June 2023

TCMA Management Messenger

TCMA Annual Conference 
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Fifty Years Later: The WHY of the TML Risk Pool
Ethics Corner
Texas Women's Leadership Institute
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings


TCMA AC Mobile ApDownload the conference mobile app to access the schedule, speaker biographies, attendee roster, sponsors, and much more at the palm of your hand. The mobile app also allows you to build and personalize your daily schedule, receive reminders and updates, and socialize with your colleagues.

To download the app, visit the app store on your mobile device and search TCMA2023 or click TCMA Annual Conference on your mobile device. We look forward to seeing you soon!

For questions, please contact Kirsten Davis at kdavis@tml.org.

Please park in the parking garage located behind the Marriott Dallas Allen Hotel & Convention Center.  Full parking details can be found on the mobile app under “Parking”

Friday Night Event Tickets
If you purchased tickets to the event, remember to bring them for entry. 

Conference Attire
Casual attire is traditional for all TCMA Annual Conference events.

Special Accommodations
If you need assistance of any kind, including dietary restrictions (such as allergies or sensitivities to particular ingredients), mobility, or audio or visual aids, please let us know prior to the conference. Contact Kim Pendergraft at 512-231-7400 or kim@tml.org.

Management transitions

Brandon Anderson is no longer the city manager of the City of Levelland. Jose Cavazos is serving as the interim city manager.

Jeffery Arnswald is the new city manager of the City of Mexia.

Julie Arrington is no longer the city administrator of the City of Tahoka.

Wayne Berger is the new city manager of the City of Cuero.

John D. Butler is the new city manager of the City of Follett.

Mark Cabezuela is the new town administrator of the Town of Van Horn.

Jennifer Calvert is the new city administrator of the City of Blue Mound.

Susan Cluse is no longer the city manager of the City of Balch Springs.  She will begin serving as the new assistant city manager of the City of Mesquite effective July 1. Charles Fenner is the new city manager of the City of Balch Springs.

Cedric Davis is no longer the city manager of the City of Marlin, effective June 24.

Trent Epperson is the new city manager of the City of Pearland.

Kacie Galyon is the new city manager of the City of Pottsboro.

Walter Gant is no longer the city administrator of the City of Kemah. Kent Myers is serving as the interim city administrator.

E.A. Hoppe will no longer serve as the city manager of Kerrville, effective mid-June. He will begin serving as an assistant city manager for the City of Frisco. Kim Meismer will serve as the interim city manager.

Jason Laumer is no longer the city manager of the City of Celina. Karla Stovall is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Celina.

William Linn is the new city manager of the City of Taft.

Tommy Ludwig is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Burleson.

Phyllis Sabo is no longer the city administrator of the City of Calvert.

Danielle Singh is the new city manager of the City of Jarrell.

Susan Thompson was appointed the first city administrator of the City of Ropesville.

Nicholas Vincent is the new city administrator of the City of Krum.

Donna Welsh is retiring as the town administrator of the Town of Copper Canyon.  A date has not been announced at the time of this issue.

Morris Williams is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Midland.

Raymond Zella Jr. is no longer the city manager of the City of Cuero.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on May 24, 2023.

Full:  Savannah Fortenberry, City Manager, Ranger; Dean Huard, City Manager, Village of the Hills; Gary Palmer, City Administrator, Montgomery; Josh Ramirez, Assistant City Manager, Harlinger; Caryn Riggs, Assistant City Manager/CFO, Bedford; and Jawaria Tareen, Chief of Staff, Farmers Branch

Associate:  Sandra Busch, Assistant to the City Manager, Friona; Robert “Chad” Marbut, Director of Capital Projects, Weatherford; Sharon Valiante, Public Works Director, Fulshear; Cristina Winner, Community Services Director, Crowley; and Jacob Worth, Assistant to the City Manager, Cedar Park

