stp

Educating members through discussions about key legal issues and Pool services.

Listen. Learn.

The Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool is proud to produce the Local Officials: Stronger, Together Podcast Series to help local officials (and managers and staff) understand key operational and legal concepts and the services the Pool provides. After arming members with that information, each 15-minute episode will give easy action items to help keep your citizens, employees, volunteers, and property safe, all while saving public dollars.

Your host is Scott Houston, the Pool’s Intergovernmental Relations Manager. Scott served the Texas Municipal League for over 20 years, the last half as general counsel. He has served as an adjunct professor, been published in the Texas Tech Administrative Law Journal, and has received awards from the American Bar Association, Texas Bar, and International Municipal Lawyers Association. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in political science and — after studying law in Austria and Argentina — received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law.

The Pool provides financial strength and stability through a partnership with over 2,800 local governments, providing workers’ compensation coverage to over 165,000 public servants, and protecting more than $48 billion in property. The collective success makes members Stronger, Together, demonstrated through the Pool’s core values:

  • Integrity: Serving with honesty, integrity, and professionalism.
  • Public Service: Serving the public good – for the benefit of local governments and their tax-paying citizens.
  • Fiscal Responsibility: Responsibly managing our members’ pooled funds for the protection of their financial stability.
  • Operational Excellence: Delivering excellent member service in all components of risk financing and loss prevention services.

Coming Soon

Episode 17

Coming Soon

Episode 18

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Episode 15e (STP Special Video Report Series: 2022 Rerates)

“An Interview with Executive Director Jeff Thompson”

Posted June 24, 2022

In this special five-episode series, you can either watch (by clicking on the YouTube link to the left) or listen in the traditional podcast format (by clicking the Listen Now button to the left). The series provides an explanation of the major rate drivers and their effect on your 2022 rerates.

In this episode, Scott interviews Jeff Thompson (Risk Pool Executive Director) to get Jeff’s thoughts on the state of the Pool, rerates, and more.

Further Information:
A Message from the TML Risk Pool: Increasing 2022–2023 Member Rates and Contributions

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Episode 15d (STP Special Video Report Series: 2022 Rerates)

“The Risk Pool’s Finances and Reinsurance”

Posted June 17, 2022

In this special five-episode series, you can either watch (by clicking on the YouTube link to the left) or listen in the traditional podcast format (by clicking the Listen Now button to the left). The series provides an explanation of the major rate drivers and their effect on your 2022 rerates. 
 
In this episode, Scott interviews: (1) Tito Villegas (Risk Pool CFO and Chief Investment Officer) about the structure of the Pool’s finances; and (2) Lindsey Fields (Risk Loss Deputy Executive Director and COO) about how reinsurance works and relates to your rates.

Further Information:
Risk Pool Financial Strength (including 2021–2022 Annual Report

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Episode 15c (STP Special Video Report Series: 2022 Rerates)

"Cybersecurity and the Risk Pool’ Loss Prevention Efforts"

Posted June 10, 2022

In this special five-episode series, you can either watch (by clicking on the YouTube link to the left) or listen in the traditional podcast format (by clicking the Listen Now button to the left). The series provides an explanation of the major rate drivers and their effect on your 2022 rerates. 

In this episode, Scott interviews: (1) Ryan Burns (Risk Pool Cyber Risk Services Manager) about the increasing threat of cyberattacks, phishing, and other cyber threats, and (2) Irvin Janak (Risk Loss Prevention Manager) about how Risk Pool Loss Prevention Representatives serve you and the Pool’s loss prevention efforts.

Further Information:
Contact Your Loss Prevention Representative
Upcoming Risk Pool Training and Other Risk Management Resources
R.O.A.D. Ready Initiative
Cyber Resources
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Episode 15b (STP Special Video Report Series: 2022 Rerates)

“Workers’ Compensation First Responder COVID-19 Disease Presumption and Liability”

Posted June 3, 2022

In this special five-episode series, you can either watch (by clicking on the YouTube link to the left) or listen in the traditional podcast format (by clicking the Listen Now button to the left). The series provides an explanation of the major rate drivers and their effect on your 2022 rerates. 

In this second episode (15b), Scott interviews: (1) Phil English (Risk Pool Worker’s Compensation Claims Manager) about the workers’ compensation first responder COVID-19 disease presumption; and (2) Claudia Poblano (Risk Pool Member Services Manager) about the role of an MSM and liability issues.

Further Information:
Contact Your Member Services Manager
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Episode 15a

“Introduction and Property Rate Drivers”

Posted May 25, 2022

In this special five-episode series, you can either watch (by clicking on the YouTube link to the left) or listen in the traditional podcast format (by clicking the Listen Now button to the left). The series provides an explanation of the major rate drivers and their effect on your 2022 rerates. 
 
