Looking Back and Looking Forward
In 2022, the Analyst’s Office completed 23 policy analyses in a range of topic areas, including vaccine distribution; law enforcement operations; jury management; homelessness; pandemic funding to educational institutions; and various other issues relating to Harris County.
The Analyst’s Office also saw its role evolve and expand through ten technical assistance projects. Technical assistance projects ranged from providing support to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in determining protocols and procedures for mid-year budget adjustments, to sitting on three Requests for Proposals (RFP) committees. The Analyst’s Office’s first annual satisfaction survey, released in December 2022, showed that 85% of our technical assistance partners reported a positive experience working with the Analyst’s Office team.
We are thrilled that the Analyst’s Office work was reported by County partners to support the creation of new programs and procedures, quantifying costs, and applying for grants, according to the annual satisfaction survey.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the great team members we work with, and in 2022, the Analyst’s Office was thrilled to welcome two new team members as well as celebrate the promotion of two others. Jess Mahana, who previously worked at Harris County Public Health, and Aresha Davwa, formerly with the Harris County Judge’s Office and a recent graduate from Rice University’s Master of Social Policy Evaluation program, joined the Analyst’s Office in summer 2022. Additionally, two dedicated interns from the University of Houston, Andy Marks (Spring ’22) and Nimra Shahzad (Summer ’22), supported our office. And finally, the Analyst’s Office congratulated Will Janowski on his promotion to Senior Analyst-Data Lead and Rochelle Ramnarine on her promotion to Senior Administrative Coordinator.
Read on for some achievements our office is particularly proud of.
- In April 2022, the Analyst’s Office released an analysis of the impact of fraudulent temporary license tags to the County, both in terms of crime and lost revenue. The assessment found that from FY2016 to FY2021, the issuance and use of fraudulent temporary tags may have accounted for more than $80 million in cumulative potential lost revenue to the County. County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Commissioner Precinct Two, Adrian Garcia, held a press conference to discuss the results of the report and the analysis was covered in the Houston Chronicle. Read more on our blog here.
- Also in April 2022, the Analyst’s Office completed an assessment on Jury Management Operations in 12 jurisdictions pertaining to implementation of an electronic jury management system; use of postcard summons instead of paper summons; and establishment of an outreach program highlighting jury service. Findings from the analysis were shared with the Harris County Jury Committee by the District Clerk’s Office.
- The Analyst’s Office’s cost assessment of County services for an individual experiencing homelessness, an update to the 2020 report, was released in May 2022. The memo found that in FY2021, the maximum utilization cost to Harris County is $126,132 for an individual 18 years and older experiencing homelessness and $116,205 for an individual under 18 years experiencing homelessness. The Veterans Services Department used the assessment to refine their data collection methods in their efforts to actively decrease homelessness among the veteran population in Harris County. Read more on our blog here.
- In July 2022, we released the Analysis of Aligned Services Provided by Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and City of Houston Health Department (HHD) which identified 13 areas of potential alignment between Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and City of Houston Health Department (HHD) and engaged 31 staff members from the two departments over two and a half years.
- The Analyst’s Office completed the assessment of attrition for ten Harris County departments from FY2014 through FY2022. The analysis found that attrition rates in FY2022 were highest for Public Health Services at 30.4% and lowest for Flood Control, at 10.2%. The report was transmitted during the August 2, 2022, Commissioners Court.
- In September and October 2022, the Analyst’s Office produced two memos on the Monkeypox virus outbreak in Harris County. The memos were transmitted during the September 27 and October 25, 2022, Commissioners Courts, respectively, and provided data on Monkeypox cases and vaccine distribution.
- In October 2022, the Analyst’s Office compiled economic indicators for the first Harris County at a Glance comparison report. The report compares economic indicators for six counties (three in Texas and three outside of Texas) to economic indicators for Harris County.
- In January 2022, the Office of County Administration appointed the County’s first Director of the Office of Sustainability to spearhead the County Climate Action Plan. The creation of the Office of Sustainability was previously supported by an assessment of Climate Action Plans in jurisdictions around the country completed by the Analyst’s Office in February 2021. In September 2022, the Analyst’s Office assisted the Office of Sustainability by collecting information on extreme weather events in the County and descriptive data, which informed Harris County’s first Countywide Climate Action Plan. The Harris County Climate Action Plan was approved during the January 10, 2023, Commissioners Court.
- The Analyst’s Office supported the Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity (DEEO) and the Veterans Services Department (VSD) to develop a policy for doing business with Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns (SDVOSBC) and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) in the County’s procurement process. The Policy was included as a transmittal on the Commissioners Court Agenda and discussed by the commissioners during the March 22, 2022, Commissioners Court.
- In November 2022, the Analyst’s Office conducted research on Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from other jurisdictions pertaining to construction of middle mile broadband fiber and commonly used criteria for the evaluation of RFPs. The Harris County Office of Broadband is using the Analyst’s Office’s research to inform the development of a County RFP for vendor solicitations in fulfillment of the federal Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, which is expected to be released in early-2023.
- The Analyst’s Office closed out the year by providing bill analyses for Harris County’s Legislative Priorities’ Agenda for the Department of Intergovernmental & Global Affairs (IGA) in preparation for the 88th Texas Legislative Session in 2023.
As we reflect on our achievements in 2022, the Analyst’s Office will continue to publish policy analyses and work with County partners on technical assistance projects and their implementation. As our office’s role evolves and expands, we also plan to use results from the first ever annual Analyst’s Office Survey to enhance our products and better serve our partners. Finally, we look forward to increasing engagement with our audiences, both within the County and the public, through use of visualizations and interactive dashboards and through our website, blog, email distribution, and social media.