Student: Martin Bate, Elizabeth Corbello, Luna Alexandria De Terre, Victoria Kiker, Marissa Olivas, Kristen Petree, Haley Riddick, and Linda Yowell, University of Texas, Arlington; Joshua Blubaugh and Miguel Inclan, Jr., University of Texas, Dallas; Katherine Cadena, University of North Texas; and Austin Ludolph, Texas A&M University

New Member Applications

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

Full:   James Attaway, City Manager, Quitman; Wayne Berger, City Manager, Cuero; Kathy Cherry, City Administrator/City Secretary, Palm Valley; David Gaines, City Manager, Addison, and Steven Viera, Assistant City Manager, Corpus Christi

Associate:  Jessica Clarke, Assistant to the City Manager, Georgetown; and Lauren Wilson, Administrative Services Director, Carrollton

Cooperating:  Olympia Cuellar, Budget & Management Analyst II, San Antonio; Wilson Kakembo, Capital/Development Projects Manager, Addison; and Lance Rosenfield, Senior Project Manager, Garza EMC

Fifty years later: The WHY of the TML Risk pool

This article is one of several to come, written by each of the seven current city managers who serve on the 18-Member TML Risk Pool Board of Trustees. 

TML Risk PoolWhy should a Texas city manager care about pooling and the TML Risk Pool’s 50th Anniversary? One of my roles on the TML Risk Pool Board of Trustees is to communicate our “why.” Our Pool was the first municipal pool in the United States, and it remains the largest. Those who came up with the idea have long since retired, and I don’t want our group to forget why TML created the Pool and why I believe it to be the best solution for our cities.

In 1973, the Texas Legislature passed legislation mandating that Texas cities provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees. At that time, most traditional insurance companies refused to write the coverage or quoted exorbitant rates. For those reasons, the legislation also authorized the creation of the “Texas Municipal League Workers’ Compensation Joint Insurance Fund” the predecessor of the TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool as we know it today. The Fund began operating on July 1, 1974, with close to 100 members. (Liability and Property Funds were added to the Pool in the 1980s.)

Today, the Pool provides workers’ compensation coverage for almost 2,400 local governments, including housing authorities, special districts, and transportation authorities; employing 200,000 local government employees, including 34,000 first responders. The Pool has a dedicated team of 250 professionals that administer our coverage.

Unlike the commercial insurance industry, the Pool is member-owned, member-governed, and member-driven. Our success and value are in providing coverages, services, and risk-management tools that allow our cities to continue saving lives, preventing injuries, and protecting property.  This Member-first risk management philosophy ensures that, over time, the Pool offers the best value proposition for cities and the taxpayers who support them. We continue to offer outstanding service and a value that our organization expects and deserve.

I am excited about our 50 years of partnership! Thank you for the opportunity to serve our organizations. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or Scott Houston, the Pool’s Intergovernmental Relations Manager (512-791-4158 or scott.houston@tmlirp.org).

(Article submitted by Opal Mauldin-Jones, City Manager, City of Lancaster; President-Elect, Texas City Management Association; and Trustee, Place 9, TML Risk Pool Board of Trustees)

Ethics Corner

In the prior two articles, Kent Souriyasak and Ed Wylie have provided different perspectives on what a city manager should do when a council member bypasses the city manager and directs the work or assignments of city staff. This article will revisit and expand upon the perspectives previously provided by Kent and Ed.

The "Council/Manager Plan" is designed for the elected city council to set policy direction as the direct representatives of the community, with the city manager providing the professional expertise to manage the organization and carry out the council's direction.

Kent and Ed provided two examples of what it might look like for a council member to direct city staff. One described a scenario in which a council member directed a public works employee to fix potholes on a street inconsistent with the council's priorities. The other described a council member ordering the building official to issue a building permit to a friend by the end of the day without a full review.

Both examples create a challenge to the city manager related to Tenet 10 of the TCMA Code of Ethics, which reads, "Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference and handle each problem without discrimination based on principle and justice."

Establishing a solid level of trust is the most effective way for a city manager to carry out official policies without interference from council members. If the city council and the city manager have an effective and mutually supportive working relationship, the likelihood of the policy and administrative roles being effectively coordinated increases significantly, resulting in more successful city governance and management. Trust between council members and the city manager can be established when the following take place:

All parties understand established ground rules and expectations.

