTATE STANDARDS.

MORE THAN 99% OF THE TIME ARE I, SOMEONE ASKED ME I SHOULD PUT PLUS ON THERE, AND I SAID MORE THAN 99 PLUS.

BUT, BUT THEY'RE DOING A GREAT JOB AND THEY'VE BEEN DOING IT FOR A REALLY LONG TIME, AND THERE HAVE BEEN THESE OCCASIONS THAT WE'VE SEEN.

BUT, UM, YOU KNOW, I BELIEVE THAT THERE'S A LOT OF, UH, COMMITMENT BY AUSTIN WATER FOR MEETING THIS MISSION OF PROVIDING HIGH QUALITY.

I BELIEVE THAT THE STAFF FROM TOP TO BOTTOM UNDERSTAND THEIR ROLE IN PROTECTING THE PUBLIC FROM ACUTE AND CHRONIC HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CONSUMPTION, WHICH MAKES US A VERY, VERY CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE.

FINALLY, WE BELIEVE THAT EFFECTIVE OPERATION OF A TREATMENT PLAN IS COMPLEX AS ULRICH REQUIRES A FULL COMPLIMENT OF OPERATORS, A BETTER TRAINED STAFF AND COORDINATION AMONG THE STAFF, SUPERVISORS AND MANAGEMENT AT ULRICH AND ACROSS AUSTIN WATER.

WE HOPE THAT OUR REPORT PROVIDES RECOMMENDATIONS THAT AUSTIN WATER, UM, WILL HELP AUSTIN WATER IMPROVE THEIR ABILITY TO, UM, PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFE WATER TO THE CITY AND AS RESIDENTS, BOTH DURING NORMAL OPERATION, NORMAL OPERATIONS, AND EXTREME EVENTS.

AND WITH THAT, UH, THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION.

I WANNA ALSO SEND MY THANKS TO THE AUDITORS WHO WORKED WITH US, COREY STOKES AND, AND KATHY HARRISON.

AND, UM, IF YOU WANNA CONTACT, UH, EITHER ME OR COREY, WE PROVIDED THE INFORMATION HERE.

SO THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR ATTENTION.

BE HAPPY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS.

THANK YOU DR.

KATZ.

AS IS OUR PRACTICE, WE WILL, UM, BEFORE WE ASK YOU QUESTIONS, WE WILL INVITE UP AUSTIN WATER IF THEY WANT TO PROVIDE ANY RESPONSE TODAY IN ADVANCE OF THEIR LARGER PRESENTATION.

YES, THANK YOU.

GOOD MORNING COUNCIL MEMBERS.

MY NAME IS SHAY ROLLS ROLSON.

I'M THE DIRECTOR OF AUSTIN WATER.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION TODAY TO THESE MATTERS.

AND THANK YOU TO THE OFFICE OF THE CITY AUDITORS, THE UT CENTER FOR WATER AND ENVIRONMENT, AND THEIR TEAM, AND TO OUR, UH, INTERIM A C M WHO WAS OUR INTERIM DIRECTOR AT AUSTIN WATER.

OVER THE MAJORITY OF THIS REVIEW, ROBERT GOOD.

AND ESPECIALLY THANK YOU TO THE AUSTIN WATER LEADERSHIP AND STAFF WHO PARTICIPATED SO FULLY IN THIS REVIEW.

UM, WE ARE A LEARNING ORGANIZATION AND WE ARE ALREADY WORKING ON MANY OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS.

WE WANNA REINFORCE AREAS WHERE WE'RE STRONG AND WHEN WE WANNA STRENGTHEN AREAS THAT NEED IT.

SO, AS YOU MENTIONED, UM, CHAIR AL ALTER, WE ARE ALREADY WORKING ON MANY OF THESE RECOMMENDATIONS.

WE WILL REPORT OUT MORE DETAILS ON OUR IMPLEMENTATION PLAN AT A FUTURE MEETING.

I'M HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE TODAY ABOUT OUR CURRENT STATUS OR PROGRESS.

THANK YOU.

UM, SO REALLY BRIEFLY, UM, THANK YOU DR.

KATZ AND YOUR, YOUR TEAM.

[00:40:01]

I THINK THIS WAS A REALLY IMPORTANT, UM, REPORT FOR RESTORING TRUST AND HELPING US TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE'RE DOING RIGHT AND WHERE WE NEED TO IMPROVE.

UM, YOU KNOW, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE ACKNOWLEDGE WHERE WE'RE DOING RIGHT, UM, FOR, YOU KNOW, THOSE WHO ARE WATCHING OR DO WANNA POINT OUT THAT THE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS A LOT OF REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS, PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT.

UM, AND I THINK WE'LL BE TALKING A LOT ABOUT THOSE, YOU KNOW, IN OUR QUESTIONS.

