Surrounded by dozens of cameras, reporters and onlookers, Annise Parker announced her plans for the first few weeks of her administration. Parker says she’s asked three people to co-chair her transition team.
“Their task is not to come back with a dissertation — not to write War and Peace — their task is to go find out the landscape, come back do an in-depth analysis and report back to me. So then I know from the 30,000-foot and as granularly as I can get what I need to know moving forward to make the changes necessary to make improvements.”
The members of the transition team are strong Parker allies. Gilbert Garcia chaired her mayoral campaign. Nancy Kinder is active in civic circles and helped bring Discovery Green Park to reality. And State Rep. Garnet Coleman is a personal friend whose political ties between Houston and Austin could be a valuable asset.
Parker says she’s asked them to form committees that include local experts along with volunteers from the public to assess key departments and issues in the city.
“You will have an opportunity to say ‘I have a particular area of expertise, this is what that area of expertise is and I would like to volunteer for a short-term transition team.’ There will also be an opportunity to say long-term ‘I’d like to be a volunteer in the City of Houston.’ And then I expect them to use their personal networks as well.”
The committees will focus on eight areas, including METRO, the housing department, neighborhood protection and public works, among other things.
“You notice that I didn’t mention the police department as one of my transition team areas. That is because that is something I intend to be very hands-on with. I will be, I hope, meeting with Chief Hurtt before he leaves. I also intend to meet individually with the members of the command staff. I have a fairly good knowledge of the community interest in the police department and where their concerns are, but I’ll make an effort to reach out to different community organizations to talk about this.”
Parker also plans to meet with Mayor Bill White to hear his thoughts on the performance of each city department the various directors.
She’ll be sworn into office on January 4th.