July 2021

TCMA Management Messenger

President's Message
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Council Recognizes City Manager
TCMA Partners with TCG
2021 TCMA Annual Conference Highlights
Thank You
2022 Annual Conference Call for Speakers
The Journey of Two Aspiring City Managers
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

President's message

Sereniah BrelandBuilding Communities Through Our Stories. When we gather together as local government professionals, I find great privilege in hearing the stories of people’s experience in their communities. Each story shares a different struggle, moment of joy, and lesson that we can all learn from. Some stories are humorous and others are tear-jerking. Sometimes the stories make us feel better about our roles, and inspire us in various ways. Most importantly, there are stories that must be heard. Whether we need to be reminded we are not alone, even when it feels that way, or need to be empowered to make important change, our stories showcase who we are as leaders.

This past year has been a great reminder that the story we intimately know, our story, is not the only story out there. While I had the opportunity to work the past year from home, in peace and quiet, many of our employees did not have such opportunity. Our employees struggled with home schooling, caring for loved ones, the loss of jobs for family members, and in our very own professional organization, the loss of life. Our nation seemed to experience a collective grief that was felt by just turning on the news. I was swiftly humbled that my story is not the only story. All of our stories together create an environment, a culture, and a sense of belonging. Yet, the individuality of each story has a positive impact on differentiating us and celebrates our uniqueness.  

TCMA has provided me the outlet to share, to give high fives and hugs, to listen, to seek advice, and to provide mentorship. Mostly, it has allowed me a seat at a table with many different stories and has opened additional seats to many more. I like to look under the table at the shoes that are at our TCMA table these days. From flip flops, to heels, work boots to kicks, chanclas to cowboy boots, and even to wing tips – we all have walked paths in those different shoes and have a story to tell. 

I hope to hear your story, please take a seat at our table. I hope you know your story, its importance, and have the courage to share it with others. I hope that you find comfort in knowing you are not alone in TCMA. Your story, whatever it may be, is welcome.

In friendship and service,

Sereniah Breland
TCMA President
City Manager, City of Pflugerville


Donna Barron will retire as the city manager of the City of Lewisville, effective January 31, 2022.

Jeff Brasher is the new city administrator of the City of Seymour.

Wade Carroll is the new town manager of the Town of Trophy Club.

Charles Daniels is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Forney.

Keith Fisher is serving as the city administrator of the City of Moody.

Tom Hart will retire as the city manager of the City of Grand Prairie, effective October 1. Tom served the City more than 22 years and served in Texas cities more than 45 years. Steve Dye will serve as the new city manager.

Sharon Hayes is serving as the interim city administrator of the City of Aledo.

Robert Hemminger is the new city manager of the City of Iowa Colony, effective July 19.

Tracie Hlavinka is the new city manager of the City of Lago Vista, effective July 14.

Richard Jorgensen retired as the city manager of the City of Giddings. Spencer Schneider is the new city manager.

Janie Martinez is the new city administrator of the City of Odem.

Theo Melancon is the new city manager of the City of Dickinson, effective August 2.

Kevin Neal is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Lorena.

Darrell Newsom is no longer the city manager of the City of Wolfforth. Rick Scott is serving as the interim city manager.

Gilbert Perales is the new city manager of the City of Leon Valley, effective July 5.

Wayne Reed is the new city manager of the City of Cibolo, effective July 12.

Joe Shepard will retire as the city administrator of the City of Howe, effective August 31.
Jeffrey Stanley will be the new city administrator.

Greg Smith resigned as the city manager of the City of Jacksonville, effective August 12. He accepted the position as the new city manager of the City of Denison.

Seth Sorensen is no longer the city manager of the Town of Pecos City. Heather Ramirez is serving as the interim city manager.

John Strenski was appointed city administrator of the City of Lakeside City.

John Vidaurri is the new city administrator of the City of Devine.

Mike Wilson is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Lake Dallas.

Bryan Woods has returned from deployment to the Middle East and has resumed serving as the city manager of the City of College Station.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on June 24, 2021.

Full: Linnette Barker, City Manager, Ingleside; Manuel Chavez, Assistant City Manager, Del Rio; Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, City Manager, Duncanville; David Hortman, City Manager, Bullard; Jeff Johnston, Assistant City Manager, Plainview; David Jordan, Assistant City Manager, La Marque; Blu Kostelich, Chief Financial Officer, Lubbock; Brandon Strope, Assistant City Manager, Borger; Charlene Warren, Assistant City Manager, La Marque; Keith Whitfield, City Manager, Daingerfield

Associate: Lauron Fischer, Special Projects Manager, San Antonio; Michael Stelly, Director of Public Works/Chief of Police, West Orange

Cooperating:  Rick Osburn, retired city manager; Richard Walker, Sales Executive, TML Health