UM, WHAT I'D LIKE TO PROPOSE THAT WE DO COLLEAGUES, IS THAT, UM, WE CAN EACH ASK A COUPLE QUESTIONS IN SERIES.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT AUSTIN WATER WILL BE COMING BACK WITH THEIR IMPLEMENTATION REPORT.

YOU OBVIOUSLY CAN ASK QUESTIONS OF AUSTIN WATER AS MUCH AS YOU WANT, BUT THIS WILL BE THE MAIN OPPORTUNITY THAT WE HAVE.

UM, I BELIEVE WITH, UM, THE TEAM, ALTHOUGH THEY MAY COME BACK ON THE 15TH.

UM, SO I KNOW FOR ME, I WILL, IN MY QUESTIONS, PROBABLY FOCUS MORE ON THE UT TEAM AND HIGHLIGHT THINGS THAT I WANT AUSTIN WATER TO ANSWER WHEN THEY COME BACK WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN, RATHER THAN HAVE YOU GIVE A PARTIAL ANSWER TODAY.

BUT OBVIOUSLY ANYONE CAN ASK ANYTHING OF AUSTIN WATER.

UM, SO I'M GONNA START WITH ONE OR TWO QUESTIONS AND THEN I'LL PASS IT ON, UM, TO, TO OTHER, OTHER FOLKS.

DID YOU WANNA SPEAK BEFORE I ASK MY QUESTIONS OR, OR DID YOU WANNA GO NEXT? ARE YOU GONNA LEAD OFF WITH THE QUESTIONS OR END WITH YOUR QUESTIONS? I AM, I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS.

SO I WAS GONNA DO ONE OR TWO QUESTIONS AND THEN LET OTHER PEOPLE EACH ASK QUESTION, A COUPLE QUESTIONS, AND THEN WE'LL KIND OF ROTATE.

I'LL BE HAPPY TO GO AFTER YOU ASK YOUR FIRST COUPLE.

THANKS.

THANKS.

UM, SO DR.

KATZ, IF YOU WOULDN'T MIND COMING UP, I THINK MY MY COUPLE QUESTIONS ARE, ARE FOR YOU IN, IN YOUR TEAM.

UM, SO OVERALL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRUCK ME IN THIS REPORT WAS THAT IT WASN'T A BIG EMPHASIS ON BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF INFRASTRUCTURE.

UM, THERE WERE A FEW THINGS LIKE THE SLUDGE TREATMENT AND, AND MAYBE WE CAN COME BACK TO THAT ONE.

UM, BUT YOU DID IDENTIFY THAT THERE ARE OBSTACLES IN THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT PROCESS THAT YOU OBSERVED.

UM, SO CAN YOU SPEAK TO THAT AND THE RELATED, UM, LEARNINGS THAT YOU HAD ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE INTERNAL CONDITION ASSESSMENT, WHICH WOULD ALSO BE RELATED TO THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROCESS? SURE.

UM, THERE'S A COUPLE OF ISSUES.

ONE IS, YOU KNOW, THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROCESS, YOU KNOW, IT CAN TAKE UP TO 10 YEARS BETWEEN IDENTIFYING, UM, AN ISSUE THAT GETS APPROVED, THAT'S GONNA GET APPROVED FOR THE, UH, OR LOOKED AT FOR THAT PROCESS TO IMPLEMENTATION.

UM, THAT CAN BE A LONG TIME FOR A CRITICAL PIECE OF INFRASTRUCTURE AT A PLANT.

SO ONE OF OUR CONCERNS IS ABOUT THE TIMEFRAME.

YOU COULD SEE THAT THAT WAS ALSO EXPRESSED BY, BY THE STAFF.

AND SO THAT'S ONE AREA.

THE OTHER AREA THAT WE, UM, FELT, AND THIS WAS REALLY MORE ABOUT ENGAGEMENT, UM, YOU KNOW, WE LISTEN, WE TALK WITH, UM, AUSTIN WATER ABOUT THE PROCESS THAT THEY USE FOR, UM, THE C I P UH, THE DEVELOPMENT OF THAT PROCESS, HOW IT'S WORKING, HOW IT'S EVOLVING.

AND IT SOUNDED GREAT, RIGHT? IT WAS, YOU KNOW, IT, IT, IT SEEMED LIKE IT WOULD BE A GOOD PROCESS.

THE ISSUE THAT WE HAVE THOUGH IS THAT, UM, WE FELT LIKE THERE WASN'T ENOUGH CONNECTION BETWEEN THAT PROCESS THAT EXISTS AND CAN EVALUATE, UH, IMPORTANT AREAS AND, AND, AND THE OPERATIONS AT A PARTICULAR PLANT, ESPECIALLY AT ULRICH.

