TCMA Leadership Task Force
Texas Municipal Center, Luther Jones Conference Room
April 5, 2013, 9 a.m.
Members participating in the meeting included: Co-Chair Charmelle Garrett, City Manager, Victoria; Alexander Briseno, retired; Rickey Childers, retired; Homer Garcia, Contract Manager, San Antonio; Larry Gilley, City Manager, Abilene; Veronica Lara, Director of Small & Minority Business Resources, Austin; Kathleen Merrill, Deputy City Manager, College Station; Gilbert Perales, Deputy City Manager, Arlington; James Thurmond, Director of MPA Program, University of Houston; Ronald Whitehead, City Manager, Addison.
TML Staff: Lauren Crawford
Charmelle Garrett called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. and thanked the members for attending and participating in the meeting.
The task force discussed five areas that had been previously determined to need further research. Each area was researched and reviewed by a subcommittee. (1) TCMA Structure; (2) Tenured Managers; (3) Emerging Leaders; (4) Strategic Partnership; and (5) Communicating “Passion for Public Service.”
Subcommittee reports and task force recommendations are as follows:
Goal I: TCMA Structure. The task force was asked to determine if TCMA’s structure attracts, retains, and develops professionals for the field of city management by conducting a thorough review of membership structure and fees and reviewing the structure of the TCMA regions and effectiveness of regional meetings. Mr. Childers made the bulk of the presentation on behalf of the subcommittee. Extensive feedback was provided from the subcommittee members. Mr. Childers and the other subcommittee members who worked on Goal I discussed their review of the regions, and had considered redrawing the lines, but decided that though the map is not ideal, it is also nearly impossible to improve. The group agreed that the regions should be more active across the board. The task force and subcommittee makes the following recommendations:
(1) eliminate the requirement of the signature of the city manager for associates, as not all associates have city managers who are active in TCMA or see the value; and (2) establish expectations for regional presidents, including creating a template for formal reports from regional meetings. This template should include an “emerging leader” programming and opportunities section (see Goal III) and a section on regional support for young professionals (see Goal IV).
Goal II: Tenured Managers. The task force was tasked to analyze and determine why managers are leaving their positions by evaluating reasons managers are leaving the profession, evaluating professional development opportunities, developing tools for succession planning, and developing a method of entering the city management profession. Ms. Merrill presented for the subcommittee, and stated that their finding was there was no mass exodus of managers from the profession due to any specific issues they could find. The task force and subcommittee concludes that managers leaving their positions were not a major issue that TCMA needs to address at this time.
Goal III, Emerging Leaders. The task force was asked to determine appropriate initiatives for emerging leaders to move into city management positions by surveying emerging leaders to determine needs, determining continuing education opportunities, determining assistants’ organizational involvement, developing internship opportunities, and developing a mentoring program. Mr. Gilley and Mr. Garcia made the presentation of the subcommittee findings. They pointed out that while there is not a mass exodus from the profession going on, lots of boomers are retiring and there will be many opportunities for emerging leaders, and TCMA has a responsibility to prepare emerging leaders to take leadership positions. The task force and subcommittee recommends that TCMA encourage participation in existing emerging leader programs (such as the one offered by NCTCOG and other partners) by subsidizing participation in such programs, making emerging leadership program available regionally (see Goal I recommendations), creating and sponsoring free webinars for emerging leaders, and publicizing programs for emerging leaders. The task force also recommends special sessions at the TCMA annual conference for emerging leaders and on how to develop talent be offered. A requirement of continuing education beyond ethics was not recommended. Regarding the assistants, after discussions including the possibility of requiring an assistant board member in the regional boards, the task force and subcommittee recommends that regions create an at-large position on the board, which could be held by an assistant. For mentoring, the task force and subcommittee recommends reinstituting and modernizing the mentor program, as well as creating an inventory of city manager fellowship programs statewide. The group also discussed that there was more value in mentorship than creating a statewide internship program that might be harder for small cities to implement.
Goal IV, Strategic Partnership. The task force was to identify partnership with appropriate professional associations in order to expose professionals to the city management field. Objectives included determining if opportunities exist to partner with other TML affiliate groups, determining opportunities with universities, determining what can or should be done at local high schools, maintaining relationship with ICMA, and determining partnership opportunities with AMCC. Mr. Perales and Mr. Thurmond made the presentation for the subcommittee, pointing out that most of the issues had already been touched by the other subcommittees. The task force and subcommittee makes the following recommendations: hold joint meetings with other
TML affiliates or invite their representative to TCMA meetings; have TCMA take a larger role in education by reaching out to secondary schools, primary schools, and higher education institutions; support young professional, especially at the regional level, including creating a section in the proposed regional report (see Goal I); and creating a “stable” of speakers on city management, reaching out to universities to offer to speak to applicable classes. For AMCC, the group recommends there be a joint mayors/city manager’s event every year at the TML Annual Conference and Newly Elected conferences. In addition, the task force and subcommittee recommends that Mr. Thurmond’s presentation regarding city management be put on the TCMA website (if it’s not there already) and that TCMA members ensure that a city manager sits on the MPA/undergrad government program’s advisory committee at all local colleges.
Goal V, Communicating “Passion for Public Service”. The task force was to identify skill sets needed to be successful in communicating a passion for public service, to develop a message that conveys virtues of local government management, and how to get citizens engaged in local government. Mr. Briseno and Mr. Whitehead reported the subcommittee findings. The task force and subcommittee recommends that TCMA members develop a message of why people enter the city management profession, and tell that why through citizen outreach, including citizens’ academies, celebration of successes, and an inventory of successful citizens’ programs statewide. The message should express a positive culture of the profession rather than focus on war stories or the negative things.
The task force discussed the LBJ School Public Executive Institute. The task force makes the following recommendations: (1) Ensure that TCMA have approval rights on curriculum, since TCMA is being asked to sponsor the program; (2) Include special districts and state entities in the program; (3) Create a TCMA Board position or appoint a current Board position to act as a champion and liaison with the program and ensure a good local government focus in the program. The task force also recommends that retired city managers as well as active city managers be involved in the focus group for the program, and that TCMA consider offering a stipend or scholarship for the program.
With nothing else on the agenda, the group adjourned for lunch at 11:30 a.m.