2024 TCMA Professional Award Recipients
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
TCMA Announces a New Senior Advisor
Honoring Senior Advisor Mark McDaniel
Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship
From The Playing Field to City Hall: What Football Can Teach Us About Leadership
The TML Risk Pool and the Political Subdivision Workers’ Compensation Alliance
Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings
2024 TCMA Professional Awards Recipients
TCMA is proud to announce the recipients of the 2024 Professional Awards. A presentation of awards will be held at the TCMA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 21, at the South Padre Island Convention Center, located at 7355 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island.
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.
Bob Herchert, Retired
Administrator 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.
Sereniah Breland, City Manager. City of Pflugerville
Mentoring 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.
Laurie Brewer, Assistant City Manager, City of Georgetown
TCMA Excellence in Ethics and Integrity Award
This award recognizes a TCMA member who has served in the local government profession with dignity, honor, and integrity and has demonstrated exceptional ethics while carrying out their duties in local government.
Jeff Johnston, Assistant City Manager, City of McAllen
Assistant of the Year Award in Memory of Valerie Bradley
This award recognizes the TCMA member who exhibits a fierce advocacy for advancing ethical local government leadership and the mentorship of young professionals.
Tom Yantis, Assistant City Manager, City of Taylor
NEW! Associate of the Year Award
This award recognizes the TCMA associate member who has made significant contributions to the field of local government management in the past 18 months.
Faith Morse, Assistant to the City Manager, City of Mansfield
Terrell Blodgett Academician of the Year
This award is presented to an academician who has made a significant contribution to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government.
Robert Bland PhD, Endowed Professor of Local Government, University of North Texas
TCMA also congratulates the City of Brownsville as the City Council of the Year.
Jeff Arnswald is no longer the city manager of the City of Mexica.
Christopher Baker is the new city manager of the City of Bridge City.
Michael Barrera is no longer the city manager of the City of Mathis. Cedric Davis, Sr. is serving as the new city manager.
Shawna Burkhart is no longer the city manager of the City of Bay City. Scotty Jones is serving as the interim city manager.
Manuel De La Rosa is the new village administrator of the Village of Salado.
John DeSha is the new city manager of the City of Van.
Randy Everett is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Ballinger.
Anas Garfaoui is the new city manager of the City of Live Oak.
Clint Garza is no longer the city manager of the City of Bee Cave, effective February 29.
Mark Hafner will retire as the city manager of the City of Keller, effective February 29. Aaron Rector will serve as the interim city manager.
Mark Hindman will retire as the city manager of the City of North Richland Hills, effective March 31. Paulette Hartman will serve as the new city manager.
Greg Kelley is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Jasper.
Kevin Lasher is the new city manager of the City of Heath.
Michael Mashburn is the new city manager of the City of Princeton.
Arpegea Pagsuberon is no longer the city administrator of the City of Olney.
Steve Polasek has retired as the city manager of the City of Cleburne. Michael Marrero is serving as the new city manager.
Frank Rios is the new city manager of the City of La Feria.
John Sheedy is no longer the city administrator of the City of De Rio. Manuel Chavez is serving as the interim city manager.
Brent Sheets is no longer the city manager of the City of Fritch.
Jimmy Stathatos retired as city manager of the City of Beford. Andrea Roy is serving as the interim city manager.
Jack Thompson is the new city manager of the City of La Grange, effective February 26.
Johnnie Thompson will retire as the city manager of the City of Meadowlakes, effective September 30.
The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on January 24, 2024.
