Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Finance Committee Meeting

Nov. 1, 2006

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 1st day of November, 2006, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:





COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Good morning. The meeting is called to order. Before proceeding with any business, Mr. Cook, do you have a statement to make?

MR. COOK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

A public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed with the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 of the Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act.

I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.


And one other important announcement I have today before we get started with the Finance Committee, everybody's staring at their new ‑‑


COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: — laptops, I guess. This may ‑‑ it'll either go a lot faster or a lot slower today. I'm not sure which.

But I think an important announcement, I'm really happy to announce this. I've asked Commissioner Friedkin to take over as Chairman of the Regulations Committee, and in keeping with the succession, I think it's a good idea to take advantage of Dan's unique experience and insight into hunting and fishing. And good luck. I can tell you ‑‑


COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: ‑‑ it's an interesting and challenging area. I've enjoyed it and I know you're going to have the support of all your fellow Commissioners. And see if you can keep regulations as ‑‑ shorter than Finance. Is that possible?

And with that, we'll turn over to Ned Holmes, as Chair of Finance.


The first item is approval of the previous meeting minutes.



COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Moved and seconded. Discussion?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: All those in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)


The first item is the Land and Water Plan Update. Mr. Cook.

MR. COOK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Well, the first item, let's just touch on this machinery in front of you here. And as all of you are much more capable at this than I, but just in case, I have Ryan and Arnie. Arnie's sitting right here, readily available for me, and I will even loan them to you. All you need to do is just wave your hand at him in case you do something like I would do, you know, exit out of the screen, or whatever it is. So we would appreciate your feedback on this system, and obviously it will take us a while to get totally into it, but I believe these folks have worked up a great system for you, and one that will save us many, many trees, and we'll continue to try to move forward.

Another item that I wanted to tell you about. Yesterday we met with the state ‑‑ with representatives from the State Auditor's Office, and as I had mentioned to you earlier, they're beginning an audit on our state park system in November to determine whether current budget projections and deferred maintenance costs for parks are reasonable and supportive. They will also review how we allocate resources in the state park budgeting process, and we talked about that some yesterday. You know, the discussion ‑‑ you know, centered around, well, do you allocate based on number of visitors, or what, you know. And so we had a brief discussion about that yesterday.

They will review to determine if we have a systematic process of review to manage our inventory of state parks for decision making, and they're starting immediately. We're setting up a couple of three office spaces for them out here. We expect a team of five to seven auditors to be in place almost daily here, and will be doing some visits to the state parks, to various parks around to show them exactly what we're talking about in some cases. They told us yesterday that they anticipate having a final report done on this in February of '07. And that will be one of the miracles of time if we get that accomplished.

Our internal audit shop, as you may recall, also Dennis O'Neal, recently issued a report on State ‑‑ on our state parks revenue systems. The state auditors plan to coordinate that work with theirs to avoid duplication of audit effort, so we're working very closely with them on that particular issue.

Thank you, sir.


Any questions for Mr. Cook?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: The next item is the Legislative Preview and Update. Mary Fields.

MS. FIELDS: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Mary Fields, Chief Financial Officer, and I'm here to present a legislative preview and update for the 80th Texas Legislature.

I'll start off with just an update of where we are in the appropriations process. As you'll recall from the last Commission meeting, I briefed the Commission on our LAR that we submitted August 18th. On September 11th, in a Joint Budget Hearing that is called by the Governor's Office, and the Legislative Budget Board, or the LBB, we briefed staff from both of those offices, along with staff from the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker's offices. At that hearing, we presented a high level overview of the LAR, we reviewed our exceptional items, and responded to just a couple of questions from staff.

On September 26th, we invited legislators and their staff to the Capitol to attend a legislative awareness meeting. There were about 30 people in attendance at that meeting. Walt Dabney presented his presentation on state parks and Mr. Cook went over our exceptional items. And that meeting, I think, went fairly well.

On October 9th we briefed members of the Senate Finance Committee. The Committee holds this hearing before the session, basically to get a jump start on understanding issues for the various state agencies. Chairman Fitzsimons provided opening comments and Mr. Cook reviewed our LAR and exceptional items at that hearing. Commissioner Parker was also in attendance and he responded to some questions. The members did have several questions at that hearing, primarily related to health and safety issues at state parks, and there were also questions about the cost increases at the East Texas Fish Hatchery. So that kind of gives you an overview of that hearing.

We'll continue to brief legislators in the interim, as we have been. Right now several are focused on the elections, so we'll pick back up basically in mid-November and carry on through.

The Session starts, as you know, on January 9th, and in late January or early February, the General Government Subcommittee of House Appropriations will have their hearing, and there'll be another hearing for the Senate Finance Committee. I think probably the best thing to do is just at the next Commission meeting, tell you where we're at with those hearings and we'll carry on through the appropriations process, just to keep you informed on what's going on.

I'd also like to give you an update on where we are in the process for developing other legislation that's important to our agency. From September through November, staff have been developing legislative issues, and there are numerous issues that have been identified. From the time frame through ‑‑ from November through January, we'll select some of those key issues, develop the legislation, and identify sponsors.

As you can see on the various dates up there, November 13th is the first day to file bills. I think most of our bills will be filed probably at the beginning of the session, which, as I mentioned, is on the 9th. We do have 60 days to file bills, so the deadline for filing will be March 9th. The last day of the session is the 28th of May, and finally, on June 17th, that's the last day for the Governor, basically, to sign or veto the bills. So that's kind of the process.

Some of the issues that we're looking at, we wanted to limit them to roughly five or six key issues that will move into ‑‑ legislation will develop. We do have some license issues, and as Dr. McKinney has discussed in prior meetings, we'd like to simplify some of our licenses. And there may be some statutory changes required for that simplification that we'll need to address.

