November 2020

TCMA Management Messenger

William "King" Cole Series 
Management Transitions
New Members 
New Member Applications 
Meet Your Colleagues
Region News
Social Media
Rough Proportionality: Increased Park Usage and Parkland Dedication
Ethics Corner
Public Policy Training
City Managers of Tomorrow
TCMA Educational Events 
Memos on Meetings

2021 William King Cole Banner both sessions

Don't miss this nationally respected educational program where you will learn the fundamentals of the city management profession.

Session 1 will be a live, virtual event held over three half-days and will address the fundamentals of city management.

Session 2 takes a deeper look at leadership skills, diversity, communication skills, human resources, and public works.

Please visit William "King" Cole Series to learn more.


if you have questions, please email or call 512-231-7400.


Linnette Barker is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Ingleside.

Kim Davis is no longer the city manager of the City of Hondo. Brian Valenzuela is serving as the interim city manager.

Scott Dixon is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Breckenridge.

Christy Forbes is no longer the city administrator of the City of Lorenzo.

Sandra Garcia is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Aransas Pass.

Bruce Green was appointed as the city manager of the City of Lufkin. 

Lacie Hale is the new city administrator of the City of Liberty Hill.

Howdy Lisenbee is the new city manager of the City of Commerce.

Bobby Pennington is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Cleveland.

Kimberly Perez is the new city administrator of the City of Ralls.

Joseph Resendez is the new city administrator of the City of Bartlett.

Thad Smith is the new city manager of the City of Hemphill, effective November 30.

Debra Wallace is serving as the interim town manager of the Town of Flower Mound.

New Members

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

Full: Wendy Withers, Town Administrator, Shady Shores

Associate: Brian Moran, Assistant to the City Manager, Baytown; Cheryl Sawyers, Planning Services Division Manager, Abilene; Charles Stapp, Director of Public Safety, San Marcos

Cooperating: Carlos Guzman, Executive Director, Pasadena Economic Development Corporation

Student: Daniel Amoo, Texas State University; Karen Ballesteros, the University of North Texas; Celeste Eisenberg, the University of North Texas; Vivian Fung, The University of Texas at Arlington; Robert Gonzales, the University of North Texas; Christopher Phillips, Webster University; Azhalia Ramirez, St. Mary's 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: Amanda Hill, City Manager, Rusk; Lisa Palomba, City Administrator, McLendon-Chisholm; Claire Powell, Assistant City Manager, Lewisville

Associate: Nicholas Montagno, Assistant to the City Manager, Boerne; Vanessa Ramirez, Deputy Director of Public Works, Odessa; Robert Valenzuela, Director of Public Works, Sugar Land

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Paul Stevens to his new position as city manager of the City of Highland Village.  Paul’s appointment began on September 14.  Prior to his appointment, Paul served as the deputy city manager of the City of Rowlett and also served as the assistant city manager and city manager of the City of Waxahachie.  

Paul received his bachelor’s degree and master’s in public administration degree from the University of North Texas.  

Paul and his fiancée, Shannon, will be married this November.  His hobbies are running, mountain biking, and gardening.  

region news

Region News-November Newsletter

TCMA President Brad Stafford is taking the opportunity to visit each region. On October 16, he visited Region 2. Please contact Brad at to schedule a meeting in your region.

Be social with us!

TCMA has been getting active on social media and is working to make our social media more dynamic and interesting. We’ve created our own hashtags to highlight the great men and women who make up TCMA at all levels of the organization from students to managers and everyone in between. We’re also highlighting those who committed their lives to serving in the city management profession and are now TCMA Life members. 

Look for some exciting things in the coming weeks like a handle takeover on Instagram. It’s a great way to showcase your community to fellow TCMA members. If you’re interested, shoot us a private message on Instagram. We’re also looking for interesting content on your personal or city social media that promotes our great organization and the city management profession.

Please be social with us! You can find us on:

Facebook –
Twitter - @TXCMAORG
LinkedIn -
Instagram –

Rough proportionality: increased park usage and parkland dedication

When governing bodies direct staff to “trim the fat” with the objective of achieving a more attractive tax rate with which to support city operations, it seems the parks and recreation department projects are quick to move down in priority, especially in times of disrupted revenue. After all, these projects concern leisure and luxury – not a necessary infrastructure need, right? Wrong. 

