December 2019

TCMA Management Messenger

Professional Awards and Scholarships
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Coaching and Mentoring Opportunities
Advocate Everywhere
Ethics Corner
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

Professional Awards Scholarships Picture (JPG)

Nominate a colleague for outstanding service to the city management profession. Honor an outstanding city council for significant contributions to local government in Texas. Recognize an academician who has made significant contributions to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government. Deadline for submission is January 10, 2020.

Administrator of the Year Award
City Council of the Year Award
Lifetime Achievement Award
Mentoring Award in Memory of Gary Gwyn
Terrell Blodgett Academician Award

For more information and a nomination form, please click here

Encourage professional development for those seeking excellence and improving knowledge and skill. Deadline to apply for scholarships is January 10, 2020 unless otherwise noted.

Barney L. Knight, CPM
Clarence E. Ridley
Leadership Development
Tom Muehlenbeck (April 3, 2020)

For more information and to apply for a scholarship, please click here.

Management Transitions

Leslie Black is the new city manager of the City of Whitehouse.

Ron Burton is the new city manager of the City of Port Arthur.

Kent Cagle is the new city manager of the City of Killeen, effective December 3.

Scott Dixon is no longer the city manager of the City of Ennis.

Ken Flynn is no longer the city manager of the City of Jonestown.

William Grigsby is no longer the city administrator of the City of Anahuac.

Juan Guerra is no longer the city manager of the City of Edinburg. Richard Hinojosa is serving as the interim city manager.

Sharon Hayes will retire as the city of manager of the City of Weatherford, effective
December 31. James Hotopp will begin serving as the new city manager.

Kevin Hugman will retire as the city manager of the City of Duncanville on May 31, 2020.

Eldon Jobe is no longer the city manager of the City of Brownfield. Jeff Davis is the interim city manager.

Odis Jones will no longer serve as the city manager of the City of Hutto, effective December 31.

Julie Oakley is the new city manager of the City of Lakeway.

Danny Presley is the new city manager of the City of Webster.

Ryan Polster is the new city administrator of the City of Hamilton.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Board on November 21, 2019.

Full: Jurecek Blake, Assistant City Manager, Wichita Falls; Stephanie Franklin, Managing Director, Tyler; Glen A. Martel, Assistant City Manager, Missouri City; Gregory W. Rushin, Deputy City Manager, Plano

Cooperating: Brian Nakamura, Assistant Professor, College Station

Student: Jessica Almendarez, University of North Texas; Justin Bertelsen, Texas A&M University; Bobby Goolsy, The University of Texas at Arlington; Briana Ousley, The University of Texas at Arlington; Kyler Palmer, Texas A&M University; Kevin Pantoja, University of North Texas; Susana Victor, University of North Texas

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 November:

Full: Judith Cantrell, City Administrator, Elkhart

Associate: Trevor Minyard, Strategic Services Manager, City of McKinney

meet Your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger introduces and welcomes Joe Price to his new position as the city manager for the City of Canyon as of October 15. Joe began his career in 2012 working in the local government services department at the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission (PRPC). He has also served as the assistant city manager/planning and development director for the City of Borger.

Joe received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Joe and his wife, Stephanie, have been married nine years and had one child, Charlotte Leighann Price, who is in heaven with Jesus. He enjoys spending time traveling with his wife, following Division 2 football rooting on the WTAMU Buffaloes, and fishing.


Scott Sellers

Scott Sellers, city manager of the City of Kyle, was one of five recipients of the 2019 Route Fifty Navigators Award. The award was presented on November 20 in San Antonio at the National League of Cities’ City Summit. Scott was recognized in the category of The Next Generation for his work and service to create the TCMA Manager in Residence Program which focuses to establish a talent pipeline of college students to careers in professional city management.

coaching and mentoring opportunities

TCMA is in full swing with the Managers in Residence Program. TCMA currently has 64 student members and the numbers are increasing. TCMA also has members who seek one-on-one coaching in addition to the valuable service that Senior Advisors provide.

If you are interested in being a coach or are looking for a coach, TCMA has partnered with the International County/City Management Association (ICMA) to provide one-on-one coaching opportunities to help problem solve, answer career questions, and serve as a resource tool. Coaches are seasoned city managers and assistant city managers currently serving at the local level including Life and Distinguish members. To find a Coach or sign up to be a Coach, please click Coach Connect.