And the Department is also monitoring and actively working with federal fisheries agencies right now to implement aspects of the currently proposed federal reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevenson Fisheries Management Act. Basically the Feds are wanting to capture information on recreational anglers that are landing fish which are caught in federal waters, and they're considering a federal license, among other things.

So we are ‑‑ what we're looking at is seeking authority to extend our State Saltwater Fishing License to cover fish that are landed in federal waters, so that there would only be one license that would be needed. That's in the event this legislation would pass. And Dr. McKinney is here if there are any further questions on that. That's about the best I can do on that ‑‑ those subject matters.

There are also several accounting-related housekeeping issues that we'd like to address in statute. Most of those relate to where certain funds are deposited in what fund. A good example is our license plate revenues. Right now, all of those plates revenues are deposited in Fund 5004, our capital account. And we'd like to go ahead and have the bluebonnet plate revenue go into the State Parks Fund 64 account, and the horned toad, bass and deer plate revenue go into Fund 9, the Game, Fish, and Water Safety. So there are just some clean-up items like that that we'd like to address in the bill, most of those are accounting related.

Law Enforcement is proposing to amend Chapter 31 of the Water Safety Act, along with the Penal Code. And this deals with driving a vehicle while intoxicated with a child passenger that's younger than 15 years of age. And basically we want to include the operation of a motor boat on that.

And finally, there's several issues that are ‑‑ just need some fine tuning. There's a list from Law Enforcement, a list from Wildlife, and Legal is proposing issues, so we'll be looking at those house cleaning items and may have a kind of consolidated bill on that. And that concludes ‑‑

MR. COOK: I guess I'd just like to add that I think Mary pointed it out correctly that ‑‑ and, of course, we'll be clearing all of ‑‑ anything we're going to go forward with, with the Chairman and the leadership ‑‑ but, you know, we're ‑‑ just about everything that I've seen so far coming up from staff is pretty much clean up, clarification ‑‑ you know, get it in the right spot, take that away, we forgot that last time, that kind of thing.

And my primary thought-process there, or what we're thinking there is that we don't really want to do anything if there's no big problems, and we don't want to do anything to detract from our primary purpose in this session. And that's kind of where we are.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Mr. Holt, you had a question?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I was just asking a question about the federal ‑‑ the fishing license, or is this something they're seriously entertaining? I guess they are, obviously, or we wouldn't be talking about it.

MR. McKINNEY: Commissioner, for the record, I'm Larry McKinney, Director of Coastal Fisheries. Yes, they are. They're looking at several options in the Magnuson-Stevenson Act of trying to collect this information. And what I'm concerned about is, it will ‑‑ it didn't ‑‑ it's come pre-authorization this year. It will come up in the next couple of years. And in all the scenarios that they offer up, as far as how to get this information, a state license that extends into federal waters will substitute for that federal license.

So my big deal is, I don't want our anglers to have to buy two licenses ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That's right by me.

MR. McKINNEY: ‑‑ buy one.


MR. McKINNEY: So they ‑‑ and they'll be covered. And the problem, of course, is that we have to have legislative authorization. We only meet every two years, so we need to have that authority so that we could act ‑‑


MR. McKINNEY: ‑‑ in time so we don't get caught in that last adjustment. So if it doesn't happen, if they don't make that a requirement, we won't go forward with that necessarily, but we want to have that authority to respond.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So then we need to request the authority in this ‑‑

MR. McKINNEY: In this session in order to be ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ Legislative Session, just to have it on the shelf, if need be.

MR. McKINNEY: ‑‑ have it ready to go.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. Would an analogy be how we work with migratory/non-migratory? I mean, you've got nine miles ‑‑ you just had your Texas license, if you're beyond nine miles, you'll have to have some sort of federal stamp or something.

MR. McKINNEY: And not even have to have it, I think we'll be covered. In effect, I don't think the practical implications are much of anything. I don't have the data, but anecdotal, I think just about anybody that fishes off the Texas coast, federal or state, they've got a state license. So the number of people that don't have a state license are really ‑‑ it's not ‑‑ it's minor.


COMMISSIONER HOLMES: If I understood it correctly, Larry, and correct me if I ‑‑ you might be able to amplify this, currently, commercial fisherman that fish in ‑‑

MR. McKINNEY: Recreational too.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: ‑‑ federal waters ‑‑

MR. McKINNEY: Recreational too.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: ‑‑ under current regulations, the commercial fishermen in federal waters have to have a Texas State license to land their fish. But recreational fishermen do not.

MR. McKINNEY: That's correct. Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: And so this would basically equalize that too.

MR. McKINNEY: Equalize it, and make sure that they ‑‑ it helps Law Enforcement as well, obviously, because no matter ‑‑ at that point, no matter where your fish came from, you need that Texas license to have it ‑‑


MR. McKINNEY: ‑‑ come to shore.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: And what it really does is it allows a mechanism to gather data more than anything.

MR. McKINNEY: And that's really what they want. And I understand. And I appreciate the fact they're going to start collecting recreational data for a change.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, now do you foresee a charge for this, a lot like ‑‑

MR. McKINNEY: If it's a ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ stamps, or ‑‑

MR. McKINNEY: ‑‑ separate federal, yes. If it's ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But we get our own, let's say the state ‑‑

MR. McKINNEY: No, it's ‑‑ no, it won't extend our authority ‑‑


MR. McKINNEY: That's one of the reasons I don't want to do it. I don't want an additional charge on ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. That's what I'd worry about too. And this ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And that data's the basis for our share of federal money.