Student: Daniela Lowry, Texas State University; Jinni Villalva, Texas Tech University; Matthew Wilke, Texas State 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 June:

Full: Lisa Adames, Assistant City Manager, Sweetwater; Jared Anable, City Administrator, Martindale; Robert Brown, Assistant City Manager, Duncanville; Amanda DeGan, Town Manager, Westlake; David Esquivel, Interim City Manager, Tomball; Robert Evans, City Manager, Willis; Charles Ewings, City Manager, Justin; Pam Pearson, City Administrator, Wills Point; Robert Pennington, City Manager, Cleveland; Jack Thompson, Assistant City Manager, Crowley

Associate: Ignacio Amezcua, Purchasing Director, Pharr; Omar Anzaldua, City Engineer, Pharr; Luis Bazan, Bridge Director, Pharr; Adolfo Garcia, Library Director, Pharr; Jose Pena, IT & Media Director, Pharr; Leonardo Perez, Fire Chief, Pharr; Daniel Ramirez, EMS Chief/Deputy EMC, Pharr; Ruben Rosales, Public Utilities Director, Pharr; Karla Saavedra, Finance Director, Pharr

Cooperating: Katherine Terry, Research Analyst, Greater San Marcos Partnership; Edward Williams, Director, Baker Tilly US, LLP

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Scott Edmonson to his new position as city manager for the City of San Saba.  Scott’s appointment began on May 17.   He previously served as city manager for the City of Llano, director of maintenance for Llano Independent School District, city administrator for the City of Mertzon, and worked with the Texas Agri-life Extension in Pecos, Irion, Guadalupe, and Schleicher counties.

Scott received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University.

Scott and his wife, Maela, have been married twenty-one and a half years and have two sons, Phillip and James.   Scott’s hobbies are hunting, gardening, golfing, outdoor cooking, and other activities involving his sons.

The TCMA Management Messenger also welcomes BJ Potts to his new position as the city manager of the City of Tulia. BJ’s appointment began on March 1. He began his city management career in 2000 in East Texas, and most recently served as the city manager in the City of Dimmitt.

BJ graduated with a bachelor’s degree from LeTourneau University in Longview. He is a native of the Texas Panhandle and has two children and six grandchildren. He is active in church and his community.

council recognizes city manager

Opal Mauldin-Jones recognitionDuring a strategic planning meeting, the City of Lancaster council recognized Opal Mauldin-Jones for her dedication and leadership. Each councilmember honored her by sharing personal stories of how Opal has had a positive impact on them and the City. Congratulations, Opal!

Tcma partners with tcg: financial planning and employment agreements

Through a partnership with TCG Consulting, members will have access to personalized financial planning and employment agreement assistance. TCG is an independent financial services firm that specializes in consulting and retirement planning services for cities, school districts, and other government entities. 

Financial Planning

Whether you are just starting your career or retiring next year, having a financial plan can provide you with peace of mind regarding your financial future. TCG Consulting will create a comprehensive analysis of your current financial state and create a strategy to achieve your goals. TCG will also examine your current investment holdings to make sure they meet your objectives. Click here to learn more about this program.

Employment Agreement Assistance

City budgets might be tight these days, but there are numerous ways to create a compensation package that is mutually beneficial to both parties. TCG Consulting looks at your entire compensation package with a focus on enhancing your income in retirement. Let TCG save you time and stress by negotiating your salary and benefits. Click here to learn more about this program.


TCMA is saddened by the passing of Kelley Bloodworth, city administrator of the City of Henrietta, on June 3. A funeral service was held on June 8 at the First Baptist Church in Henrietta.

Memorials may be made to the Clay County Senior Citizens at 216 N. Hancock, Henrietta, Texas 76365 or the charity of your choice. Please keep her husband, Michael, and the rest of the Bloodworth family in your thoughts and prayers.

TCMA is also saddened by the passing of Ricardo “Richard” Hinojosa, former city manager of the City of Edinburg, on June 14. Ricardo began serving the City of Edinburg in 1975 as a city planner. He was named city manager in 2015 and served until 2018.

Funeral services were held on June 19 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edinburg. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

2021 tcma annual conference highights

Past Presidents TCMA Past Presidents representing more than 40 years of service to TCMA

ScholarshipsDaniel Morgan, Ridley Scholar; Yvette Mendoza and Robby Silva, CPM Scholarships

Family of Courtney SharpFamily of the late Courtney Sharp was presented his Life Membership

Allen Bogard, Lifetime Achievement Award; Cori Reaume, Administrator of the Year Award; Gina Nash, Mentoring Award; Kay Godbey, Academician Award; City Council of the Year-City of McAllen; Nick Finan, Excellence in Ethics and Integrity Award.

