January 2024

TCMA Management Messenger

Membership Dues
Statewide Elections
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
TCMA Announces a New Senior Advisor
Professional Awards and Scholarships
Navigating the Urban Landscape: Insights from a Small City
Ethics Corner
Around the State
Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings


membership dues


It’s time to renew your 2024 TCMA membership and continue to receive the many benefits you enjoy as a member. Please remember that region dues are separate from statewide dues and should be paid to your respective region. 

TCMA full and associate members are required to complete two hours of ethics training every two years as a condition of continued membership in TCMA. If you renew online, please check the box provided to indicate the requirement has been fulfilled and state the location where the ethics training was taken in the space provided. Only TCMA, ICMA, and TML ethics trainings fulfill the requirement.  In addition, all members are required to complete two hours of mental health education every two years. This can be accomplished from a variety of sources including services provided through the TCMA Mental Health and Wellness Assistance Program or other resources of which a member may have access.    

Among your TCMA membership benefits are:

Thank you for your support and participation in TCMA. If you have any questions, contact the TCMA staff at 512-231-7400. 

Deadline to Renew is January 31!  
To renew your statewide dues and update your membership information online, click TCMA Dues

Statewide Elections


We are now accepting petitions for prospective candidates for the following statewide offices: President-Elect (2024-2025), Vice President (2024-2025), and TML Board Representative (2024-2026).

As you think about candidates for these statewide TCMA Board positions, we encourage you to consider the following factors: active involvement in TCMA, active involvement in the TCMA region, years of municipal government service, TCMA committee service, desire to serve, level of regional support, and prior TCMA Board service. The Nominating Committee will consider each person’s candidacy in light of the current composition of the Board and will strive to achieve a balance among such factors as geography, size of city, ethnicity, race, and gender.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the nomination and election schedule. For complete election information and a nomination form, please click 2024-2025 TCMA Election.

Management transitions


Aretha Adams will serve as the new city manager of the City of Murphy, effective February 4.

Isom Cameron is serving as the interim city manager of the City of DeSoto.  

Dr. Jonathan Flores is the new city manager of the City of Pharr.

Andy Garcia is no longer the city administrator of the City of Falfurrias.  Martin Saenz is the new city administrator.

Tim Kelty is no longer the city manager of the City of Freeport.  Lance Petty is the new city manager.

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

Zachary Meadows is the new city administrator of the City of Lytle.

Carolyn Miller will retire as the city manager of the City of Brenham, effective March 2024.

Harold Rice is no longer the city manager of the City of Nixon. Darryl Becker is serving as the interim city manager. 

Lisa Rivera is the new city manager of the City of Sullivan City.

Angela Smith is the new city manager of the City of Gun Barrel City.

New Members


The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on December 21, 2023.

Associate: Caleb Casteel, Assistant to the City Manager, Frisco; Susan Greenwood, Court Administrator/Assistant City Secretary, New Fairview; Stephanie Nichols, Assistant to the City Manager, Whitehouse

Cooperating: Nigel Paxton, Aries Advisors  

Student:  Thao Tran, The University of Texas Permian Basin

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 December:

Full: Mike Arismendez, City Manager, Kermit; Kent Collins, Deputy City Manager, Coppell; Douglas Finch, City Manager, Duncanville; Ronald Fraser, Deputy City Manager, Pearland; John Naron, City Manager, Hondo

Associate:  Priya Bhakta, Assistant Director of Engineering and Public Works, Pearland; Austin Bishop, Assistant to the City Manager, West University Place; Megan Mainer, Director of Parks and Recreation, Angleton; Aaron Maldonado, Director of Development Services, Joshua

TCMA Announces a new senior advisor


Bill LindleyTCMA is honored to announce the appointment of Bill Lindley as a TCMA senior advisor. Bill has served communities throughout Texas since 1982. During his career, he served as the city manager of the cities of Rusk and Colleyville.  He also served 15 years as the town administrator of the Town of Highland Park.

Bill holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Tyler.

Bill can be contacted at classic58whl@yahoo.com or (806) 473-8150.

The TCMA Board extends a special thank you to all of the senior advisors for their continued service. To learn more about the Senior Advisor Program, click TCMA Senior Advisor.

professional awards and scholarships


TCMA Awards and Scholarships_banner hiresEach 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 submissions is January 5, 2024.

AWARD PROGRAMS

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

For information and applications, click here

TCMA also provides opportunities for professional development through scholarships. Unless otherwise noted, the deadline for submissions is January 5, 2024.  
 

