February 2021

TCMA Management Messenger

TCMA City Management Clinic
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Council-Manager Form of Government in the City of Austin
Internships Needed
A New Pack: The Growing Demographic
Ethics Corner
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

2021 TCMA City Management Clinic

Join TCMA for This Annual Event
April 22-23, 2021

Topics and Speakers Include: 

Show Your Ink: Unleashing the Power of Authority
Speaker: Todd Dewett, Speaker, Author, Coach, and Leadership and Life Expert

Having an Open Door Without One
Speakers: Matthew Mueller, Town Manager, Town of Little Elm; and Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager, City of Georgetown

An Uncomfortable Conversation
Speaker: Ron Holifield, CEO, Strategic Government Resources

It’s A HOT Topic
Speakers: Wes Pierson, City Manager, City of Addison; and Lauren Middleton-Pratt, Assistant City Manager, City of Buda

Economic Development and Community Development: It’s Not One Size Fits All
Speaker: Mercy Rushing, City Manager, City of Mineola

Legislative Update
Speaker: JJ Rocha, Grassroots and Legislative Services Manager, Texas Municipal League

 Read about the Clinic and register today at 
City Management Clinic

This educational event is for government officials only.


Hank Brummett is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Leon Valley.

Rick Crowley retired as the city manager of the City of Rockwall.

Scott Dixon is the new city administrator of the City of Castroville.

Warren Escovy is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Sealy.

Megan Henderson is the new city manager of the City of Hillsboro, effective February 8.

Todd Hileman will no longer be the city manager of the City of Denton,
effective February 28.

J. Horry is no longer the city administrator of the City of Bandera.

Dalton Rice is the new city manager of the City of Morgan's Point Resort.

Heather Robertson-Caraway is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Breckenridge.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Board on January 25, 2021.

Full: Kristina Hale, Assistant City Manager, Laredo; Warren Hutmacher, City Manager, Hutto

Associate: Rayna Willenbrink, Economic Development Specialist, Navasota

Cooperating: Howard Etheridge, Managing Director, Texas, Goman + York

Student: Jay Alvarado Jr., Texas State University; Rina Maloney, the University of North Texas; Brian Vandenberg, Syracuse 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 January:

Full: Jerry Bark, Assistant City Manager, Harker Heights; Amy Giannini, Assistant City Manager, Pflugerville; Charles Goff, Assistant Town Manager, Sunnyvale; Thad Smith, City Manager, Hemphill

Associate: Robert Briggs, Operations Manager-Special Projects, Southlake; Pamela Rambo Sexton, Administrative Services Manager, Fort Worth

council-manager form of government in the city of austin

Texas has been fortunate to not have had many threats to the council-manager form of government. More often than not, Texas increases the number of council-manager cities. Unfortunately, there is a strong mayor ballot initiative occurring in Austin, and it is headed for the May election. 

Normally, ICMA provides funding through the Future of Professional Management program to groups in opposition to distribute information to voters. In 2014, TCMA pledged a generous gift of $150,000 to be disbursed over 10 years to ICMA to support the council-manager form of government, and ICMA is using this donation to support the formation of social media, media relations, and speaker’s bureau coordination for the opposition group called Austin for All People.  

The opposition to the strong mayor form of government is being led by Jesus Garza (former Austin city manager), Catherine Morse (attorney and community leader), Mason Ayer (CEO of Kerbey Lane Cafe) and Nico Ramsey (community activist). They are being supported by the Austin Central Labor Council, which has formed a PAC called Austinites for Equality. Momentum is building, and information to communities in Austin is being coordinated in order to provide accurate information about what the ballot measure actually means and the dangers that it poses to representation. As with any campaign, it is moving and changing quickly. 

If you want to stay informed about the initiative, you can follow Austin for All People:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Austin4AllPpl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Austin-for-All-People-101003375150256

Website: www.austinforallpeople.org

ICMA is grateful for the TCMA contribution. Personal donations can be sent to ICMA Future of Professional Management at https://icma.org/make-contribution. If there are questions or concerns, please contact Karen Daly at kdaly@icma.org.

Internships needed!

The TCMA City Managers of Tomorrow Committee met on Friday, January 15. The Committee was excited that students and university partners from around the State joined. It was stated that January/February is a critical time for cities to post internships. Without a healthy number of city internships to choose from, students will turn to the nonprofit or private sector. This results in a loss of great talent from our profession. A section in the TML Career Center has been designed specifically for these opportunities. All positions can be posted at no charge. Please visit the TML Career Center and post your opening under “Internship/Fellowship.” This is a complimentary service to our members.

Below are types of internships and fellowships for your city to consider and post. Some cities have offered virtual internships. This can be a win-win situation for everyone. 

Paid Versus Unpaid
Students typically prefer to be paid for their internships, but for some cities, this isn't an option.   Consider partnering with your local university. For example, the university would pay $1,500 per intern per semester. Local governments would match this amount dollar for dollar, thus creating a $3,000 per semester internship wage. 

