December 2022

TCMA Management Messenger

Courtney Sharp Management Clinic and New Scholarship
Keeping Safe and Mentally Fit During the Holiday Season
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Professional Awards and Scholarships
Interview with Baytown City Manager Rick Davis
Ethics Corner
Mental Health Webinar
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

Courtney sharp city management clinic and new scholarship

2023 TCMA Clinic_FINAL_website 1000x300

Join us in Granbury for this Annual Event!

The Texas City Management Association (TCMA) Courtney Sharp 
City Management Clinic 

Topics include:

  • Animals in Disasters: How the Texas A&M VET Can Help
  • Leadership Leverage: Maximizing Your Leadership Impact 
  • Resilient Leadership: Navigating Stress and Increasing Mental Toughness 
  • Parents as Managers
  • Public/Private Partnerships
  • Legislative Update

Read all about the Clinic and register today at City Management Clinic. 

NEW! Apply for the Scholarship, click here

keeping safe and mentally fit during the holiday season

The holiday season can be hectic and difficult at times. TCMA would like to remind you as part of your membership benefit, you and your family have access to confidential counseling services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are many additional benefits to take advantage of including elder care, child care, and a ride reimbursement program. For a brief overview, click Deer Oaks Program.

You can contact Deer Oaks at 888-99-7250 or visit the website and log into the TCMA portal at The login and password is TCMA. You can also access services through the iConnectYou app in the Apple Store and Android Play Store with the code 231963.

TCMA wishes you, your family, and friends a safe and blessed holiday season.

Management transitions

Mark Browne retired as the city manager of the City of Schertz. Steve Williams is the new city manager, effective December 1.

Amanda DeGan is the new city administrator of the City of Rhome.

June Ellis will no longer serve as the city administrator of the City of Haskell.

Steve Floyd is no longer the city manager of the City of Dayton. Calyn Wesson is the interim city manager.

David Gaines is the new city manager of the Town of Addison, effective January 3.

Eleazar “Yogi” Garcia retired as the city manager of the City of Raymondville. Tony Chavez is the new city manager, effective December 1.

Angel Jones will serve as the city manager of the City of Missouri City, effective December 5.

Darell Kennon is the interim city manager of the City of Vernon.

Bill Lindley will retire as the town administrator of the Town of Highland Park, effective May 26, 2023.

Joseph Molis is the new city manager of the City of Lakeway.

Tim Patek is the new city administrator of the City of Wimberley.

Robert Patrick will retire as the city manager of the City of Midland, April 28, 2023.

Clay Pearson is no longer the city manager of the City of Pearland. Trent Epperson is the interim city manager.

Ken Roberts is no longer the city manager of the City of Karnes City. Veronica Butler is the new interim city manager.

Lamar Schulz is no longer the city manager of the City of Jourdanton. Bobby Martinez is the new city manager.

Wendy Smith is no longer the city manager of the City of The Hills. She is serving as an assistant city manager of the City of Buda.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on November 28, 2022.

Full: Stacey Almond, City Manager, Lake Worth; Emily Barron, Assistant City Manager, Pflugerville; Thomas A. Hunter, Assistant City Manager, Pflugerville; Julius Kizzee, City Administer, Tool; Heather Nick, Assistant City Manager, Tyler; Carl Simpson, Assistant City Manager, Dallas; Brooks Williams, City Manager, Ferris; Brian Winningham, City Manager, Mont Belvieu  

Associate: Ashleigh Feryan, Neighborhood Services Manager, Lewisville; Faith Morse, Assistant to the City Manager, Mansfield

Student: Tracy Harrison, Texas A&M University; Tomeka Pierce, The University of Texas at San Antonio; Adriana Solis, The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.

New Member Applications

The current TCMA Board policy requires that names of new member applicants be published each month in the Management Messenger. Any written objection during the subsequent 30-day period will be reviewed by the Membership Committee. If no objections are received during this time, the names will be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval. Written objections can be mailed to TCMA, Attention: Membership Committee, 1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78754. Applications received in the month of October:

Full: John Curry, City Manager, Chico; Andy Joslin, City Manager, Floresville; Camden White City Administer, Caldwell

Associate: Kimberly Kopecky, Assistant to the City Manager, Fulshear

meet your collegues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Julius Kizzee to his new position as the city administrator of the City of Tool. Prior to joining the City of Tool on June 5, Julius served as the senior administrative assistant in the City of La Porte under the leadership of Corby Alexander, Matt Daeumer, and Jason Weeks.