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS

  • Barney L. Knight Texas CPM Scholarship
  • Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship
  • Julie Robinson Emerging Leader Professional Development Scholarship (New)
  • Leadership Development Scholarship
  • Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship (Deadline April 5, 2024) 

For information about all scholarships, click here.

If you have questions about any of these programs, please contact Kirsten Davis at kdavis@tml.org or 512-231-7400.

Navigating the Urban Landscape: Insights from a Small City


The role of a city manager or administrator in a small urban enclave extends beyond the confines of a traditional administrative position. It's a dynamic, multifaceted job that provides unique insights into the intricate tapestry of community life. In the last two years that I have served as a city administrator in a small city, I have learned and experienced so much about how local government functions and what public service really means.  

With a population of just over 1,500, Rollingwood is a small, scenic community outside of Austin, situated on the west bank of Lady Bird Lake and abutting Zilker Park.  It is the site of many festivals, concerts, and acres of open green space. I started in Rollingwood as the city secretary in 2019 and began serving as interim city administrator in December 2021. I had certain assumptions about what it would be like to work in a small city before I came to Rollingwood, but I quickly learned that it was much different than my expectations. The following are some key reflections I have drawn from my experience of managing a small city.

Community Ties: Serving in a small city fosters a close-knit relationship with the community. Unlike in some larger counterparts, the city manager becomes a familiar face, attending local events, engaging with residents, and understanding the pulse of the community. The closeness between city administration and the Rollingwood community has allowed me to have a more nuanced understanding of the city's needs and aspirations, and I have found time and time again that collaboration is key. In Rollingwood, the involvement of residents, whether elected officials or other volunteers, is unmatched, as I’m sure is true for other small communities. The Council-manager relationship has a closer proximity, which fosters better administration with insights from those that know the community and history best.   

Team Aspect: While cities of all sizes have to lean on the people in their organization and the teams that they create, in a small city, building a strong team stands out to me as imperative for effective and efficient governance. Strong teams enable productive collaboration, diverse expertise, and shared responsibilities to come together to facilitate improved service delivery and address local needs. In my two years as city administrator, I have had the unique privilege of playing an active role in the selection of many new team members. Those team members, together with those that have been here longer, have constructed a framework for the successful operations in Rollingwood. We have built our Dream Team!

Balancing Act: Managing a small city requires a delicate balance between limited resources and the growing demands of the community. In Rollingwood, we are positioned adjacent to a bustling urban area, bringing many of the same issues and challenges across our border, but leaving behind the same level of resources to respond. Prioritization becomes a crucial skill; allocating resources where they are needed most while ensuring the city's overall well-being. This experience has honed my decision-making abilities and fostered resourcefulness.

Adaptive Leadership: The dynamic nature of a small city necessitates adaptive leadership. City managers must be responsive to changing circumstances, whether it's economic shifts, demographic changes, or unexpected events. This adaptability is a valuable trait that extends beyond the professional realm. For a first-time manager in a small city, this opportunity has also been one of creating my own form of leadership that fits my team and our environment. It has involved building new processes and creating a culture of coaching for development. I sometimes find that it can be hard to manage others when your plate is just as full as everyone’s around you, but it’s the time that you can spend helping to develop your team members, which pays dividends going forward.  

Incremental Improvements: In a small city, the impact of incremental improvements cannot be overstated. While larger cities often face more complex challenges, smaller communities offer a unique canvas for positive change. Small improvements, whether in infrastructure, local services, or community initiatives, contribute to an overall enhanced quality of life. This is something that I often remind my team as we are striving to do the most with the limited resources we have. We may not be able to do it all, but if we can do it a little bit better than it was done in the past, we are doing what we are supposed to do. We are leaving it better than we found it.  

Investing in the Future: Small cities often harbor immense potential for growth. Yet, this is not always the case physically. Using Rollingwood as an example, there isn’t room for geographical expansion as the city is built out, but there is room for redevelopment and growth in other ways. The ability to envision and implement a forward-looking strategy is a defining aspect of the role of a small city manager. What the city is doing now has a large impact on what the city will look like in 20 years. Inherent in investing in the future, is capitalizing on the good times. When things are going well in a city, it doesn’t mean it is time to rest, but rather these times should be for preparing for the future. Spend time working on goals and policies, looking into technological advancements, or creating plans around your infrastructure. These actions now will pay dividends for the city in the future.

