November Newsletter

TCMA Management Messenger

November 2019

Senior Advisor Program Celebrates 45 Years
Management Transitions
Sympathy
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Building Culture
Ethics Corner
Public Censure
TCMA and #ELGLInspire Event
Around the State and Beyond
Awards and Scholarships
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings


Senior Advisor Program Celebrates 45 Years

ICMA celebrates 45 years of the Senior Advisor Program (formerly Range Riders) during the ICMA Annual Conference in Nashville on October 20-23. The Management Messenger honors and thanks Texas’s senior advisors. To learn more about the program or if you would like to reach out to an advisor with personal or professional issues, click here.

Senior Advisors (JPG)


Management Transitions

Rick Beverlin is the new city manager of the City of Leander.

Tony David is the new city manager of the City of Laguna Vista.

Wendy Ellis is no longer the city administrator of the City of Kemah. Walter Gant is the new city administrator.

Michael Goodrum will begin serving as the new city manager of the City of Sugar Land in January, 2020.

Alan Guard is no longer the city manager of the City of Pilot Point. Terry Roberts is the interim city manager.

Mark McLaughlin is the new city manager of the City of Kingsville, effective December 2, 2019.

Steve Parker is the new city administrator of the City of Seguin, effective January 5, 2020.

Rick Schroder is no longer the city administrator of the City of Helotes. Tom Schoolcraft is the new city administrator.

Leroy Vidales is the new interim city administrator of the City of Castroville.


Sympathy

The TCMA Management Messenger is saddened by the passing of Ralph Weaver. Ralph passed on Saturday, October 15. Ralph was the city coordinator of the City of White Oak from 1994 to 2008. A memorial service is scheduled on Saturday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. at the Greggton United Methodist Church located at 1101 Pine Tree Road in Longview. He was well loved and respected, especially by the members of TCMA Region 5.  Please keep Ralph’s wife Glenda and family in your thoughts and prayers.


New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Board on October 23, 2019.

Full: Michael Boese, City Manager, Keene; Blake Jurecek, Assistant City Manager, Wichita Falls; Howdy Lisenbee, Assistant City Manager, Pecos City; Olan D. Massingill, City Manager, Brazoria; Theresa Prasil, City Administrator/City Secretary, Teague

Student: Marissa Cooper, Texas State University; Abigail Garcia, Texas A&M University; Jade McDaniel, Texas Southern University; Sara Millar, Texas State University; Katalina Munoz, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Jessica Robinson, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Christopher Staffeldt, The University of Texas at Dallas; Chandra Washington, The University of Texas at Dallas; Kimberyl Winarski, Texas A&M University.


New Member Applications

The current TCMA Board policy requires that names of new member applicants be published each month in the Management Messenger. Any written objection during the subsequent 30-day period will be reviewed by the Membership Committee. If no objections are received during this time, the names will be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval. Written objections can be mailed to TCMA, Attention: Membership Committee, 1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78754. Applications received in the month of October:

Full: Jurecek Blake, Assistant City Manager, Wichita Falls; Stephanie Franklin, Managing Director, Tyler; Glen A. Martel, Assistant City Manager, Missouri City; Gregory W. Rushin, Deputy City Manager, Plano

Cooperating: Brian Nakamura, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University


Meet Your Colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger introduces and welcomes Neal Welch to his new position as the city administrator for the City of Olney. Neal’s appointment as city administrator began January 1, 2019.  His management profession started in 1984 as the street superintendent in the City of Vernon. He has also served as the public works director for the City of Sanger, director of field operations for Tarrant County Precinct Three, director of public works for Johnson County, and public works director for the City of Lamesa.  

Neal received his bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University in 1990.

Neal and his wife, Jana, have been married 45 years and have one child, Shana Baker.  He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren Bishop and Shayden, Epiphany Ministries, traveling with his wife, and wood working.


Building Culture

A few months ago, I pulled the weeds out of my yard for the first time ever, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the conversations my boss and I have had surrounding organizational culture.

I had my bucket, gloves, and music in hand, and then took one look at my yard. I decided that I didn’t want to do it, because it was going to take a long time and require a lot of effort. However, it had to be done so that I could have a healthy yard. The weeds were growing taller each day. Their roots in the ground were growing stronger and were suffocating the grass around them and preventing healthy growth. I started by taking one section of the yard at a time. I quickly learned that some weeds were easy to pull from the root, but others took a bit more effort. There were some that I pulled on and couldn’t yank out. So, I pulled from a different angle, and they eventually came out. It felt like they kept multiplying no matter how much I pulled up. After I came back from dumping out my bucket, I realized the yard was starting to take shape and my efforts weren’t for nothing. It motivated me to think less about how much work it was taking and more on what the final result would look like. Before I knew it, I was done. I now have a vision for my yard that doesn’t include weeds, and I will fight to protect it from them now that they’ve been removed.