UM, WE FELT LIKE WITHOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN THE GROUPS AND ACROSS ULRICH ITSELF THEN, AND THE, AND THE LACK OF STAFFING TO BE ABLE TO LOOK AT, YOU KNOW, AND EVALUATE DIFFERENT PIECES OF INFRASTRUCTURE, INFRASTRUCTURE AT THE PLANT, IT CREATES A DIFFICULT SITUATION FOR THINGS TO GET PRIORITIZED AT A LEVEL THAT MOVE THEM INTO THAT C I P, UM, AREA WHERE THEY'RE GONNA GET FUNDED.

SO I THINK THAT WAS OUR, OUR VIEW.

THANK YOU.

UM, AND THEN MY SECOND QUESTION IS THAT THERE WERE FOUR RECOMMENDATIONS, OR EFFECTIVELY THREE, BECAUSE THERE WAS OVERLAP WHERE AUSTIN WATER DISAGREED WITH THE REPORT.

UM, CAN YOU, AS, AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR TEAM SPEAK TO YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE UNDERLYING PROBLEMS THAT YOU WANTED AUSTIN WATER TO SOLVE IN MAKING YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS OR WHAT YOU HOPE WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED WITH THOSE CHANGES? SO THERE WAS MORE AUTONOMY FROM HR.

UM, THE REPORTING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CITY MANAGER AND THE SPAN OF CONTROL OF THE OPERATIONS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, I BELIEVE WERE THE THREE, UM, AREAS THAT THEY DISAGREED WITH.

AND THE CITY MANAGER, UH, REPORTING RELATIONSHIP WAS, WAS REPEATED TWICE.

SO LET ME SPEAK FIRST TO, UM, HR STAFFING

[00:45:01]

ISSUES AT UTILITIES ARE NATIONAL PROBLEMS. THIS IS NOT AN AUSTIN PROBLEM.

UM, THERE'S A REPORT THAT COMES OUT EVERY, EVERY YEAR CALLED THE STATE OF THE WATER INDUSTRY, OKAY? AND IN THAT REPORT, IT HIGHLIGHTS, UM, YOU KNOW, THE, THE, THE MAJOR AREAS OF CONCERN IN 2022, AGING WORKFORCE AND ANTICIPATED RETIREMENTS IS NUMBER FOUR ON THAT LIST.

NUMBER 11 IS TALENT ATTRACTION AND RETENTION.

THIS IS A NATIONAL PROBLEM.

UM, IN FACT, EVEN EPA HAS GOTTEN INVOLVED IN CREATING PROGRAMS, AND I THINK THE AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION HAS APPLIED FOR A GRANT TO ACTUALLY LOOK AT THIS ISSUE AND TRY AND FIND SOLUTIONS.

WE BELIEVE THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE A CONCERTED EFFORT TO, UM, ATTRACT PEOPLE TO AUSTIN WATER AND OTHER UTILITIES.

OKAY.

UM, THE OTHER ISSUE THAT WE FOUND IS THAT, UM, YOU KNOW, AUSTIN WATER IS A CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, RIGHT? I MEAN, PEOPLE THINK OF ENERGY AS A CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE POWER, IF THE POWER GOES OUT AT YOUR HOUSE, YOU KNOW IT, YOU'RE OUT, YOU'RE WITHOUT POWER.

IF THE WATER IS NO LONGER SAFE TO DRINK, YOU DON'T NECESSARILY EVEN KNOW IT RIGHT AWAY UNLESS THERE'S GREAT COMMUNICATION TO GET YOU THAT INFORMATION.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, WE'RE PROTECTING THE HEALTH OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF A WORKER AT A, AT A, AT A WATER UTILITY IS SIGNIFICANT.

THEY'RE WORKING HARD AND THEY TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

AND AS A RESULT, WE, WE SEE THAT HIRING AT AN A UTILITY THAT PROVIDES WATER TO A CITY IS AN AREA WHERE, UM, STAFFING IS CRITICAL.

AND WE BELIEVE THAT IF, UM, YOU KNOW, THAT, THAT HIRING AT BETTER, AT HIGHER LEVELS IS KEY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE'RE SEEING ACROSS THE BOARD THAT THERE'S ATTRITION, UM, ACROSS THE COUNTRY AT HIGHER LEVELS.

PEOPLE ARE RETIRING, PEOPLE ARE MOVING ON.

WE WANNA MAKE SURE THAT THE SALARIES ARE COMPETITIVE.

UM, BOTH WITH OUR NEIGHBORING CITIES WITH NEIGHBORING JOBS AROUND AND COMPETITIVE NATIONALLY.

AUSTIN WATERS DONE A MARKET SURVEY.

THEY MADE RECOMMENDATIONS.

I THINK THEY MADE LIKE A HUNDRED AND ONLY HALF OF THEM GOT IMPLEMENTED.

AND THEN THE CITY RAISED THE, UM, THE, UH, MINIMUM SALARY.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT THIS IS AN AREA THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED, UM, WITH RESPECT TO, UH, THE SPAN OF CONTROL.