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
Student: Noah Retault, University of Texas at San Antonio; Teanna Thompson, University of Texas, Austin; Hadiza Mayaki Abubakar, De-Garft Affenyi, Christopher Gaza, Diego Hernandez, Sofia Jimenez, Jennifer Kalafut, Angel Mata, Gabe Mata, Brooke Yiadom Michael, Seliat Ojelabi, Cameron Swanzy, Samuel Takyi, and Emmanuel Baah Wiafe, Texas Tech 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 January:
Full: Brian Bray, Assistant City Manager, Lufkin; Jamie Campbell, Assistant City Manager, Commerce; Stan Farmer, City Administrator, Bandera; Steve Landin, Assistant City Manager, Laredo; Rob Millar, Assistant City Manager, Frisco; Dustin Miller, Assistant City Manager, Pampa; Jeaneyse Mosby, City Manager, San Augustine; Lisa Norris, Managing Director, Grand Prairie; Monica Veliz, Assistant City Manager, Floresville; Dean Winters, City Administrator, Kemp
Associate: Miles Haynes, Assistant to the City Manager, Beaumont; Ana Hernandez, Mobility & Special Projects Director, Harlingen; Daniel Ibarra, Public Works Director, Eagle Pass; Jennifer Lusk, Finance/HR Director, Whitehouse; Elizabeth Rosenbaum, Director of Aviation, Sugar Land; Matthew Wright, Human Resource Director, Buda
Cooperative: Scott Figueroa, Management Fellow, San Antonio; Kevin Orton, Assistant to the Director, San Antonio
Meet Your Colleagues
The TCMA Management Messenger introduces and welcomes Zachary Meadows to his new position as city administrator for the City of Lytle. Zachary’s appointment began on December 11, 2023. Previously he served as the director of community development for the City of Dickinson and most recently as director of community development in the City of Spring Valley Village.
Zachary received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran University in 2011 and his master’s in public administration from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2013.
Zachary and his wife, Emily, have been married for eight years. He enjoys travelling, collecting bobbleheads, and hanging out with his two nephews.
TCMA Announces a new senior advisor
TCMA is honored to announce the appointment of Charmelle Garrett as a TCMA senior advisor. Charmelle served the City of Victoria for 29 years in the positions of human resources director, assistant city manager, and served eight years as city manager.
Charmelle holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University.
Charmelle can be contacted at email@example.com or (361) 550-2647.
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.
Honoring senior advisor mark mcdaniel
Mark McDaniel recently accepted a position as deputy city manager of the City of Fort Worth and will no longer serve as a senior advisor. During Mark’s tenure as a senior advisor, he provided assistance and sound advice for those seeking his counsel. Through his new position, he will continue to be an advocate for the profession and serve his TCMA colleagues. TCMA thanks and honors Mark for his dedication to local government and his colleagues.
TCMA is saddened by the passing of Caleb Dunn, son of Joey Dunn, deputy city manager of the City of Bryan, on January 16. A fellowship in his honor was held on January 20 at the Bryan Church of the Nazarene. Please keep Joey and his family in your thoughts and prayers. An obituary was not available at the time of this posting.
TCMA is saddened by the passing of William Arnold Itline McDonald Jr. William passed on December 29. He served as the city manager of the cities of Balch Springs, Hubbard, Marlin, and Wilmer. A celebration of his life was held on January 6 at the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. William’s obituary can be found by clicking William McDonald.
TCMA is saddened by the passing of Elizabeth Walker on January 7. Elizabeth served the cities of Weslaco, South Padre Island, and most recently the City of Brownsville where she held various positions including executive assistant, city secretary, and assistant city manager. A celebration of her life was held on January 19 in Weslaco. Please keep her husband David and the family in your thoughts and prayers. Elizabeth asks that any gifts in memoriam be sent to local causes and organizations that mean something deeply to the giver and provide support, assistance, and care to those in need. A full obituary can be viewed at Elizabeth Walker.
Tom Muehlenbeck scholarship
TCMA is accepting applications for the 2024 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 5. To learn more and apply, click Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship.
From the playing field to city hall: what football can teach us about leadership
The other night, as I scrolled through my TV options, I stumbled upon a documentary about Patrick Mahomes, the pride of Whitehouse. Now, I'll confess, I usually gravitate towards some guilty-pleasure reality TV, but this time was different. As I watched the quarterback documentary, the parallels between Mahomes' on-field prowess and the challenges of city management became strikingly clear.
I might lean more towards the nerdy, process-driven Kirk Cousins than the energetic Mahomes, but regardless of our personality traits, the leadership lessons are universally applicable to each of us.
Continuous Self-Assessment. Just like quarterbacks reviewing their plays, we, too, scrutinize our decisions. Even after a successful project, we question what could have gone better and how to avoid missteps in the future. Criticism, much like Mahomes' passes, should be seen as fuel to address concerns, compromise, and find better solutions.
Sacrifice for Seasons. All seasons, whether in football or city management, require sacrifice. Whether it's putting in extra hours, personal growth, or navigating challenging times, we, our families, and our teams continually sacrifice for the betterment of our community.
Interceptions and Adaptability. In our field, the best-laid plans can be intercepted at the last minute. Regardless of the quality of our analysis, projects, priorities, and policies might face unexpected hurdles. Sometimes, like Mahomes under pressure, we need to plant our back foot, make the throw, and take the hit.