Municipal parks offer several benefits to cities’ residents and to the local economy they serve. US News & World Report contends, “In this extraordinary time [In reference to COVID-19 pandemic], city parks… proved to be critical public infrastructure… building bonds among people from all walks of life” (Nagel, 2020). The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) asserts city parks provide an essential service to communities. These essential services provide many benefits such as strengthened economic value, and studies have concluded municipal parks improve the local tax base which in turn increases residential property values. One of the top three reasons cited for business relocation decisions is the proximity of quality parks and recreation. Parks provide a place for people to engage in exercise and activities for pleasure and/or personal health without the requirement of membership fees. The NRPA attributes parks and protected lands with providing environmental benefits such as increased air and water quality, providing wildlife habitats, and identified a correlation between involvement and support in city parks to lower crime rates. 

While the Year 2020 will arguably be remembered for years to come as a one deserving a mulligan, the year has also been characterized with many glass half-full circumstances such as the increased use of city parks during unprecedented social distancing, industry-specific business closure mandates, and a shift in public education from brick and mortar settings to virtual learning. For many of us, getting outside has presented an escape from cabin fever and provided opportunities to exercise, enjoy family and pets, and unburden the mind from the swath of sudden changes in social dynamics and other COVID-attributed hardships. At a time when employees were suddenly divided into dichotomies of workplace designations – essential and nonessential, a beneficiary of pandemic silver lining was the development and construction industries, which earned the coveted “essential” seal of approval to continue operations. 

While the economic impact of the novel coronavirus is yet to be fully realized, city parks remain steadfast in providing a cost-free option of entertainment to the public. Now is the time to take a more analytical approach to realizing the benefits of parks and public spaces and understand if the value of parkland dedications is realistically meeting cities’ needs for park space in relation to usage and population.  Many Texas cities have adopted ordinances that require developer contributions of land or “fees-in-lieu” to support the continued need for park space as population increases, a criterion termed “rough proportionality,” established by the U.S. Supreme Court and widely accepted by cities across the nation. In a recent study, Dr. John L. Crompton, a Texas A&M University professor,  found that most city parkland dedication is confined to neighborhoods and precludes existing parks and extraterritorial jurisdiction areas. Dr. Crompton also concluded dedications are often valued far below the cost necessary to acquire and develop parks. 

Parkland dedication is a practice that aligns with benefits-received principle of equity and the ideal taxation philosophy which promotes the lowest tax rate among the broadest base. When park amenities are created through dedications, taxpayers are not burdened with the costs associated with the increased need for parks as population rises. Furthermore, spaced parks prevent overcrowding; residents are more likely to use a park in closer proximity to their homes than making a trip to a park across town.

Parks are important to society, and as stewards of public resources and guardians of life quality enhancing amenities such as municipal parks, we must remain vigilant in the pursuit of maintaining the highest quality of public resources. In assessing park needs, cities should examine standardizing the expectation of parkland dedication to meet an ideal per capital formula of parkland acreage to population for continuity of service, as opposed to setting minimum dedication thresholds or desired minimum sizes of dedicated parkland space. 

When a dedication of land cannot be met, fees-in-lieu should be equal to the fair market value of the amount of land that would have been dedicated. Further, cities should examine the need for adopting park development fees or allow developers to provide improvements in order to avoid the possible scenario of accepting a dedication and not having the financial resources to develop the land into a park. Arbitrary dedication expectations should be avoided, and standards for dedications should be based on empirical research to erase gray areas that can leave the city open to the possibility of fully funding the development of a park or accepting a dedication that does not meet appropriate parkland size or value.  

To promulgate responsible park growth congruent with community needs, city staff members have a responsibility to educate elected officials on the potential of parkland dedication. Existing parkland dedication ordinances should be regularly reviewed for adequacy and relevance. Through regular review and revision of parkland dedication ordinances, cities can be equipped with standardized dedication requirements to reduce the opportunity of opposition from the development community. 

