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Brad Livingston named Executive Director of TDCJ

The Texas Board of Criminal Justice in July named Brad Livingston Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a position he had held on an interim basis since November.

Portrait of Brad Livingston
Brad Livingston
“Mr. Livingston has done a remarkable job of guiding the agency and, in doing so, has confirmed our confidence in his leadership skills,” said Board Chairman Christina Melton Crain following Livingston’s official appointment on July 28. “The staff highly respects him and his ability to make tough decisions.”

Livingston, 43, joined TDCJ in October 1997 as the Deputy Director for Financial Services and was named Chief Financial Officer in June 2001. He continued to hold that position after the Board named him to replace retired executive director Gary Johnson on an interim basis last year.

“I am proud to have the opportunity to continue serving the dedicated professionals employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,” Livingston said. “The transition was smooth when I assumed this role on an interim basis and our staff can expect this approach to continue. We have an outstanding executive leadership team and I’m confident in their ability to continue serving in those roles.”

Livingston’s career in public service includes working with the Legislative Budget Board where he provided fiscal analysis and testimony to the Texas Legislature. Before joining TDCJ, he served in the Governer’s office as a group director in the Office of Budget and Planning. In that capacity, he played a key role in developing and presenting the governor’s budget proposal to the Legislature. The agency’s top administrator graduated with honors from Metropolitan State College in Denver with a bachelor’s degree in political science and later earned his master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

“I am grateful for the support and confidence shown by the criminal justice board and the agency’s employees,” Livingston said. “I look forward to my continued working relationship with the Governor and state leadership. Together, we will help the agency fulfill its mission and commitment to public safety.”

Extended to TDCJ employees in Hazardous Duty pay positions
Home loan program could make American dream a reality

illustration of house in the countryside.Home ownership. It’s the American dream. Yet in today’s sky-high housing market, it can be a dream beyond the reach of some median income workers.

But a program extended for the first time this year to cover TDCJ correctional officers, correctional supervisors, and all other full-time agency employees earning hazardous duty pay, could make that dream a reality for first-time homebuyers.

TDCJ Human Resources Director Carol Blair Johnston calls the Texas Fire Fighter, Law Enforcement and Security Officer Loan Program “one of the hidden jewels” to come out of the regular session of the 79th Texas Legislature. The two-year-old program previously accessible only to firefighters and law enforcement officers now makes affordable 30-year fixed rate mortgage loans and 5 percent down payment grants available to qualifying TDCJ employees. The program administered by the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) has $25 million a year to distribute statewide on a first-come, first-serve basis to first-time homebuyers looking to purchase a newly-constructed or existing home.

In late July, TSAHC Single Family Program Manager Cathleen Dean said approximately $12 million remained available for the program that is also known as the Homes for Heroes Program.

“The people that are going to benefit are those that pursue it,” Johnston said about the program. “If anybody thinks they are going to sit back and think about this for a while, they’re probably not going to be able to get in on it this year even if they do qualify because each year the program has only so much to distribute. Once that’s gone, money is not again available until the following year.”

Dean said the program is now funded at $25 million a year through 2014 provided the loans remain in demand. She said the down payment grants are especially attractive to first-time homebuyers, which the program defines as an individual or family that has not owned or had an ownership interest in any residence during the last three years.

“It’s always an obstacle to buy your first home if you don’t have the money to cover closing costs,” she said. “The five percent grant for down payment assistance is truly a grant. It’s not a second lien. It’s not forgivable after so many years in the house. It is funded up front at closing by the mortgage lender and the buyers never repay that.”

In addition to being first-time homebuyers, applicants for a loan and down payment assistance must reside in Texas and meet the income and home purchase price limits set by the program. They must also meet standard mortgage underwriting requirement demonstrating credit worthiness and occupy the purchased home as their primary residence. To apply, individuals must directly contact a participating lender to complete the application process.

Dean emphasized that TSAHC does not underwrite the loans.

“We don’t underwrite these loans and we don’t make the criteria for them,” she said. “These loans can be purchased through regular FHA, VA and conventional means. So those underwriting guidelines that would apply to them if people went out on their own without a program also apply here. They’re regular loans.”

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Editor’s Note: Rhonda Osborne was killed in the line of duty at the Connally Unit in Kenedy last October.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice:

The family of Rhonda Lynn Dworaczyk-Osborne would like to thank all of the employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for everything you have done for us since the death of Rhonda. There have been so many expressions of love and care. We appreciate the way Rhonda has been honored by you.

We want to thank Captain Thomas Hinkle, Lieutenant Kevin Smith and Maggie Ybarra, Rhonda’s co-workers at the Connally Unit; and Captain Billy Carr and Kathy Carr for being there for us. And all the others at the unit who have done so much. We thank you especially for all you have done for Rhonda’s little daughter Brooklynn. May God bless you.

Sincerely,
The Family of Rhonda

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