In this episode, Scott explains the purpose of these special report videos/podcasts and interviews: (1) Randy Criswell (Risk Pool Board of Trustees Chair and Wolfforth City Manager) about the broad rate issues faced by the Pool, and (2) David Goldston (Risk Pool Property Claims Supervisor) about property coverage rate drivers.

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Episode 14

“Special Edition: My Three Most Compelling Episodes”

Posted April 12, 2022

In this episode, you’ll hear: (1) about the STP Series and how it can help elected officials and other local officials and employees keep their citizens, employees, volunteers, and property safe, all while saving public dollars; (2) from a podcast fan and the Pool’s Executive Director about the benefits of the series; and (3) segments from three special episodes.
 

Further information:
TML Risk Pool "Texans Helping Texans" Video

 

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Episode 13

“Contractual Risk Transfer"

Posted March 4, 2022

Explains: (1) the importance of shifting risk to the appropriate parties to a contract; and (2) the essential provisions that should be included in any major or high-exposure contract.
 

Further information:
TML Risk Pool’s Risk Transfer and Contract Strategies
Thomson Reuters (Westlaw): Contract Drafting or Review for Local Governments
Public Risk management Association Insurance Requirements in Contracts: Tips for Effectively Transferring Risk Podcast

 

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Episode 12

“Risk Pool Human Resources Training: Civility in the Workplace and Harassment Training for Supervisors"

Posted January 26, 2022

Explains: (1) training provided by the Pool to address behaviors that cause unhealthy conflict in the workplace; and (2) the importance of harassment training for supervisors.
 

Further information:
Risk Pool Loss Prevention Department (Training and More)
TML Risk Pool’s “Call Before You Fire Program”
Employment Law Manual for Texas Cities
Texas Municipal Human Resources Association
State Law Sexual Harassment Update

 

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Episode 11

“Are You R.O.A.D. Ready?"

Posted January 5, 2022

R.O.A.D. Ready is a Risk Pool program designed to save lives, prevent injuries, and protect property by raising member awareness of dangers on and near roadways.  The Pool will provide participating members with: (1) specifically designed resources and training to mitigate roadway risks; and (2) promotional materials to show they are R.O.A.D. Ready.
 
The Pool launched the program in January 2022 and has designated each successive January as R.O.A.D. Ready month. To participate, a member should: (1) make a commitment to becoming R.O.A.D. Ready by providing internal roadway safety training or using the Pool’s resources to do so; and (2) participating in national roadway, vehicle, or work zone programs.
 
In this episode, you’ll hear more about why this initiative came about and why it’s so important.

Further information:
R.O.A.D. Ready home page

 

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Episode 10b - Part 2

“Workers' Compensation: First Responder Disease Presumption”

Posted November 9, 2021

Listen to "Workers' Compensation: First Responder Disease Presumption," the second part of the tenth episode in the TML Risk Pool’s STP Series. 
 
The TML Risk Pool provides workers’ compensation coverage for thousands of first responders. State law provides a special workers’ comp benefit to those employees, known as the disease presumption law. Simply put, the law “presumes” that first responders contracted certain diseases on the job for purposes of workers’ comp benefits. In this episode, you’ll hear about the presumption, how it’s administered, and how the Pool partners with Members to help guide them through the complex process.

Further information:
Texas Department of Insurance - Division of Workers’ Compensation First Responder FAQ
Texas Government Code Chapter 607

 

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Episode 10a - Part 1

“Workers' Comp: Taking Care of Your Employees"

Posted October 14, 2021

The TML Risk Pool provides workers’ compensation coverage for more than 200,000 local government employees, and receives around 10,000 claims per year. The Workers’ Compensation Department is the largest of all the Pool’s departments, largely because the workers compensation process is highly-regulated by the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Texas Department of Insurance. In this episode, you’ll hear from key Pool staff about the process and how it’s administered, most importantly how we partner with Members to help guide them through the complex process.

Further information:
Texas Political Subdivision Workers’ Compensation Alliance
Texas Department of Insurance - Division of Workers’ Compensation
Division of Worker’s Compensation – Performance-Based Oversight Results
Workers’ Compensation At-a-Glance TIPS
Presentation: Navigating the Workers’ Compensation Process

Lubbock Firefighter Matt Dawson Receiving Risk Pool Worker’s Compensation Benefits:
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Episode 9

"Cybersecurity: Are You Prepared?"

Posted September 2, 2021

Local governments, in addition to the nuts-and-bolts services they provide, are actually just as much in the business of providing and maintaining information, and local officials should recognize that they should work at it just as hard at protecting that information as they do providing law enforcement and maintaining streets and water lines.

You’ve got to think of cybersecurity as part of your daily work serving and protecting your residents.  In today’s world, you just can’t afford to be unprepared – that’s true whether your population is 250,000 or 250.

In this episode, you’ll hear why local governments are frequently targeted by cyber-criminals, how the Risk Pool can help you avoid trouble on the front end, and that we’ve got your back should you get hacked.

