February 2020

TCMA Management Messenger

Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Texas Women’s Leadership Institute
Ethics Corner
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

TM Scholarship

TCMA is accepting applications for the 2020 Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship. This $2,500 scholarship is available to a Texas City Management Association member’s dependent child who is a high school graduating senior and has been accepted to a Texas college or university. The deadline to apply is April 3. To learn more and apply, please click  Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship.


Glen Adams is the new city manager of the City of Santa Fe.

Scott Albert is no longer the city manager of the City of Angleton.

Arnie Amaro is no longer the city administrator of the City of La Villa.

Jeff Arnswald is the new city manager of the City of Gun Barrel City.

Travis Askey is the new city administrator of the City of West Lake Hills.

Brian Bosshardt is no longer the city manager of the City of Bedford.

Charles Daniels is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Hutto.

Candice Edmondson is the new city manager of the City of Richland Hills.

LeAnn Gallman will retire as the city manager of the City of Muleshoe, effective May 1. Ramon Sanchez will serve as the new city manager.

Lynda Humble is no longer the city manager of the City of Bastrop. Trey Job is serving as acting city manager.

Jim Jeffers retired as the city manager of the City of Nacogdoches. James Hogan is serving as the interim city manager.

Kenneth Kathan is the new city administrator of the City of Anahuac.

Kelly Kuenstler will no longer serve as the city manager of the City of Leon Valley, effective May 1.

Patrick Lawler will no longer serve as the city administrator of the City of Hudson Oaks. He will continue to fill his role until a new city administrator is selected.

Jesus Olivares is the new city administrator of the City of Rio Bravo.

Herman Rodriguez is no longer the city manager of the City of Robstown.

Rona Stringfellow is the new city administrator of the City of Wilmer.

Tommy Turney is no longer the city manager of the City of Ballinger.

Wade Willson is the new city manager of the City of Spearman.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Board on January 23, 2020.

Full: Elizabeth Borstad, City Manager; Athens; Alina Ciocan, City Manager, Sanger; Federico Reyes, City Manager, Pearsall; Kathleen Weisenberger, Assistant City Manager, Portland; Charles Neal Welch, City Administrator, Olney

Associate: Jackson Brockway, Assistant to the City Manager, Cedar Park; Scotty Jones, Director of Finance, Bay City; Randi Pineda, Assistant to the City Manager, Odessa

Student: Crayton Brubaker, Texas A&M University; Yaaresi Farias, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Alexa Gonzalez, The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley; Siale Langi, University of North Texas; Matthew Moreno, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Erin Seifert, The University of Texas at San Antonio

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 January:

Full: Anali Alanis, Assistant City Manager, Pharr; Michael Goodrum, City Manger, Sugar Land; Ronnie Guest, Jr., City Manager, Carrizo Springs; Johnny Huizar, City Manager, Pleasanton;  Robby Silva, City Administrator, Point Comfort; Brooke Witcher, Assistant City Manager, Lubbock

Associate: Angie Allen, Director of Finance, Emory; Amy Bockes, Chief of Staff, Coppell; Jennifer Pittman, Strategic Planning Coordinator, Tyler; Joseph Salvaggio, Chief of Police, Leon Valley

Cooperating: Ross Brady, Budget Analyst, College Station

meet your COLLEAGUES

The TCMA Management Messenger introduces and welcomes Heather Neeley to her new position of city manager of the City of Oak Ridge North.  She previously served the City as the assistant city manager, director of economic development, and city secretary.  Prior to joining the City of Oak Ridge North, she worked for a community association in the Sugar Land area.

Heather received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Sam Houston State University and master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston.

Heather and her husband Brent have been married 10 years and have two children: Fitz (5), named after Heather’s favorite author, and Jovie (2), named after one of her husband’s favorite 80s rockers.  When she is not working, Heather enjoys time with her family, dog Domino, and reading.


TCMA is saddened by the passing of John Harrison. John served as TCMA president in 1988. He also served as city manager of the cities of Odessa and Waco, and served as director of program development at the Texas Municipal League. Services were held on January 29 at Providence’s St. Catherine’s Chapel in Waco. John was loved and respected by his peers. Please keep the Harrison family in your thoughts and prayers. 

texas women’s leadership institute: 

empowering women in municipal GOVERNMENT


As the daughter of a city manager, I grew up more exposed to municipal government than most young people. I saw the impact that my dad and the staff of the City of Live Oak had on their community, and I watched them improve the quality of life of many people as I attended and volunteered for city events. I got involved with TCMA as soon as I could, and I always felt valued and welcomed at events and conferences. I was immediately drawn to the camaraderie that I saw among the members, and through TCMA, I met leaders that would become my mentors and help me navigate this profession. With this great support system, I believed that I too would become a city manager one day. Today, however, as I am working to advance my career in local government, an unfortunate reality challenges that path for me and other women in similar positions. Female representation among the highest ranks of municipal government has not kept pace with the dynamic and changing profession that we know today. 