Mayra Cantu-Assistant of the YearMayra Cantu's Assistant of the Year Award presented by the family of Valerie Bradley

thank you

TML staff extends a huge thank you for the recognition and presentation at the TCMA Annual Conference. Wow! What a surprise! We love what we do and learn so much from TCMA. We appreciate how you lead your cities while serving your association. Your leadership is why Texas is a great place to live. With much appreciation, Kim Pendergraft, Emily Hughes, and Tristan Gideon.

2022 annual conference call for speakers

The 2022 TCMA Annual Conference is scheduled for June 9-12 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Click here for more information on the hotel.

The Professional Development Committee would like your input on speakers and educational session topics. Please take a few minutes to provide feedback. If you want to submit multiple suggestions, a link will be provided at the end of the survey. 

For additional comments or questions, please contact Professional Development Chair Jay Stokes at jstokes@deerparktx.org or Vice Chair Jason Reynolds at jason.reynolds@nassaubay.com.

To submit your suggestions no later than July 30, click TCMA Speaker Call.

the journey of two aspiring city managers

Once upon a time, there was a budget analyst who had just started his first professional job in Sugar Land, Texas. That budget analyst registered to attend his first TCMA annual conference at the student rate. Said budget analyst was notoriously frugal (some might venture to say cheap) and was excited to meet city managers and aspiring city managers from around the state in Austin that year.

The budget analyst had just traded the last cow he owned for a 1991 Chevy Lumina. It was bright yellow. He did this because he didn’t have any money or any other options. The year was 2009.

The budget analyst met a director in Sugar Land not too many years older than he who would be attending the conference. The kind director offered to share a hotel room with the new guy, who hadn’t yet received his first full check from his new job. The budget analyst got up early to visit his friend who was a Catholic priest in San Antonio at the time, which was where he had planned on staying absent a newly-found shared hotel room.

The 1991 Chevy Lumina died on the side of a highway on the way home from the conference. At the time the car died, the cow that was traded for it was still living and worth a heck of a lot more than the 1991 Chevy Lumina ever was!

My name is Gabe Reaume. I called Mike Goodrum that evening to help me out. We have been the best of friends and true brothers in life and in the city management profession ever since.

People are drawn to our profession because of their strong desire to help and be of service to others. We also end up being of help and service to our colleagues. This has been a tremendous blessing to me in both my personal and professional life.

I’m sure you have a circle of people you trust and love that help you think through situations. (If you don’t, you better get one. And fast!) 

I can’t tell you how many times Mike and I have kicked back over coffee to discuss city management issues and life in general. A person is tremendously lucky when they have someone who will be brutally honest with them at all times. I am additionally lucky to have my wife Cori in the profession. (We met at a TCMA conference and Mike had a hand in this!) 

Early in my career, work was my entire life. I volunteered for every single city event, attended every board and city council meeting for fun, and did whatever I could to make Sugar Land, Texas, a better place. My life changed when I got married and had a family. A person’s priority shifts from themselves to others.

Once upon a time, it might have been my dream to stay in Sugar Land for my entire career and be an assistant city manager under my best friend, whose dream was to be a city manager of Sugar Land. Mike helped me realize that wasn’t good for me or my family. At the time, it was a tough pill to swallow. I drove every weekend from Sugar Land to Denton the first year Cori and I were married because we both hadn’t been able to land suitable positions in the same metro area. 

I was tremendously lucky to land in Denison after Sugar Land. While my one-way commute was 88 miles from our home in Denton, I was able to see our kids every night. That was more than worth the drive!

I am confident I wouldn’t be a city manager today without my experience in Denison. I have served in Saginaw for going on four years and it has been full of growth, challenges, and most importantly, a good fit for the family. 

Mike ventured out from Sugar Land to Coral Springs, Florida, to serve as a first-time city manager for three years. I think that he would tell you that he would not have been able to go back to Sugar Land as city manager without that experience. It was a leap of faith that paid off.

Everybody needs someone squarely in their corner in our line of work. City management is just not for the faint of heart, but it’s also not for the “Lone Ranger,” either. Those who are courageous, like every city manager, always need a strong support network of some sort. When we are beaten up, we need friends to pick us off the mat and tell us to shake it off and keep going. 

Thank God for Cori Reaume and thank God for Mike Goodrum. Without them, I just don’t know where I’d be.  

I’m that Mike Goodrum character Gabe mentioned.   As I’m writing this, I’ve just come back to work from attending the TCMA annual conference in the great City of Round Rock. I love the annual conference and quite frankly need it each year to reset, reenergize, and finish the year strong.  The sessions are always great…the discussions in the foyer are important and the friendships made are critical to a career in city management.   This can be a lonely profession. We oftentimes have no one to talk to in our city and sometimes our pride can get in the way of having real conversations with our peers.  What everyone needs in their career is a Gabe Reaume.