Before his career in municipal government, Julius served three years as a news reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana and Richmond, Virginia.

Julius received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston.

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Brian Winningham as the new city manager of the City of Mont Belvieu.

Brian served 28 years on active duty, with multiple overseas tours in combat and various duty stations around the United States and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Following military retirement, Brian served as tribal administrator of the Tule River Tribe of California, the second largest Tribe in the State. Brian then served as the city administrator for the City of Dickinson, North Dakota, leading 300 employees to care for 30,000 people as a full-service city government in legendary western North Dakota, the area known for the badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Brian holds degrees from Point Loma Nazarene University and San Diego State University and a master's in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

He has been married to Miss Poppy Simmerman of Porterville, California, for 30 years. They have four children: sons Kellen (27), Landon (25) and Donavan (10) and daughter Maren (23).


Paul ParkerTCMA is deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Parker. Paul was a TCMA life member and served as the 2008 TCMA president.

Paul served more than 40 years in local government, including city manager of the cities of Mount Pleasant and Lufkin.

A memorial service was held on Tuesday, November 29, at Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro.

Please keep his wife Sue, and the Parker family in your prayers. A complete obituary can be found here

Greg BielawskiTCMA is saddened by the passing of Greg Bielawski on November 5. Greg was known and well-loved as the face and advocate of the ICMA Senior Advisor Program. Greg’s service of 20 years advising and supporting city managers throughout the country was a blessing to everyone he came into contact.

Please keep his wife Nancy, and the family in your thoughts and prayers. A complete obituary can be found here

Professional Awards and scholarships

Each year, TCMA provides opportunities to recognize colleagues for their outstanding service to the city management profession, honor an outstanding city council for significant contributions to local government in Texas, and recognize an academician who has made significant contributions to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government. The deadline for submission is January 6, 2023.


  • Administrator of the Year Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Mentoring Award in Memory of Gary Gwyn
  • Excellence in Ethics and Integrity Award 
  • Assistant of the Year Award in Memory of Valerie Bradley
  • Terrell Blodgett Academician Award
  • City Council of the Year Award 

For awards information and applications, click here

TCMA also provides opportunities for professional development through scholarships. Unless otherwise noted, the deadline for submission is January 6, 2023.  


  • Barney L. Knight Texas CPM Scholarship
  • Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship
  • Leadership Development Scholarship
  • Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship (Deadline April 7, 2023) 

For scholarship information and applications, click here

If you have questions about any of these programs, please contact Kim Pendergraft at or 512-231-7400.

interview with baytown city manager rick davis

Though city hall has historically enjoyed a greater level of public trust than have our state governments and Washington, unprecedented events in recent years have tested our ability to maintain that trust between citizens and city hall.  This interview covers elements of community-based strategic planning that can address and elevate citizen trust through an exercise in deep community listening and by subsequently engaging citizens in identifying those priorities that they themselves believe will most likely lift their quality of life. The interview with Rick Davis, Baytown city manager, lays out how these shared values, based on the feedback during the community engagement exercises, are compiled into the plan. To maximize the effectiveness and usefulness of the information delivered in this plan, elected officials, city administration, and police department leadership will be called upon to integrate these findings into their operations, policies, and programming.

What were the big challenges faced through this process? We entered into this strategic planning process in a very emotional environment in our community, state, and nation. There were factors and challenges which I believe were magnified by that emotionality. It certainly is not a judgment call on my part as to whether somebody or any group of people should have been emotional during that time; it just was a factor. And it was difficult to ask our residents, especially some of our most vocal ones, to exercise patience and extend us a credit on trust so that we could perform this process. The first time I introduced it to a group of citizens, they were very upset because I told them that it would take the better part of a year to put the plan together and that it would have a five-year implementation. There are many during that very emotional period who wanted instantaneous immediate change, and that simply was not going to be possible. Like all permanent change, if we seek things to be permanent, it has to be incremental. It has to be deliberate and intelligent, and that simply takes time.

A strategic planning advisory committee was created as part of the plan. Why? As is the case with what I believed to be all effective strategic planning initiatives, this had to come from our citizens. This plan needed to be composed by a committee of our citizens. And in this case, we included some law enforcement personnel so that we could also maximize the buy-in of our police department. It doesn't help to have a plan by the police department that our citizens don't buy into, nor a plan devised by our citizens that our police department doesn't buy into. We needed to have both groups buy into this plan and exercise ownership over it.   It was important to have a committee that would not be influenced or directed by administration, either city administration or police administration, nor elected officials but it had to be a true community plan.