YOU KNOW, WE REALLY ALSO FEEL THAT, UM, WHEN YOU LOOK AT, I MEAN, THERE ARE PROS AND CONS TO TO, TO, YOU KNOW, HOW THE SPAN OF CONTROL GOES.

BUT WHEN YOU HAVE A SYSTEM IN WHICH, UM, THERE IS A, A WIDE SPAN OF A CONTROL FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS A LOT OF PEOPLE REPORTING TO THEM, AND, AND SOME OF THOSE, THOSE REPORTS ARE SOMEWHAT CONFLICTING, RIGHT? EVERYBODY WANTS THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE TAKEN CARE OF.

UM, EVERYBODY WANTS THEIR WORK DONE.

EVERYBODY NEEDS THE ATTENTION TO BASICALLY BE IN CONTACT WITH THE PEOPLE WHO ARE OVERSEEING THAT SPAN OF CONTROL AND HAVE INTERACTION WITH THEM TO BE ABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE EXIST CAN BE SEEN.

AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S ABOUT TOUCHES AND THE MORE TOUCHES WE FEEL THAT ARE, UM, AVAILABLE, AND THE GREATER ABILITY TO FOCUS ON ISSUES RAPIDLY, UH, IS, IS BETTER WITH A SMALLER SPAN OF CONTROL.

AND FROM OUR RESEARCH, WE FELT LIKE, UM, YOU KNOW, THE CRITICALITY OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE, THE HIGH RISK, THE PUBLIC SCRUTINY, ALL OF THESE THINGS DICTATE US, UH, A NARROWER SPAN OF CONTROL.

AND THEN WITH RESPECT TO THE THIRD ISSUE, UM, REPORTING, OH, I ALSO WANNA SAY THOUGH, UM, YOU KNOW, UH, REPORTING TO THE SITTING MANAGER, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE ACTUALLY REALLY HAPPY ABOUT WAS THAT AUSTIN WATER DOES AGREE THAT THERE SHOULD BE A SINGLE POINT OF, UM, OF, UH, LEADERSHIP AT THE, AT THE ULRICH TREATMENT PLANT.

AND THEY DO AGREE WITH THAT.

WE ALSO BELIEVE BECAUSE OF, UH, BEING ABLE TO HAVE MUCH WRAP, MORE RAPID ACCESS WHEN IT'S NEEDED TO THE CITY MANAGER, WE BELIEVE THAT, YOU KNOW, THE ISSUES WITH THIS CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SHOULD BE SIMILAR TO WHAT AUSTIN ENERGY HAS.

[00:50:01]

IN FACT, AUSTIN ENERGY IS LIKE THE CLOSEST SISTER AGENCY RIGHT NOW, AUSTIN WATER REPORTS TO MOBILITY.

AND WE'RE NOT SURE THAT THAT'S REALLY THE BEST, UH, REPORT FOR THEM.

AND SO THAT'S WHY WE MADE THE RECOMMENDATION FOR THE CITY MANAGER.

THANK YOU.

UM, I'M GONNA RECOGNIZE, UH, VICE CHAIR POOL AND IF EACH OF YOU, AND THEN COUNCIL MEMBER FUENTES, UM, AND THEN COUNCIL MEMBER KELLY WHO'S ON THE COMMITTEE.

AND THEN IF COUNCIL MEMBER AL ALTER, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE UP.

AND THEN I DON'T KNOW IF COUNCIL MEMBER HARPER MADISON HAS QUESTIONS.

IF YOU COULD EACH JUST ASK A COUPLE QUESTIONS AND WE'LL ROTATE THROUGH IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS.

THANK YOU.

NICE TRIPLE THANKS.

AND I JUST WANTED TO OPEN BY THANKING, UM, THE AUDITOR, HER STAFF AND, UH, AUSTIN WATER AND THE STAFF, UM, AT THAT DEPARTMENT FOR, UH, DIGGING IN AND TAKING ON THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY.

AND I JUST WANTED TO GIVE A SHOUT OUT TO OUR NEW AUSTIN WATER DIRECTOR, MS. ROS RSON.

UM, THAT WAS QUITE, UM, AN INTRODUCTORY, UM, AN INTRODUCTION, UH, FOR THE COUNCIL AND THIS COMMITTEE TO YOU.

AND THANK YOU FOR A VERY, UM, CAREFUL, THOUGHTFUL, UH, PRESENTATION OF, UH, THE DEPARTMENT'S, UH, POSITIONS.

MR. GOOD, THANK YOU ALSO FOR HELPING TO SHEPHERD THESE CONCERNS OVER THE LAST MANY MONTHS, UH, AND YOUR CONTINUING INVOLVEMENT.