Leadership Amidst Disagreements. Similar to Mahomes making throws contrary to expectations, we often make recommendations that differ from elected officials' opinions. We can't always provide the justification they seek, but we must persevere, get back up, and take the hit again.
While leading teams shares similarities across sports and professions, there are notable differences.
Numerous Opportunities for Success. Unlike NFL teams with only one weekly chance for a win, we have countless opportunities to make a positive impact, whether through excellent customer service, employee support, or community engagement.
Engaging the Unseen Cheerleaders. Our cheerleaders are seldom heard or seen, unlike the boisterous NFL fans. Imagine if our council chambers were lined with people cheering for the work we do. While our fans are out there, we need to engage them differently by ensuring they are informed and participating.
No Trophies, Just Impact. In city management, there's no memorabilia room or championship trophy. Our glory lies in the laughter of kids playing in an inclusive park and the knowledge that we're leaving a lasting impact without seeking acknowledgment.
True, we may not receive the same pay as some in the private sector, but that's a topic for another day. Leading winning teams isn't for the faint of heart. It's hard work, but even without the titles, cheerleaders, and rally towels, it's undeniably rewarding and crucial.
Here's to the victories, big and small!
(Article submitted by Leslie Black, City Manager, Whitehouse)
Life Isn’t Fair
Life isn’t fair! Like me, you have probably heard that phrase, and maybe thought it, at least once in your life. While it may unfortunately be true at times, we have the opportunity and obligation in our profession to ensure that our actions and decisions foster an environment where employees know that fairness abounds in our organization.
TCMA Code of Ethics Tenet 11 – Manage all personnel matters with fairness and impartiality.
Creating a workplace where fairness and impartiality reign isn't just an ethical principle, it's a strategic imperative for any successful organization. Treating employees with equity and impartiality is the foundation for fostering a productive, motivated, and engaged workforce. Here's why:
Enhances Trust and Morale
Fairness in the workplace builds trust among employees. When individuals believe they're treated fairly, they feel respected and valued. This, in turn, bolsters their morale and commitment to the organization. Employees are more likely to invest their time and efforts in an organization that acknowledges their contributions and treats them equitably.
Fosters a Positive Work Environment
An atmosphere of fairness and impartiality cultivates a positive work environment. When employees feel they're evaluated based on their performance, skills, and merits rather than favoritism or bias, it fosters camaraderie and teamwork. It also minimizes conflicts and creates a more cohesive workforce.
Encourages Innovation and Creativity
Fair treatment encourages employees to voice their opinions and share innovative ideas without fear of unfair repercussions. In such an environment, diverse perspectives are welcomed and valued, leading to increased creativity and problem-solving capabilities.
Improves Employee Retention
Employees are more likely to stay with a city where they feel they're treated fairly. Fairness in promotions, pay, and decision-making processes contributes significantly to employee satisfaction and retention. High turnover rates are costly, so maintaining fairness can directly impact fiscal performance.
Upholds Organizational Reputation
Fairness and impartiality are integral to an organization’s reputation. Organizations known for treating their employees fairly attract top talent and enjoy positive public perception. Conversely, a reputation for unfairness can harm recruitment efforts and tarnish an organization’s image.
Legal and Ethical Responsibility
Beyond the tangible benefits, treating employees fairly aligns with legal and ethical responsibilities. Discrimination or bias can lead to legal issues and damage a city’s reputation. Adhering to fair practices ensures compliance with laws and ethical standards.
Tenet 11 Guideline - Diversity and Inclusion. It is the member’s responsibility to recruit, hire, promote, retain, train, and support a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization.
This guideline reflects our obligation to ensure diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. Cultivating a diverse workforce is vital to the success of an organization. Embracing a diverse range of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences cultivates a rich tapestry of ideas and approaches, leading to more comprehensive problem-solving and better decision-making. Inclusive environments promote a sense of belonging, encouraging employees to contribute their unique skills and talents, ultimately driving productivity and employee satisfaction. In addition, a diverse workforce reflects the varied demographics of our communities, enabling cities to better understand and cater to the needs of all residents, businesses and visitors.
In conclusion, treating employees with fairness and impartiality contributes significantly to a positive work culture, employee satisfaction, and ultimately, the success of a city. By prioritizing fairness, we can create an environment where employees thrive, innovate, and contribute their best, leading to sustained growth and success.