MR. McKINNEY: All kinds of things, and I know, of course, we talked with Law Enforcement, and the fact that we spend so much time on the recreational side of it, and they clearly don't get the apportionment of monies necessary. It's based on commercial right now. We need that recreational in there because we're so highly recreational in this state. They need that credit part.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Dan, you see how everything becomes regulation, no matter what committee we're on.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: One way or another, it always come around, doesn't it?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I was thinking about that.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Any other questions for Mary?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I just want to say that having been there at the Finance Committee, we were, I think, very well received. The members of the Committee had obviously read not only the LAR, but the Montford Commission Report, and they're serious about addressing our needs for state parks. So that was my impression. Tough questions, but serious to the goal.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, also you might be interested in the fact that since that hearing, Senator Ogden, Chairman Ogden, has visited two or three of our state parks, and spent ‑‑ had an extended visit looking in the shop, looking in the bathrooms, looking in the cabins, looking over their equipment, and so ‑‑ and he ‑‑ our impression is that he has been very impressed with the openness and honesty and the information provided.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes, there are ‑‑ I've had several follow-ups with senators, members of the Committee since then, thanking us for doing the work we did with the Montford Commission Report, and I think everybody's pretty clear on there's a need that has to be addressed.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We've seen some feedback about that ‑‑ I got something from somebody that talked about there's some people saying that, you know, we got what we requested last time. Is that coming out of the Legislature, or is that just coming out of the general public, or ‑‑

MR. COOK: We heard that ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I think that's been cleared up.

MR. COOK: ‑‑ back in the summer ‑‑


MR. COOK: ‑‑ a couple, three times, and we immediately put the numbers together and started showing those numbers around a little bit ‑‑


MR. COOK: ‑‑ just one-on-one basis, and we haven't heard it in the last 45 to 60 days.


COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes. That answer's been ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So that was just a misunderstanding or whatever.


MS. FIELDS: Thank you.



COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Employee Performance Evaluation System. Al Bingham.

MR. BINGHAM: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Al Bingham. I'm the Human Resources Division Director. And it's always my pleasure to give you some updates on our other critical natural resource.

Over this past summer, the Human Resources Division staff undertook a project to redesign our performance management system. And today I want to brief you on some of the tweaks that have been made to the system that are going to be effective for this current evaluation period.

I want to give you a little background about performance management here at Parks and Wildlife, to include our business case for making some of the changes, and what our new approach is going to be. Before we started making changes to the system, obviously we consulted with the executive management, and it was important for us to get agency-wide input. So I'm going to talk briefly about that redesign process, and then introduce you to the TPWD critical job competencies, and some other significant changes to the system.

When we talk performance management, what we're really talking about are those actions, management actions, taken to ensure employees perform in a manner that ensures successful organizational outcomes. We are required ‑‑ there's a provision in the Wildlife Code that the agency will provide for a system of annual performance evaluations.

This next slide provides an overview of our performance management model. It's a pretty standard model, five phases. I draw your attention to that center circle, job descriptions. All of our jobs in the agency exist in support of higher level organizational goals. As I said, it's a five-phase process. Performance Planning, again, in this phase, our supervisors provide clarification on job duties, they set expectations. The next phase is ongoing feedback. It continues throughout the evaluation period. We expect, again, that our supervisors and managers will provide appropriate feedback to their staff on how they're doing, recognize good performance, confront poor performance. Employee input, again, this occurs throughout the process. We want to know how employees feel about how they're doing from their perspective, what their successes are, what their barriers to success are. The evaluation, performance evaluation piece, is where the supervisor formally assesses the employee's performance against the standards that were set during the planning phase. And then the performance review phase, is just the formal sit down where the supervisor or manager discusses the ratings with the employee.

This whole process basically is just to facilitate communication between the supervisor and staff. The most important part of this whole thing is the ongoing feedback. Again, it breaks down. When we get to the performance review stage, there should be no surprises. We always tell our supervisors and employees there should be no surprises at this point.

When we looked at the system, and specifically the evaluation piece, our business needs were for a more uniformed evaluation system. As you know, we have eleven functional divisions, and when we looked at it, it seemed that each one of those divisions were evaluating employees on something different. So we want more uniformity, or standardization.

We also wanted there to be more focus on those performance behaviors that truly have the greatest impact on overall organizational success. We want the system to be in tune with the culture, the strategic direction, and where possible, we always want to simplify the process.

So we felt our solution was to move from the task-based performance model that we were using where our employees are basically evaluated on the functional tasks associated with their job, and incorporate a competency model approach, where employees are evaluated on common behaviors that we believe lead to improved overall performance.

So what is the competency? When you talk about competency, or being competent, that means different things to different folks. From our perspective, when we talk competency, what we're looking at are those specific behaviors, skills, knowledge, or mind-sets that are causally related to superior performance in a job situation and result in successful outcomes.

Competencies may be gained in a variety of ways, whether it's life experience, formal education, on the job experience, or formal training and education. So as part of this redesigned process, we looked to identify a discrete set of competencies, five, ten, 15 or so, that are specific to Parks and Wildlife, unique to our culture and values, and that could be applied across all agency positions.

So what did we do? When we were considering the changes, there were two important factors to consider. Number one, we wanted agency-wide input on any proposed changes, and, two, we wanted the changes to be supported by good business practices. We conducted a series of one-on-one interviews with the assistance of an outside consulting firm, with Mr. Cook and the other executives. We had a series of focus meetings with our line managers and staff, both in the headquarters and out in the field. We had an agency-wide survey. We sent out an e-mail survey to over 2,300 employees, and we had an amazing response rate, 54 percent response rate. And in this whole series, what we asked ‑‑ we asked questions, what did you like about the existing system, what would you change, but the key question that we asked was, you know, when you think about your outstanding performers, what do they do different than the average performers, what do they do different? So as we did that, certain things began to bubble up in all the groups that we surveyed.