Building trust is not an overnight achievement. What has changed since the strategic plan was created? Before the plan was created, I began to hear from elected officials and citizens. Simply by engaging in the exercise of strategic planning, we began to see trust increase between our city and citizens, particularly in law enforcement. Since the strategic plan was created, we have been able to demonstrate a year of implementation and that has further elevated trust among our citizens. In fact, in our last citizen survey that was conducted in the middle of this year, it showed that our police department in terms of citizen trust and satisfaction achieved the greatest change year after year or survey over survey than any other city department. I think back in 2019, our survey definitely showed a hemorrhage of trust between our citizens and the police department. And again, no department based on our last citizen survey achieved so much positive movement in their scores as the police department. 

How has the new police chief’s influence helped not only improved community relationships but also facilitate the goals of the strategic plan? John Stringer came to us with extensive experience, in proactive mental health and de-escalation programs and training. In his last post, he headed up a mental health coalition among several jurisdictions in the Huntsville-Madison, Alabama area. He had already engaged in training and programs that were meant to de-escalate and deal with mental health situations. He brought that inventory with him to Baytown. Chief Stringer brings a calm and extremely professional demeanor to his job. He is a man of high integrity and a genuine individual whom our citizens and most importantly our police officers naturally gravitate and respect. He brought with him an almost instant credibility and that facilitated his ability to do so much in the first year of this plan in terms of implementation.

How important is it to continue to have a strongly funded police department to continue to provide the proper services not only for the community but for officers as well for continued training and more? First, there's never been a police department that gets better by taking resources away from them. It only exacerbates the problems that they have before. You make a better police department by funding, not defunding, those initiatives that are going to make a difference and push the department to a higher level. As an elected body, an administration, and a police department administration, we have made a commitment to fund our department and make sure they have the equipment, training, and other health-related resources they need to do their jobs effectively. We have expanded our training program also. And we've introduced other tools, such as the Harris County iPad, which is a counselor initiative where our officers are given an iPad that links them to mental health counselors in the event of an encounter with a person who is going through a mental health crisis. These have been extremely effective and is an example of the kind of programs and resources that we're investing in; we're not devesting or divesting. 

Police work continues to evolve as community needs change. How do you think this plan helps address this? First and foremost, none of us are creatures of the plan. The plan is a tool that allows us to identify those factors at the time of its creation that we believe most likely to elevate trust between us, the police, and the public. Luckily, we have a very vigilant police department and a Baytown police advisory committee composed of citizens that I believe are consistently vigilant in identifying community needs and helping the department pivot in a manner that allows us to satisfy those changing needs.

(Article submitted by Assistant City Manager Brian Moran, City of Baytown)

ethics corner

Ethical standards are the foundation of city management. The council/manager form of government was born out of the idea that services should be provided in a fair and equitable manner and that professionalism should be the driving force behind projects and priorities. The commitment to an enforceable code of ethics, such as the one adopted by TCMA, is intended to further this idea, and ensure that we are living up to the spirit of our profession. We rely on our Code of Ethics to give us the answers to questions and situations we encounter in our careers, but what happens when the answer isn’t as clear as it should be? What happens when the situation is nuanced, and there isn’t a direct answer found in the tenets? 

Over the past two months, we have examined an ethical question through the lens of two separate points of view. This is an example of a complicated topic that isn’t as cut and dry as some others we face. Let’s check back in with our authors and examine their thoughts after reading both perspectives.  

From Joe Smolinski:

After participating – as an author and audience member – in the first Perspective series, I am reminded of a quote by Margaret Wheatley.

Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.

In October, I suggested that a leader’s ability to reach a well-reasoned conclusion depended upon his or her willingness and ability to view an issue through the lens of another; to consider an alternative perspective or perception. In November, Jennifer May provided us with a list of questions that shined a light on an alternate perspective that Scott, the city manager in our original scenario, should consider as he plans for future mentoring sessions. More importantly, these questions should become the focus of a crucial conversation between Scott and all members of his team.

Tenet 8 says that we should make it a duty continually to improve our professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques. In my humble opinion, truly authentic mentorship relationships are forged out of a sense of mutual trust. It would stand to reason that we are better prepared to develop a mentee’s professional competencies when we create an environment in which he or she trusts us and, perhaps more importantly, he or she knows that we trust them as well. Jennifer references trustworthiness several times in her article…and for good reason.

