April 2022

TCMA Management Messenger

2022 TCMA Elections
TCMA Honors Distinguished Member
TCMA Annual Conference
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Call for Committee Volunteers
Black North Texas City and Town Managers
Meet Your Colleagues
What is Your Intern Story?
Ethics Corner
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

2022 TCMA elections

The TCMA Board would like to thank the membership for participating in the statewide election. The membership elected Henderson City Manager Jay Abercrombie as the 2022-2023 vice president and Conroe Assistant City Administrator Steve Williams as the 2022-2024 TML board representative. The office of president-elect was uncontested, and Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones will serve.

2022-2023 Executive Committee

Jay Stokes
Jay Stokes
City Manager, Deer Park
Opal Mauldin-JonesPresident-Elect
Opal Mauldin-Jones
City Manager, Lancaster
Jay AbercrombieVice President
Jay Abercrombie
City Manager, Henderson
Sereniah Breland Immediate Past President
Sereniah Breland
City Manager, Pflugerville
Hugh WalkerTML Board Representative
Hugh Walker
Deputy City Manager, Bryan
(term ends October 7) 
Steve WilliamsTML Board Representative
Steve Williams
Assistant City Admin, Conroe
(term begins October 7)

Also serving on the 2022-2023 Board

Region 1 Director
Jared Miller
City Manager, Amarillo
Region 2 Director
Jarrett Atkinson
City Manager, Lubbock
Region 3 Director
Brandon Anderson
City Manager, Graham
Region 4 Director
Harlan Jefferson
Town Manager, Prosper
Region 5 Director
John Whitsell
City Administrator, Chandler
Region 6 Director
Jason Reynolds
Director of Administrative Services, Mont Belvieu
Region 7 Director
Micah Grau
Interim City Manager, Buda
Region 8 Director
Jordan Matney
Assistant City Manager, New Braunfels
Region 9 Director
Jesus Garza
City Manager, Victoria
Region 10 Director
Jeff Johnston
Assistant City Manager, McAllen
Director at Large
Emily Crawford
City Manager, Brownwood
Assistants' Representative
Sara Robinson
Director of Finance, Deer Park


TCMA Honors distinguished member

Dan Johnson award

(Dan Johnson, TCMA Distinguished Member, Julie Couch, TCMA Past President and Fairview Town Manager, and Sereniah Breland, TCMA President and Pflugerville City Manager)

On January 21, the TCMA Board unanimously approved distinguished membership for Dan Johnson, retired city manager, City of Richardson. Dan was honored by his peers on March 24 in Richardson with a presentation of an award by TCMA President Sereniah Breland.

In the nearly 100 years of TCMA, only six people, including Dan, have been selected for this honor. Dan joins the following members as being recognized for their distinguished contributions: Terrell Blodgett, Tom Muehlenbeck, George Schrader, Marvin Townsend, and Gary Watkins.

Dan will be recognized again at the TCMA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 10.

tcma annual conference

2022 TCMA Annual Conference Banner

Registration and housing are now open for the 2022 TCMA Annual Conference.

Apply for a TCMA Annual Conference Scholarship.

Scholarship application deadline is 5:00 p.m. on April 13.

Scholarship information is available at Annual Conference Scholarship.

Coming Soon!
Mobile App for all your conference information

Follow conference updates, activities, and interact on Twitter
using the official hashtag #2022TCMAconference.

Management transitions

Greg Arrington retired as the city administrator of the City of Boyd.

Myra Ayala is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Edinburg.

Allen Barnes will retire as the city manager of the City of Stephenville, effective April 30.

Wendy Baimbridge is the new city administrator of the City of Hedwig Village.

Cesar Garcia is the new city manager of the City of La Marque.

Martin Garza is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Weslaco.

Lacie Hale is no longer the city administrator of the City of Liberty Hill.

Maria Hernandez is the new city manager of the City of Saint Hedwig.

Kimbra Hill was appointed as the city manager of the City of Sealy.

Joe Hines is serving as the city manager of the City of Lamesa.

David Jordan is no longer the city administrator of the City of Bandera.

Lisa Palomba is serving as the city administrator of the City of Josephine.

Florencio Pena is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Ingleside.