We also benchmarked comparable agencies through our outside consulting firm. We got information about the best practices of both public and private sector organizations. And at the end of the day, we ended up with 10 job competencies that were identified as being critical to both individual success and the overall agency success.

The six competencies listed here, Mission Focus, Integrity, Service Focus, Effective Communication, Team Work and Continuous Learning, these are considered the core competencies, and these competencies are applicable to all agency positions, regardless of level in the organization. So whether you're a game warden or a staff accountant, or a budget analyst, or a wildlife biologist, all these core competencies apply to those positions, and all employees will be evaluated on these core competencies. Each of these competencies have been defined, and we've also put a great amount of work into establishing what we call behavioral indicators, or anchors, that describe the various levels of performance.

The second set here identify the leadership competencies. The leadership competencies are applicable to our managers, supervisors and team leaders. Again, setting direction, ensuring accountability, coaching and feedback, and making optimized decisions. So our leadership will be evaluated on both the core competencies as well as these leadership competencies.

We feel that this approach offers several important benefits to the agency. The most important benefit I see is that it provides a way for us to establish some uniformity in the system, some standardization, if you will. Again, all employees will be evaluated on the core competencies, and then all leaders, managers, or supervisors, and team leaders, will be evaluated on the core and the leadership competencies.

Some other changes that have been made to the system. Of course, the incorporation of the competencies was the most significant change, but there are a couple of other changes I just want to touch on. Beginning this cycle, all Employee Performance Plans are to be linked to specific agency, division, or program goals.

Our premise here is that, again, all agency positions exist in support of higher level department goals. Again, whether it's the Land and Water Plan goals, or the goals that are established in the Natural Agenda. And we think that employee performance is enhanced when they know how their efforts contribute to the overall success of the agency. So, again, on the Plan, as well as on the Evaluation, we're expecting our supervisors and managers to identify those goals that that position supports.

Just another quick change. We have separate forms for the Performance Planning, and Performance Evaluation. In our existing system, we have a single form that was supposed to cover both. That caused more problems than it was worth. So, again, separate forms for Performance Planning and Performance Evaluation.

These changes that I've described will be effective this evaluation period, the FY '07 evaluation period. At this time, many supervisors are completing their '06 evaluations in our existing system. We are scheduling trips around the state to orient our managers and employees on the new system and incorporation of the competencies, with the idea that plans will be in place by January 1st incorporating the new competencies. Again, they will be evaluated the next cycle.

And with that, I'm available to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Any questions for Al?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Al, I'm glad you added that last piece about going around the state and teaching everybody how to ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, it'll take a while.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: ‑‑ work this plan. It sounds like a great plan, but the proof will be in how it's actually implemented in the field.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You involved quite a few people ‑‑

MR. BINGHAM: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ as you put the plan together.

MR. BINGHAM: Yes, sir.


MR. BINGHAM: It was important for us to say, well, this is not just an HR plan ‑‑


MR. BINGHAM: ‑‑ something that ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Comes down from ‑‑



MR. BINGHAM: Exactly.


MR. COOK: We even involved Dr. McKinney.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: He didn't want to be involved, but he's involved.

MR. COOK: Sometimes we leave him out.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, it does look good.

MR. BINGHAM: It's a good plan. It's a great plan.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Everything works by corrects.


Non-Profit Partner Rules. Ann Bright.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel, and I'm here to talk about our non-profit partners. The Parks and Wildlife Code authorizes the agency to select and cooperate with non-profit partners, and authorizes the Commission to designate an official non-profit partner. I think you all know that's the Foundation, the Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

Parks and Wildlife also requires the Commission to adopt rules about best practices for these non-profit partners, standards and safeguards for accounting for assets held by a non-profit partner ‑‑ and I should point out that we don't do that, but if we did, and our rules that I'm going to go over in a minute, basically say we aren't ‑‑ that's not going to happen ‑‑ and guidelines for the official non-profit partners, solicitation and acceptance of sponsorships.

There's also a provision in the Government Code that would apply to us that also requires that the agency adopt rules about the relationship between the agency and donor organizations, or donors. And I think you all know that non-profit partners really do provide a vital service for our agency.

The draft rules, in trying to organize these, we basically separated our non-profit partners into three types. One is the official non-profit partner, the Foundation. The others are closely related non-profit partners, and those are our friends groups. These are organizations that exist to support a specific facility or a program. And then there are general non-profit partners. It's my understanding that during the Sunset process, one of the desires that was expressed by the Legislature was that we have a comprehensive list of all non-profit partners that we cooperate with in any way. So that would include someone that we have ‑‑ or an organization that we have an agreement with, or an organization that provides a representative to an advisory committee. And as we go through these ‑‑ in coming up with these rules, the restrictions, or the requirements, are going to be more restrictive for the official non-profit partner, and the closely related non-profit partners, because they're actually representing the agency in many ways. The general non-profit partners, those kinds of requirements are pretty much just things that they would have to anyway, things like they have to be incorporated, that sort of thing.

We ‑‑ because we're required to adopt best practices and to try organize these, we divided them into several categories. General best practices, and those are just simple things like they have to be properly incorporated, and then for the official non-profit partners and the closely related non-profit partners, things like they need to file certain financial statements and certain documents with the agency.

Best practices regarding officers and directors. One of the things in the Parks and Wildlife Code is that all officers and directors, or at least all organizations, have to have access to, or be provided with our Land and Water Plan, which is a thing that we want to make sure happens. And then we also have some requirements about dealings between officers and directors in the organization. And a lot of these are, again, just sort of general best practices in terms of managing a non-profit.