Further information:
TML Risk Pool’s Cyber-Liability Home Page
TML Risk Pool’s State-Mandated Cyber-Security Training
Will Trevino’s Cybersecurity Blog
CPM Applied Research: Steps in Building a Successful Cybersecurity Protocol

Texas City Attorneys Association: Cyber Security is a Risky Business:
PowerPoint Presentation
Paper
Cyber-Breach Checklist

 

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Episode 8

“First Responders and COVID-19 Vaccines"

Posted August 19, 2021

Provides COVID-19 statistics and the story of Roger Dean – as told by his surviving family.  Roger was  a healthy 31-year-old Seguin firefighter who passed away after a months-long battle with COVID.


 

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Episode 7

"Disciplining and Terminating Employees:  Liability and the Pool’s ‘Call Before You Fire’ Hotline"

Posted July 28, 2021

Explains: (1) that you may be liable for improper employment actions; and (2) the availability to speak with one of the Pool’s attorneys prior to taking action.

Further information:
TML Risk Pool’s “Call Before You Fire Program”
Employment Law Manual for Texas Cities 
Texas Municipal Human Resources Association
Ask a Texas Municipal League Attorney 

 

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Episode 6

“The storm has passed, now what? The Pool's SynergyNDS Turnkey Recovery Program"

Recorded May 19, 2021

Explains: (1) the legalities of purchasing and rebuilding requirements after a hurricane or other disaster; and (2) how the Pool uses Synergy to assist member recovery.

Further information:
SynergyNDS Flyer
Synergy/TML Risk Pool Hurricane Harvey Recovery Video
Synergy’s TML IRP Website
TML Emergency Management Resources
TDEM Preparedness

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Episode 5

“Keep Your Police Officers Safe: TPCA’s Vincible Program”
Recorded in May 2021

Explains the officer safety and risk management benefits when a member’s law enforcement agency used the Vincible Training Program.

Further information:
Vincible Promotional Video
Vincible Website
Texas Police Chiefs Association

VINCIBLE: Removing the “In” in “Us” by Chief Stan Standridge

Example Roll Call Trainings:

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Episode 4

“The storm has passed, now what? The Pool’s BEST Roofing and Enhanced Property Damage Recovery Programs”
Recorded May, 13, 2021

Explains how the Pool uses the BEST Roofing Program (Scott Franklin and 4T Partnership) to assist member recovery.

Further Information:

Texas Municipal Procurement Made Easy
Texas Municipal Procurement Cheat Sheet
TML Risk Pool Building Envelope Systems Team (BEST) Roofing Program Flyer
City of Del Rio Article

 

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Episode 3

“Sewage Backups: Know Before You Go”
Posted April 23, 2021

Explains: (1) the law related to a local government’s liability for raw sewage backups into customers’ homes or businesses; and (2) the Pool’s supplemental sewage backup coverage. 

Further information:
Sewage Backups:  Know Before You Go (Q&A)
Sewage Backups:  Know Before You Go (Cheat Sheet)

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Episode 2b

“Local Governments and Firearms: Avoiding a Jam”
Posted July 8, 2021

The information in this episode becomes effective on September 1, 2021. In this episode, we talk about whether local governments can prohibit — or allow — employees to actually carry a gun while at work, and how that can affect your workplace and your risk of a lawsuit.

Further information:
Local Governments and Firearms:  Avoiding a Jam V4 (Comprehensive Paper in Q&A Format)
Local Governments and Firearms:  Avoiding a Jam V3 (Cheat Sheet)

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Episode 2a 

“Local Governments and Firearms: Avoiding a Jam”
Posted July 9, 2021

The information in this episode becomes effective on September 1, 2021. Explains the authority of a local government to prohibit or allow employees with a license to carry a handgun at work, the potential liability for doing so, and basics of the Pool’s coverage.

Further information:
Local Governments and Firearms:  Avoiding a Jam V4 (Comprehensive Paper in Q&A Format)
Local Governments and Firearms:  Avoiding a Jam V3 (Cheat Sheet)
November 2021 Update:  Licensed Carry in Meetings

 

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Episode 1

“What’s the City Officials: Stronger, Together Podcast Series and Why I Should be Listening?”
Posted April 23, 2021

Explains: (1) why the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool was started and the services it provides; and (2) the STP Series and how it can help elected officials keep their citizens, employees, volunteers, and property safe, all while saving public dollars.

City Officials and Attorneys, did you know?

City councilmembers can earn up to 19 Texas Municipal League Institute CEUs for listening to the podcasts. To receive CEUs for a particular episode, an elected official must provide a description of the episode, which must be educational in nature, pertain to municipal leadership, and should enhance your service as an elected official, for TML approval. 

Attorneys who listen to podcasts may be eligible for up to three hours of self-study CLE credit. Please refer to the State Bar CLE compliance rules for more information.

 

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Questions or Comments?

Visit www.tmlirp.org, call 512-791-4158, or email scott.houston@tmlirp.org