(Article submitted by Jesica McEachern, Assistant City Manager, Fort Worth)
On January 19, 2024, the TCMA Board reviewed facts and recommendations from the TCMA Ethics Committee regarding an active ethics case. The complaint was related to a potential violation of Tenet 3 regarding length of service. After review, the Board found that a violation of Tenet 3 did occur and issued a private censure to the individual respondent.
Under Tenet 3, the guideline for length of service states:
For chief administrative/executive officers appointed by a governing body or elected official, a minimum of two years is considered necessary to render a professional service to the local government. In limited circumstances, it may be in the best interests of the local government and the member to separate before serving two years. Some examples include refusal of the appointing authority to honor commitments concerning conditions of employment, a vote of no confidence in the member, or significant personal issues. It is the responsibility of an applicant for a position to understand conditions of employment, including expectations of service. Not understanding the terms of employment prior to accepting does not justify premature separation. For all members, a short tenure should be the exception rather than a recurring experience, and members are expected to honor all conditions of employment with the organization.
The TML Risk Pool and the Political Subdivision Workers’ Compensation Alliance
This article is one of several that chronicle the history of the TML Risk Pool. The series begins in 1974, when the Pool wrote its first coverage, and culminates with 50 years of partnership in 2024.
What do local government risk pools do when state-certified workers’ compensation provider networks aren’t practical or easily accessible by their Members’ employees and cost too much? They create their own. The TML Risk Pool, along with four other Texas pools (The Texas Association of School Boards Risk Management Fund, the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Fund, the Texas Council Risk Management Fund, and the Texas Water Conservation Association Risk Management Fund), did just that in 2006 when they created the “Political Subdivision Workers’ Compensation Alliance (the Alliance).” The goal is to provide injured public servants with quick access to top-quality healthcare providers. The Alliance matches injured employees with top-notch doctors and other providers to get them back to health, back to work, and back to their lives.
The Alliance is different than typical healthcare networks. The Alliance directly contracts with and credentials healthcare providers on behalf of its risk pool members, and the Alliance exclusively serves those pools and the public entities that participate in their workers’ compensation programs.
Collectively, the five risk pools represent more than 3,000 public employers and 500,000 employees. However, rather than trying to be the largest network, the Alliance identifies and contracts with the best and most efficient health care providers. Top quality health care leads to better outcomes for injured employees, and it also saves money through lower overall medical costs, lower prescription drug utilization, and quicker return-to-work for injured employees. The key is an open dialogue between providers, adjusters, injured workers, and employers – this leads to an injured employee getting the right treatment at the right time, which gets them back to their life as soon as possible.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) oversees provider networks, and TDI has consistently ranked the Alliance as among the best. The TDI Workers’ Compensation Research and Evaluation Group (REG) publishes an annual “network report card” that evaluates workers’ compensation networks. The criteria include: (1) healthcare Costs; (2) utilization; (3) satisfaction with care; (4) access to care; (5) return to work; and (6) health outcomes. The REG, among other things, surveys injured workers using the Public Policy Research Institute at Texas A&M University.
The Alliance’s 2021 network report card showed that: (1) it had the highest level of satisfaction in three different categories with medical care for their work-related injuries, satisfaction with treating doctor, getting needed care and getting care quickly; and (2) seventy-percent of its injured employees surveyed reported they were “satisfied” with their treating doctor (this is a tie for the highest amongst all networks).
(Article submitted by Austin Bleess, City Manager, Jersey Village; and Trustee, Place 4, TML Risk Pool Board of Trustees)
courtney sharp city management clinic and scholarship
Join us in Granbury for this Annual Event!
The Texas City Management Association (TCMA)
Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic
- 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.
tcma educational EVENTS
Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic
February 22-23, 2024
William “King” Cole Session 2
April 4-5, 2024
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here.
Memos on Meetings
The Allies Committee is scheduled to meet on February 7 via video conference.
The 100 Year Celebration Task Force met on January 10. Meeting minutes are available here. The Committee is scheduled to meet on April 10 by video conference.
The Ethics Committee met on January 11. Meeting minutes are available here. The Committee is scheduled to meet on April 25 in Austin.
The Membership Committee met on January 12. Meeting minutes are available here. The Committee is scheduled to meet on March 21-22 in Mesquite.
The Board met on January 19. Meeting minutes are available here. The Board is scheduled to meet on April 19 in Lancaster.