Update: TRWD documents show that TRWD will pay J.D. Granger$12,000 per month for six months for consulting services. A TRWD spokesperson said in an email that “TRWD has entered into a six-month consulting agreement with JD Granger Group to support program management, provide institutional knowledge, and provide strategic input to the benefit of this critical community project.”
J.D. Granger, son of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, posted on his Facebook page last Friday afternoon that he is leaving Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) to start his own consulting company, J.D. Granger Group LLC. The clues are there. He said he will help “the water district as it transitions into its next chapter.”
According to the Star-Telegram, Dan Buhman, TRWD general manager, said the water district will have a better idea early next week of what comes next with Granger’s announcement. Granger was formerly head of Panther Island, a $1.2 billion development on the North Side which is part of TRWD’s Central City Flood Control Project.
It does not take a rocket scientist to guess what is coming — a lucrative contract for J.D. to help him get his new consulting company off the ground! Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Probably both.
It’s bad because TRWD does not need J.D. serving as a consultant, and it will be a total waste of taxpayer money! To have contacts with the Army Corps of Engineers in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Washington, D.C., TRWD contracted with former corps of engineers employee Mark Mazzanti in November 2019 for two years of consulting at $300,000 per year.
The corps announced in January that they had allocated $403 million from federal infrastructure bill funds for Panther Island. In February, TRWD’s board renewed Mazzanti’s contract for $90,000 per year. In March, the board renewed a contract with Innovative Management Solutions for $833,151 to coordinate work performed by the Army Corps, City of Fort Worth, Texas Department of Transportation, and TRWD. When the board gave former TRWD General Director Jim Oliver a financial settlement last year, it set a precedent. Employees now know they can ask for anything upon leaving, and they may get it. J.D. is following in Oliver’s footsteps. Get as much as you can when you walk out the door!
A contract for J.D. may be good because it may be cheaper to give him a contract than to keep him on for years. His 2021 compensation package was $315,609.44 — base pay $242,216, health and auto allowance $41,905.36, and retirement $31,488.08.
TRWD’s board, please make it a very short-term contract with a defined scope and a definite written ending date. Please do not renew it.
In 2019, the Trinity River Vision Authority (staff and contracts) was absorbed into TRWD. No need exists for a position like the one J.D. currently holds. TRWD just needs a special events coordinator to plan Panther Island activities such as fly fishing, ice skating, concerts, lantern festival, and more. TRWD should find out the salary range for special events coordinators at the Convention Center, Dickies Arena, Downtown Fort Worth, Omni Hotel, and the Will Rogers complex and base TRWD’s compensation package on an average of what these places pay an entry-level events coordinator. TRWD may have already hired someone to replace J.D.’s wife and former event coordinator, who resigned the day the board voted on new anti-nepotism policies.
Now that TRWD and TRVA are one entity, TRWD should save taxpayers money by eliminating the position of Oliver’s nephew, Matt Oliver, that is a duplicate position (communications officer) already at TRWD. TRWD should also end its downtown office space lease on West 7th Street.
This letter reflects the opinions of the author and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a letter, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. Letters will be gently edited for clarity and concision.