TCMA Code of Ethics

On April 27, 1984, the Texas City Management Association (TCMA) adopted the code of ethics, guidelines, and rules of procedure of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). Further, TCMA believed it to be in the best interests of its members to not only clarify the applicability of the code for its members, but also suggest types of behavior best conducive to truly professional relationships. Therefore, TCMA approved on June 7, 1987, the following language, which although not a part of the ICMA/TCMA Code with Guidelines, is nonetheless considered important from TCMA’s viewpoint for its members to be aware. In 1998, TCMA adopted a slightly different set of enforcement rules that apply to TCMA members only. The most recent update was April 26, 2019.

A copy of the TCMA Code of Ethics and Guidelines with Guidelines and Rules of Procedure for Enforcement is available at TCMA Code of Ethics.

Another important document is the Behavioral Guidelines to Professional Relationships.

Ethics Training Requirements

The TCMA Code of Ethics requires two hours of ethics training every two years as a condition of continued membership in TCMA. By December 31, all Full and Associate TCMA members must attend a TCMA or ICMA sponsored ethics session and document on the TCMA membership dues renewal notice, to be sent in November, that the training requirement has been met. A check box and a space will be provided to indicate where the required ethics training was taken. Random checks may be made to ensure TCMA member compliance with this new training requirement.

TCMA members may satisfy the ethics training requirement through the TCMA online ethics course. This course was developed by the TCMA Ethics Committee and addresses the major points of the TCMA Code of Ethics.

The TCMA Board also decided that, as a requirement for a TCMA membership application to be considered for approval, individuals must take the TCMA online ethics course and attach the course completion email verification to their TCMA membership application. Individuals can also attend the William “King” Cole Series Session I, Basics and attach proof of attendance to their membership application.

  • Online Ethics 101 (Fulfills the requirements for new member application or the required two hours every two years for Full and Associate members)
  • Online Ethics 201 (Fulfills the required two hours every two years for Full and Associate members only)
  • William “King” Cole Basics training
  • TCMA Annual Conference ethics session
  • City Management Clinic (when offered)
  • TCMA Regions can schedule ethics training with a Certified Ethics Trainer
  • ICMA ethics course

Certified Ethics Trainer
On April 24, 2015, the TCMA Board approved the Ethics Committee recommendation for Certified Ethics Trainers. Certified trainers must be a TCMA Full, Associate, or Life member and receive training from ICMA or another approved source prior to teaching a qualifying ethics class. Certified trainers are required to update their certification every five years.

The TCMA Board and the Ethics Committee feel that training specifically directed to city managers and the TCMA Code of Ethics is integral to the success of TCMA and its members. While other disciplines provide ethics training, the content covered by a TCMA Certified Ethics Trainer ensures that each member understands ethics in the context of TCMA and city management. In addition, this helps clarify if the ethics training qualifies, that it aligns with what TCMA advocates, and it provides more opportunities throughout the State of Texas for members to complete the requirement.

For a list of trainers, please click Certified Ethics Trainers.

New Member Applicants
Individuals wishing to join TCMA, must complete ethics training from either the William “King” Cole Basis training or the online training. Proof of completion must accompany the application.

For questions, you can contact Nick Finan, TCMA Ethics Committee chair, at 409-643-5927 or, Kim Pendergraft at 512-231-7400 or, or Scott Houston at 512-231-400 or