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has been reporting the same statistic, 13 percent representation of women among local government managers, since the 1970s. Think: since Jaws hit the theaters and Saturday Night Live premiered. Recent research in June 2019 by Karen Daly, a trailblazer who has fantastically represented women in local government leadership, found that only 30 of the 241 city managers (12 percent) working in home rule cities in Texas are women. She also found that currently only 21 percent of the Texas City Management Association membership is female. All of this is yet another wake-up call that it is time to ramp up efforts to address this issue and chart paths to the top for women in local government. 

Does the resolution to this problem lie in formal education? Do more women need to be getting into and graduating from Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs? Nope. Women are already graduating from these programs at a higher rate than men. During my research as I was completing an MPA degree at Texas State University in January 2019, I found that 64 percent of the female assistant city managers and department directors in Texas municipalities that I surveyed had at least a master’s degree and 86 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree. This group of women are currently holding the positions in municipal government that often lead to that of city manager, and it would appear that in the education-seeking department, they are fully equipped to take on that role. Formal education is not the issue.

My research also suggested that these women in the positions that precede that of a city manager are highly experienced in their positions, having an average of 19 years of experience in municipal government. Career commitment was also high among these women, with over 90 percent reporting that they want to continue working in municipal government. Now it is time to figure out the next step. What else could help increase the number of women in these important leadership positions? Motivation, mentorship, experiential education, and professional development are key factors in fixing this persistent problem, and fortunately for all of us, there is already a devoted group of women in this profession working this angle. 

The Texas Women’s Leadership Institute (TWLI) is a new program created by the Texas Chapter of Women Leading Government to empower and prepare more women for the position of city manager for the future. This 10-month program, comprised of five sessions, aims to “move the needle” and address one of the 2018-2020 TCMA Strategic Plan goals to “Intentionally recruit, develop and retain young professionals, women, African American, Hispanic, and other underrepresented populations.” With support from TCMA, this inaugural Institute is giving 20 women, appropriately named “Executives,” from across the state that aspire to become city managers the opportunity to learn essential city management skills and provides them the ability to travel to cities that exemplify upper-level female leadership. From the more than 42 applications that were submitted in a three-week period in June 2019, the 20 women selected have diverse backgrounds and positions, and include management analysts, project managers, human resource directors, economic development professionals and more. Each bring a unique outlook to the program where they are able to gain knowledge of the intricacies of many different functional areas of municipal government. The Executives are also gaining exposure to many of the female leaders in the city management profession as well as male members who have been staunch allies of helping women succeed in local government.

Karen Daly, executive director of TWLI and the first ICMA Mountain Plains regional director, facilitates the Institute and provides staff support to the TWLI Advisory Board. It is comprised of eight women from all regions of the State, who hold different positions that embody female leadership in and in conjunction with municipal government. They are Julie Robinson (TWLI chair and Spring Valley Village city manager), Kay Godbey (retired city manager and The University of Texas at Arlington adjunct professor), Paulette Hartman (North Richland Hills deputy city manager), Linda Huff (Freese and Nichols account director), Opal Mauldin-Jones (Lancaster city manager), Derra Purnell (Olson & Olson attorney), Margie Rose (retired city manager and Strategic Government Resources representative), and Joyce Wilson (retired city manager and Workforce Solutions Borderplex CEO). This star-studded cast has worked tirelessly to put together a program like no other. As an executive that has the privilege of being a part of this inaugural class, I can say that I am extremely optimistic that these efforts will have a lasting and positive impact on this profession. 

The City of Lancaster hosted the first session of TWLI in September 2019. City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones graciously shared her time and community center for two days as the Executives were introduced to the program and taught about economic development from two female economic development professionals. Kim Buttram of Mesquite and Andrea Roy of Flower Mound gave their philosophies on incentive packages, recruitment efforts, redevelopment, collaboration with the community, and economic development in small and large cities. This session also included a tour of the Lancaster Regional Airport by those that are directly involved with airport operations and a question-and-answer session with premier influencers in the profession: Kay Godbey, Margie Rose, and Rickey Childers.  The session also unlocked some of the mysteries of being a manager and a mother from a panel that featured Paulette Hartman, North Richland Hills deputy city manager; Erin Reinhart, Carrollton city manager; Cori Reaume, Justin city manager; and Opal Mauldin-Jones, Lancaster city manager.

