TCMA Partners with TCG
New Member Applications
Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship
Honoring George Schrader
Life After Council Meetings
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings
Tcma partners with tcg: financial planning and employment agreements
TCMA is excited to announce two new benefits for its members. Through a partnership with TCG Consulting, members will now have the access to personalized financial planning and employment agreement assistance. TCG is an independent financial services firm that specializes in consulting and retirement planning services for cities, school districts, and other government entities.
Whether you are just starting your career or retiring next year, having a financial plan can provide you with peace of mind regarding your financial future. TCG Consulting will create a comprehensive analysis of your current financial state and create a strategy to achieve your goals. TCG will also examine your current investment holdings to make sure they meet your objectives. Click here to learn more about this program.
Employment Agreement Assistance
City budgets might be tight these days, but thee are numerous ways to create a compensation package that is mutually beneficial to both parties. TCG Consulting looks at your entire compensation package with a focus on enhancing your income in retirement. Let TCG save you time and stress by negotiating your salary and benefits. Click here to learn more about this program.
TCMA will host the following webinars and provide best practices. They are free to attend.
Retirement Readiness in 30 Minutes
March 19 at 9:00 a.m. Click here to register.
Getting the Most Out of Your Employment Agreement
April 2 at 9:00 a.m. Click here to register.
Gary Edwards is the new city manager of the City of Aransas Pass.
Sara Hensley is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Denton.
Robert Herrera will retire as the city manager of the City of Cibolo, effective May 14.
Shirley Jaster will retire as the city manager of the City of Texarkana, effective April 30.
Mike Lamberson will retire as the city administrator of the City of Slaton, effective April 30.
Mike Murray is no longer the city administrator of the City of Clyde. He is serving as the new city administrator of the City of Westworth Village.
Joe Portillo is no longer the city administrator of the City of Presidio. Brad Newton is serving as the interim city administrator.
Joshua Ray is no longer the city manager of the City of Lago Vista. Roger Chan is serving as the interim city manager.
Cori Reaume is no longer the city manager of the City of Justin. Darrell Gentry is serving as the acting city manager.
Becky Ross is no longer the town administrator of the Town of Cross Roads. Kristi Gilbert is serving as the interim town administrator.
Mary Smith is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Rockwell.
Henrietta Turner is no longer the city manager of the City of Floresville. Andy Joslin is serving as the interim city manager.
Jerry Webster retired as the city administrator of the City of Tahoka. Julie Arrington is the new city administrator.
The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on February 24, 2021.
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
Student: Jose Castelan, Texas State University; Eric Cavazos, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Marcos Faz, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Scott Figueroa, St. Mary's University; Mark Hanson, Texas State University; Helaina Musa, The University of Texas at Austin
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 February:
Full: Brian Barboza, City Administrator, Silverton; James King, Assistant City Manager, Coleman; Ana Mercado, City Manager, Sullivan City; Steve Norwood, Town Manager, Trophy Club; Amy Wallace, City Administrator, Crosbyton
Associate: Stephanie Doland, Director of Development Services, Brenham;
Anthony Van Cao, Assistant to the City Manager, Irving; Danny Zincke, Director of Community Services, Boerne
Cooperating: Joe Gershtenson, Associate Professor, St. Mary's University
TCMA is accepting applications for the 2021 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 2. To learn more and apply, please click Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship.
honoring george schrader
The University of North Texas is honoring the late George Schrader by creating an endowed professor of practice position for his significant contributions to Dallas, North Texas, and the city management profession on a national level. George was one of five TCMA Distinguished members for his outstanding contributions to the management profession and good local government and whose years of distinctive service and contributions have been particularly beneficial to the association and the council-manager plan. You can become a part of making the George R. Schrader Professor of Practice in Local Government Management a reality. Please click on https://hps.unt.edu/GeorgeRSchrader for more details.
Life after council meetings
At some point, we have all given some thought to retirement. Being in the city management industry, there are more variables in this equation than many professions. I would like to take a close look at some of these variables in hopes that it will generate some discussion as to what life will be like after council meetings. These variables include financial considerations, preparing your city, and opportunities post-retirement. The city will undoubtedly be able to continue operating without you, but leaving your city in the best position possible is the right thing to do.
If you are not to the point in your career that you are considering retirement, I still encourage you to take part in this discussion. Not only will this time come sooner for you than you know, but you may one day be faced with the retirement of a city manager that you work for and could better understand the position they are in. The financial considerations discussed in this article are arguably even more important to understand before you begin contemplating retirement. It’s best to get a head start on managing your financial future and the better position you will be in when it counts.
