February 2022

TCMA Management Messenger

2022 TCMA Professional Award Recipients
Announcement for Full Members
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship
Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
Ethics Corner
ICMA Mountain Plains Regional Conference
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

2022 tcma professional award recipients

TCMA is proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 Professional Awards. A presentation of awards will be held at the TCMA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 10, at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Cedar Creek.

Lifetime Achievement Award 

This award recognizes the city management professional who has made significant contributions to the field of local government management for more than 20 years.

Tom Hart pictureTom Hart, Life Member and Retired City Manager, City of Grand Prairie

Dan Johnson pictureDan Johnson, City Manager, City of Richardson

Mike Perez pictureMike Perez, Life member and Retired City Manager, City of Weslaco

Noel Bernal pictureAdministrator of the Year Award

This award recognizes the city management professional who has made significant contributions to the field of local government management in the past 18 months.

Noel Bernal, City Manager, City of Brownsville

Jordan Matney pictureMentoring Award in Memory of Gary Gwyn

This award recognizes a city management professional who has made significant contributions in the development of new talent and who has designed and implemented outstanding career development programs for local government employees.

Jordan Matney, Assistant City Manager, City of New Braunfels

Taylor Lough pictureAssistant of the Year Award in Memory of Valerie Bradley

This award recognizes a TCMA member who exhibits a fierce advocacy for advancing ethical local government leadership and the mentorship of young professionals.

Taylor Lough, Economic Development Manager, City of Anna

City of Taylor logo

TCMA also congratulates the City of Taylor as the City Council of the Year.

Announcement for full members:
TCMA Annual conference request for bids

The Texas City Management Association (TCMA) Board is requesting bids for the 2025 TCMA Annual Conference and the 100 Year Celebration that will be held during the 2026 Annual Conference. TCMA realizes that many cities will not have space to accommodate the Conference; however, we want to keep you informed.

If your city desires to submit a bid to serve as the host city for the 2025 or 2026 TCMA Annual Conference, please submit your proposal no later than 5:00 p.m., March 1. The bid packets and information are available at TCMA Annual Conference.

The proposal should: (1) address whether each of the criteria within the host city packet can be me; (2) include the sleeping room rate range (both single and double); and (3) include an indication from the prospective host city manager's office of the city's willingness to provide both direct and in-kind support.

The TCMA Professional Development Committee will review the submitted bids. The Committee will make a recommendation to the TCMA Board and cities bidding will be notified no later than April 29.

All questions are to be submitted by email to tcmaconference@tml.org. Responses will be posted on the TCMA Q&A webpage at TCMA Annual Conference FAQQuestions by phone or from representatives at property venues will not be acceptedAll questions should filter through the designated individual of the city manager.

Management transitions

Jack Brown is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Roscoe.

Crystal Caldera is the new city manager of the City of Leon Valley.

Robert Eads is no longer serving as the city manager of the City of Laredo. Keith Selman is serving as the interim city manager.

Alonzo Echavarria was appointed as the city manager of the City of Hearne.

Ron Garza is no longer serving as the city manager of the City of Edinburg, effective February 28.

Kevin Gee is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Lufkin.

Josh Jones is the new city manager of the City of Watauga.

Fabrice Kabona was appointed as the new city manager of the City of Madisonville, effective March 1.

Jeff Koska was appointed as the city manager of the City of Horseshoe Bay.

Ed Meza is no longer the city manager of the Town of Laguna Vista. Rendie Gonzales is serving as the interim city manager.

Carolyn Miller was appointed as the new city manager of the City of Brenham.

Adam Niolet is no longer the city administrator of the City of Hico. He was appointed as the new city administrator of the City of Seminole, effective February 15.

George Purefoy will retire as the city manager of the City of Frisco, effective June 30. He has served in local government 44 years and the City of Frisco since 1987.

Darrell Rawlings is the new city administrator of the City of La Coste.

Robby Silva is no longer the city administrator of the City of Point Comfort. Elizabeth Martinez is serving as the interim city administrator.

James Stroud retired as the city manager of the City of Dalhart. Melissa Byrne-Vossmer is serving as the interim city manager.

Brent Walker is the new city manager of the City of Bridge City.

Kenneth Williams will retire as the city manager of the City of Buda, effective March 31. Micah Grau will serve as the interim city manager.