The City of Cedar Park hosted the November 2019 session. City Manager Brenda Eivens and Assistant City Manager Katherine Caffrey led the Executives through the ins-and-outs of public private partnerships, regional water systems, and public safety. The session concluded with an outstanding exercise in which Executives interviewed potential police chief candidates, all of whom were women who had risen through the ranks in their departments and will likely be situated very soon to take a police chief position, if they are not already. This was a mutually beneficial exercise, giving the Executives experience leading interviews and learning about public safety from professionals who are in the field, and giving the professionals experience interviewing and hearing fresh perspectives from those that are up-and-coming in the profession. 

The January 2020 session was held at the City of Pflugerville, where City Manager Sereniah Breland hosted the seminar. Executives toured the wastewater treatment plant and learned some essentials regarding public works projects from Linda Huff, principal at Freese and Nichols. Sereniah provided advice on community and employee relations and joined the final panel with Wendy Smith-May to discuss how one transitions to a new job. The Executives were also fortunate to receive great information and wisdom from retired El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson. Joyce provided essential council-manager relations information as well as provided a keynote luncheon session on executive presence. At the luncheon, members of the Central Texas Women Leading Government chapter joined the Executives. The final two sessions of the Institute will be held in Spring Valley Village in March 2020 and Fairview in May 2020. 

Each session is designed to help the Executives learn more about the women who are city managers in the profession as well as to expose them to areas which are not traditionally covered in the MPA programs. Those areas include personal development, creating a support network, learning to build a team, gaining confidence in your own abilities as well as meeting influencers from across the State of Texas. Support for professional development is essential and the Executives are grateful for their cities sponsoring their participation in this program.

The TWLI Advisory Board is also planning to hold a seminar open to others outside of the Institute in the summer of 2020. In this exciting day-long program, the Executives will assist in producing a one-day course of study, providing the laser-focused approach that TWLI is using to educate rising professionals in this career path. This summer session will target at mid-career professionals in Texas and will be held in San Antonio.

If the 20 Executives in this inaugural program graduate and go on to become city managers, the percentage of female city managers in Texas could almost double. Exciting things lie ahead for the Texas Women’s Leadership Institute and for those with the privilege of being a part of it. There is no doubt that the profession as a whole will reap the benefits of the hard work and dedication of Karen, the Advisory Board, Texas Women Leading Government, and TCMA. These groups have all played a part in making this Institute possible. With continued support, the goal is to hold the second annual Institute starting in September 2020. Applications will be made available in May 2020. If anything can turn the tide and initiate the change that this profession needs to see, it is the Texas Women’s Leadership Institute. 

(Article submitted by Ashley Wayman, City Secretary, City of Rollingwood)

ethics corner

Ethics Require a Foundation

For all the books and seminars available that discuss high-performing organizational values, there’s a remarkable absence of conversation about how difficult it is to promote an ethos of sustainability.

Organizations can rearrange financial data and performance measures for a short time to create a narrative of growth and progress, but to create a sustainable, long-term path of progress, leaders must first demonstrate, instill, and demand ethical behavior.

Why are ethics necessary for sustainable success? Put simply, they look beyond the numbers to the people and the profession at its very core. The TCMA Code of Ethics outlines this concept in great detail. Tenet 2, for example, requires managers to affirm the dignity of the profession and public service. Tenet 4 focuses more on a higher obligation of the profession. Managers are called upon to serve the interests of the people as a whole, principally due to the immense authority entrusted to them as public servants. Managers may feel that residents, particularly those with a bone to pick, intrude upon the solitude of their workplace. But the truth is to the contrary – it is the managers who work in the living space of their residents. 

By way of example, the City of Dayton strives to exemplify SHINE Principles: Service, Humility, Integrity, Nobility, and Excellence. City staff serves its community and each other in the organization, lifting each other up rather than tearing down. They are reminded every day to be humble in the face of the trust bestowed upon them by their community. They build trust through open and transparent communication (integrity). The public’s trust requires a higher standard of conduct (nobility), and their community deserves effective and efficient work every day (excellence). 

Dayton’s SHINE Principles are more than words on a poster. They are embedded in its organizational culture. They are spoken of constantly and great care is taken to point out when colleagues and staff demonstrate them. This is vitally important because ethics is the most important and absolute initiative that public servants undertake. If the public trust is eroded, a community may question the entire profession of city management and its own local government. When a manager takes action, the manager must ask two very important questions; does this promote the interests of my community and does it build trust in local government? 

A strict adherence to ethical practice protects managers, to be sure, but, just as importantly, it protects the city management profession and its long-term viability. A manager’s actions ripple far beyond the walls of their respective city hall. 

(Article submitted by Theo Melancon, City Manager, City of Dayton)

TCMA Educational Events

City Management Clinic
February 27-28, 2020

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

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

#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Event

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

Memos on Meetings

The Membership Committee met via conference call on January 24.

The Board met on January 31 in Austin. 

The City Managers of Tomorrow Committee is scheduled to meet on February 7 in Austin.

The Equity Task Force is scheduled to meet on February 21 in Buda.

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.

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.