“Recovering Damage to City Infrastructure Due to Contractor Activity”
City of Arlington

The City of Arlington periodically sustains damage to infrastructure, caused by contractors working within City rights of way. The damage may be to water/sewer lines, IT fiber, streetlight wiring or traffic signal conduit. Risk Management is charged with recovery of such damages from responsible contractors. Historically, these claims have been a challenge as contractors denied responsibility or became unresponsive to correspondence. Disputes regarding line locate requests were common.

In the City’s 2019 fiscal year, Risk Management partnered with the City’s Economic Development Department to develop and implement processes to tackle the issue from both ends: proactively prevent damage and aggressive pursuit of recovery should damage occur. The program’s goals are to prevent damage through education of contractors, improve right of way damage investigations, better documentation of permit activity and line locate requests, and garner support from the public service providers contractors work on behalf of.

With four years of the program completed, not only is the recovery process more efficient, but the number of successful recoveries has increased revenue for the City and reduced the financial losses sustained. Since inception, the number of contractor damage claims have plummeted, evidencing that pre-project meetings and line-locate requests are taking place and limiting damage to Arlington’s infrastructure. Additionally, recovery ratio for closed claims increased from 54% in FY18 to 97% in FY21.

Developing this two-pronged approach to proactively prevent damage and improve the quality of documentation to support claims has enabled the City to solidify the sustainability of our successes.

"Mitigating COVID-19"
Katy ISD

Immediately following Spring Break of 2020, it was evident that because of COVID-19, the return to school would at a minimum be different or at worse impossible. During the immediate shut down in the State of Texas, the leadership of Katy ISD was charged with solving the  problem of returning to school for both in person and virtual learning in the COVID-19 environment. Once determined in-person learning  would continue, the Katy ISD made a conscience decision to commit resources to support that mission. The key issues identified in  overcoming the obstacle of returning to the classroom were testing, contact tracing and data management.

Though many manuals were created to address a pandemic health crisis, the current issues which Katy ISD was facing were never contemplated or planned for in an effective incident response plan. The mitigation program for COVID-19 by Katy ISD was organic in its creation with several professional skill sets joining in a collaborative effort to find a real solution. In the beginning of this program little or no examples could be modeled from existing guidance to steer the path of Katy ISD. A conservative approach was taken to define whether a reported COVID-19 exposure was occupational or non-occupational, resulting in the implementation of the Katy ISD‘s three-prong approach: Testing, Self-Reporting, and Contact Tracing.

It was determined the return to in-classroom instruction and continuation of extra-curricular programs was possible in the COVID-19 environment. The following approach was taken:

1. Testing Site – Katy ISD created its own COVID-19 center in partnership with RediMD. COVID-19 testing was free to all staff six (6) days a week providing rapid testing. Additionally, Katy ISD opened testing to students provided through the TEA student testing program. During this period almost 8,000 staff and additional 31,000 students were tested. The identification of individuals who were positive was essential in mitigating and controlling the spread of the virus. Testing allowed for specific identification which prevented complete closure of a campus and focused on targeted classrooms/programs.

2. Self-Reporting App – To assist in required reporting to the State and document the number of active cases within Katy ISD, the technology department created a self-reporting app which provided needed data for trending and monitoring. This tool was critical in the contact tracing of individuals who were positive and those deemed within close contact of the virus. At any point in time, one could evaluate by campus how many exposures existed and their expected duration. The monitoring program promoted a progressive analysis rather than a reactive  approach to a spread. The app was available to students as well as staff and was located on the district website with real-time view capabilities by the public.

3. Contact Tracing – Utilizing the tools of the testing site and the self-reporting app, Katy ISD conducted its own internal contact tracing without reliance upon outside parties or local authorities. By actively engaging in contact tracing at the district level, reaction time to positive cases was instant, allowing for critical management decisions to maintain open campuses and functioning programs. Utilization of campus
administration and video cameras was also invaluable in the expedited process of identification of close contacts.