UM, WE ARE STRONGER FOR THE PROFESSIONALISM THAT ALL OF YOU BRING EVERY DAY, UH, TO THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND I THANK YOU AND THE CITY MANAGER FOR ALL OF THAT.

UM, I, I DID WANT TO JUST FOCUS A LITTLE BIT ON WHAT HAPPENED AT ULRICH, UM, AND ASK, UM, UH, PROFESSOR KATZ IS, IS IT DR.

KATZ? UM, BOTH OR PERFECTLY FINE.

I AM A DOCTOR AND I AM A PROFESSOR.

OKAY, GREAT.

UM, SO PRO, UH, PROFESSOR, THE, UM, WE KNOW THAT WHAT HAPPENED AT ULRICH, UM, WAS PROBABLY THE RESULT OF SOME CASCADING SITUATIONS WITH STAFFING AND HIRING AND ADVANCEMENT AND SALARIES.

UM, BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT THIS WAS AN INTENTIONAL ACT BY, UH, ONE OR TWO INDIVIDUALS THAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM.

AND I UNDERSTAND THESE FOLKS ARE NO LONGER WITH THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

UM, SO WITH REGARD TO DELIBERATE ACTION AND, UM, KNOWING THAT THESE ACTIONS WERE INTENTIONAL, UM, CAN YOU HELP US UNDERSTAND HOW HOW WE CAN MANAGE THAT THROUGH THINGS LIKE INCREASED STAFFING AND OVERSIGHT AND SALARIES AND TRAINING? IS THE, I, UH, IMAGINE THERE'S A DIRECT LINE TO THAT, INCLUDING HAVING A BETTER SENSE OF WHO MIGHT BE THE, UH, PERSON WHO WOULD TAKE THIS KIND OF DRASTIC ACTION FOR WHATEVER MOTIVATIONS, BUT IDENTIFYING THAT KIND OF A SITUATION IN ADVANCE.

BUT WHAT, WHAT IN THE, WHAT IN THE PORTFOLIO OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS COULD HAVE KEPT THAT FROM HAPPENING? SO FIRST OF ALL, I'M NOT GONNA SPEAK TO WHAT THE, UM, ANY INTENT OR, UH, WHATEVER ASSOCIATED WITH WHAT HAPPENED.

THAT'S FINE.

DURING THAT EVENT, I'M NOT PRIVY TO THAT.

AND, UM, SO I, I CAN ONLY REPORT ON WHAT DID HAPPEN MM-HMM.

AND WHAT WE SEE, WE SEE AN OVERWORKED STAFF THAT'S TRYING TO, UH, UM, I DON'T KNOW IF OVERWORKS THE RIGHT, RIGHT TERM I WANT TO USE, THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON AT A WATER TREATMENT PLANT, AND THERE'S NOT ENOUGH STAFF TO BE ABLE TO REALLY ADDRESS ALL THE NEEDS.

WE TALKED ABOUT THE DEFERRED MAINTENANCE, WE TALKED ABOUT, UM, YOU KNOW, THE, THE COMPLEXITY OF ULRICH IN TERMS OF ITS OPERATIONS.

UM, YOU KNOW, THE NEED TO HAVE REALLY EVEN GOOD INTERACTION BETWEEN THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM, WHO'S SAYING WE NEED MORE WATER, AND THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PLANT JUST CAN'T TURN A KNOB AND PRODUCE MORE WATER.

UM, BUT LIKE ANY ORGANIZATION, YOU KNOW, CULTURE IS A KEY AND CULTURE COMES FROM THE TYPES OF RECOMMENDATIONS WE MADE.

GOOD TRAINING, GOOD INTERACTIONS, UM, THE ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO, UM, BE REWARDED FOR, YOU KNOW, MERIT, MERIT TO RECEIVE MERIT AWARDS FOR, FOR GOOD WORK.

AND, AND, UM, BEING ABLE TO, UH, SEE ADVANCEMENT, BEING ABLE TO, UH, HAVE, UM, A SITUATION WHERE YOU HEAR, YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR VOICE IS BEING HEARD ALL THE WAY FROM THE NEXT PERSON YOU WORK TO, AND THEN ALL THE WAY UP A A LINE OF COMMUNICATION THAT'S WORKING WELL TOGETHER.

UM, YOU

[00:55:01]

KNOW, THE ABILITY TO KNOW YOUR JOB, RIGHT? WELL, TO KNOW THAT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE WORKING, WHO WERE, UM, OPERATING, SAY THE FILTERS, UH, IN THE, IN THE, IN THE, UM, SHIFT BEFORE YOU WERE, DID IT THE SAME WAY YOU'RE GOING TO DO IT.

HAVING STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES THAT YOU CAN RELY ON UNDERSTANDING ESCALATION OF INCIDENTS.

