$150K PR contract for Harris County flood district up for renewal


Harris County residents have paid an outside consultant for more than a decade to educate the Houston-area public about the Flood Control District’s projects and studies.

Glenda L. Callaway is up for another contract --  this one would be worth $150,000 -- to continue that work when the county commissioners court meets on Tuesday morning.

Callaway’s contract does not identify beginning or end dates for her job, despite it also requiring her “to proceed diligently to complete each service within the limits of time therein specified.”

Instead, the contract simply states that “the District desires to have, from time to time, public information consulting services in support of the District’s capital improvement program.”

The contract specifies Callaway’s hourly rate is $150.

Callaway did not return a phone call or an e-mail requesting comment. She is the principal of the Houston-based environmental services company, Ekistics Corp, though the contract is with her individually, not the company, a Flood Control District spokeswoman said.

Callaway has worked for the county since 2001, said Heather Saucier, the Flood Control District spokeswoman, in an e-mail to Texas Watchdog. The commissioners court typically renews her contracts every 12 to 18 months, Saucier said.

“Glenda Callaway is needed to help communicate with the general public and prepare plans and items that facilitate those efforts,” Saucier said. “Being as the District is currently working on dozens of studies and projects in many of Harris County’s 22 watersheds, such efforts are very much needed to ensure current, regular and accurate communication.”

Saucier said Callaway’s responsibilities were distinct from her own. She said she oversees external and internal district communications.

“My job as media manager is to respond to reporters and to regularly pitch stories about the District to the media,” Saucier said.

Saucier could not say how many contracts Callaway has had with the county, nor how much each of those contracts were worth, but said she would research the question.

Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo of flooding by flickr user luna715, used via a Creative Commons license.