June 2020

TCMA Management Messenger

TCMA Ethics Committee Annual Report
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
TCMA Hires Digital Media Coordinator
2020 TCMA City Council of the Year
Public Policy Task Force
TCMA Knowledge Base
Happy Father’s Day! A City Manager’s Legacy
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

TCma ethics committee annual report

The following report is presented to the TCMA membership covering the period from June 2019 to May 1, 2020.  As reported in the spring report, the Ethics Committee and TML support staff have been quite busy this year.  

1.    Ethics complaints. One complaint is pending. ICMA and TCMA are compiling the information and will work in concert to determine jurisdiction (i.e. if member(s) are ICMA or TCMA members, or both).  

Action was taken on one complaint. ICMA investigated Adam Miles (formerly of the City of Hewitt) earlier this year. A public censure and permanent membership bar was enforced. The TCMA Board took a similar action. 

One complaint was dismissed. A complaint was filed on an ICMA/TCMA member. After appropriate documentation was provided, it was shown to be an invalid complaint and no investigation was necessary. 

2.    Ethics 202 Online Course. The online Ethics 202 is complete and currently available. Special thanks to Valerie Bradley, former Mesquite managing director of community services (deceased); Alan Guard, New Fairview interim city administrator; Henry Hill, Frisco deputy city manager; Randy Perez, Mission city manager; Hugh Walker, Bryan deputy city manager; Ed Wylie, Pharr deputy city manager; and others who worked diligently worked to completed the second part. Also, a special thanks to Kim Pendergraft, TML staff, for keeping us on task and Hugh Walker for final edits while I was out.  

TCMA has a total of three online ethics courses. Each fulfills the two hours every two years of required ethics training: Ethics 101 (new member requirement and/or Full or Associate members); Ethics 201 – Tenets 1-6 (interactive course for Full and Associate members only); and Ethics 202 – Tenets 7-12, including the Rules for Enforcement (interactive course for Full and Associate members only).

3.  Ethics Train the Trainer. The required course for ethics trainers was conducted on December 6, 2019. Approximately 35 members attended the training to become trainers or renew their training. There are currently 53 members who are certified to train.  A list of trainers is available on the TCMA website, with trainers available in all but one region. To find a trainer in your region, click here

4.    TCMA Ethics Corner. The Ethics Corner continues to be a monthly column in the Management Messenger. The approach is somewhat different than in previous years, because the articles focus on real life situations and how to apply specific tenets of the Code of Ethics. The Ethics Committee continues to rely on Matt McCombs, a former city manager, to ensure that each article is gender neutral, in first person, and has a single voice.  

5.    TCMA Ethics Committee review of non-member violations.  The Ethics Committee continues to explore and develop a course of action on how to respond when an individual is a non-member and violates the Code.   A subcommittee is being led by Nate Smith, Fairfield city administrator.

6.    Updating the 101 Online Course. Kevin Evans, McGregor city manager, is leading a subcommittee to review the online Ethics 101 course, which is roughly 13 years old. The first round of editing is complete. The second and final review should be completed in the next several weeks.

7.    Update of the Rules of Procedures for Enforcement. The Ethics Committee has created a subcommittee led by Tink Jackson, La Marque city manager, to review and refine the Rules of Procedures for Enforcement.  They are more than 25 years old. Part of the review will include how to best clarify and streamline how TCMA and ICMA work together to enforce the Code.

8.    Tenets 1 and 2. Changes were adopted by ICMA and approved by the TCMA Board.

9.    Tenets 5 and 6. ICMA is currently balloting the ICMA membership for the acceptance of changes to Tenets 5 and 6. Prior to submitting the proposed changes to the ICMA membership for a vote, the TCMA Ethics Committee reviewed the initial suggested changes and submitted the following comments: 

Tenet 5. Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals, and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

  • ICMA proposed a change to replace “facts and advice” with “technical and professional advice”. The Committee recommends “facts and professional advice”. The term “facts” should be included in the statement. 
  • Tenet 5 should also include language to reflect the “knowledge” of the member. 

The ICMA suggested changes were reworded to maintain the word “fact” as suggested but did not include the word “knowledge”. The emphasis of the Committee was to keep the word “fact” in the tenet, and this was met.

Tenet 6. Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members. 

  • The Committee recommends that both policy and goals be stated to make clear that members are responsible for policy execution of the governing body as well as the community goals. 

The ICMA suggested changes were reworded to not include the addition of the word “goal”, which was not a strong point of discussion. 

10.   Remaining Tenets. ICMA has initiated review of Tenets 8 and 11, with Tenets 9 and 10 remaining.

It has been a pleasure working for the TCMA organization and with the individuals on the Ethics Committee.  I and the Ethics Committee thank you for the opportunity to serve and to keep ethics as one of the priorities of TCMA and to invest in it with your time, support, and financial support.

