Posts Tagged ‘John Sharp’

Texas A&M students form group to oppose outsourcing at the university

Posted on: April 12th, 2012 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

Texas A&M University (Photo: Flickr/sarowen)

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp is looking to save money through outsourcing, and a group of Texas A&M University students plan to rally the student body in opposition.

The Texas Tribune reports that Sharp is seeking bidders to outsource food services, janitorial services, building maintenance and landscaping. Those four services currently comprise 1,880 employees with an annual budget of $92.3 million.

This has caused a stir among faculty and staff. According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, the Texas A&M Faculty Senate is in unanimous opposition to the plan. The body passed a resolution that states the senate opposes “the move to outsource Texas A&M services without the due diligence of shared governance.” During a town hall meeting with Sharp, staff members shared their concerns about the possibility of losing their jobs.

“There hasn’t been a strong student voice in the matter,” said Valery Owen, one of the organizers of the student protest. “These are services that directly affect the students, and we should have a say in what happens. In addition, one of the main reasons given for the potential outsourcing is to help the students by keeping tuition low, so the students should certainly have a say in what is decided.”

The group says that the university administration has pursued the changes under the guise of keeping tuition low for students, but they take issue with using students as an excuse to make changes they say will have negative impacts. “Human beings are not expendable,” said Owen. “The people whose jobs are being jeopardized are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. Although we believe that keeping tuition low should be a priority, it should not be at the expense of loyal employees, many of which are making relatively low wages.”

“One major goal of the student protest is to show the administration that there are plenty of students who oppose outsourcing,” said Owen. The group hopes that it raises awareness and support among students who may not have known about this situation otherwise. “We also want the people whose jobs are being affected by the potential outsourcing to know that there are students who stand behind them and care more about human beings than money.”

Using social media and other online tools has been part of the group’s strategy to raise awareness. A Facebook event page has been created to inform students of the protest, and 74 people have confirmed their plans to attend a protest today. The group will meet at the Sul Ross statue in Academic Plaza at 4:30 pm, and participants are encouraged to bring signs. An online petition at Change.org has attracted more than 170 signatures from those who oppose the administration’s outsourcing plan. “No matter what the turnout is like, the petition and protest together is evidence that the students are not unanimously supportive of outsourcing,” said Owen. “We are hoping media coverage will make even more people aware of outsourcing, and the effect it would have on so many people’s lives.”

Terrance Edmond, a student senator, told the Texas Independent that the long term effects of outsourcing will be an excessive turnover rate for employees working under contractual terms. “While numerically, outsourcing may allow the A&M system to shift cost, high turnover rate among potential employees will inevitably reduce quality,” said Edmond.

”Most employees that have worked for Texas A&M University for ten plus years have not done so for their salary,” said Edmond. “Many of the employees maintain job stability for the sake of organizational connection, benefits, and the assurance of working for a public institution. Even if these very benefits were mirror imaged into the private companies’ plan, the conditions by which the benefits are executed will change due to operational differences. Long-term, you will have a Texas A&M University that is no longer an institution, but an operation.”

To back up their claims, the group points to a report by the Association of College Unions International that examines how outsourcing affects the university culture as a whole. According to the report, potential downsides of outsourcing include “loss of institutional control of the outsourced area, human resource problems, and campus exposure to additional risks such as bankruptcy or the sale of a company.” The report concludes that “Outsourcing is not conclusively helpful or harmful to campus climate.”

Top Stories Photo Credit: Flickr/oneservant2go

Perry ally Kimbrough abruptly fired by new Texas A&M Chancellor Sharp

Posted on: September 22nd, 2011 by Teddy Wilson 2 Comments

An email from new chancellor John Sharp Wednesday, surprised A&M System office employees with the news that Sharp’s predecessor, the number-two man in the system, was being fired:

Subject: Deputy Chancellor

I have decided that the position of Deputy Chancellor is not necessary to meet the needs of the Office of the Chancellor and The Texas A&M University System. (more…)

New A&M chancellor Sharp, praised for crossover appeal, has deep ties to Perry allies

Posted on: August 19th, 2011 by Teddy Wilson No Comments

As The Texas Independent reported earlier this week, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents voted unanimously to name former Texas Comptroller John Sharp as its sole finalist for Texas A&M University System Chancellor, a job he can start in less than three weeks. (more…)

GOP U.S. Senate candidates address tea partiers in Houston

Posted on: June 24th, 2011 by Mary Tuma No Comments

In the first of a series of forums hosted by tea partiers across Texas, six U.S. GOP Senate candidates vying to win the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kay Bailey Hutchison fielded questions – ranging from entitlement reform to whether or not a mosque should be built at Ground Zero –from a panel of conservative activists Thursday evening. (more…)

GOP U.S. Senate candidates to participate in series of tea party-led forums, organizer says

Posted on: June 10th, 2011 by Patrick Brendel 1 Comment

Nearly all of the GOP candidates for U.S. Senate have agreed to subject themselves to tea partiers’ scrutiny during a series of six candidate forums being organized by local conservative groups across Texas.

Spearheaded by Austin-based New Revolution Now (NRN), the “Tour of Texas Senatorial Forums” kicks off June 23 at the northwest Houston headquarters of King Street Patriots (KSP), and wraps up in Tyler on Oct. 22.

“They’re going to get questions they’re not going to get from the media and from the establishment,” said NRN’s Dean Wright.

“It’ll maybe make them a little uncomfortable. That’s kind of what we want to do. We want to make them think, to really challenge them,” he said.

Republicans Glenn Addison, Elizabeth Ames-Jones, Andrew Castanuela, Ted Cruz and Lela Pittenger have said they will participate in all six events — each of which is being managed by local conservative/tea party groups — while Tom Leppert has committed to three of the forums thus far, not including the Houston one, Wright said.

