Rondella Hawkins has more than 25 years of experience in local government. Her office has direct responsibility over utility rights-of-way franchise agreements and license agreements with telecommunications and wireless providers, and she serves as the city’s single point of contact for the Google Fiber and AT&T Fiber projects and the wireless small cell deployment program by private providers. She is responsible for implementing the city’s Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan, ensuring that all Austin residents have the information technology capacity needed for civic and cultural participation, employment and access to essential services.
She oversees the administration of the public access television management contract and coordinates with other Austin educational and government tv channels. Her office provides staff support to the Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission. Her office administers the City’s Credit Access Business (CAB) program which includes the registration and oversight of CABs that provide payday loans and/or auto title loans to consumers.
She is actively engaged on legislative and policy issues related to broadband communications, maintaining local rights-of-way authority, and digital inclusion. She serves as Vice President of the Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (TATOA). Rondella is a former Board member of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) and was selected as NATOA’s 2010 Member of the Year and she received the NATOA Life Member award in 2014.
TARA's Assistant Manager directly manages utility franchise and license activities and the Credit Access Business Ordinance enforcement program while providing indirect support and management to other TARA program activities. Franchise and license utilities include wireline telecommunications and cable television providers, wireless telecom and data providers, as well as non-City owned electric and natural gas companies. He also manages the City contract for the operation of the Public Access television and digital media facility available for the community, and he coordinates among the five Public, Educational, and Governmental Access (PEG), program providers with the four cable service providers to carry all seven of the City PEG channels including utilization of the PEG Capital equipment funds.
Receive, process, and deposit revenue for TARA. Prepare accounting documents to record transactions and credit customer accounts. Maintain customer account ledgers for charges, credits, and adjustments. Process claims for payment of returned checks written to the City of Austin. Prepare and mail invoices and correspondence to collect account balances due the City. Answer customer inquiries regarding their accounts, account balances, and methods of payment. Resolve account discrepancies by investigating documentation. Serve as liaison for client departments for payments received at the Claims Division. Maintains financial security by following internal accounting controls.
Prepares bank deposits and posting payments to subsidiary spreadsheets/databases/billing systems. Sets up, prepares claims with insurance companies. Provide collections and skip tracing. Provide customer service to debtors to address debtor and citizen inquiries.
Provides information technology services to Austin Free.Net including supporting the procurement, maintenance and development of the operation of the organization's network or systems. To include: designing, installing, configuring, monitoring, administering and troubleshooting computer network/systems and associated assemblies.
John Speirs is responsible for managing and administering City's implementation of the Digital Inclusion Strategic Plan in Austin by coordinating with local organizations, commissions and other public and private entities involved with digital and communications technology in Austin. John provides contract management for a portfolio of $400,000 in services delivered by Austin non-profits for community technology services including public access & digital literacy skills training and the City’s Grant for Technology Opportunities Program. John provides administration of the Google Fiber Community Connections program including annual reporting goals of recipients and program monitoring. He facilitates strategic efforts with the Austin Community Technology & Telecommunications Commission, whose members are appointed by the Austin City Council, to identify opportunities to maximize program effectiveness where practical. John, a native of California, has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Planning from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona with a Masters in Public Administration from Texas State University- San Marcos.
Jesse Rodriguez serves as a Business Process Specialist in TARA's Digital Inclusion Program. He manages Digital Inclusion's performance data, which are derived from City of Austin's Grant for Technology Opportunities Program (GTOPs) contracts. He also administers Digital Inclusion's engagement and outreach strategy, planning and executing the Digital Empowerment Community of Austin's (DECA) meetings and activities. Finally, he serves as TARA's open data liaison and maintains and develops TARA's website. Jesse has a Master of Public Administration from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, and a bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of New Orleans.
Provides financial management services to Austin Free-Net including financial reporting, grants management and payroll and benefits administration Supports Austin Free-Net by providing financial management services including financial reporting, grants management, payroll and benefits administration.
Investigate claims of damage to City of Austin property to determine third party liability. Process claims to collect damage repair costs incurred by the City. Negotiate settlement with claimants, insurance companies and/or attorneys. Recommend settlement amounts pending the approval of client departments to settle property damage claims. Respond to inquiries on the procedures to file a claim against the City.
Supervise the activities of the Claims Division staff in the collection of money due the City. Review claims to determine legal sufficiency. Serve as liaison between client departments and customers, liable third parties, insurance companies, and attorneys to facilitate the claims and collection processes. Interpret and explain applicable ordinances, statues and laws relative to the City’s collection processes. Monitor financial documents to insure collections are properly credited to client City departments’ budgets lines. Prepare monthly and annual claims referral and collection reports. Develop, prepare and monitor TARA’s operating budget. Review and approve accounts payable, purchasing, and accounts receivable documents. Develop, monitor and report performance measures. Prepare TARA’s 5-year financial forecast and annual Information Technology Forecast. Conduct Cash Handling Policy and Petty Cash Handling Policy city-wide training for City departments and City employees. Answer department and employee inquiries regarding said policies and procedures.
Since joining TARA in March, 2016, Martin has monitored and enforced the City's Credit Access Business Ordinance including annual audits of all Austin CABs. Martin brings a diverse set of skills to the City with experience in maritime safety and security, consumer lending, and environmental regulation enforcement. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Florida and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Texas at Austin. Martin is a proud veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and currently serves in the Coast Guard Reserves.
The Research Analyst supports the Digital Inclusion, Financial Advocacy Resources, and Regulatory Affairs programs. She also maintains the TARA website for non-Digital Inclusion programs, conducts research and analysis, and identifies trends. The Analyst assists with enforcement and compliance of the City's Credit Access Business, (CAB), ordinance with annual on-site audits that assess compliance with City regulations. She serves as a liaison between consumers and the CABs industry by responding to consumer complaints and providing information on financial advocacy resources. She maintains and updates franchise and license agreement holder's insurance documentation, and other information as needed to ensure compliance with each ordinance or agreement with the City of Austin. Advises TARA Officer and staff of pending regulatory deadlines.