Tenet 11 says that we should handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit, so that fairness and impartiality govern a member's decisions pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline. The Merriam-Webster definition of impartiality has to do with treating or affecting all things equally. When we approach the mentorship relationship between males and females differently, we run the risk of diminishing trust and, thus, the efficacy of the relationship entirely. Furthermore, it would be difficult to argue that a truly effective mentorship relationship has no influence over future appointments or promotions, even if those personnel actions take place outside of the mentee’s current organization. 

From Jennifer May:

In addition to the tenets cited by Joe above, TCMA’s Behavioral Guidelines to Professional Relationships states: “Each member should take an interest in the career development of associates and subordinates and ensure sufficient opportunities are provided from which their professional needs can be met.” 

In any professional scenario – whether that be with a mentor or mentee, a co-worker or even a peer from another city – it is important and beneficial to try to see the world through another’s eyes when looking for ways to both support each other and mutually live out our ethical commitments. After all, if we don’t seek to understand the unique perspective of others, how can we truly invest in each other in meaningful ways?  In this particular scenario, this question becomes even more important when considering nearly one in three TCMA members identify as female – a number that is both substantial and still under-represented in comparison to the population at large.

While I have not experienced this scenario in the workplace in the exact way Christina did in the recent articles, I have heard professionals I respect share interpretations similar to Scott’s as the best approach to living out a commitment to Tenet 3.  For me personally, I know how genuine the questions posed in the November article are to the thoughts that quickly came to my mind in those moments – even as I trust that such strict interpretations are rarely meant to be intentionally hurtful.

I deeply appreciate the Perspectives series – the ability to ask hard questions, examine an ethical issue through the lens of another, and consider whether or not strict interpretations of one tenet (however well-intentioned) may be coming at the expense of living out other tenets and guidelines, such as those mentioned above. While these conversations are sometimes uncomfortable, I think we risk alienating others when we shy away from such discussions, which in turn risks weakening the influence the TCMA Code of Ethics will continue to have in a world and a profession that looks very different than it did when the Code was first written.

Although we may face issues that are increasingly complex, the TCMA Code of Ethics should be our compass that guides us. As we review a question such as the one that we have looked at over that past couple of months, it is clear that different perspectives can affect the way a situation is viewed.  However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t an ethical solution or an ethical answer. While our ethical tenets do give us clear definitive answers to many questions that we face and give us a clear set of behavioral expectations, they are much more than a list of rules. Through discussion, review, and viewing a situation from different angles to see what tenets may apply, our Code of Ethics can guide us through the most complex questions and help us make the ethical choice.

(Article submitted by Joe Smolinski, City Manager, Mansfield and Jennifer May, Deputy City Manager, Sugar Land)

mental health webinar
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Register Today for Part Three of the TCMA Mental Health and Wellbeing Webinar Series!

How to Maintain a Mentally Healthy Workplace Environment
Friday, December 9, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

This timely presentation will provide an overview of the elements that make up a mentally healthy workplace, including encouraging an inclusive culture, respectful relationships, consistently supportive leaders, and employees who focus on personal wellbeing. 

To register, please click here

tcma educational EVENTS

William “King” Cole Session 1  
January 26-27, 2023

William “King” Cole Session 2  
March 30-31, 2023
Sugar Land

TCMA Podcast
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here

TCMA Webinar Series: Maximizing Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

How to Maintain a Mentally Healthy Workplace Environment
1:00-2:00 p.m., Friday, December 9

How to Become More Resilient During Challenging Times
1:00-2:00 p.m., Friday, February 17, 2023

Memos on Meetings

The TCMA Allies Committee met on November 16. Meeting minutes are available here. The next meeting is scheduled to meet via video conference on January 18.

The Public Policy Task Force is scheduled to meet via video conference on December 1 and 15.

The Ethic Committee is scheduled to meet via video conference on December 14.

The Advocacy Committee is scheduled to meet via video conference on December 15.

The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet via video conference on January 13.

The Board is scheduled to meet on January 27 in Austin.

All information is current as of the 25th of the month prior to publication.

In-Transition Services
To see if you qualify for TCMA 
In-transition Services, please 
click here. For a list of current city management job openings in Texas click here.

Career Compass
Career Compass is a monthly column addressing career issues for local governmental professional staff. To view current and past articles, please click here.

Additional Resources
Visit for additional training opportunities, resources, and advancement of professional local government around the globe. 

If  you have some interesting news that you would like to see included in the Management Messenger, please email