Stacy Williams is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Cleveland.

Greg Wortham is the new city manager of the City of Colorado City.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on January 24, 2022.

Full: MaryAnn Hagenbucher, Assistant City Manager, Longview; Troy Lestina, Chief Financial Officer, Mansfield; Michael Mitchell, Assistant City Manager, Goldthwaite

Associate: Mark Nelson, Director of Transportation and Mobility, Richardson

Cooperating: Colin Davidson, City Services Manager, TMRS

Student: Joshua Brooks, Texas A&M University; Katie Crawford, University of North Texas; Derreck DaSilva, The University of Texas at Austin; Charles Dyer, University of North Texas; Jacqueline Guerrero, St. Mary's University; Joan Jebet, Texas Tech University; Usman Mahmood, University of Houston; Jessie Montes, Texas Tech University; Brian Schwall, University of North Texas; Misty Simons, University of North Texas

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:  Andrea Carrillo, Village Administrator, Vinton; Scott Huizenga, Assistant City Manager, Fair Oaks Ranch; Caleb Kraenzel, Assistant City Manager, Marble Falls; 
Jason Laumer, City Manager, Celina; Jeff Looney, City Manager, Granite Shoals; 
Dave McCorquodale, Assistant City Administrator, Montgomery; Wayne Nero, Assistant City Manager, Georgetown; Steve Stanford, Assistant City Manager/Chief of Police, Bridgeport

Associate: Haley Alsabrook, Community Engagement Specialist, Prosper; 
Monique Breaux, Executive Assistant to the City Manager, Brenham; Sarah Gonzalez, Assistant to the City Manager, Schertz; Evan Groeschel, Operations Director, Pflugerville; Kimberly Henry, Assistant to the City Manager, Rockport; Marc Kurbansade, Director of Community Development, Allen; Sara Robinson, Director of Finance, Deer Park

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Sonya Bishop to her new position as city manager of the City of Flatonia. Sonya worked with Killeen ISD for ten years and then began serving as the finance director for the City of City of Morgan's Point Resort. She also served as the city administrator of the City of Bruceville-Eddy where she secured several grants to move the city closer to constructing their first sewer facility. As Flatonia city manager, she is ready to tackle the challenges that lay ahead and work for the citizens with compassion. She brings a positive attitude and genuine love for those she serves. 

Sonya’s husband is a veteran of the United States Army. While serving, she worked to receive her MBA and is currently working towards a PhD from the University of Arizona Global Campus. 

Sonya and her husband are proud parents of one daughter who is married and lives in Kansas.


Jesus Garza

TCMA congratulates Jesus Garza, city manager of the City of Victoria for his appointment to the Texas Lyceum's 2022 class of directors. To learn more about the Texas Lyceum, click here.

tom muehlenbeck scholarship

TM Scholarship

TCMA is accepting applications for the 2022 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 1. To learn more and apply, click Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship.


TCMA is saddened by the recent passing of Jeffery Holberg. Jeffery was a life member and the former city manager of the cities of Bastrop, Belton, and Diboll. He also served as the city administrator for the City of Dilley. A memorial service is planned for late March. Further details are not known at this time. Please keep his wife Kathy and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Chuck Anderson TCMA is saddened by the passing of Chuck Anderson on January 9. Chuck served as the city manager of the cities of Dallas, Liberty, Missouri, and Lakewood, Colorado. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, March 3, at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth, located at 800 W. 5th Street in Fort Worth. A celebration of his life will follow at Colonial Country Club, located at 3735 Country Club Circle in Fort Worth. Memorial donations may be made in Chuck’s name to The Women’s Center of Tarrant County at www.womenscentertc.org. Please keep his wife Sherril in your thoughts and prayers.

TCMA is also saddened by the passing of Warren Driver on January 21. Warren served as the city manager in the cities of Dalhart, Palestine, Sinton, and Tomball. No other information is known at this time.

pay attention to your mental health

As I volunteered to write this article, I planned to advocate the need to do more for our organizations and ourselves as city managers when it comes to mental health. Since that time, the discussion has moved in a positive direction and TCMA is taking notice of the need. Many managers are implementing mental health days for their employees and evaluating employee assistance programs and health plans to ensure employees have the services they need to deal with the strains of their jobs and personal lives.  