Because not every city can afford or has enough work for a full-time intern, your city could develop a “micro-internship.” These opportunities are project-based versus time-based. They cater to executive or online MPA students or traditional MPA students who want to work from home. The student will inquire about the number of hours for a micro-internship, so posting the number of hours is important. 

If your city offers year-long or multi-year fellowships, please place these opportunities in the TML Career Center as well. You may also engage with ICMA or Lead 4 America to develop a fellowship program in your city. 

If you need assistance or have questions regarding posting positions, email careercenter@tml.org

The Committee thanks the membership for their support to develop talent and provide knowledge and skills for careers in local government. Please share this email with your human resources staff. 

Texas City Managers of Tomorrow Committee

A new pack: the growing demographic

A Woman’s Best Friend - Not Quite a Diamond
The year 2020 was eventful for us and not just because of the pandemic! A few years back my husband and I started our new phase of life as empty nesters.  For two years we toyed with the idea of adopting a dog. After much deliberation and many months of “paralysis by analysis” (my husband is an engineer), we finally made the plunge. For those of you who are pet owners, you will agree that being a “pet parent” is a life changer! It opens a new dimension of life.   

It is Raining Cats and Dogs - Literally!
Around 2015, while examining the trends and demographics that influence a city’s future, I came across a study that was a revelation. During daily walks, I noticed an increasing number of furry friends. This study validated my conviction. According to Mollie Carmichael, a principal at housing research firm John Burns Real Estate Consulting Houston, more home shoppers have pets than children and just five percent of those pets live outdoors. "Forty-seven percent of Houston (home) shoppers have children, and 58 percent have pets, so pets kind of rule...The boomer generation, they're really replacing their millennial children with pets. They love their children and have spoiled their children for decades, and now they're spoiling their dogs." While discussing this topic with a colleague, he pointed out an article recently published in Bloomberg Businessweek – Who’s a Very Good Pandemic Business? Chewy Is. Oh, Yes It Is, by Anders Melin and Bryan Gruley. This article reinforced the importance of this phenomenon that not only changed my world but had overarching implications.

Dog My Cats!
As I started looking at the numbers, I was truly surprised. Data from the American Pet Products Association showed that a greater percentage of households have more pets than children, except for households where the head of the household is between 30 and 45 years old. With 63 million households owning dogs and 42 million cats, dogs and cats rule. The economic impact is tremendous. According to the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, over 1.3 million people are employed by the pet industry which pays over $60 billion in total compensation. No wonder the topic made the headlines of Bloomberg News. 

Every Dog Has its Day!
While I expected people like Elon Musk and Tim Cook to be in the list of highest-paid executives, I was surprised to see Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy Inc., as number five on the list. 

In 2020, Chewy sold food, toys, apparel, and medicine for pets online to 13.5 million customers. Its revenue jumped 37 percent to $4.9 billion, according to the previously mentioned Bloomberg Businessweek article. COVID-19 proved that the pet industry did not rely on brick and mortar sales. The American Pet Products Association estimates that two-thirds of U.S. households have pets, and their coddling pet parents will spend a record $99 billion on them this year. My husband and I have joined the band wagon! 

“Home is where my dog is” -B & B Kennels
The reality that there’s not much a true dog or cat lover will not do for their pets, is catching on fast. The 11th-largest U.S. homebuilder, Standard Pacific Homes, says it is the first of its competitors to offer the upgrade of a 170-square-foot space just for Fido, complete with a walk-in bathtub, handheld spray, easy-to-clean tile floors and walls, pet dryer, pet-size bunk beds, storage for toys and treats, a mini washer/dryer, a door that leads to a dog run, and a flat-screen TV for Fluffy’s favorite shows. While accompanying my friend on her house-hunting trips recently, it was evident that home builders have been quick to respond to this trend and the new composition of the family has grabbed their attention. Pet packages are offered in starter homes for minimal additional charges. "It's definitely a wow factor," said Michael Johnson, senior acquisitions manager for Friendswood Development Co. "I get very positive feedback from the salespeople." Drees Custom Homes offers pet-pampering options that can add up to $10,000 to the price of a home, which typically sell in the $260,000 to $1 million range. It is a dog’s life indeed! 

Do Cities Have a Dog in the Fight?
Comparisons such as Movato Real Estate’s Most Friendly Houston Suburbs are increasingly guiding people’s choices on where to live. (Goodbye school ratings!) Their list not only includes available amenities such as pet stores, veterinary clinics, pet services (dog walkers, pet boarding and sitting, pet groomers, and pet training), and parks per capita, but also rates the cities based on these criteria. Despite proactive efforts to add pet-friendly amenities in all parks, constructing dedicated dog parks, and promoting events for pets, some cities are losing out to their competitors in attracting new residents. Like me, I am sure you are curious to see where your city stands. Check out their website at -https://www.movoto.com/guide/houston-tx/most-pet-friendly-houston-suburbs/. Old dogs like me will have to learn new tricks! 