As all of this was going on, I thought about how a manager changes the culture of an organization. There’s bound to be people (weeds) that need to be removed so the organization (yard) can be healthy. It looks overwhelming at first and even the most prepared manager has no idea what is below the surface (how deeply the roots have grown). So as he or she starts to make incremental changes, some leave with ease. Others may adjust to the change, but take more time. A good manager can recognize the different types of people and is able to adapt his or her managerial style.  At a certain point, the organization starts to take shape and employees become part of the new culture.

There are many opportunities to go to a city with a well-manicured lawn and we don’t consider going to a city that requires hard work. However, if we’re willing to pull out the garden tools, the fruits of our labor can grow a lush garden.

(Article submitted by Caitlin Biggs, Assistant to the Town Manager, Town of Little Elm.)


Ethics Corner

TCMA’s Code of Ethics – Our Compass

The importance of ethics in government has never been more critical. One need not look any further than the current state and national discussions to see the implications when people with different ethical standards measure one another’s behavior. Thankfully, those who are members of the Texas City Management Association have a compass that they can use to navigate the waters of local government leadership. The TCMA Code of Ethics serves as that compass.

Some may argue that a Code of Ethics is an antiquated expression of an ideal that cannot be achieved. Others may say that ethics boils down to, “don’t put yourself first.” Or, as one grizzly city manager once said lightheartedly, “don’t eat the cake if it is offered to you.” In some ways, both of these positions have some truth to them. A person who takes the time to read and study the TCMA Code of Ethics can quickly surmise that there is much more to it than these simplified concepts. The Code of Ethics does speak to how each must handle their own actions, but perhaps more importantly; it spends a large amount of ink on how these interactions with others are to be handled.

In the TCMA Code of Ethics, one of the first things discussed is behavioral guidelines for professional relationships – how to be focused on building others up and providing support for colleagues. Reading through this section of the document, it is clear that these professional behavioral guidelines underpin the foundations of any professional association. True professionals look out for one another; they help each other be greater and more successful in their craft. Not by competition and cut-throat behavior but by collegiality and “building good will and better friendships.” When dealing with members of the city management profession, other professions, and even elected officials, there are lessons to be learned in the application of these guidelines.

The focus on how to behave towards others in the Code of Ethics doesn’t stop with the behavioral guidelines to professional relationships. The entire document is fundamentally a call to service for others. Tenet 1 tells members to “be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.” 

Such stories are unfortunately common: a manager was terminated because he/she wouldn’t do something that an elected official might have wanted him/her to do. While managers can all rally around the bloody shirt, it must never be forgotten that the city council was elected to represent the people.  The job of a manager is not to dictate policy, but to aid the elected official in responsibly making it. This can certainly be difficult at times, especially when a manager might feel strongly about a particular recommendation. Nevertheless, mangers are there to implement what a city council adopts (Tenet 5 and 6). City management is not for the faint of heart and neither is being an elected official – a lesson the wise make a point of remembering.

All of this becomes even more difficult as local governments come increasingly under attack by elected officials in the highest levels in the state. Words like, “we hate cities and counties,” not only sting, but they anger us… and they should. Even in this, the Code of Ethics gives us the tools to navigate such uncertain situations. Tenet 3, for example, calls upon managers to “demonstrate by word and action the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in all public, professional, and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the trust and respect of the elected and appointed officials, employees, and the public.” 

In addition, managers have a duty under Tenet 9 to “keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.” In other words, a community is served best when communication and information flows freely, and the professional services rendered present local governments in the best possible light.

As local governments come under increasing attacks be it at home or at a higher level of government, the Code of Ethics should serve as a guideline for how city management professionals treat others in the defense of cities and counties. And, perhaps more importantly, why it is the job of city management professionals to arm elected officials with, “facts and advice on matters of policy” (Tenet 6) so that they can fight the battles the people elected them to fight on their behalf.

(Article submitted by Robert Hanna, City Manager, City of Abilene)


Public Censure

On October 25, TCMA was notified by ICMA that they had concluded its review of the ethics complaint of Adam Miles, former city manager of the City of Hewitt. The Committee on Professional Conduct (CPC) concluded “that during Mr. Miles’ personal relationship with his subordinate employee, he made decisions about her performance, promotion, and compensation. Within the employee’s first year with the city, she was promoted from an intern to a special project coordinator, then the human resources director, and finally the managing director of administration. The report also indicated Mr. Miles and the subordinate employee lived together for at least the last six months of his tenure as the city manager, while he was her direct supervisor.”