TCMA is saddened by the passing of Kathy Merrill. Kathy passed on November 25, 2019. Kathy served in the cities of Abilene and College Station. While in the City of College Station, she served as interim city manager during the difficult time of the sudden passing of Frank Simpson. Kathy was a recipient of the 2014 TCMA Administrator of the Year Award. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, December 10 at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene. Please keep the Merrill family in your thoughts and prayers.

TCMA extends heartfelt condolences to Michael Ross, assistant city manager of the City of Granbury. Michael’s daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Colby Hoover, lost their baby, Tenley Christine, on the day she was born. Please keep Michael and his family in your prayers.

advocate everywhere

Selecting a career path was not an easy task for me. I went as long as possible in college for my undergrad degree without selecting a major, probably because I loved the social aspect so much that I wanted to stay there forever.  When I finally settled on a path, I ended up with a criminal justice degree. I landed in the great City of Live Oak, Texas as a police officer. At the time I had no idea what a city manager was or that the profession of city management even existed. Now, I have been the assistant city manager/city manager for this cool little city on the northeast side of San Antonio for 17 years. This career and our wonderful city have allowed me to be a part of some pretty amazing things.

After 20 years in the police department, I moved to City Hall. One thing I missed most was the attention the uniform commanded. I’m a self-proclaimed extrovert, and I sincerely miss wide-eyed children walking up to me, asking about my profession, delivering “stranger danger” speeches at schools, and adults approaching me to share their police officer witticisms. I was the type of officer who would drop his gun belt in the trunk, stop and play basketball in the street with the neighborhood kids, and volunteer to talk to classes of school children when there were indiscretions observed in the hallways. In a profession where many people find value in being left alone, I was always engaging with everyone I met. What has not changed since moving to City Hall is the ability to continue helping people and impacting their lives; just in a different way. 

When I joined the Texas City Management Association in 2002, I served on the Advocacy Committee. The Committee is charged with “facilitating membership involvement to promote professional city management and the council-manager form of government.” This began my journey to share the gospel of city management to everyone I knew. I began to see the job as city manager as a way to make an even bigger impact than I knew was possible.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not afraid to approach a stranger and talk to them about anything, particularly about the city management profession. I have delivered a commencement address at an elementary school where I bored 400 children with the intricacies of a city’s sewer system. It was a great metaphor for life after elementary school. While I was once the cool police officer who showed up at career day with a gun and a badge, I am now the guy that shows up with a temporary water meter. As city managers, we should never be reluctant to talk to people about what goes on behind the doors of City Hall.

Advocating for the profession does not just mean urging someone to explore a career as a city manager. It can also include introducing individuals to the professions of economic development, emergency management, and public finance. Many times when I speak to students or college groups, most of them don’t know the occupational opportunities that working in municipal government provides. Like myself at that age, most of them do not even know that the position of city manager exists, or other city professions such as special events coordinators and public work directors.

My often-annoying enthusiasm led me to join the City Managers of Tomorrow Committee. The Committee objective is to spread the news of the city management profession to college students. This seemed like the logical progression of my goal to spread the gospel. Under the direction of Scott Sellers, committee chair and city manager of the City of Kyle, the Manager in Residence (MIR) Program was developed. Several TCMA MIRs are currently serving several universities across the State of Texas. They provide guidance to college students and ultimately produce professionals in the public management profession. Those who attended the TCMA Annual Conference in Fort Worth had the privilege to witness the first annual Collegiate Bowl, an event that the Committee developed. It highlighted the enthusiasm of the students in Texas that the MIRs serve and shed a bright light on the future of our profession as students competed representing their universities.

As the new year approaches, I urge TCMA members to reach out to at least one person each week and share the good news of city management. I believe you’ll find they are interested in what you share, but will find similarities in management responsibilities between our profession and others. Talk about the process by which streets are improved, the way cities purchase fire trucks, or just about how this is an all-around wonderful profession for those who have a heart for public service and a passion for reaching and helping people. In addition, look at those currently in your organization who are interested in the profession and need a little encouraging push in the right direction. Making these contacts will go a long way to provide an understanding of local government. You might even inspire that next generation of community leaders.

It is vital to spread the message of city management by supporting young people who are taking their first steps onto this career path. Encourage them, teach them what you know, take their goals in the local government profession seriously, and make a commitment to help them achieve their goals. Your participation will ensure that you are helping the profession for future success by inspiring the next generation of leaders. Advocate everywhere!