We also are recommending some best practices regarding fund raising and sponsorship, and those are very closely tied. And our main focus there is to make sure that if an entity is raising funds on behalf of the agency, that they're coordinating with the agency, and if there's some sponsorship recognition, that we know about it and are agreeable to it.

And there's some other things, just ‑‑ and these are really just sort of the clean-up items ‑‑ the criteria, and general requirements, and the department procedures, for example, pointing out that all donations over $500 have to be approved by the Commission.

I should also point out that we're going to be continuing to work with our closely related non-profit partners and the official non-profit partners on these rules before we send them to the Texas Register, if we're given authorization to publish these. We've got probably a month or so, and we want to make sure that the requirements that we're imposing, that there's nothing we're missing.

And one of the things, for example, in your package it talks about transactions between officers and directors in the organization. We don't want to ‑‑ the document in your package actually says there should be no transactions. And actually, we don't want to prohibit that. If an officer or director wants to make a large donation, we want to make sure that that's not prohibited. So there are things like that that we're going to continue to tweak these.

And then staff is recommending that these be published in the Texas Register for public comment, and then we will come back to you in January. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Any questions for Ann?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: If not, I'll authorize staff to publish this out of the Texas Register for the required public comment period.

Item Number 5, Proposed Artwork. Frances Stiles.

MS. STILES: Good morning. My name is Frances Stiles. I'm with the Administrative Resources Division. We're here today to present the artwork for this next year's print program and stamp ‑‑ collector's stamp edition. Under the terms of the contract with Collectors Covey, the Commission reviews the artwork each year for approval. The collector's stamps are composed and then offered to the public for sale, and Parks and Wildlife does receive a portion of the prints sales back as revenue.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Where do I find it? Is it on the screen somewhere, or just look up here. Maybe I ‑‑


COMMISSIONER HOLMES: All right. Here we go.

MS. STILES: All right. With me is Mr. Martin Wood from Collector's Covey to present this year's artwork.

MR. WOOD: Gentlemen. Let me go over the present art that we're presenting. Behind you on your right or left ‑‑ the Wood Duck painting, of course, is the Migratory Bird Stamp for ‑‑ it's the proposed Migratory Bird Stamp for 2007. It was done by Bruce Miller who lives in Minnesota. Bruce won the Federal Duck Stamp competition in 1993. This is the first time he's done anything for us in our Duck Stamp Program. In keeping with ‑‑ while we have not always used former Federal Duck Stamp winners, that sure seems to be ‑‑ for the Duck Stamp ‑‑ or the Migratory Duck Stamp, that sure seems to be the logical place to start, because all the dealers in the state are familiar with the name. And this is almost as much an autograph business as it is an art business. A mediocre David Maass painting would probably create more interest than a great painting by an unknown artist. I didn't make those rules, but those are the rules that the industry goes by. Anyway, that's the Migratory Bird stamp.

The Upland Game Bird stamp is obviously Scale Quail, by Eldridge Hardie. Eldridge has done several stamps for us in the past. He did the '92 Quail stamp print when it was a fund-raising print for Quail Unlimited before that was set aside by the changing of the Turkey Stamp to the Upland Stamp. He also did the Quail in 2002 under the same conditions. In '89 he did the Turkey Stamp that later became the Texas Turkey Stamp print, and he also did the 2004 Turkey Stamp print, which was done for the Department.

John, that is generally the position ‑‑ we did that for you, because that's generally the position that you shoot them in. And we do ‑‑ knew you'd appreciate a good standing ‑‑


MR. WOOD: The Saltwater Stamp is by David Drinkard. This is the second time that we've done a snook ‑‑ no, I take that back. This is the first time that the Department has done a snook, the second time the GCCH stamp and print was a snook many, many years ago, when we were publishing that stamp. David Drinkard is also very familiar with the Texas stamp print programs. He did the '94 Turkey stamp, the '95 Quail, obviously before it was an Upland Stamp, he did the '96 non-game Cardinals, and he did the '98 saltwater of a Trout. David lives in Beaumont.

Over the years we have received some criticism from local artists who inquire about doing a stamp print program ‑‑ doing one of the stamp print programs for us. Invariably, those people that are calling, when questioned, will say they've never entered a Duck Stamp contest, they just thought this would be fun thing to do, and well, you should only use Texas artists.

Well, this program, whatever condition it's in now itself, it would be non-existent. No state has enough artists to sustain an ongoing stamp print program, and that's been proven by many states, such as Louisiana and Minnesota, who now sell less than 300 Duck Stamp ‑‑ State Duck Stamp prints, because even Minnesota, with all the artists up there, and they have 10 artists for every one we have that's a wildlife artist, they just can't sustain the interest. But over the years, we have used ‑‑ and I'm not current on it ‑‑ but the statistics are we've used more Texas artists, more than half of the art that's been known for us has been done by Texas artists.

The Non-Game is a Red Tailed Hawk by Jim Hautman, who's also a Minnesota artist. Jim has won the Federal Duck Stamp three times, he's done several Duck Stamp prints for us over the years, and other stamp prints. And I don't ‑‑ he's done three ‑‑ I don't have any information ‑‑ he has won three Federal Duck Stamp prints. That ought to be ‑‑ that's enough. But he's also done at least three Texas Water Fowl Stamps for us, several Non-Game Stamps, and, you know, he's probably the most famous of all the Duck Stamp-style artists in the country. He and his three brothers, all of whom have done things for us, have won the Federal Duck Stamp print seven times in the last 15 or 18 years. You know, they almost have a lock on ‑‑ in fact, his brother Joe placed second this year.