Man’s Best Friend 
There is growing evidence that pets can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and improve cardiovascular health. The emotional benefits of having a pet can translate into physiological ones as well. "When you feel securely attached to this living being, there are biological brain effects that reduce stress response, so it may affect your breathing rate or blood pressure or oxygen consumption or anxiety level," says psychiatrist Dr. Greg Fricchione, director of the Harvard-affiliated Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. "There was even a recent study in the journal Science about how oxytocin is boosted in both the dog and the human when a dog owner stares into eyes of the dog. That's really fascinating," he explained. Another study by the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction found that public housing residents who walked therapy dogs for up to 20 minutes five days a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year, without changing their diets. There can even be social benefits of dog walking and dog care as you meet other pet parents along the way. 

Not Accepting Deposits
It was reassuring to learn that the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people was considered to be low. However, there are some physical health hazards for older adults, potential allergic reactions, and sanitary risks associated with pet ownership. One area of concern we had as potential pet owners was the issue of pet waste. With 9,000,000 dogs in the Houston/Galveston region generating 312 tons (52 dump trucks of waste every day), effective disposal and protection of our waterways from poop being washed off in the drainage system is a real problem. Agencies such as Houston-Galveston Area Council are actively taking initiatives to educate pet owners about this issue and the negative impacts on the ecology. https://www.h-gac.com/pet-waste-pollutes 

The Canine Reality
While it took some time to decide on the topic for this article, I did not want to write about a subject that related to my profession, and this topic dawned on me like the dog that caught the bus. As a newly minted pet parent, I was fascinated by some of the things I learned and the impact this trend will have on our lives and society. I hope I was able to share my thoughts in a way that is not just a shaggy dog story.  

(Article submitted by Lata Krishnarao, Former Planning Director, City of Pearland, TCMA Membership Committee Member, and Community Planning Practice Leader, Gunda Corporation)

Ethics Corner

Tenet 6 

On April 27, 1984, the Texas City Management Association (TCMA) adopted the code of ethics, guidelines, and rules of procedure of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). This code was updated in August 2020, and one of the tenants that was amended was Tenet 6.  

The original Tenet 6 language was:

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 new language is:

Recognize that elected representatives are accountable to their community for the decisions they make; members are responsible for implementing those decisions. 

Although the wording in the tenet has been changed, the intent behind it has remained the same: elected officials make policy decisions and professional managers implement them. It seems straightforward but can become murky in the practical application. 

The new language removes the words “entitled to the credit” and instead focuses on the division of responsibility and roles. This is an important distinction as managers do play an important role in providing input into the policy making process. Specifically, Tenet 5 states that members “submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts, and technical and professional advice about policy options; and collaborate with them in setting goals for the community and organization.” 

The concept of “credit” is an interesting one and runs somewhat counterintuitive to public service. Many world leaders have spoken about the importance of doing good work not for the credit one will receive, but rather for the joy which contributing to society brings.   

Indira Gandhi said, “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” 

Also, Andrew Carnegie said, "No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it." 

And finally, Jacob Lew, the 76th Secretary of the Treasury, said, “I think there's no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people's lives and improve the world.” 

So, removing the words “entitled to the credit” from Tenet 6 makes sense as getting credit is not the point. Rather, the goal should be simply accountability and responsibility. By virtue of the election process, elected officials are ultimately accountable to their community for the decisions they make. Likewise, TCMA members are accountable for implementing the decisions elected officials make.   

As straightforward as that may sound, there are, admittedly, some grey areas. Because Tenet 5 says that managers have responsibility to present facts, proposals, and advice on policy decisions, they cannot wash their hands of accountability for the ultimate decisions made by elected bodies.  What was the quality of that advice? Was it thorough and accurate? Had the member established credibility with the elected body so that they would trust the advice? While the ultimate responsibility for municipal decision always rests with the citizenry and the elected officials who represent them, managers are a part of the process through their words and actions, and must be constantly mindful of their role in the business of governing. 

(Article submitted by Susan Guthrie, Town Manager, Sunnyvale)


William "King" Cole Session 2
March 25-26, 2021

City Management Clinic
April 22-23, 2021

#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

February 23, 2021
Texas State University (virtual)

April, 2021
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars
(Pre-registration is required)

Response to Emergencies that Impact All Citizens
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 17

Best Practices to Manage Public Spaces
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 21

Leading from the Middle
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 19

Leading Your Community in an Era of Anxiety
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 15

The Future of Work
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 20

Growing Your Career
12:20-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 17

Memos on Meetings

The Public Policy Task Force meets every Thursday via video conference.

The Allies Across Texas Task Force met on January 8 via video conference. The meeting minutes are available here.

The City Managers of Tomorrow Committee met on January 15 via video conference. The meeting minutes are available here.

The Membership Committee met on January 20 via video conference.

The Nominating Committee met on January 22 via video conference.

The Advocacy Committee will meet on February 5 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.