(Article submitted by Scott Wayman, City Manager, City of Live Oak) 

Ethics Corner


Much has been said about accountability in the course of daily professional and personal life. It is the idea of accepting responsibility for one’s actions, and, like many tenets of the TCMA code of ethics, it is sometimes easier said than done.

Local government employees, as a rule, are accountable to the citizens and the governing body they serve. As the guidelines for Tenet 4 explains, managers are held accountable for information dissemination to the governing body and keeping citizens informed about city issues. In this, communication is key. It is the duty of city managers to communicate to the city council and to the citizens how public resources are spent. Citizens expect top-notch service and when city employees work in an environment that emphasizes accountability through communication, problems are easily identified and remedied.

An environment of accountability in the workplace begins at the top. City managers should lead by example while displaying ethical values that emphasize accountability. Some common examples of accountability values are honesty, integrity, and responsibility, but it does not stop there. Professional competence, commitment, trustworthiness, and respect for established law are also critical. How does a manager communicate to their employees? Do they deliver the message with clarity or on the run because of how busy they are? The delivery of clear and precise messages leads to a better outcome with less employee confusion and leaves no ambiguity.

The mayor and city council should also receive the same level of accountability. While managers disseminate information to team members, information should also be disseminated to council members. It is the manager’s responsibility to keep every council member informed of issues, preferably before that information is learned (perhaps incorrectly) from another source. Trust is earned by effective communication and when it is time to deliver unsavory news to council, a manager that has developed a level a trust will have an easier time delivering such news. Managers are also held accountable for providing relevant information regarding decisions made by the city council. All options should be given – regardless of the manager’s personal opinion.

Managers are accountable to citizens. Managers build trust with citizens by following through with what they say they will do and by simply returning phone calls for issues. Sometimes a citizen just wants someone to listen. Above all, citizens expect transparency from elected and appointed city officials. Tenet 4’s Guideline of Inclusion calls for managers “to eliminate barriers to public involvement in decisions, programs, and services”. To be sure, it is difficult to share information with every citizen in real-time. However, there are multiple methods to disseminate information to the citizenry and it just about takes every method to reach everyone. Not all citizens read the monthly newsletters; not all citizens are on Facebook or NextDoor; and not all citizens sign up for text alerts. A broad mixture of these communication vectors is crucial for citizen trust. As long as managers make every attempt to eliminate the barriers to public involvement by knowledge and information sharing, citizens will, more often than not, give their trust and respect in return.

Tenet 4 highlights the need to serve the best interest of the people with guidelines, to keep the city council informed of issues, and to eliminate the barriers to public involvement for citizens so they have the opportunity to engage with their local government. Providing an organizational culture of trust and transparency for citizens, city council, and employees can be achieved by managers holding themselves accountable by using the right tools to communicate. Paying close attention to the methods and content of communication with all stakeholders is key, as is listening to feedback once the message has been delivered.

Managers who hold themselves accountable for the communication circle need only sit back and watch their relationships prosper.

(Article submitted by Sherry Roberts, Member In-Transition)

TCMA and #ELGLInspire Events

TCMA and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) have held two Inspire events introducing university students to careers in local government. The University of Houston hosted an event on October 30, and Texas A&M University hosted an event on November 13. Additional events will be held in 2020 including Stephen F. Austin (February 12), The University of Texas-Arlington (February 19), and The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (April 17).


Josh Selleck, Kilgore city manager, discusses budget and finance with a student (left).

Brad Stafford, Navasota city manager, (right photo, left chair) shares insight on the life of a city management professional and Hugh Walker, Bryan deputy city manager, (right photo, right chair) moderates a panel of those passionate about careers in public service. 

TCMA Educational Events

Save the Dates!

William “King” Cole 1
January 30-31, 2020

City Management Clinic
February 27-28, 2020

William “King” Cole 2
March 26-27, 2020

TCMA Annual Conference
June 4-7, 2020
South Padre Island

#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

February 12, 2020
Stephen F. Austin University 

February 19, 2020
The University of Texas-Arlington

April 17, 2020
The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Memos on Meetings

The Advocacy Committee met on November 8 in Austin.

The Ethics Committee met via conference call on November 19. The minutes are available here

The Equity Task Force is scheduled to meet on December 6 in Austin.

The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet via conference call on January 24, 2020.

The Board is scheduled to meet on January 31, 2020 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.

TML Educational Calendar
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