Most city charters contain language that defines the role of the city manager and establishes the ground rules for how council members should interact with staff. These roles should be communicated to council members regularly when new council members are elected.

Council members should understand why the ground rules are necessary and beneficial. They should know that coordinating through the city manager will ensure the issue is sent to the right staff person for action and will allow the city manager to confirm timely follow-up. This also helps the city manager stay informed regarding issues of community concern.

When assigning duties, the city manager should educate city employees regarding council members' roles. Employees should be required to communicate any such request to their supervisor.

The city manager has a clear policy direction.

The city manager and the city organization can only carry out the policy direction of the city council if that direction is established. The more precise the direction, the more effectively the manager and staff can implement. Even when the council is split on an issue, most of the council will need to be clear on their policy statement.  The city manager should seek clarification from the city council when necessary.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

The guideline for Tenet 10 states that "the member should openly share information with the governing body while diligently carrying out the member's responsibilities as outlined in the charter or enabling legislation."

Should a council member go rogue, the ideal resolution would be a non-confrontational personal conversation with the council member. The city manager should use the discussion to understand the issue better, remind the council member of the established ground rules and their importance, and assure them that what can be done will be done.

If a personal conversation with the council member does not help or is not possible, the city manager should consider getting assistance from the city mayor or attorney. Often these individuals' position or relationship with the council member will allow them to discuss the issue without any adverse side effects to your relationship.

Another possible solution may be to revisit the issue or policy with the city council to ensure (1) the council's opinion has not changed, (2) the city manager fully understands the council's desires, and (3) the practices and procedures administered by city staff are still aligned with the council's desires. Revisiting the issue with council also provides another opportunity to reinforce the roles of the council members and the city manager.

(Article submitted by Steve Eggleston, City Manager, Andrews)

Texas women's leadership institute

The Texas Chapter of Women Leading Government (WLG) will host a fifth class of the Texas Women’s Leadership Institute beginning in 2024.  The class is limited to 20 women who desire to become city managers. The Institute will offer five sessions over the course of the year and will cover essential topics to becoming an effective city manager as well as explore successful leadership techniques.  The sessions will include tours of city facilities and will bring in Texas experts to discuss professional topics and personal development.  Typical sessions cover municipal bonds, economic development, communications, negotiating, Council relations, public safety and leadership.  

The Institute sessions will be held around the State of Texas and travel expenses are the responsibility of the attendee.  Sessions begin on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at Noon on Friday.  This Institute offers a laser focus approach to increasing women in the city management pipeline and is sponsored by the Texas City Management Association. 

After acceptance into the Institute by the Advisory Board, a tuition fee of $400 will be assessed.  Scholarships for the Institute are available pending acceptance and there is the ability to share in travel costs with other Institute Executives.  Applications for 2024 will be available on June 1 with a deadline of June 30, 2023.  For more information, please contact Karen Daly, TWLI Executive Director at txwomensleadership@gmail.com

tcma educational EVENTS

2023 TCMA Annual Conference
June 8-11, 2023

TCMA Podcast  
Perspectives on City Management  
Listen to episodes here.

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

Creating Livable Communities: The Path to Community Prosperity
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, June 15

High Performance Local Government: Creating a Culture of Higher Organizational Performance
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, September 7

Career Pathways to Move Up the Local Government Ladder
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 19
What to Do When Everything is Falling Apart: How to Reset
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, November 16

Memos on Meetings

The 100 Year Celebration Task Force met on May 9 by video conference. Meeting minutes are available here. The committee is scheduled to meet on June 28 by video conference.

The Membership Committee met on May 9 by video conference. Meeting minutes are available here.

The Allies Committee met on May 17 by video conference. Meeting minutes are available here.

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

The TCMA Board will meet June 8 in conjunction with the TCMA Annual Conference.


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

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

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

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

If  you have some interesting news that you would like to see included in the Management Messenger, please email messenger@tml.org.