October 2020

TCMA Management Messenger

Professional Awards and Scholarships
Texas Women's Leadership Institute
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
2020 TCMA Annual Salary Survey
Member News
ICMA Award Recipients
Ethics Corner
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

TCMA Awards Scholarships_banner

Each 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 submission is January 8, 2021. Awards include:

Administrator of the Year Award
Assistant of the Year Award in Memory of Valerie Bradley (New)
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.

TCMA also provides opportunities for professional development through scholarships. Unless otherwise noted, the deadline for submission is January 8, 2021. Awards include:

Barney L. Knight Texas CPM Scholarship
Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship
Leadership Development Scholarship
Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship (Deadline April 2, 2021)

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

Texas women's leadership institute


The TCMA Board approved sponsorship funds during the budget process to support the second Texas Women's Leadership Institute that will be held in 2021. The Institute is designed to empower and prepare women for the position of city manager in Texas. Applications are available at TWLI. The application deadline is October 30. For questions, please contact TWLI Executive Director Karen Daly at txwomensleadership@gmail.com or 512-796-8456.


Jon Branson will begin serving as the director of management services/city secretary of the City of Texas City, effective November 9. Nick Finan will retire from the position and remain with the City through December 4 to assist with the transition.

Shawn Cox is no longer the city administrator of the City of Wimberley. Paul Parker is serving as the interim city administrator.

Todd Darden is no longer the city manager of the City of Big Spring. Shane Bowles is serving as the interim city manager.

Gary Edwards will no longer be the city manager of the City of Aransas Pass, effective October 31.

Andres Garza Jr. will retire as the city manager of the City of Wharton, effective December 31, 2020.

Warren Hutmacher is the new city manager of the City of Hutto.

Frank Johnson announced his retirement as the city manager of the City of Hillsboro. He will continue to fill his role until a new city manager is selected.

Makenzie Lyons is the new city administrator of the City of Tool.

Kelly McDonald retired as the city manager of the City of Cleveland.

Courtney Sharp retired as the city manager of the City of Midland, effective September 18. Robert Patrick is serving as the interim city manager.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Board on September 24, 2020.

Full: Leonardo Caballero, Assistant City Manager, Woodway; Sylvia Ordeman, Town Administrator, Bartonville

Associate: Cameron Goodman, Managing Partner-Economic Development, Leander; Imelda Speck, Economic Development Project Administrator, Irving; Venus Wehle, Director of Community Development & Convention Center/Acting City Planner, Forest Hill

Cooperating: Chip VanSteenberg, Executive Director, Montgomery County Emergency Communication District

Student: Travis Green, The University of Texas at Dallas; Julia Herrera, Texas A&M University; Ana Mazmishvili, Texas A&M University; Ciana Seddon, Texas State University; Students from The University of Texas at Austin include: Brendan Kennedy, Bryson McEachin, Kayla SmithWendy Wilson; Students from the University of North Texas include: Emma CrottyWesley Frank, Daniel Morgan, Camryn Thompson, Harrison Willeford, Omar Williams

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 September:

Full:  Wendy Withers, Town Administrator, Shady Shores

Associate: Brian Moran, Assistant to the City Manager; Cheryl Sawyers, Planning Services Division Manager, Abilene; Charles Stapp, Director of Pubic Safety, San Marcos

Cooperating: Carlos Guzman, Executive Director, Pasadena Economic Development Corporation

2020 Tcma annual salary survey

Salary Survey graphic

Attention Full TCMA members! It's time for the Annual TCMA Salary Survey. You will receive the Annual Salary Survey the week of October 19. The survey is designed to collect information about the total compensation package offered to TCMA members with full membership status. While no two cities are the same, the survey attempts to ask those questions that are comparable across the industry. Please take time to complete the survey. The Board set a 75 percent participation rate goal for the survey. Your participation is essential for success!

member news

Presentation of Immediate Past President

On September 15, the Buda City Council and Sereniah Breland, TCMA president-elect and Pflugerville city manager, recognized Kenneth Williams, city manager, for his service as the 2019-2020 TCMA president.

T.C. Broadnax

A hearty congratulations to T.C. Broadnax, city manager of the City of Dallas, on his election as a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).

NAPA is a congressionally chartered, non-partisan, non-profit association located in Washington, D.C. Its more than 850 fellows provide expert advice to government leaders in building and managing more effective, efficient, equitable, accountable, and transparent organizations. NAPA fellows include former cabinet officers, members of Congress, governors, mayors, and state legislators, as well as prominent scholars, business executives, and public administrators. Selection as a NAPA fellow is one of the highest honors in the field.

icma award recipients

Mont Belvieu-Sugar Land

Two Texas cities received the 2020 Mountain Plains Region Award for ICMA Local Government. The City of Mont Belvieu (Nathan Watkins, city manager) received the Community Sustainability Award for population under 10,000 for their “MB Link Broadband Fiber.” The City of Sugar Land (Michael Goodrum, city manager) received the Strategic Leadership & Governance Award for population greater than 50,000 for “Using AI to Improve Services and Trust.” 