The most important factor in the financial equation for a municipal government employee is the wonderful retirement system provided by the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS). Since 1948, TMRS has provided retirement benefits to employees of Texas cities, and today serves approximately 880 Texas cities. The TMRS portal and website provides countless resources for employees in all stages of their careers. I urge anyone considering retirement, and even those that aren’t, to start with this website. MyTMRS can be found at www.tmrs.org and it provides many tools including a comprehensive retirement checklist. By creating a MyTMRS account, you have access to beneficiary information, downloadable forms, and the ever-popular retirement estimates. Take the liberty of exploring the different options you have upon retirement including lump sum payment options and survivor benefits. The options you choose will change the amount that you will be paid out monthly or in a lump sum, and can be catered to the individual, given his/her situation.
Many cities also offer supplementary retirement plans through ICMA-RC or other forms of money investing opportunities. If your city offers these options and you are not currently taking part in them, I would urge you to consider exploring them. ICMA-RC offers a variety of plans and options based on the selections your city has made. You will find they are helpful and will take the time to walk through your options. Before I knew much about planning for my financial future, Ken Taylor, former city manager for the City of Universal City, gave me some advice that has always stuck with me. I had just become assistant city manager and he said, “Scott, as soon as you can, save up one year’s salary.” That advice, given the fluidity of the profession, has guided my financial decisions since then.
Other resources to consider is a well-trained financial advisor to help set a plan in motion that takes into account your retirement date and when you should draw from the other investment accounts you may have. I once had a councilmember who worked for Edward Jones. He let me know the different options their financial advisory service offers professionals like myself who may not have otherwise known how to begin investing outside of TMRS and ICMA. There are many different places you can go to seek a financial advisor. I mention Edward Jones because without the insistence of that councilmember and the strategies set in place by their advisory service, I would have missed out on several opportunities to grow wealth. Find someone you can trust, and talk to them about your financial needs for the future. You will find this is exactly what they are trained for, and they can help you achieve your goals of financial stability.
In my experience, city managers demonstrate better financial skills than those in other professional fields. I don’t think city managers have quite as many lake houses, ski boats, or Harley motorcycles as other CEOs, making them more prepared to fend for themselves financially than the average baby boomer who is looking at leaving a profession. However, as that time of life knocks on our door, we still need to consider what TMRS and other investment accounts have to offer.
Preparing Your City
When it comes time for you to leave on your own volition, I hope the first people you inform are your city council, and you give them as much notice as possible. Relationships that have been built over the years with elected officials rival those of close family members, and there is certainly a benefit for them to have an understanding of your plans before reading it in the newspaper. Leaving your city and staff in a good position is important. Establishing a strong succession plan, looking at the budget for the upcoming year, and other major events that may have an impact on your expectation of the city and the city’s expectations of you are all important. Always consider that you have a capable group of department directors who will continue coming to work and doing their jobs long after you are gone.
Having open conversations with your councilmembers is important. Having some assurance that the council will seek out a replacement manager who will treat all employees and departments equally and fairly should be as important to you as it is for your employees. Meeting with department directors and other staff is also essential during this time. Most city employees appreciate having closure with a co-worker who is leaving, and it is important for employees to express their thoughts on leadership traits of the next city manager. This provides an opportunity for everyone to feel heard during process and arms you with the ability to share the thoughts of staff with the seated council.
Are You Done Working?
For years, I have joked about being everything from an underwater welder to a party bus driver on the Guadalupe River after retiring from city management. I guess the answer to the question “Are you really done working?” depends on whether you can live without working, psychologically, financially, or both.
While financial considerations have previously been discussed, it’s important to create a budget (minus the public hearings) and determine your true cost of living. Again, working with a financial advisor can help. I am certain your expenses will go down in some categories and up in others, so make a budget and try to stick with it, at least until you determine how your ends will meet financially.
Psychologically, we all need to consider if we are able to not work. There certainly is stress involved with working that can have an extreme impact on city managers. However, there is satisfaction and rewards that come as a result. This includes being relied on to make important decisions, managing employees and a council, to making finishing touches to an economic development project. There have been numerous studies conducted on “career pivots” that lay out intentional and methodical processes to help “nimbly” navigate these career changes. After reading several articles, the most helpful suggestion for me was to zero in on your strengths and weaknesses and find a way to apply those skills to another profession or activity that interests you.
Financial stability, eligibility for health insurance, and the ability to remain social are all reasons retirees should look to pivot to “encore careers.” The next chapter of your career could be a job that gives back to the community or channels your passion into a completely different type of opportunity. A quick google of encore careers found me at the American Association of Retired
People website (www.AARP.org) that had some wonderful ideas about second careers. Additionally, finding meaning in post-city management life can come in other forms, such as volunteering or travelling. You just have to find out what is right for you.