And the last one is by Mark Susinno, who is unquestionably the best freshwater fish painter in the country. He did our first freshwater stamp of the Large Mouth Bass ‑‑ and that, of course, is the Small Mouth taking a fly ‑‑ and I can tell you what he's done of for but it's ‑‑ oh, here's Hautman. He's done the '93 Texas, the '97 Texas, the '98 Turkey, the '99 Non-Game, and the 2006 Upland Game stamp of the Quail last year.

Susinno had done ‑‑ I've got way too many papers here ‑‑ this is impressive, I know ‑‑ he did the 1994 Saltwater Stamp, the 2003 Saltwater Stamp, and the 2004 first Freshwater Stamp of the Large Mouth Bass.

And that's the line-up for this year. If you have any questions, I'd be glad to try to answer them.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I guess one question I just have, I notice your income revenue is off for '06 relative to '05. Is there any ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Right. And it'll be off next year to ‑‑ if you're fiscal ‑‑ we look at that as '05 ‑‑


MR. WOOD: ‑‑ but you're fiscal '06, and it'll be off next year, that's just the nature of these stamp print programs.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: They're off on ‑‑

MR. WOOD: There's ‑‑ oh, yes, all of the nationwide ‑‑ ours fall less, and ours ‑‑ you know, the State of Texas has made ‑‑ I mean, clearly I don't have access, but twice as much money on their stamp print program than any other state, period. There's now 26 Duck Stamp prints. It would take a wall that big to display them all. There are still over 1,000 people that buy them. Ninety-eight percent ‑‑ 99 percent of those are bought matching numbers. You know, people buy their number every year.

And obviously there's some attrition and there's just not a lot of hope, unfortunately, that someone's going to come along 26 years into the program, 1) not know about it, if they have interest in, you know, the things we love, and, 2) oh, I'm going to start collecting this in the 27th year. And sometimes maybe a favorite species, or I hunt Blue Quail, I'm going to buy that because I'm a Midland Blue Quail guy. Occasionally you sell a few prints that way. But it's really not ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Primarily collectors.

MR. WOOD: Yes, primarily collectors, and the number is one of attrition.

I might call to your all's attention a couple of things. It's only a side note, but this year for the first time, two of the artists that have done the ‑‑ our print program, died. Larry Hayden, who did the first Duck Stamp print, which at the time was the largest number ‑‑ the first Texas Duck Stamp print was the largest number signed limited edition print ever published anywhere for any reason, bigger than any Federal Duck Stamp print that was ever published.

We paid the state $770,000 that year in royalty and stamps. That was more than the state made off of the sale of the stamps. I mean, it was just unheard of, and the first Texas Duck Stamp print spawned 25 other states doing a State Duck Stamp print, but they couldn't fade the political heat of having more than just resident artists. And Louisiana, at the last minute, cratered to political pressure from the Legislature to do only Louisiana artists. And, of course, it became a non-event in the second or third year.

But also Stuart Gentling passed away. Stuart and Scott Gentling did the goldeneyes about three years ago, and they paint together. And Stuart died suddenly of a heart attack. And he lived in Fort Worth and was a great friend of Lee and Ramona and Katharine and probably some of you all too.

But his brother Scott, who also did the Duck Stamp and signed the Duck Stamp with him has done two portraits of George W. Bush. And these guys are big-time guys, and I think they did the Duck Stamp for Katharine. You know, clearly there was nothing ‑‑ they did not need this in their resume, but it really is the first time we've lost two of our artists, which I guess is probably surprising in 27 years that, you know, there hasn't been perhaps more. But anyway, I wanted to make a note of that.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: A quick question. How much does that retail for?

MR. WOOD: A hundred and forty-five dollars, plus the stamp.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: That's the entire set?

MR. WOOD: No, no, no.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: That was the question.

MR. WOOD: Per print. Now you wonder why they sell for so much.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I thought that sounded like a bargain, but ‑‑

MR. WOOD: I haven't heard that word used with the Duck Stamp in a long time. You guys get $28 a print. You all make more off of that print than we do. We would be the largest dealer ‑‑ retail dealer in the Federal Duck ‑‑ I mean, in the State Duck Stamp print, whether we published it or not, just because of the nature of our business and having been in the business so long. But I'm not in any way trying to imply that we're doing you guys a favor, but the State of Texas has the best deal in the country on the Duck Stamp print. I promise you. You know, but we're ‑‑ you know, we're suffering from declining sales. You know, when you made the decision to automate your licensing program without requiring, physically requiring the stamp, the sales dropped 25 percent that year. People go, well, you don't need this, this isn't a real stamp. And they're right. It's not a real stamp. This is a collector's stamp. You know, we couched it as cleverly as we could, but, you know, the trade-off for automation was the 25 ‑‑ you know, and I'm not remotely trying to say that that wasn't a good trade, but things like that, you know, impact the ‑‑ you know, people are looking for an excuse to quit, and we're trying not to give them any more excuses than we can.


COMMISSIONER PARKER: Was that a good trade?

MALE VOICE: Oh, yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You mean automation?

MR. WOOD: Automation?

MALE VOICE: Oh, yes.


COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I haven't seen the number that related to the declining revenue, but I would guess that that would begin the decline. Would there have been a decline in revenue from any other source other than this one?

MR. WOOD: Well, there ‑‑ I mean, the Duck Stamp print would have been declining regardless, but, you know, when ‑‑ you know, if you look over the records, a 25 percent drop is, you know, is a world record, and, you know, and that was an absolute known factor when it happened, and so, you know, how can we couch to keep people's interest.