While putting my thoughts together, our city experienced what I can describe as one of the hardest situations any city or city manager can encounter, the loss of a police officer in the line of duty. Mesquite lost Officer Richard Houston on December 3, 2021. It is difficult to describe the emotions encountered on that day, the week leading to the funeral, and the days and weeks that followed. To see our officers and staff dealing with the death of a friend and coworker was truly heartbreaking.  

Immediately following the funeral, our entire department took part in a critical incident debriefing.  Officers joined peer group sessions with counselors who encouraged officers to talk about the situation and what they were experiencing. Chief Gill and his command staff went first to set the example for the other officers. Over the next two weeks, nearly every officer and staff member in the department had participated in a debriefing.  

It was encouraging to hear that many officers and support staff were open to the opportunity. As expected, many chose to sit in, but not say anything. I also learned there were many “unofficial” gatherings where groups of officers gathered to support each other during their off duty time. There have been regular check-ins by command staff of officers and support staff since the debriefing sessions.  

The primary lesson I learned is you cannot go through this alone. The waves of emotions are unpredictable and you never know when you will be affected. With our officers, it was very important that we understood the need to give space and time, but to be there when there is a need. And it is critical to follow up. Our plan is to have a regular and periodically check-ins for the next several months.  

Our public safety departments have been at the forefront of mental health awareness in our organization for many years. Both fire and police have policies, procedures, and resources in place 

to help our staff through traumatic events. There are professional counselors available at all times and members of the department are trained to identify and direct each other to resources should there be an issue.  

One of tools the Mesquite Police Department had in place, as many other departments do, is a self-assessment tool. This tool is an anonymous online questionnaire officers can access at any time. There are kiosks placed around the police station that allow officers to access the assessment tool in private. The tool asks a series of questions and provides feedback to the officers. The organization does not receive any information from these assessments.  

The steps taken prior to the incident were extremely valuable. Having processes in place and relationships with counselors beforehand improved the level of trust among officers. This is where we can do more for our entire organizations. Public safety is not the only department impacted by traumatic events in the course of their job. All employees are subject to a potential crisis, whether it be the loss of a family member, divorce, or a life changing event that affects their physical and mental wellbeing.  

Prior to this incident, our City has been evaluating our response to employees in need. Whether a personal issue or a work-related issue, employees need support from their employer. Simply handing an Employee Assistance Program brochure to someone in crisis should not be our total effort.  Mesquite is using the models found in our public safety agencies as a guide for the entire organization.  Over the next year, we will be evaluating and implementing self-assessments beyond those provided through our health plan. All supervisors will undergo mental health first aid training to help employees who may be experiencing a crisis or other issues that affect their mental health. We need to be there for our people.  

As organizational leaders, we need to help break the stigma associated with mental health issues. We can be most effective at this by sharing our own actions and making them known our staff. Encourage peer group discussions, self-assessments, and regular visits to a professional counselor. Lead the way in breaking down any barriers to mental health awareness. Leaders within the organization need training to recognize issues and talk about them with employees. It is necessary to make it an ongoing conversation in the organization to encourage employees to reach out if they need help with the safety of knowing their job is not in jeopardy.  

As you work through your mental health response for your cities, I encourage you to look at the processes you have in place. Mental health policies are good, but someone needs to oversee follow up. If an incident happens, have a review, and debrief with impacted staff. As you observe a behavioral change in a staff member, do not be afraid to have a difficult conversation. Do not expect to check a box to say you dealt with the issue. Follow up, and check-in regularly.  

While we are looking out for our staff, we also need to take care of ourselves. The role of the city manager can be a lonely one and we must look out for each other. In the first few days after we lost Officer Houston, many of you reached out to me by text or email. The words of support or just that you knew what I was going through was a tremendous help to me personally. Emergencies happen in every city and just as you plan to respond to the needs of your citizens, you need to plan to respond to the impact the event will have on you, both physically and mentally. Make sure you have someone you can talk to about the situation and how you feel. Find ways to exercise your body and your mind on a regular basis. Your staff and your citizens need you at your best in a crisis, so why not do the things that keep you at your best.  

I will close with where the idea for this article started. By having the conversation among our staff and among other managers, we are starting to break down barriers. We are finding resources and tools that we can put into place before an emergency or personal issue happens. Acting now will help us when the time comes.  