Ethics Corner

Tenet 11

“Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit.”

It will come as no surprise to readers that effectively handling personnel matters is important. A wise city manager once said, “If we didn’t have personnel problems, we would have no problems.” While there may be some truth to that, it is the people serving in cities which makes them great. City managers are blessed to have devoted, talented employees who care deeply about the community and the important work they do. Their proudly displayed dedication serves as encouragement and inspiration for many.  

Tenet 11 states, “Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit, so that fairness and impartiality govern a member's decisions pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.” The guideline states: 

“All decisions pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline should prohibit discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, age, or marital status. It should be the members’ personal and professional responsibility to actively recruit and hire a diverse staff throughout their organizations.”

The primary duty of public sector leaders is to serve others, and it is also their obligation to maximize individual talent and leverage the talents of each employee toward that end. That process begins by recruiting and hiring the best people. Organizations are only as strong and resilient as those they hire, and should continuously seek to hire, assign, and promote employees based on their merit, whether by integrity, talent, organizational need, potential, experience, skills, or a selfless commitment to public service. If these attributes are rightly prioritized, then race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, age, or marital status all become irrelevant. Skill in the nuts and bolts of city government – finance and budgets, infrastructure, economic development, public safety matters – are important, but a failure to hire for holistic merit will inevitably cause an organization to falter. It becomes misguided and great employees end up trapped in a culture of mediocrity. 

In addition to TCMA ethics obligations, there are also legal implications to consider. The landmark legislation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (later amended by the Older Workers Benefits Protection Act of 1990), prohibits discrimination against persons age 40 and older. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII to include pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions in the definition of sex-based discrimination. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship, except for illegal immigrants, by employers having four or more employees. Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 apply to employers with 15 or more employees, local governments, employment agencies and labor unions. It prohibits discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities, persons with perceived disabilities and persons associated with those having disabilities.

In more recent years, matters related to The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) have become more commonplace. FMLA prohibits discrimination against employees for specified family and medical reasons.  Finally, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of military status and military service obligations. 

Consider all the ways in which manager’s interface with employees every day. Despite their best intentions, education, and self-awareness, there is an ever-present risk of accidental (though no less harmful) discrimination. Just a handful of these matters can include:  

  • Internal and external recruiting
  • Applications for employment
  • Interviewing job candidates.
  • Pre-employment testing
  • Background investigations
  • Hiring
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Perquisites (also known as perks) or employee services
  • Working conditions
  • Dress and appearance
  • Leave management
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Promotions, transfers or demotions
  • Exercise of legal rights
  • Downsizing, layoff or reductions in force
  • Termination

Since the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, four theories of employment discrimination have emerged under United States law: disparate treatment, disparate impact, harassment, and retaliation. City managers must be vigilant to ensure these types of discrimination are not occurring in their organizations. Disparate treatment discrimination occurs when an employer intentionally takes an employee's protected status into consideration when taking an adverse employment action, such as a termination or layoff decision. Disparate impact discrimination, also known as adverse impact discrimination, occurs when an employer adopts a policy or practice that seems neutral and nondiscriminatory on its surface but has a disproportionately negative effect on members of a protected class. Harassment is a form of disparate treatment (i.e., intentional) discrimination. The theory has its roots in sexual harassment cases under Title VII, but courts have applied the same reasoning to harassment on the basis of other protected characteristics, such as race or religion. Retaliation is also prohibited by law. Employment discrimination prohibits retaliation against an employee because the employee has exercised his/her rights under any of these anti-discrimination statutes.

City managers must navigate through a thicket of personnel decisions almost daily. They must weigh opportunities for current employees, promotion versus hiring from outside, best fit with organization versus experience or years of service, critical skills versus many not so critical skills. Making these personnel decisions based on merit and fairness will strengthen organizations and promote diversity among employees. Creating chart or matrix of what you want to accomplish through the hiring of a particular position is quite helpful – to you and the potential candidates. Continuous professional development and self-examination can greatly assist in the management of hiring, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline appropriately in the manner prescribed by Tenet 11 of our Code of Ethics. Personnel matters can be very challenging, but the manager’s calling requires that these decisions be with moral courage and fortitude. 

(Article submitted by Danny Presley, City Manager, City of Webster)


#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

October 8, 2020
The University of Texas at Austin (virtual event)

November 5, 2020
Stephen F. Austin State University (virtual event)

February, 2021
Texas State University

April, 2021
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars

Charting Your Future: Developing Your Personal Strategic Plan
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 22

Talent Management in the 21st Century: Growing, Attracting, and Retaining Your Best
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, November 12

Memos on Meetings

The Professional Development Committee met on September 3 via video conference. The minutes are available here.

The Public Policy Task Force met on September 10 via video conference. The next meeting is October 22 via video conference. The minutes are available here.

The Membership Committee met on September 18 via video conference. The minutes are available here.

The Ethics Committee will meet on October 28 via video conference.

The Allies Across Texas Task Force will meet on October 30 via video 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.