Being a city manager or administrator in a small city provides a rich array of experiences that go beyond the conventional administrative role. It offers a front-row seat to the elaborate dynamics of community life, fostering skills in leadership, problem-solving, and strategic planning. While the challenges are unique, the rewards are abundant, and the insights I have gained from navigating in a small city have been and continue to be invaluable for my personal and professional growth. This career step has been beneficial for me as I define my goals and involvement in local government, and I would recommend serving in a small community to anyone striving to become a well-rounded leader.   

(Article submitted by Ashley Wayman, City Administrator, Rollingwood)

Ethics Corner


Elections and Political Activities

Are you like me? Do you feel that we are always in the middle of an election, whether it be at the federal, state, or local level? Doesn’t it seem like the moment you exit the voter’s booth for one election, you are being asked to express your democratic privilege in yet another? As a member of TCMA, this perceived perpetual state of elections only underscores the importance of keeping Tenet 7 of the TCMA Code of Ethics at the forefront of your mind. Tenet 7 reads:

“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.”

As nonpolitical administrators, TCMA members should continually evaluate whether the activities for which they chose to participate could be perceived as politically driven or biased. During the past several months, I have observed three such activities members should approach with care.

  1. Attending “informal” get-togethers with elected officials
  2. Following the political expectations of your mayor and/or councilmembers
  3. Expressing your political view

Attending “informal” get-togethers with elected officials

Like most city managers, I am often invited to meet with Federal or State elected officials. Often the invitation comes under the guise of an information-sharing opportunity when, in reality, it is nothing more than a political fundraiser. Due diligence should be exercised by city managers before attending meetings with elected officials, especially during election season (which we have already determined is almost all the time). I have found declining these invitations is a great opportunity to educate my mayor, councilmembers, and others about our Code of Ethics and the importance of appearing impartial.

Following the political expectations of your mayor and/or councilmembers

On many occasions, I have declined an invitation from my mayor or a councilmember to attend a political rally or event tied to a political position. It is important for our communities to see us as fair and impartial, not siding with one political view. The mayor and councilmembers are the politicians; we are the nonpartisan administrators.

Have cities begun to hire city managers based upon their high profile and political connections with politicians in Austin and Washington, D.C., rather than on the experience and qualifications typically expected of a city manager? This practice could put the city manager in a precarious position. Making the city manager a political position will, at some point in time, threaten the trust the community has in the manager to make unbiased decisions for the good of the entire community.

Expressing your political view

One of the guidelines for Tenet 7 states, “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.”

Many of you may be following the intriguing “ethics” battle between James Freed and ICMA in which both sides are accused of incorrectly using social media. This battle should remind all members that when expressing personal political views on social media, ensure the platform being used has no reference to your position, your governmental entity, or to your affiliation with TCMA.

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

around the state


TCMA President Opal Mauldin-Jones has been traveling and enjoying her region visits. TCMA Region 5 hosted their meeting in the City of Nacogdoches and Region 10 was hosted by the City of South Padre Island.

Around the State Reg 5TCMA Region 5
Pictured with Opal is Leslie Black,   Whitehouse City Manager and TCMA Region 5 President, and Jay Abercrombie, Henderson City Manager
Around the State Reg 10 2TCMA Region 10
Pictured with Opal is Jeff Johnston, McAllen Assistant City Manager and TCMA Region 10 Board of Directors Representative


courtney sharp city management clinic and scholarship
2024 TMCA City Mgmt Clinic_FINAL_website 975x250


Join us in Granbury for this Annual Event!

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

Topics include:

  • What the….?  Is Chat GPT and AI for Real? And What Does It Mean for My City?
  • Leading Change with Change Intelligence: Strategies for Inspiring Hearts, Engaging Heads, and Moving Hands
  • Lessons Learned from Alternative Work Schedules
  • What Next? (How to leave the city manager’s seat and the top five things you should have in your contract)
  • The Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS) Report

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

To apply for the Scholarship, click here.

tcma educational EVENTS


William “King” Cole Session 1
  SOLD OUT
January 25-26, 2024
Austin

Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic
February 22-23, 2024
Granbury

William “King” Cole Session 2  
April 4-5, 2024
San Antonio

TCMA Podcast  
Perspectives on City Management  
Listen to episodes here.

Memos on Meetings


The Allies Committee met on December 1. Meeting minutes are available here. The next meeting is scheduled via video conference on February 7.

The 100 Year Celebration Task Force is scheduled to meet on January 10 via video conference.

The Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet on January 11 via video conference. 

The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet on January 12 via video conference. 
 
The Board is scheduled to meet on January 19 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 hereFor 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.