At the end of the day, there are several firms in Texas that employ city managers for interim work. The one that I am most familiar is Kerry Sweat and the wonderful folks at the Texas First Group. Kerry is a long-time city manager and active TCMA member. There are also numerous “head hunting” firms that work for cities to find appropriate matches for virtually all positions within city government. Stay active, and give some thought to the remainder of your career if you feel you need to work. Finding something that will fulfill your needs and benefit from your skills is the best way to round out a professional career.
Where Will You Live?
Wait, no more residency requirement? Many of the managers in our profession have had the opportunity to live all around the great state of Texas, and many have called other states home. So, how do you decide where to settle down? Due to the wonderful benefits provided by TMRS and others by specific municipalities, it is my hope that, with few exceptions, retiring city managers in Texas do not have to struggle to pay for housing. Because city management as a profession is often inclusive of the whole family, I am reasonably certain that strong familial relationships will lead many retiring managers to choose their next location based on proximity to children or extended families. I know that is a factor that I will be considering when deciding where to settle down.
Another thing that might be of interest when deciding where to take your next steps is a newsletter that you can register for at www.internationalliving.com. I am not telling any retired city managers “get out of the country,” but it may be a good opportunity for you to explore other cultures and areas of the globe. There were not many times in my career I could take an extended time to travel internationally, so I hope to take care of some of that upon retiring! The International Living website provides information about the costs of living in other countries, real estate potentials, and the possibility of working and enjoying the customs of a different country. Even if you don’t want to live there, it provides some dream vacation ideas. Panama is really hot right now, both literally and figuratively.
How Will You Spend Your Days?
Entering public service as a police officer, many of my weekends were filled working extra jobs. One particular collector show at our civic center, making $15 an hour, one of the vendors asked me, “What do you collect?” Coming from a farm in Oklahoma, I had never given any thought to collecting anything. For me it took a forced cognitive process to determine what interested me and what I enjoyed doing. Exercise will, of course, be important as we continue to care for our health, and many groups exist to help people of all ages stay active. Although I am a little old to “walk on” to the Spurs organization, I do have a community basketball court that is always active and my tennis game could use some help.
Travel with spouses or family will also be important as we reward those family members who have stuck by us though late night budget meetings and many of the other hardships families face in the city management profession. A simple google search of “70 is the new 50” will direct you to websites that help find solutions to staying active and explain the health benefits to continuing the daily activities that will keep your spouse from kicking you out of the house.
Please Stay Involved
TCMA provides attractive options to keep retired members active. In fact, nearly 13 percent of the TCMA membership currently consists of retired members. If you would like to keep attending meetings and conferences and brag about how much better you are sleeping at night, that is fine and none of the active members ever get tired of hearing about that. If you want to be more involved, TCMA has a Senior Advisor Program that at one time was called the Range Riders. Why on earth would you ever get rid of a name like Range Riders is beside me, but this program is a partnership between ICMA and TCMA and provides counsel on life experiences from respected managers from the retired membership. Senior Advisors are available to meet periodically with members to discuss the many concerns they may face during their careers.
As a personal example, our city was dealing with the results of a survey that went out to all the residents. We were struggling with a logistical question we knew the city council would bring up. I called Senior Advisors and received some thoughtful advice on how to proceed from some experiences they had. So, if you have the desire to keep solving problems in this profession, your help would be much appreciated. You can read more on the Senior Advisor Program on the TCMA website at www.tcma.org.
I hope that this article provided you with the opportunity to consider some of the moving parts that come along with retiring from the greatest profession on earth. I know I picked this big box of moving parts and just shook them around, but my hope is that it will generate some discussion among you and your fellow managers and even spur on some ideas that will benefit you as you enter that time in your life and career. If you have any thoughts that I perhaps didn’t consider, I would enjoy hearing from you. Also, if you have any under-water welding connections, I’d like to hear about them as well. As we all focus in on that part of our career to where we can start to slow down, it is important to know that not one of us are in this alone and you only have to slow down as much as you want to!
(Article submitted by Scott Wayman, City Manager, Live Oak)
"Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators. Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body."
Political neutrality has been a core value of the profession since the original version of the ICMA Code of Ethics was written in 1924. Strict adherence to this long-held value enables appointed managers to be fair and impartial in all matters and to serve elected officials, staff, and members of the community equally. It is fairly clear, yet, many professional public managers (members and non-members of TCMA) find this tenet somewhat challenging or too restrictive. But professional public managers need to know they are highly visible, looked upon as leaders that are neutral, and provide input based upon facts, personal experience, education, and fairness; not because it is politically correct or safe.