The only GOP candidate who hasn’t given a commitment is Roger Williams, he said: “They’re looking at the dates.”

Michael Williams is also on the list of GOP candidates, but has been looking at switching over to a campaign for U.S. House instead, according to news reports.

NRN has identified three potential Democratic candidates as well, Sean Hubbard, Ricardo Sanchez and John Sharp, none of which have responded to invitations, Wright said. He added that he had had trouble locating contact information for Sanchez.

KSP has drawn legal action and ethics complaints for hosting events featuring GOP candidates without extending invitations to Democratic or Libertarian opponents, as the Texas Independent has previously reported.

After the June 23 event in Houston, the San Antonio Tea Party will host a forum July 9 in San Antonio; the Austin Tea Party will host a forum July 30 in Austin; the Waco Tea Party will host a forum Aug. 13 in Waco; the Texas Tea Party Alliance and NE Tarrant Tea Party will host a forum Oct. 1 in Plano; and the East Texas Constitutional Alliance will host the final forum Oct. 22 in Tyler.

The capacity of the venues ranges from 200 to 700 attendees, and there are plans to broadcast the forums on the radio and over the Web, Wright said.

He said the format of the forums will vary depending on the hosting organization, but generally each candidate will field questions from a conservative panel posed by attendees and the panelists themselves. Each forum is expected to last about two hours.

“Each candidate will get different questions as we go through. It won’t be a debate format,” Wright said. “If it’s any kind of debate, it’s a debate with the grassroots and the panel members, as opposed to between the candidates themselves.”

While each event will have a “different flavor,” initial plans are to have four panelists from the grassroots groups and partnering organizations, such as the Liberty Institute and Americans for Prosperity.

“At the end of each forum, we’ll have a straw poll. We’ll be announcing the straw poll results soon after the forum ends, probably the next day. At the end of all the forums, we’ll combine the results,” he said.

The precise wording of the straw poll question hasn’t been decided yet, but it will be along the lines of, “Because of the answers they gave, who would you vote for today?” Wright said.

He said the groups are partnering to host the series featuring the U.S. Senate race in particular because it’s the biggest statewide office up for grabs in 2012. He said the local tea party groups have their own plans for downballot races.

“They’ll not only be vetting candidates but also putting forth candidates. There’s a huge movement going on right now to replace incumbents, some incumbents, that are in the Texas House and/or Senate,” he said. “You’re going to be seeing new grassroots candidates popping up and running against those incumbents that didn’t really meet the test of the tea party groups this time around.”

The Texas Independent recently reported on a conference call among conservative activists, as they prepared to lay the groundwork for efforts to replace GOP incumbents with more conservative candidates.

Regarding the U.S. Senate forum series, Wright said, “This is a collaborative effort among different tea parties around the state, and it’s real important for the grassroots to get involved. It’s an opportunity for the conservative grassroots to get involved, and as it looks right now, they’re pretty excited about it.”

Republicans lead multiple match-ups for 2012 Texas Senate seat

Posted on: January 18th, 2011 by Patrick Caldwell 4 Comments

The candidates are just beginning to position themselves, but a new survey from Public Policy Polling indicates that no matter which Republican wins the party’s nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2012, the GOP is likely to maintain the seat.

A poll conducted between Jan. 14-16 examined four possible Republicans and three potential Democratic candidates, creating 12 different possible match-ups for the 2012 Senate race. In each instance, the Republican candidate won the outcome, and not just by a slim margin, but a double-digit advantage in every possible race.

The four Republicans included in the poll were: Lt. Gov David Dewhurst, Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and two members of the Texas Railroad Commission, Michael Williams and Elizabeth Ames Jones. On the Democratic side, PPP included former Comptroller John Sharp, former Rep. Chet Edwards and San Antonio Mayor Castro.

Dewhurst performs strongest of all potential candidates, beating Sharp by 18 points, Edwards by 19 percent and Julian Castro by a dominating 28-percent margin.

But as PPP’s Tom Jensen notes, it is still very early in the campaign, with all of the possible candidates holding low name recognition among Texas voters:

Only Dewhurst, who 62% of voters have an opinion about, surpasses 50% in name recognition. 54% of voters don’t know enough about Edwards to have formed an opinion about him and that rises steadily to 58% for Sharp, 63% for Leppert, 65% for Castro, and 72% for Williams and Jones. If there’s a ray of hope for Democrats it’s that they’ll get a candidate into the race who’s currently not very well known but who really catches fire and somehow proves to be more appealing to voters than the eventual Republican nominee.

TX: Sharp’s U.S. Senate bid still alive, just on hold

Posted on: July 29th, 2010 by Patrick Brendel No Comments

Democrat John Sharp’s bid for the U.S. Senate is still very much alive–it’s just on hold for awhile, the former Texas Comptroller said today, in response to a Texas Independent story published Monday.

Sharp said his campaign sent out a news release in April — shortly after incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison said she would stay in the U.S. Senate through 2012 — giving word that his campaign was going to hibernation mode, refunding donors’ contributions and personal loans and shutting down the campaign’s website.

With Hutchison not vacating the seat, and no special election on the near horizon, Sharp said, “It makes no sense to keep that stuff open, especially when you have all these campaigns going on, and people aren’t paying attention to it.”

Sharp said he would revive the active outreach part of his campaign “when the time comes.”

(Photo: Facebook/John Sharp for U.S. Senate)

Democrat John Sharp appears to have shut down potential U.S. Senate bid

Posted on: July 26th, 2010 by Patrick Brendel 3 Comments

John SharpFormer Texas Comptroller John Sharp appears to have pulled the plug on his potential bid for U.S. Senate, emptying his campaign account and taking his campaign website offline. (more…)