The CPC recommended to the ICMA Executive Board that Mr. Miles be publicly censured for conduct in violation of Tenet 3 and 12 and permanently barred from future membership. On October 18, 2019, the ICMA Executive Board approved the CPC’s recommendation and the matter is now closed. In following the TCMA Rules of Procedure for Enforcement, the TCMA Executive Committee met on October 29 and accepted the decision of ICMA and the case is closed.

Texas City Management Association Rules of Procedure for Enforcement

Jurisdiction
1. If an individual is a member of both TCMA and ICMA, TCMA relinquishes the right of investigation and actions to ICMA. All complaints concerning a member of ICMA or ICMA and TCMA will be processed by ICMA under the ICMA Rules of Procedure for Enforcement, and will not be subjected to an investigation by TCMA as long as that member is a member of ICMA. Once ICMA has completed its investigation, notice will be sent to the TCMA President and Ethics Committee chair, whereupon the TCMA Board shall accept the decision and actions of ICMA and shall apply the same sanction(s) to the member as TCMA’s action.

Sanctions
2. Public Censure. Notification to the respondent, complainant, TCMA Board’s file, appropriate local governing bodies, and TCMA Newsletter including the name of the City, person, etc. indicating that a violation of the code took place and that TCMA strongly disapproves of such conduct and the nature of the sanction(s) imposed.


TCMA and #ELGLInspire Event

On October 2, TCMA teamed up with Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) to host an #ELGLInspire Event at The University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs. Municipal leaders around Central Texas shared stories about their careers and the opportunities available in local government. 

ELGL Picture (JPG)

Left: The University of Texas students. Right: Zarin Ahmed, The University of Texas MPA student and ICMA Student Chapter president and Katherine Caffrey, Cedar Park assistant city manager.


Around the State and Beyond

Around the State and Beyon Picture 1 (JPG)

TCMA President Kenneth Williams visits Region 8 on October 18.

Around the State and Beyond Picture 2 (JPG)

Gilbert Perales, Arlington deputy city manager, shares a table top discussion at the ICMA Mountain Plains Region meeting during the ICMA Annual Conference in Nashville, on October 20. TCMA President Kenneth Williams is seated left.

Stephanie Reyes Picture (JPG)Stephanie Reyes, San Marcos interim assistant city manager, stands among other breast cancer survivors during an evening at the Grand Ole Opry title “Opry Goes Pink.” Several TCMA members attended the tribute concert after attending educational sessions at the ICMA Annual Conference in Nashville. The artist line-up included Luke Bryan, Anita Cochran, Sara Evans, Craig Morgan, and the Oak Ridge Boys. 



AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS

Each year, TCMA provides opportunities to recognize colleagues for their outstanding service to the city management profession, honor an outstanding city council for significant contributions to local government in Texas, and recognize an academician who has made significant contributions to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government. Awards include:

Administrator of the Year Award
City Council of the Year Award
Lifetime Achievement Award
Mentoring Award in Memory of Gary Gwyn
Terrell Blodgett Academician Award

For more information and a nomination form, please click here

TCMA also provides opportunities for professional development through scholarships. Scholarships include:

Barney L. Knight, CPM
Clarence E. Ridley
Leadership Development
Tom Muehlenbeck 

For more information and to apply for a scholarship, please click here

  

TCMA Educational Events

Save the Dates!

William “King” Cole 1
January 30-31, 2020
Austin

City Management Clinic
February 27-28, 2020
Granbury

William “King” Cole 2
March 26-27, 2020
Bryan

TCMA Annual Conference
June 4-7, 2020
South Padre Island

#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

November 13, 2019
Texas A&M University

February 12, 2020
Stephen F. Austin University 

February 19, 2020
The University of Texas-Arlington

April 17, 2020
The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars

Having Difficult Conversations in Your Organization and Beyond
11:30 AM – 1:00 p.m., Thursday, November 14


Memos on Meetings

The City Managers of Tomorrow Committee met on October 15. The minutes are available here.

The Advocacy Committee is scheduled to meet on November 8 in Austin.

The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet via conference call on January 24, 2020.

The Board is scheduled to meet on January 31, 2020 in Austin. 


All information is current as of the 25th of the month prior to publication.

In-Transition Services
To see if you qualify for TCMA In-transition Services, please click here. For a list of current city management job openings in Texas click here.

Career Compass
Career Compass is a monthly column addressing career issues for local governmental professional staff. To view current and past articles, please click here.

TML Educational Calendar
Additional Resources
Visit icma.org for additional training opportunities, resources, and advancement of professional local government around the globe. 

If  you have some interesting news that you would like to see included in the Management Messenger, please email messenger@tml.org.