As Gabe previously wrote, we met while both working in Sugar Land.  Gabe started a week or two before the TCMA annual conference and I was introduced to him briefly.  I was somewhat embarrassed when I met him again at the conference.  He was kind of awkward…nice enough guy and I felt bad for not remembering him.  Out of guilt, I offered up my spare bed when I found out he was staying an hour or so away from the conference.  We talked a little about cows and corn futures but nothing too memorable.  I made it back home from the conference and was enjoying my Sunday night with family when the landline phone rang.  As Gabe alluded to, he called me that night asking for help.  He was broke as a joke, and I was his last resort.  Now what Gabe didn’t tell you is once again I didn’t know who he was.  I never really caught his last name and when I was told Gabe Reaume was calling, I had no clue.  At this point, I’m feeling dumb and really embarrassed, and now I have to see this kid again regardless of what I do.  So once again one of the greatest motivators of all sunk in…guilt.  I took the next day off without any notice (Thank you Karen Daly for being so understanding!), rented a car dolly and made the 5-hour round trip to somewhere between Buffalo and Centerville to find Gabe and his car.   

It was hard to miss that car.  Gabe says yellow; I say more of a puke color where there wasn’t rust.  I realized immediately that Gabe has to get better at negotiating if he wants to make it in this profession. That farmer ripped him off trading this car, if you can call it that, for a perfectly good cow. I have no doubt and I had just paid more to rent the dolly than what this car was worth.  We got the car loaded up with the help of an old farmer that questioned our brains and brawn (He was right on both accounts), and we made our way back.  There was a wreck on 45 and so we detoured and then proceeded to get lost.  We ended up on the outskirts of East Texas and were hungry and demoralized.  We bought a few fly infested chopped beef sandwiches from a guy that had a 5-gallon bucket full of meat and hamburger buns (I wish I was making that up…I’m not proud), and then I got to experience Gabe try to negotiate with a lady selling cracklings off the hood of her car while proudly displaying her LSU flag.   Gabe thought it would be a good idea speak to her in French and try and get the price down.  This was deeply offensive to the lady, and she gave Gabe a piece of her mind.  Boy Gabe really needs to get better at this negotiating thing.  

We finally make it to Gabe’s apartment building and my first reaction was awe that it had not caved in or fallen over yet.  I asked Gabe, “What are you paying a month in rent? “ With a smile on his face, he responds $325.  Now mind you the market rate for apartments was about $1,200 at this time.  After this ordeal you can bet, I couldn’t forget this Gabe Reaume character again.   

A few weeks later, our paths would cross again.  My grandmother, whom I care for (at her house a few streets down), fell and broke a vertebra in her back.  She was mobile but needed much more attention and a daily visit to ensure she didn’t fall and not be able to get up.  I was being a brat and complaining to myself about trying to work, raise three kids, and balance it all when I received a call from Gabe.  He had his clothes stolen out of the laundry facility at his apartment and had the culprit, high on something, try to start and fight with him over it.  (What can you expect?  Seriously Gabe,  $325 a month?)  I jokingly replied that I could solve both of our problems (because it is always about me) if he moved in with my grandmother.  We chuckled.   It was no longer funny the next day when Gabe called back and asked if she would consider the arrangement.  I arranged a meeting.  They hit it off and were roommates the next 4 years.  

Gabe then moved to Denison to grow his family and career.  I ventured off to South Florida for my first manager job in Coral Springs and shortly thereafter Gabe became manager in Saginaw.  In many ways, we have been on this journey together.   Over my first year as manager, I experienced a Category 5 Hurricane, a mass shooting at MSD High School, and the death of our beloved mayor.  Gabe was always the first to call and offer his support and guidance.  Having a best friend in the profession is a gift I will never take for granted.  If you do not have a close friend in the profession, I encourage you to reach out and find one.  If you can’t find one, give Gabe a call. You could do much worse. If you are looking for free room and board with the coolest 88-year-old on the planet, give me a call.

(Article Submitted by Mike Goodrum, City Manager, Sugarland, and Gabe Reaume, City Manager, Saginaw)


#ELGL Inspire: TCMA-ELGL Joint Events

September 14, 2021 (virtual)
Texas State University

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars
(Pre-registration is required)

Leading Your Community in an Era of Anxiety
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 15

The Future of Work
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 20

Growing Your Career
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 17

Memos on Meetings

The TCMA Board met on June 10 in conjunction with the TCMA Annual Conference. Minutes are posted here. The next meeting is September 17 in Austin.

The Professional Development Committee will meet on July 23 via video conference.

The Advocacy Committee will meet on August 20 in Austin.

The Ethics Committee will meet on August 27 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.

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.