“Whether or not cities are governed by leaders elected through nonpartisan or partisan elections, they are expected to manage local affairs in a fair and evenhanded manner. They hire professional local government managers to help ensure that the day-to-day operations are handled in an ethical, efficient and transparent way.” [Marc Ott, executive director, ICMA; Clarence Anthony, executive director, NLC, and Doug Linkhart, executive director, National Civic League, in a New York Times letter to the editor published on September 24, 2020]
In today’s politically charged world, many embrace the idea of containing their political activity to voting on election day, while others struggle with the constraints of Tenet 7. For the latter, Tenet 7 provides seven guidelines that help define what it is appropriate (and inappropriate). The guideline that many members either forget or have the most problem with is guideline 4, which as clearly stated below, prevents members from the participation in any election at any level.
- Elections of the Governing Body. Members should maintain a reputation for serving equally and impartially all members of the governing body of the local government they serve, regardless of party. To this end, they should not participate in an election campaign on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for the governing body.
- Elections of Elected Executives. Members shall not participate in the election campaign of any candidate for mayor or elected county executive.
- Running for Office. Members shall not run for elected office or become involved in political activities related to running for elected office, or accept appointment to an elected office. They shall not seek political endorsements, financial contributions or engage in other campaign activities.
In 2020, an ICMA member was publicly censured establishing a campaign committee to pursue a partisan elected office, raising funds, incurring campaign expenses, and paying those expenses from his committee funds. The board determined running for partisan elected office while in service to a local government has the potential to undermine public confidence and trust in the member’s ability to be impartial and free from any political bias.
- Elections. Members share with their fellow citizens the right and responsibility to vote. However, in order not to impair their effectiveness on behalf of the local governments they serve, they shall not participate in political activities to support the candidacy of individuals running for any city, county, special district, school, state or federal offices. Specifically, they shall not endorse candidates, make financial contributions, sign or circulate petitions, or participate in fund-raising activities for individuals seeking or holding elected office.
- Elections relating to the Form of Government. Members may assist in preparing and presenting materials that explain the form of government to the public prior to a form of government election. If assistance is required by another community, members may respond.
- Presentation of Issues. Members may assist their governing body in the presentation of issues involved in referenda such as bond issues, annexations, and other matters that affect the government entity's operations and/or fiscal capacity.
In a June 4, 2020 letter to TCMA membership, the TCMA Board adopted guidelines and the following checklist for members to consider before becoming involved in the state's legislative process:
- Is the issue relevant to the member's entity (city)?
- Is there general consensus of the member's governing body on the issue?
- Does the member have the governing board's approval to testify or present to the state legislature or one of its agencies?
- Has the member made it clear to his/her governing body the position he/she is presenting on the issue(s) to the state legislature or one of its agencies?
- Is the presentation dealing in facts, experiences, data, information, etc., more than advocacy, feelings, or a belief?
- Is the member assisting elected officials (are elected officials, also, participating in the process)?
- Personal Advocacy of Issues. Members share with their fellow citizens the right and responsibility to voice their opinion on public issues. Members may advocate for issues of personal interest only when doing so does not conflict with the performance of their official duties.
Martha Perego, ICMA ethics director, provides the following guidance when personally advocating for an issue: (1) make it clear that the opinion you offer is your own; (2) don’t use public resources, including your official title, to support a personal stance; and (3) focus on the issue, not the candidate.
Any appointed manager concerned with whether participating in a certain activity could possibility undermine his/her effectiveness or create the appearance that he/she is not politically neutral, should choose not to participate in that activity. Personal advocacy is relatively new and should be looked at closely by the member. When the personal advocacy of an issue is one that has the attention of many – either locally or on a larger scale – and could be divisive, great care should be used. The member’s governing board should also be consulted, or at least made aware, before a member publicly advocates an issue. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once stated, “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”
(Article submitted by Steve Eggleston, City Manager, Andrews)
TCMA EDUCATIONAL EVENTS
TCG/TCMA Retirement Readiness in 30 Minutes
March 19, 2021
William "King" Cole Session 2
March 25-26, 2021
TCG/TCMA Getting the Most Out of Your Employment Agreement
April 2, 2021
City Management Clinic
April 22-23, 2021
#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events
April 23, 2021 (virtual)
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
September 14, 2021 (virtual)
Texas State University
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
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 17
Memos on Meetings
The Public Policy Task Force meets every Thursday via video conference.
The Advocacy Committee met on February 5 via video conference. The meeting minutes are available here.
The Ethics Committee met on February 26 via video conference.
The Executive Committee met on February 26 via video conference.
The Nominating Committee is scheduled to meet on March 3 via video conference.
The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet on April 15-16 via video conference.