(Submitted by Nick Finan, Chair, TCMA Ethics Committee, and Director of Management Services/ City Secretary, Texas City.)


Sabra Davis is no longer the city administrator of the City of Bartlett. Markus Holt is serving as the interim city administrator.

Don Doering is the new city administrator of the City of Magnolia.

Joe Hines is the new city manager of the City of Abernathy.

Barbara Holly is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Rockdale.

Bobby Mendez is the new city manager of the City of Dublin.

Marty Nelson is the new city manager of the City of Ennis.

Sylvia Ordeman is the new town administrator of the Town of Bartonville.

Houston Satterwhite and Heather Robertson-Caraway are serving as co-interim city managers of the City of Breckenridge.

Jim Sevey (police chief) is serving as the acting city manager of the City of Nacogdoches.

Wiley Stem III will retire as the city manager of the City of Waco. Bradley Ford will serve as the new city manager upon Wiley’s retirement.

Ben Thatcher is the new city manager of the City of Boerne, effective June 15.

David Wallis is the new city administrator of the City of Godley.

Bryan Woods, city manager of the City of College Station, has deployed as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Jeff Capps (deputy city manager) is serving as the interim city manager.

Keith Wright will retire as the city manager of the City of Lufkin, effective July 7.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Board on May 26, 2020.

Full: Britt Lusk, City Manager, Pilot Point; Michael Rodriguez, Chief of Staff, Corpus Christi

Associate: Christopher Copple, Director of Development Services, Cedar Park

Cooperating: Michael Grace, Director, Unincorporated Area Services, Dallas County; Miles Haynes, Marketing Director, Altus Health

Student: Austin Bishop, Texas A&M University; Matthew Frederick, Texas A&M University; Jaida Sloan, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Christopher Solis, The University of Texas at El Paso

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 May:

Full: Stephen Barnes, City Manager, Hughes Springs; Lacie Hale, Chief Operating Officer, Liberty Hill; Sarah Novo, City Manager, Flatonia

Associate: W. Victor Brownlees, Director of Finance, Baytown; Robert Hemminger, Emergency Services Director, Deer Park

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Nick Haby to his new position as the city administrator of the City of Meadows Place. Nick was appointed in March.

Nick began his career in the planning department and city manager’s office in the City of Missouri City before moving to the City of Friendswood where he served as assistant to the city manager and later as the planning manager. Nick most recently served as the community development director for the City of Kemah before moving to Meadows Place.

He received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a master of public administration from the University of Houston.

Nick and his wife, Shanna, have three children, Carson, Mia, and Hudson. In his spare time, he enjoys biking with his children, serving his church, and becoming emotionally invested in college football games.

TCMA hires digital media coordinator

Nick SmithOn April 3, the TCMA Board approved funds to expand the Association’s social media presence.The Board’s vision is to engage and encourage the next generation of city managers.

Please give a big Texas welcome to Nick Smith who will work along side TCMA as a digital media coordinator. Nick will be developing and implementing strategies to engage members of TCMA and those who want to build a career in local government. Don’t be surprised if he contacts you to participate!

Nick was previously the communications specialist for the City of Gaithersburg, Maryland, before making the transition to contracting his services to support local governments around the country. He was elected to serve as the vice president of the Government Social Media Organization Leadership Council and has spoken on social media at several conferences, including the keynote presentation at ELGL18. Nick says he’s “excited to work with the fantastic city managers of Texas and TCMA to help usher in the next generation of municipal leaders!”

Nick enjoys trying new foods, listening to music, going to concerts (pre-COVID), and playing with his two giant dogs, Giacomo and Tux.

You can welcome Nick at novemberalphasierra@gmail.com.


TCMA is saddened by several deaths over the past few weeks. 

Liz Hamlett, wife of TCMA Life member Jack Hamlett, passed on May 11. A celebration of her life will be scheduled at a later date. Memorials may be sent to St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 201 E Nolte St, Seguin, TX 78155 or The Michael J. Fox Foundation, PO Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741. Please keep Jack in your thoughts and prayers.

Linda Langford, wife of Ivan Langford, former city manager, passed on May 2. Linda’s life will be celebrated after the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in her name to the Women of Faith, at Faith Lutheran Church, 800 FM 517 East, Dickinson, TX 77539, or online at www.faithdickinson.org/give. Please keep Ivan in your thoughts and prayers.