Note: TCMA members, please share your efforts to expand mental health awareness, programs and tools in your organization by sending them to Cliff Keheley at ckeheley@cityofmesquite.com or A.C. Gonzalez at acgonzalezjr51@outlook.com.  

(Submitted by Cliff Keheley, City Manager, Mesquite)

ethics corner

Ethical Awareness

When I agreed to write an article for the Ethics Corner several months ago, I did not have a specific example or personal experience in mind. Instead, I hoped and prayed I would have some ethical challenge fall into my lap. How naïve! Paying closer attention to my daily affairs lead me to the reality many of you already know – city managers face ethical challenges on a continual basis. In the past two-to-three months, I have experienced at least one ethical challenge to all 12 tenets of the TCMA’s Code of Ethics. For brevity, I will share only two.

Ethical Challenge #1

Almost immediately after agreeing to write this article, I was informed that a City employee had constructed a large workshop behind his house without receiving prior approval for a height variance from the City’s Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission. 

This situation presented a challenge to at least two of the tenets.

Tenet 2. "Affirm the dignity and worth of local government services and maintain a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant.

Ethical issues related to Tenet 2:

  • Allowing anyone to bypass established requirements (P&Z) process) may cause the public to doubt the worth of local government services.
  • The P&Z process involves public notices and provides for public comment. Bypassing the process does not maintain the social responsibility expected of a trusted public servant.

Tenet 3. “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.”

Ethical issue related to Tenet 3:

  • Allowing a "City" employee to bypass the system jeopardizes public confidence in the city manager and the local government.

To following actions were taken to address the ethical issues presented by this ethical challenge: 

  1. The City Council was informed of the issue, and the City's plan of action in open session at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
  2. The City employee was required to submit an application to the P&Z Commission for a height variance and comply with the Commission's findings.
  3. Neighboring residents of the subject building received a public notice from the City giving them the opportunity to submit comments to the P&Z Commission on this issue.
  4. A public hearing was conducted in open session at the P&Z Commission meeting giving the public the opportunity to comment.

Fortunately, there were no dissenting comments and the P&Z Commission granted the variance. 

Ethical Challenge #2

The next incident caught me a bit by surprise. A prospective bidder for a large City project came to my office and offered to save the City considerable time and money. The contractor suggested we allow his business to use an alternate process than the one identified in the Request for Bids. He further stated that if the City would not request bids for this alternative process and give his company the job, he would start immediately and save the City considerable money.

This situation presented a challenge to at least two of the tenets.

Tenet 3. (provided earlier)

Ethical issue related to Tenet 3:

  • According to Tenet 3 Guidelines, 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 (i.e., persuaded to by-pass bidding requirements to save time.

Tenet 4. “Serve the best interests of the people.”

Ethical issue related to Tenet 4:

  • Excluding vendors from being able to bid on large projects is not in the best interest of the City, even if doing so may appear to save time and money.

Obviously, this ethical challenge had a much easier solution. The contractor was "educated” on the Local Government Code and the City’s responsibility to the public to consistently abide to the requirements therein.

As city managers, we should not be naïve in thinking that the TCMA Code of Ethics only pertains to us on a rare occasion. I challenge you to do as I did and spend the next several weeks observing ethical challenges you face each day. Doing so will reinforce the importance of continually considering and applying the 12 tenets and related guidelines in your daily transactions.

(Submitted by Steve Eggleston, City Manager, Andrews)

icma mountain plains regional conference

TCMA will be a sponsor at the ICMA Mountain Plains Regional Conference March 9-11 at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott, located at 8440 Freeport Parkway in Irving. This is an excellent professional development opportunity that offers networking and learning. Registration and information can be found here.

tcma educational EVENTS

TCMA Podcast
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here

TCMA City Management Clinic
February 24-25, 2022

William "King" Cole Session 2
March 24-25, 2022

Memos on Meetings

The TCMA Allies Committee met on January 7 via video conference. Minutes are available here.

The Membership Committee met on January 14 via video conference. Minutes are available here. The Committee will meet April 1 in Austin.

The Professional Development Committee will meet on March 29 via video conference.

The Board met on January 21 in Austin. Minutes are available here. The Board is scheduled to meet on April 8 in Pflugerville. 

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.