James Quin is the new city administrator of the City of Hutchins.

Dwain Read is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Abernathy.

Brett Shannon will retire as the city manager of the City of Decatur, effective June

Arbie Taylor will retire as the city manager of the City of Dumas, effective July 30.

Shane West is serving as the city manager of the City of Overton.

Sheila Williams is the new city manager of the City of Brazoria.

Stacy Williams was appointed city manager of the City of Cleveland.

Wade Willson is no longer the city manager of the City of Spearman, effective April 15. He will be the new city manager of the City of Slaton.

Brian Winningham was appointed as the new city manager of the City of Mont Belvieu.

Rudy Zepeda is serving as the acting city manager of the City of Santa Fe.

New Members

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

Full: Tracie Hlavinka, City Manager, Lago Vista; Brent Parker, Interim City Manager, Wylie; John Sheedy, City Manager, Del Rio; Robert Vine, Assistant City Manager, Paris; Jared Werner, Assistant City Manager, New Braunfels

Associate: Blake Cathey, Strategic Planning Manager, Tyler; Silvia Chiapponi, Assistant to the City Administrator, Spring Valley Village; Kari Fontenot, Senior Management Assistant, San Marcos; Zachary Goodlander, Director of Planning, Fulshear; Ron Parker, Chief of Police, Brenham; William Smith, Chief Financial Officer, Bryan; Michael Thomson, Fire Chief/EMC, Highland Village; Aaron Werner, Director of Leisure Services, Denison; Emily Wieland, Management Assistant, New Braunfels

Cooperating: Paul Rodriguez, Planner, Midland

Student: Muneeb Aslam, The University of Texas at Austin; Anderson Bake, Texas A&M University; Eric Bustos, The University of Texas at Austin; Lillian Frei, The University of Texas at Austin; Caitlin Griffith, The University of Texas at Austin; Pamela Langford, Sam Houston State University; Omar Nesbit, The University of Texas at San Antonio;  Ethan SimsThe University of Texas at Austin; Santiago Wong, The University of Texas at San Antonio

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 March:

Full: Robyn Battle, Executive Director of Community Services, Prosper; Craig Cook, Assistant City Manager, Harlingen; Robbie Corder, City Manager, University Park; Lee Howell, Assistant City Manager, Saginaw; Tina Jauz, Assistant City Manager, Midland; Renee Waggoner, Assistant City Manager, Denison

Associate: Burton Barr, Director of Economic Development, Sunnyvale; Lee Battle, Director of Community Enhancement, Allen; Ashby Grundman, Director of Building and Development Services, West Lake Hills;  Andrew Hawkes, Chief of Police, Sunnyvale; John Peterek, Assistant to the City Manager, San Antonio; Makayla Rodriguez, Assistant to the City Administrator, Rollingwood; Logan Thatcher, Assistant to the City Manager, Richland Hills; Deacon Tittel, Fire Chief/EMC, Bellaire

Cooperating: Sarah Luxton, Sustainability & Environmental Education Supervisor, Plano

call for committee volunteers

The following TCMA committees are conducting an open call for 15 at-large positions to serve for one year: Advocacy, Ethics, Membership, and Professional Development. The one-year term begins at the end of the 2022 TCMA Annual Conference (June 9-12) and concludes at the end of the 2023 TCMA Annual Conference. If you would like to serve on one of these committees, click 2022 Committee Volunteer. To review committee descriptions, click Committee Descriptions. To review the TCMA committee structure, click TCMA Committees.

Deadline to volunteer is April 5.

Please contact Emily Hughes at emily@tml.org or 512-231-7482 if you have questions.

black north texas city and town managers

City Managers-North Texas

Several years ago, former city managers Rickey Childers and Alan Sims started an informal group of black city managers in North Texas. Interestingly, half of the group are women. These professionals meet each quarter to discuss the unique challenges they face, provide each other support and advice, and discuss the latest issues facing their communities. The most recent meeting was held in the City of Duncanville, and those in attendance represented communities from small towns to a large central city. The population characteristics of these cities also vary widely from heterogenous to homogenous. Several of the managers drive more than thirty miles to attend meetings. These leaders also belong to a variety of professional organizations including NFBPA, ICMA, TCMA, and NTCMA, ensuring their total integration into the city manager profession. They may also represent the largest concentration of black city managers in any urban area in Texas. These city managers serve as a reminder that diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital to North Texas’ future success.