Olen Petty passed on May 23. Olen was a TCMA Life member and former city manager of the cities of Tulia, Mineral Wells, Sulphur Springs, Deer Park, and Conroe. Olen was laid to rest at the Rest Lawn cemetery of Sulphur Springs on Wednesday, May 27. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his honor to the Alzheimer’s Association of Texas at https://www.alz.org/texascapital ,The Texas City Management Association Attn: In Memory of Olen Petty, 1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78754; or Cal Farley’s Boy’s Ranch, 600 SW 11th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79101. Please keep Olen’s wife Virginia and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

2020 tcma city council of the year

Deer Park

Congratulations to the City of Deer Park for being selected as the 2020 City Council of the Year Award. The award recognizes a city council for its support of the council-manager form of government through professional management, ethical practices, and effective decision-making to ensure the highest standards for a community during the previous calendar year.

It’s tradition that the TCMA president schedule a time to make a formal presentation to the city council. In addition, the Texas Municipal League provides an educational session for TCMA at the TML Annual Conference. TCMA offers this session to the recipient of the award. 

The City of Deer Park demonstrates its support of the council-manager from of government as stated in Section 2.10 of the City of Deer Park Charter, “Except for the purposes of inquiry and investigation, the council and its members shall deal with the administrative service of the city solely through the city manager and shall not give orders to any of the manager’s subordinates either publicly or privately.” While interaction between councilmembers and staff is encouraged, it is consistently carried out with the knowledge and inclusion of the city manager and/or the assistant city manager, which serves to improve overall communication and action by the City.

The Deer Park City Council has demonstrated its commitment to ethical practices through meeting procedures, relationships with city administration and staff, and the budgetary process. Integrated into meetings and daily interactions, the Council shows their support for, and adherence to the policies and procedures of the Texas Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State, the Texas Government Code and the Texas Public Information Act.

On March 17, 2019, a fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company located near Deer Park, sparked a major industrial and ecological incident that affected the entire Houston area. Throughout the response, Mayor Mouton made keeping the public informed his top priority. His willingness to make time to answer inquiries in a timely manner clearly demonstrated his public service values, and his willingness to place the welfare of the citizens in Deer Park above all else. City Council members also monitored social media outlets allowing the City to address rumors and misinformation.

Congratulations the City of Deer Park Council for ensuring the highest standards of professional management for its citizens.

public policy task force

The Public Policy Task Force met on April 30 and May 26. The Task Force will be working with the Texas Municipal League to prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Members of the Task Force will meet monthly with the TML Legislative team to develop and coordinate strategies, and then meet weekly during the legislative session.

The Task Force requests that members share their city legislative agendas to assist the full membership who would like samples to develop legislative agendas for their cities. These will be shared in the knowledge base for members. To view documents, click TCMA Knowledge Base. Please send your agendas to Kim Pendergraft at kim@tml.org

tcma knowledge base

A collection of documents that members have shared are available in the TCMA Knowledge Base. Documents include COVID-19, Ebola, and sample legislative agendas. If you have documents, best practices, or programs your city has found helpful and you would like to make them available, please send to Kim Pendergraft at kim@tml.org

happy father’s day! a city manager’s legacy

Father’s Day is June 21, and I want to wish my dad Happy Father’s Day! I also want my LITTLE brother to know I am still our father’s favorite. My father is city manager of the City of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I have learned a lot from him over the years. Now, I am teaching him some new things (at least I like to think so). 

The most important thing my father taught me is that family will always be there for you. This profession has many ups and downs and the one constant in a manager’s life is their family. Your family will always be there for you at the roughest times of your career whether it’s being terminated, managing a natural disaster, or losing a coworker. They will also be there with you to help celebrate a new job or completion of a major project and discuss new ideas. 

Many times, it can be a challenge to spend quality time with family and balance work responsibilities. However, sometimes I am able to intertwine the two. I tend to get the best advice from my seven year old daughter when we work together on projects. The most recent project was a new playground.  She was the biggest helper during the whole project. We visited many parks, and she gave me feedback on what she liked and didn’t like. Afterward, we sat down and went through every playground equipment book in my office. If the decision were left to her, we would have spent about $400 million on a new playground set, but she narrowed it down to about a dozen pieces and kept it within budget. 

Happy Father’s Day to a man who taught me the value and service of professional city management.

(Submitted by Luke Olson, City Administrator, Parker)


#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

We will be back for the fall semester. Stay tuned for more information.

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars

Lessons in Value-Based Leadership: Leading with Principle
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, June 18

Managing Hostility in Public Discourse: Living in an Age of Anger
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 9

Charting Your Future: Developing Your Personal Strategic Plan
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 22

Talent Management in the 21st Century: Growing, Attracting, and Retaining Your Best
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, November 12

Memos on Meetings

The Public Policy Task Force met on May 26 via video conference. The minutes are available here. The next meeting is scheduled on June 18.

The Board is scheduled to meet on June 4 via video conference.

The City Managers of Tomorrow Committee is scheduled to meet on June 26 via video conference.

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.