While it remains uncertain if the changes to which society has adapted in response to COVID-19 will be permanent, park usage popularity has remained steady. Now is the time for cities to assess current methods for gauging park dedication needs, revisiting existing ordinances, and determining if current practices in place are sustainable to support future growth without burdening the taxpayer.

(Submitted by Lindsay Koskiniemi, Project Manager, City of Angleton, in dedication to the city parks professionals who make life more fun – thank you for all you do.)

Ethics Corner

November Ethics article graphic

The City of Corinth routinely reads books as a management team. The most recent book – James Kerr’s Legacy (what a rugby team can teach us about the business of life) provided such a powerful message that it was decided to use it through the organization – to the first line supervisory level. Naturally, the sports reference to the New Zealand national rugby team (named the All Blacks for the solid black uniforms they wear) helps make the book popular among staff members.

Kerr shares that the All Blacks places an emphasis on their fundamental and foundational values, going so far as to select on character over talent. He reminds us that ethos is the Greek word for character.   Descended from the same root as the word for ethics, it is used to describe the beliefs, principles, codes, and culture of an organization. Tenet 3 states that we are 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.

Kerr points out that successful leaders balance pride with humility - absolute pride in performance and  total humility before the magnitude of the task. This is practiced when, following a game, two senior players (the team leaders or captains) each pick up a long-handled broom and begin to sweep the sheds. They brush the mud and gauze into small piles in the corner because the All Blacks themselves tidy up after themselves.

From the book:

“Sweeping the sheds. Doing it properly. So no one else has to. Because no one looks after the All Blacks. The All Blacks look after themselves. In doing so, the players are taught never to get too big to do the small things that need to be done.”

Leaders create the right environment for the right behaviors to occur. That is their primary role.  The importance of environment is stressed through a powerful analogy: that successful cultures are organic and adaptive. They change and flow, yet always just under the surface is a bedrock of values, smoothed by the current above, but unyielding. First, we shape our values. Then, our values shape us.  

Against this backdrop of practicing humbleness, integrity, and maintaining quality character, Tenet 3 guidelines are more clearly seen. Members should treat people fairly, with dignity and respect and should not engage in, or condone bullying behavior, harassment, sexual harassment, or discrimination. Members should conduct themselves to maintain public confidence in their position and profession. Members should conduct their professional and personal affairs in a manner that demonstrates that they cannot be improperly influenced in the performance of their official duties. Members should not engage in an intimate or romantic relationship with any elected official or board appointee, employee they report to, one they appoint, and/or supervise, either directly or indirectly, within the organization.

Managers are charged with embodying these ethical principles, both in their professional and personal lives, to maintain consistency and integrity.   In recognizing their deepest values, they come to understand what kind of leader they are and what kind of life they wish to lead. Authenticity – the mark of a true leader – begins with honesty and integrity. Honesty allows people to access to the truest vision of themselves and, when setbacks occur, provides a strong foundation from which to recover. As so well put by Kerr, “If our values, thoughts, words, and actions are aligned, then our word is our world.” Employees should be able to easily use managers as living examples to how they themselves should act and be encouraged. Through demonstrated actions and character to act with professionalism, pride, and humility, they will come to merit the trust and respect of the elected and appointed officials, employees, and the public.

(Submitted by Bob Hart, City Manager, City of Corinth)

public policy Training

The TCMA Board and Public Policy Task Force recently completed a three-hour training that focused on how to effectively maneuver through the legislative process. Contact your region board member, region president, or task force member and learn how to role the training out in your region, train your council, and others in your organization.

Public Policy Training

city managers of tomorrow

ELGL Inspire logo

TCMA continues to be a sponsor and partner with Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) to engage university students and learn from local government leaders from across Texas about careers in local government. An interactive virtual event was hosted by the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas Austin on October 8. Thanks to all the TCMA members who participated to make this a successful event. A recording is available to view on demand at #ELGLInspire


#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

November 5, 2020
Stephen F. Austin State University (virtual event)

February, 2021
Texas State University

April, 2021
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars

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 October 22 via video conference. The next meeting will be on November 19 via video conference.

The Ethics Committee met on October 28 via video conference.

The Allies Across Texas Task Force met on October 30 via video conference.

The Board is scheduled to develop the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan on December 10 and conduct a board meeting on December 11.

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 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