Aretha Adams, City Manager, City of Heath
TC Broadnax, City Manager, City of Dallas
James Childers, Town Manager, Town of Flower Mound
Susan Cluse, City Manager, City of Balch Springs
Charles Daniels, City Manager, City of Forney
Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, City Manager, City of Duncanville
David Hall, City Manager, City of Glenn Heights
Harlan Jefferson, Town Manager, Town of Prosper
Opal Mauldin-Jones, City Manager, City of Lancaster
Rona Stringfellow, City Administrator, City of Wilmer

(Article submitted by Ted Benavides, retired city manager and Associate Professor of Practice, The University of Texas at Dallas)

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Randy Criswell to his new position as city manager of the City of Wolfforth. His appointment began on January 3.  Randy has a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology and Certified Public Manager certification from Texas Tech University.  He previously served 20 years for the City of Canyon and held the positions of director of public works, assistant city manager, and 11 years as city manager.  He has also served as the city manager of the City of Mineral Wells.  Randy currently serves as the chair on the TMLIRP Board of Directors.

Randy and his wife, Janie, have four grown children and enjoy their lives as “empty nesters.” His hobbies include motorcycling, shooting, golf, and enjoying live music with Janie whenever possible. 

The TCMA Management Messenger also welcomes Rolin C. McPhee to his new position as the city manager of the City of Longview. His appointment began on February 1. Rolin also served the City’s assistant city manager, director of public works, assistant director of public works, and utilities engineer.  Prior to joining the City of Longview, he served as the city engineer of the City of Marshall. He began his municipal service career with the City of Lafayette, Louisiana, as part of the Lafayette Utilities System.  

Rolin received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University and is a licensed professional engineer in both Texas and Louisiana.

Rolin and his wife, Lisa, have four children, two of which still reside in Longview. He enjoys music and is an avid sports fan, especially for his beloved Aggies.  Rolin and Lisa enjoy vacationing along the coast, attending live music performances, and road trips. They also love spending time with family and their grandson.


Nan StanfordTCMA is saddened by the passing of Nan Stanford, retired city manager of the City of Saginaw, on March 9. Nan served the City of Saginaw for more than 40 years. She held various positions with the City before being promoted to city manager in 1999 and retired in 2017. Nan was a TCMA life member.

Funeral services were held on March 14 at the First Baptist Church of Saginaw. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Community Link Mission at www.communitylinkmission.org

Please keep the Stanford family in your thoughts and prayers. You can read a full obituary here.

what is your intern story?

Internships played a critical role in defining my identity and career path. Before my first internship, I wasn’t certain that local government was my path or that I wanted to pursue a career in public administration. Like many undergrads, I was searching for my dream job without knowing what that was. But unbeknownst to me, that dream job would soon reveal itself. 

During my first semester as a junior in college, a professor encouraged me to pursue an internship with the City of San Marcos Main Street Program. The program director was Samantha Armbruster, who now serves as director of communications for the City of Kyle. She was smart, confident, enthusiastic, and took the time to understand my interests and ensure that I worked on projects that would provide the most beneficial experience. She helped me discover the traits I wanted to acquire—strength, the ability to engage others, and dedication to improving my community. The introduction she provided to a career in public service solidified my journey into local government. 

Upon completing my internship with the Main Street Program, I decided to pursue a career in city management. Over the next three years, I worked toward a master’s degree in public administration and interned with the City of Kyle city manager’s office and the City of Round Rock planning and development services department and city manager’s office. With each internship, I gained new skills and expanded my knowledge of the inner workings of a municipality. But as I reflect on my experience, education and work experience were fractions of what prepared me for a real job in local government. The true value rested in the relationships I built during an impressionable time. 

Internship programs often measure success by an intern’s opportunity to develop and refine skills and gain valuable work experience. But a successful internship should be defined by an intern’s desire to continue pursuing a career in the same field as the internship. Often, that desire can be driven by exposure to another individual’s passion. Understanding of and growth in a profession are largely shaped by the individuals who make the effort to help others succeed. Such people help you understand the inner workings of an occupation and develop appreciation and excitement for the craft. I’m grateful for those who understood the importance of mentorship and made my internships successful. 