AND WHEN PEOPLE WORK AT A PLACE WHERE THEY ARE COMFORTABLE WITH THE WORKING, THE, THE SYSTEM, AND THEY'RE BEING COMPENSATED APPROPRIATELY AND THEY'RE BEING ACKNOWLEDGED, UM, FOR THE WORK THAT THEY DO, I THINK YOU START TO BUILD THAT TYPE OF, UH, CULTURE IN WHICH EVERYONE IS INVESTED IN THE PLANT.

I THINK, I THINK THAT'S TRUE.

AND I THINK THE FOSTERING OF A SENSE OF ACCOUNTABILITY ALL THE WAY DOWN TO EACH INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE, UM, AT THE CITY.

SO A, A PRIDE IN THE WORK, A RECOGNITION THAT IS PUBLIC SERVANTS.

WE ARE DELIVERING, UM, IMPORTANT UTILITIES AND SERVICES TO OUR COMMUNITY THAT THEY RELY UPON.

AND THE HEALTH AND THE SAFETY OF THE COMMUNITY IS OUR, IS OUR UNIQUE JOB.

I, I APPRECIATE THE DIFFICULTIES IN ALL OF THAT.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND PERSONNEL AND HUMAN RESOURCES, THERE'S ALWAYS, IT'S, IT'S ALWAYS A VERY DIFFICULT, UM, ENGAGEMENT.

BUT I THINK THAT THE INFORMATION THAT YOU HAVE IN THIS REPORT, THE REQUEST TO STEP UP, UM, UH, THE LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT AMONG THE STAFF TO INCREASE THE STAFFING, TO TIGHTEN THE LINES OF REPORTING, INCREASED TRAINING LEVELS, AND A REAL FOCUS ON THE BUILDING OF, UH, OF THE STAFF WILL GO A LONG WAY TO SUPPORTING WHAT IS, AS YOU POINT OUT, A WELL-FUNCTIONING 99%, UM, STURDY, PREDICTABLE RESOURCE FOR, FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND I THINK THAT THIS AUDIT AND THIS REPORT AND THESE FINDINGS COME AT A REALLY IMPORTANT TIME FOR US TO RESET WITH A NEW DIRECTOR.

UM, IT'S A NEW YEAR.

THERE'S A SENSE OF URGENCY AND THERE'S A SENSE OF, UM, UH, ENGAGEMENT AND ACTIVITY, I THINK THROUGHOUT, UH, THE CITY OF AUSTIN PERSONNEL AS, AS AN ENTITY, UM, LOOKING FORWARD TO WAYS TO CONTINUE TO MAKE BETTER IMPROVEMENTS, UM, IN THE WAY WE DELIVER SERVICES AND THE, UH, THE PRECISE NATURE AND OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY.

SO I, AGAIN, I THANK YOU.

THAT WAS REALLY ABOUT THE ONLY THING I WANTED TO ADDRESS HERE TODAY.

THE DIFFICULTIES RELATING TO THE HUMAN RESOURCES COMPONENT, BUT ALSO THE VERY IMPORTANT ELEMENTS THAT YOU BRING IN THIS REPORT THAT IF WE, UM, CAN BUILD ON THEM, SHOULD MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE.

AND HOPEFULLY THESE SORTS OF THINGS WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN.

THANK YOU, CHAIR.

THANK YOU.

UH, COUNCIL MEMBER OF FUENTES AND THEN COUNCIL KELLY FOR THE PRESENTATION.

LOTS OF EXCELLENT INFORMATION AND CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, I APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW THE EMPLOYEES AT ULRICH WILL REALLY AT ALL AWESOME WATER.

UM, PLANTS ARE CRITICAL EMPLOYEES DOING VERY IMPORTANT WORK FOR OUR CITY AND DELIVERING, UM, DELIVERING WATER QUALITY WATER SERVICES, RELIABLE SERVICES, UM, AS WELL AS MAINTAINING THE TRUST OF OUR COMMUNITY AND FOR FORECASTING THE TRENDS THAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE INDUSTRY, KNOWING THAT WE DO HAVE AN AGING WORKFORCE, KNOWING THAT WE HAVE A RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION ISSUE.

I'D LIKE TO INVITE THE, THE NEW DIRECTOR OF AUSTIN WATER, UM, TO COME UP.

CAUSE I'D LIKE TO ASK HER SOME QUESTIONS.

THANK YOU.

ONE OF THE PARTS OF TODAY'S PRESENTATION THAT STUCK OUT TO ME IS THE 30% STAFFING VACANCY THAT WE HAVE AT AUSTIN WATER.

UM, DIRECTOR, WELCOME.

CONGRATULATIONS ON, THANK YOU.

ON LEADING OUR UTILITY.