And I, frankly, think we did a pretty good job. You know, while it's not remotely ‑‑ you know, I'm looking at these numbers, we did 900 and ‑‑ I mean, $770,000 the first year on Hayden royalties to the State, and this year we're doing $71,000. Well, clearly it doesn't take much of a mathematician to figure that's a 90 percent drop in revenue. It's still $71,000.

You know, we look at it every year from our perspective, are we making money on this. And our answer is, yes, and plus it's part of our identity. I mean, it's clearly part of our corporate identity to be able to do the Duck Stamp. I mean, we are awfully proud of having paid over $7 million to the State of Texas over the last 26 years, to say nothing of the matching funds you get from the federal government because of that.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Do you see a correlation in sales of a given stamp relative to the artist that signed it, or to your perception of the quality ‑‑

MR. WOOD: You know, this isn't ‑‑ this shouldn't be a salesman's attitude, but the fact of the matter is, we ‑‑ I don't think that we can do much to impact the upwards sale of the Stamp, but if you come up with mediocre amateur, unknown art, you can kill the program, and if not in one year, certainly two years. You know, you cannot give the collecting public an excuse to quit collecting. Hey, I got enough of these, you know. I mean, I don't need anymore, you know, and ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Which means that the quality is just a little bit off, if you decided you're going to go with only local artists, or whatever that ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Oh, the quality wouldn't be a little bit off, it would be ‑‑


MR. WOOD: Then they don't get to see on a daily basis what I get to look at.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I bet you're going to sell a bunch of those Red ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Well, I hope ‑‑ well, it's a species thing. I'm nuts for pintails. I would be more drawn to a pintail than any other duck, but most people would be drawn to a wood duck. I think this is the third time that we've used the wood duck image in the program, and that's not accidental.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I was really referring to the ‑‑ really what I perceive to be the quality of the art.

MR. WOOD: Right. Exactly. It's always such ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I want to congratulate you on Eldridge Hardie's ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: ‑‑ quail. I'm biased because I own a few, but he is top drawer, and that's what this is ‑‑

MR. WOOD: The second wildlife painting I ever bought ‑‑ the first one was a David Hagerbomer; the second one was an Eldridge Hardie at the Svelte Veldt in San Antonio ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, I remember that ‑‑

MR. WOOD: ‑‑ in 1965. I trudged down there for a skeet shoot, but that's the second ‑‑ I still have that painting. And if you know Eldridge, you ‑‑ I mean, Eldridge is just an incredible guy.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Where is he from?

MR. WOOD: He's from Denver, Colorado.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: It's a great gallery. Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any ideas how you can increase it? Is there just no way? I mean, essentially this is ‑‑

MR. WOOD: If we could get a Duck Stamp to every Caterpillar purchaser in the State of Texas, that would work, and every Toyota dealer, purchaser in the State of Texas. How's that for an idea?


MR. WOOD: One thing ‑‑ you know, one criticism I have at the department, of all the great things they do, they're not very good on a consistent basis of getting their story out of all the good things ‑‑ I mean, and sometimes incredible things that they do. I mean, this Duck Stamp story is ‑‑ I don't know if you all remember this, but when this Duck Stamp legislation was introduced in 1981, it was introduced by Ducks Unlimited, under the table. And the way the legislation was written ‑‑ John knows this, he's probably part of it ‑‑ 50 percent of all the revenues were to go ‑‑ by legislative decree go to Ducks Unlimited, period, to say nothing of the fact that they would have screwed up the print side of the equation, which the first year was a heck of a lot bigger than the stamp side of the equation, that it wouldn't have had any long term value ‑‑ you know, they wouldn't have had anyone on a long term basis.

Well, from that, with the help of Perry Bass and Gib Lewis, we turned it around to what it became, which is 100 percent of the revenue ‑‑ you know, the idea of taxing Texans and sending the money to Canada ‑‑ at that time, they had a policy of singleness of purpose, so Ducks Unlimited cannot spend any conservation dollars in Texas ‑‑ in the United States, they had ‑‑ it all had to go to Canada.

That wasn't a hard sell to undo that deal, but the first time I heard about the legislation is appearing before the Senate Natural Resource Committee, or whatever they called it at the time, the next day. And a great guy named John Wilson, who's now deceased, a Senator, was carrying the legislation. But that's where this started from, and this is what it's become. And, you know, it's ‑‑ you know, believe me, however disappointed you all are, we're more disappointed in the sales, but history has shown that this is not unique to us.


MR. WOOD: So please accept our mediocrity, you know.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We're not worse than anybody else. Right?

MR. WOOD: Well, yes, we're not any worse than anybody else. We're not stealing any more than we have to, than we need, so.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Where do you see these numbers going in years to come?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We're just going to ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Down.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ keep declining.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Well, but I mean, do you see bottoming at any point?

MR. WOOD: Well, I think as you get down, there's some people that just aren't going to quit us, you know, and I don't know where that number ‑‑ I would like to think that number is at 1,016, but I have a feeling it's not. And I have a feeling next year we'll break 1,000 on the down side. But I mean, clearly the people are becoming more and more hard core, you know, don't want to admit they made a mistake and start buying these things.

You know, if we had told them 26 years ago, hey, you're going to get 26 years plus to buy this thing, we probably wouldn't have sold 50 of them. This needle we're sticking in your arm, we're not going to pull out for 26 years. I think some things ‑‑ people don't need to know everything.


COMMISSIONER RAMOS: You don't think there's a market outside the collector arena, in other words, like at trade shows or something, you know ‑‑

MR. WOOD: No, I ‑‑ I mean, there's a lot of people in this business that are smarter than I am and work harder than I am, and they haven't found the answer either because, believe me, if we don't think of it, we can damn sure copy it real quick. And, you know, we're ‑‑ on a daily basis we're in contact with dealers and stuff.