Upon receiving my master’s degree, my internship journey ended, and I was hired full-time as a management analyst in the Round Rock city manager’s office. On my first day as a management analyst, I still felt like an intern. The title I had worn with pride the previous week suddenly felt like a disadvantage. I couldn’t help but think people were wondering who gave the teenager with the learner’s permit the keys to the car. But it was the relationships I had built as an intern that gave me the confidence to overcome my imposter syndrome and develop into my new role. Brooks Bennett, Round Rock assistant city manager, was a key mentor whose story helped me wear my internship as a badge of honor.  

Brooks started in Round Rock as a video production intern in 2004, eventually becoming the chief information officer before serving as the assistant city manager. His journey as an intern helped him gain a solid understanding of the inner workings of the organization and anticipate its needs. He helped me realize starting as an intern was a superpower, not a weakness. As I serve in my first role as an assistant village administrator, I utilize the knowledge and skills I have gained in my internships and previous positions the way a carpenter uses the tools on a tool belt. 

All of us are defined by our experiences. Understanding the importance of the start of my journey inspired me to learn about your intern stories. Were the relationships you built as an intern the defining part of your journey? What do you define as a successful internship? How can you, as an administrator, make an internship successful and encourage interns to follow a path into city management?

(Submitted by Stacey Ybarra, Assistant Village Administrator, Salado)

ethics corner

Beans or No Beans

There is never really a bad time for Texas chili coming off these past few months of cold temperatures in North Texas; I found myself eating more of it than normal. The topic of chili recently came up in a conversation I had with a city manager friend from another community. As we started talking about the chili cook-offs we host each year for our team members, my friend talked about how they try to increase participation by offering teams a $25 gift card to a local grocery store to offset the cost of the supplies they use.  

My friend always participates and brings a pot of chili to the competition. The thing that stuck out to me during the conversation is that the city manager refuses the $25 gift card. His rationale being that since he was the one who ultimately approved the event, taking the gift card could be seen as a self-serving decision.  

Even though this may seem like a trivial decision, I appreciate this approach. While I don’t think it would necessarily be a breach of the TCMA Code of Ethics if the city manager took the reimbursement since it was offered to every participant, the choice to decline the gift card spoke to the spirit of our ethical standards. 

The TCMA Code of Ethics is more than a set of concrete rules to which we must comply; it is a document that helps guide our decisions. The goal of ethical decision-making shouldn’t be to know exactly what the Code of Ethics requires and do as much as possible up to that point. Instead, the goal should be to know and understand the spirit of the tenets so that we can operate as ethical professionals, even when there isn’t a clear right or wrong answer. 

I believe the chili cook-off situation could involve several TCMA ethics tenets. In my opinion, Tenet 12 is the most applicable. Tenet 12 states, “Public office is public trust. A member shall not leverage his or her position for personal gain or benefit.” It has several guidelines but can be simplified by asking ourselves, “Are we here to serve, or are we here to maximize our personal benefits?”  

I believe city management is a calling. I hope those of us who have chosen public service have done so because we want to help our communities and operate as servant leaders. My favorite definition of a servant leader is someone who puts the needs of others before self. If we operate with this mentality, I believe that we will be doing right by the spirit of Tenet 12, and our ethical decisions should come easily. 

Now back to the original topic of chili.  I am not sure if putting beans in Texas chili is truly an ethical decision or not, but maybe it should be.  Ethics aside, it definitely speaks to whether or not someone has good taste!

(Submitted by Matt Mueller, Town Manager, Little Elm)

tcma educational EVENTS

TCMA Podcast
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here

#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

April 19
The University of Texas at San Antonio

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

Community Engagement
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, April 14

Managing Council/Staff Relationships in an Election Year
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 18

The Generational Workforce
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, June 16

Organizational Culture
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, September 8

Alternatives to Silos
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 20

Everyone Has Personal Challenges
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, November 17

Memos on Meetings

The Professional Development Committee met on March 29 via video conference.

The Membership Committee will meet on April 1 in Austin.

The Board will 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.