Title: Deputy City Controller
Firm: City of Houston
Alex Obregon had been deputy city controller for Houston less than a year when Hurricane Harvey hit the city on Aug. 25, 2017. The second most costly hurricane in U.S. history dumped more than 50 inches of rain on the metro area, overwhelming flood control systems and causing widespread power outages in the Houston area.
Paychecks were due to city employees the Friday following Harvey’s landfall, which came on a Monday.
Bypassing flooded streets, Obregon drove to city hall with his wife and mother-in-law.
“We climbed seven flights of stairs in the dark multiple times carrying heavy boxes of payroll and vendor check stock,” he says. “The next day, I delivered the boxes to the emergency center so the city could provide payroll to all employees on Friday.”
Obregon dealt with the aftermath as a member of the Recovery Oversight Committee, along with his other responsibilities dealing with a $5 billion budget.
As a Houston native, Obregon has seen more than one hurricane, but he has also witnessed a lot of fiscal drama in both the private and public sectors. Under Mayor Sylvester Turner and Controller Chris Brown, Houston has restructured its troubled public pensions and reduced unfunded liability with $1 billion of pension obligation bonds.