AND I GUESS FIRST AND AND FOREMOST, I'D LIKE TO, TO HEAR FROM YOU ON WHAT YOUR VISION IS FOR THE UTILITY AND, AND WHAT ARE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS ON HOW WE ADDRESS THE 30% STAFFING VACANCY, KNOWING JUST HOW CRITICAL IT IS FOR US TO, TO HAVE THE STAFF AT ULRICH AND AT ALL OF OUR PLANTS, UH, DELIVERING THESE CRITICAL OPERATIONS.

WELL, I THINK LIKE MANY INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS, IT'S A MATTER OF USING ALL THE TOOLS IN OUR TOOLBOX.

UM, AS DR.

KATZ MENTIONED, THIS STAFFING IS AN ISSUE, UH, ACROSS THE WATER INDUSTRY, AND CERTAINLY IT'S AN ISSUE ACROSS THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND SO WE, UM, OUR, UH, HUMAN RESOURCES DIVISION WITHIN AUSTIN WATER IS REALLY ENGAGED ON SOME STRATEGIES FOR RECRUITING NEW FOLKS INTO OUR PLANTS THAT INCLUDE, UM, YOU KNOW, HAVING, UM, MEET AND GREETS AT THE PLANTS WHERE THEY CAN SEE WHAT THEY

[01:00:01]

WOULD BE GETTING INTO, WHERE WE WOULD PROVIDE APPLICATION ASSISTANCE ON THE SPOT.

THOSE KINDS OF, OF REALLY, UM, THOUGHTFUL AND, UM, CREATIVE OPPORTUNITIES.

SO WE'RE WORKING WITH THE HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT, UM, ON SOME OF THESE STRATEGIES.

UH, DR.

KATZ MENTIONED, UM, OR ALLUDED TO SALARY COMPRESSION.

SO AS WE IMPLEMENT OUR SALARY STUDY, AND ALSO AS THE CITY ADDRESSES OUR, UM, OUR, UH, MINIMUM WAGE WE'RE, WE HAVE SOME SALARY COMPRESSION ISSUES THAT WE NEED TO GO BACK AND ADDRESS.

UM, AND THEN WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, OTHER ELEMENTS OF OUR, OF OUR SALARY STUDY THAT WE'LL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH HUMAN RESOURCES TO ADDRESS.

SO THAT'S KIND OF THE TACTICAL, UM, UH, KIND OF SOME OF THE ELEMENTS OF THE PLAN, SOME OF THE TOOLS IN OUR TOOLBOX AND WE'LL, UM, WE'LL COME BACK WITH, YOU KNOW, SLIDES AND MORE DETAIL ON THAT, UM, AT A LATER DATE.

BUT, YOU KNOW, FUNDAMENTALLY, UM, Y DR.

KATZ SPOKE A LOT TO THE ISSUES OF CULTURE, AND THAT'S, THAT'S REALLY WHAT I SEE AT AUSTIN WATER.

YOU KNOW, WHAT BROUGHT ME TO AUSTIN WATER WAS THE DEDICATION OF OUR STAFF.

UM, THE LEVEL OF TECHNICAL EXPERTISE ACROSS OUR ORGANIZATION AND THE COMMITMENT TO INNOVATION, UH, REALLY FROM FIELD STAFF TO EXECUTIVE TEAM MEMBERS.

I WAS OUT AT ULRICH YESTERDAY MEETING WITH THE OPERATION STAFF AND THE MAINTENANCE STAFF, AND THEY'RE, THEY'RE STOKED TO DO SOME OF THIS STUFF.

THEY, OPERATION STAFF ARE TALKING ABOUT BEING EXCITED TO PUT THE PLANT THROUGH ITS PACES AND, AND, UM, YOU KNOW, REALLY ESTABLISH, UH, THE PROCESSES THAT WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO RUN IT AT, AT BE CONFIDENT IN OUR ABILITY TO BRING IT UP TO HIGHER FLOW RATES AS NEEDED.

AND SO I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF ENERGY AT AUSTIN WATER AROUND, UM, REALLY BEING THE BEST THAT WE CAN BE AND THAT WE HAVE ALL THE TOOLS WE NEED TO DO THAT.

THAT'S GREAT.

THAT'S GREAT TO HEAR.

AND, YOU KNOW, ENSURING THAT WE HAVE FAIR COMPENSATION AND COMPETITIVE COMPENSATION AND FOR OUR WORKFORCE IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME AS A POLICYMAKER.

AND SO WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE THOSE PLANS AVAILABLE AND SUBMITTED TO HR? OR WHAT KIND OF TIMELINE ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT FOR US TO, TO RAISE THE WAGE? WE ARE ALREADY, UH, WE'VE ALREADY SUBMITTED PLANS TO HR.

WE'VE GOTTEN SOME FEEDBACK.

SOME OF THOSE HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED OR ARE IN THE PROCESSES OF BEING IMPLEMENTED.

OTHERS, WE ARE STILL, UM, ENGAGING WITH THEM ON, UH, NOT ALL OF OUR SUGGESTIONS MEET THEIR, UM, REQUIREMENTS.