We just ‑‑ they're just ‑‑ this is a phenomenon that goes back to 1934, you know, when the Federal Duck Stamp print ‑‑ when it first came out. And to think, this is the longest and biggest collectible ‑‑ I don't know these numbers, but this is part of the ‑‑ part of our boloney that's ever been created. That people have been collecting these things for 75 years now. And it's really remarkable, you know, it's a testimony to ‑‑ you know, people really feel like they're giving to conservation and they're doing ‑‑ you know, somewhat doing their part and getting a neat image in the process.

The prices are sort of institutionalized because all of these programs are done by ‑‑ you know, with a contractor, and a lot of the states don't get any of the money from their prints. Minnesota, the artist gets all the money, the state doesn't get anything, they just get the image of the stamp. And, you know, which is just unbelievable, particularly as states like Texas and Arkansas came along and started really making significant money off of this collectible, that they let ‑‑ they just don't want to mess with it.

And, of course, they suffer from a lack of continuity in the marketing of it. I can guarantee you, we ain't going to have a Wood Duck for four or five more years, you know. I mean, if we have anything to say about. We're going to try to run in a Mallard, run in a Green-winged Teal, run in, you know, maybe a goose. And ‑‑ but the artists don't care anything about the one year they're marketing it, and then they, you know ‑‑ then the next guy doesn't care anything about what went on in the past, and there's just no ‑‑ you know, as modest as our marketing effort may appear to you guys, it's a whole lot better than some of the alternatives.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: John, did you have a question?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Yes. Bubba, have you ever sat down and just had a ‑‑ where people's pitching out ideas and ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Oh, yes, we've had ‑‑ of our dealers in Houston and had them come ‑‑ you know, our biggest dealers ‑‑ invite our 10 biggest dealers in Houston to come and, hey, let's talk about the Duck stamp and let's see what we can do. We have four or five really good Duck stamp dealers, and the rest of them just, hey, if people want them, we'll sell it to them, but we're not going to make any attempt to really get out and hustle these things, you know, and it just ‑‑ you know, this is way ‑‑ you know ‑‑ I mean ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Victim of modernization.

MR. WOOD: We're just a victim ‑‑ hey, the stamp's not required. You know, it's interesting, other states that have automated their licensing program still requires the stamp to be physically put on the license. And I promise you, there is ‑‑ I mean, I can't tell you the complaints that we got from people in 1996 ‑‑ I guess it was in '96, '97 ‑‑ that they ‑‑ I like licking that stamp and putting it on my ‑‑ I'm not necessarily a print buyer, but they liked the ‑‑ you know, the fact that it's pretty, they ‑‑ you know, it's just ‑‑ it's part of getting ready for duck season.

You know, it's part of the ritual, you know, it's checking the string on your decoys, putting new weights on them, and putting ‑‑ getting ‑‑ going down and getting your Duck Stamp and putting it on your license. And people really miss that ritual. But obviously the trade-off was the how else could we get Wal-Mart employees to enter all the data in our database on our licenses so it would be 100 percent wrong rather than only 70 percent wrong.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I've got my family's collection of the Stamps back to 1934 ‑‑

MR. WOOD: Yes.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: ‑‑ and I've maintained that. I just wish that we could come up with some idea for regulation.

MR. WOOD: You know, the one thing I think that we haven't been very good at, and we certainly hadn't encouraged the Department to do that, is you got these beautiful images, it's just crazy not to use them on promotional material, on presentations to the Department, on the next flyer that's made, or the next folder that's made. You know, why not ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: See, right there. Right there, that's an idea.

MR. WOOD: You know ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: You know, that's an idea. That's what I'm talking about.

MR. WOOD: We have twice produced ‑‑ three times, four times ‑‑ at least four times produced ‑‑ we produced a poster for the Duck Stamp Print, and would ship it to everyone who buys ‑‑ the last one we did, I guess, was Larry Hayden in '92 or '93 ‑‑ we had all the Duck Stamp images on the bottom and his current big image on the top, and anyone who bought a Duck Stamp ‑‑ because we could ship it ‑‑ we just had to use a little bigger box.

One of the things about give-aways to promote the sale of anything is it costs more to send it to them UPS than the give-away costs. You know, the poster cost $2, $2.50, but shipping it individually would cost $6 or $7. And we shipped it with the print. You know, we shopped it to the dealers, and everyone loved getting it. Let's see what our sales did in 1992 ‑‑ from 1992 to 1993, just for the heck of it. Believe me, in 1991 we sold 4790 prints ‑‑ no, no, no, no. Try this on for size. In 1990 ‑‑ it was 1991 that we did that ‑‑ I'm not smart enough to confuse you guys ‑‑ we did 4790 prints. The next year that we did the poster, we had a drop-off of four ‑‑ of 10 percent.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So it didn't make a difference.

MR. WOOD: It didn't make any difference. You know, it just ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: It added more cost.

MR. WOOD: You didn't ‑‑ you know, as a thank you ‑‑ of course, the thank you was after the fact, sort of, but, you know, it wasn't ‑‑ financially it wasn't a big deal to us. But, I mean, it's really frustrating, you know, probably so frustrating that we're not trying as hard as we could try. I mean, you know, it's just ‑‑ hey, we've kissed a bunch of frogs and they all stayed frogs. You know, we just ‑‑ we can't get one to turn into a prince.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Any further questions for Bubba?

(No response.)

MR. WOOD: Thank you, guys.




COMMISSIONER HOLMES: No further questions. We'll place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

(Whereupon, the Finance Committee meeting was concluded.)


MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Finance Committee

LOCATION: Austin, Texas

DATE: November 1, 2006

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 50, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Stacey Harris before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.


(Transcriber) (Date)

On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731