AND SO WE'RE EVALUATING THOSE AREAS.

SO IT'S AN ONGOING PROCESS.

UM, I, I DON'T HAVE A DEFINITIVE TIMELINE WHEN I THINK WE'LL SORT OF BE THROUGH THIS PART OF IT, OTHER THAN TO SAY IT'S REALLY SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO DO AS A PART OF OUR NORMAL BUSINESS ON AN ONGOING BASIS.

UM, I DON'T THINK THAT WE'RE GONNA COME, WE'RE GONNA HAVE AN ACTION ITEM LIST OF 10 ITEMS AND THEN BE DONE WITH THIS ISSUE.

I THINK STAFFING AND COMPENSATION IS, IS JUST A CONTINUAL CHALLENGE OF THE FUTURE.

THANK YOU.

UM, AND YOU KNOW, I KNOW THAT WE HAVE OUR ACM VERONICA IN THE, IN THE ROOM, AND TO THE EXTENT THAT I CAN JUST REALLY EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING THESE PLANS, UH, APPROVED AND, AND WORKED ON IN OUR HR DEPARTMENT, NOT ONLY FOR FOR AUSTIN WATER, BUT ACROSS THE BOARD, UM, IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE, UH, TO US.

AND, UM, JUST KNOWING THE CRITICAL STAFFING SHORTAGES THAT WE ARE STILL CONTINUING TO SEE ACROSS THE CITY, I THINK THAT IT'S IMPORTANT THAT, UM, THAT FOLKS KNOW WHAT A PRIORITY IT IS TO US.

AND ONE THING I WANTED TO, MY LAST THING I WANTED TO HIGHLIGHT AND JUST THANK YOU FOR, FOR VISITING ULRICH YESTERDAY AND HAVING THOSE CONVERSATIONS.

THE NEXT QUESTION I HAD IS HOW, UM, HOW, CAUSE ONE OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WAS HIGHLIGHTED IS THE ENGAGEMENT OF PLANT STAFF AT ULRICH IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES AND JUST HAVING THEM MORE INVOLVED AND WHAT WAS GOING ON? UM, HOW HAS THIS INFORMATION BEEN COMMUNICATED TO THEM AND HOW ARE THEY, AND HOW DO YOU FORESEE INVOLVING PLANT STAFF AND THE CHANGES TO COME? WELL, WE ARE, UM, HAVE BEEN IN THE PROCESS OF UPDATING OUR STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES, UM, FOR SOME TIME.

UH, AND IN THE AFTER, UM, AFTER ACTION, IF IN THE AFTER ACTION OF THE FEBRUARY 22 BOIL WATER NOTICE EVENT, WE, UM, ONE OF OUR STRATEGIES WAS TO IMPLEMENT TRAINERS AT THE PLANTS.

AND WE, SO WE'VE BEEN WORKING ON THAT AND WE NOW HAVE THOSE STAFF IDENTIFIED AND IN PLACE, AND WE'RE GETTING THEM RAMPED UP AND WE'RE GETTING PLANT STAFF ENGAGED WITH THOSE FOLKS.

SO THIS IS A, IT'S A WORK IN PROGRESS.

UM, BUT IN TERMS OF ENGAGING PLANT STAFF, UM, WE'RE, THAT'S A, THAT'S A FOCUS FOR US AS WE, UM, AS WE WORK ON THESE, UH, UPDATES TO OUR STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES TRAINING STAFF, GETTING EVERYONE DOING THE SAME THINGS IN THE SAME WAYS.

UM, AND REALLY WHAT I HEARD A LOT ABOUT YESTERDAY WAS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER.

UM, AND SO, YOU KNOW, FIELD

[01:05:01]

STAFF ARE VERY FOCUSED ON HOW DO THEY GET THAT INFORMATION OUT OF THE BRAINS OF THE MORE SENIOR PEOPLE AND INTO THE BRAINS OF THE NEW FOLKS THAT WE'RE BRINGING ON BOARD.

SO THERE'S A LOT OF FOCUS, UM, JUST WITHIN THE RANKS OF THE, OF THE OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE STAFF ON, ON THAT KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT.

YOU KNOW, THE, YOU CAN'T WRITE DOWN EVERY SINGLE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOW TO OPERATE A, A VERY COMPLEX TREATMENT PLANT AND HOW TO MAINTAIN, UH, HIGHLY COMPLEX EQUIPMENT.

AND SO THAT KIND OF, UM, ON THE JOB TRAINING HAS TO BE A COMPONENT IN WHAT WE DO TOO.

MOST DEFINITELY.

THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN, AND JUST THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED, DR.

KATZ AND, UH, AND OUR CITY AUDITOR AND HER TEAM.

I REALLY APPRECIATE ALL THE WORK THAT HAS