William "King" Cole Series
New Member Applications
Honoring a Legend
TCMA Employment and Financial Agreement Services
How the Heck Did I Get to Nacogdoches, Texas?
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings
william "king" cole series
Don't miss this nationally respected educational program where you will learn the fundamentals of the city management profession.
Session 1 will address the fundamentals of city management.
Session 2 takes a deeper look at leadership skills, diversity, communication skills, human resources, and technology.
To learn more and register, visit the William "King" Cole Series website.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-231-7400.
Jason Arnold is the new city manager of the City of Diboll.
Jose Cavazos is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Levelland.
James Childers is the new town manager of the Town of Flower Mound, effective January 3. Tommy Dalton will serve as the interim until that date.
Erin Corbell is serving as the acting city manager of the City of Brady.
Randy Criswell is no longer the city manager of the City of Mineral Wells, effective November 12. He was appointed as the new city manager of the City of Wolfforth. Dean Sullivan (police chief) will serve as the interim city manager.
Kim Davis is the new city administrator of the City of Poteet.
Mike Dunn retired as the city manager of the City of Emory. Angie Allen is the new city manager.
Charles Elliott is the new city administrator of the City of Marietta.
Stan Farmer resigned as the city manager of the City of Horseshoe Bay. Jeff Koska is serving as the interim city manager.
Gabriel Gonzalez is the new city manager of the City of Harlingen.
Susan Guthrie will retire as the town manager of the Town of Sunnyvale. She will begin serving as the town manager of the Town of Clarkdale, Arizona, effective December 13.
Chris Holsted resigned as the city manager of the City of Wylie. Brent Parker is serving as the acting city manager.
Sheyi Ipaye is no longer the city manager of the City of Forest Hill. Venus Wehle is serving as the interim city manager.
Jerry Jones will retire as the city manager of the City of Bridge City, effective January 2022.
Liz Mullane retired as the city administrator of the City of Roman Forest. April Knudsen is the new city administrator.
Mike Murray is no longer the city administrator of the City of Westworth Village. Brandy Barrett is serving as the city administrator.
Leonardo Olivares is serving as the interim city manager of the City of La Joya.
Sylvia Ordeman resigned as the town administrator of the Town of Bartonville. Cori Reaume is serving as the interim town administrator.
David Orr was appointed as the city manager of the City of Texarkana.
Mike Perez retired as the city manager of the City of Weslaco.
Tommy Phillips will retire as the city administrator of the City of Seminole, effective February 15, 2022.
Cody Thompson is no longer the city manager of the City of Roscoe.
John Vidaurri resigned as the city administrator of the City of Devine. Dora Rodriguez is serving as the interim city administrator.
Pamela Woods is no longer the city administrator of the City of Runaway Bay.
The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on October 25, 2021.
Full: Chaise Cary, Interim City Manager, La Marque; Juan Estrada, City Administrator, Dilley; Don Ferguson, Village Administrator, Salado; Rolin McPhee, Interim Assistant City Manager, Longview; Laura Storrs, Assistant City Manager, Amarillo
Associate: Tracy Aaron, Chief of Police, Mansfield; David Alviso Jr., Public Works Director, Pleasanton; Cary Erskine, Finance Director, Morgan's Point Resort; Kyle Gordon, Executive Director of Community Services, Hurst; Tamara Smith, Budget Officer, Coppell; Lauren Williams, Management Analyst, Addison
Student: Samantha Beckman, Texas A&M University; Dominique Green, Texas A&M University; Seth Jordan, Texas A&M 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 October:
Full: John Noblitt, City Manager, Sanger; Richard Tramm, City Administrator, Montgomery
Associate: Eric Matthews, Director of Information Technology, Allen; Michael Ross, Fire Chief, Mansfield; Gregory Stevens, Chief of Police, Rockport
Cooperating: Robert Goode, Vice President, Senior Project Manager, Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam
honoring a legend
On October 26, colleagues, friends, and family honored Terrell Blodgett with the unveiling and dedication of the Executive Conference Room at Austin City Hall.
City Manager Spencer Cronk announced the dedication and presentation of a plaque.
tcma employment and financial agreement services
Is your employment agreement up for renewal?
Do you need financial planning assistance?
TCMA members have access to personalized employment agreement and financial planning assistance through its partnership with the Trusted Capital Group (TCG). TCG is an independent financial services firm that specializes in consulting and retirement planning services for cities, school districts, and other government entities.
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. TCG can also assist when there is a separation from your city. Let TCG save you time and stress by negotiating your salary and benefits. Click here to learn more about this program.
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.
Duncanville City Manager Aretha R. Ferrell-Benavides and Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones, were selected as 2021 Class of Academy Fellows by the National Academy of Public Administration. Fellows possess an unmatched wealth of expertise and serve as the cornerstone of the organization. To learn more, click Press Release.
Pampa City Manager Shane Stokes, received the Beelee Goodwin Regional Service Award presented by the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission for his leadership in public administration. For the complete story, click Regional Service Award.
The City of Iowa Colony honored Ron Cox by naming their future City complex in his name. Ron served in local government in Texas for 48 years, with 28 years spent as a city manager in the cities of Rusk, Center, Kilgore, and Friendswood. After leaving active city management in 2006, Ron has continued to serve multiple cities in Texas as a consultant and interim city manager.
TCMA is saddened by the passing of Jon McCarty on September 27. Jon began his career in public service in the City of Wichita Falls. He later worked for the North Central Texas Council of Governments before becoming the first city manager of the City of Allen, were he served 19 years. He then worked as an assistant city manager of the City of Irving before retiring. Jon was a TCMA life member.
A graveside memorial service will be held at a later date at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, located at 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas. Memorial contributions in Jon’s honor may be made to the Allen Public Library, 300 N Allen Drive, Allen, TX 75013.
Please keep his wife, Nancy, and his sons in your thoughts and prayers. For a complete obituary, click here.
TCMA is saddened by the passing of Ronald Darwin McGill on October 21. Darwin served as an assistant city manager of the City of Irving, and later served as a city manager for the cities of Lewisville and Hereford. He served in various capacities for TCMA and the Texas Municipal League. After retiring from city management, Darwin remained active in public service as a city commissioner and mayor of the City of Mount Vernon.
A memorial service was held at First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon on October 30. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First United Methodist Church, 522 SH-37, Mount Vernon, TX 75457, or to the Old Saltillo Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 123, Saltillo, TX 75478.
Please keep his wife, Constance, and the rest of the McGill family in your thoughts and prayers. For a complete obituary click here.
TCMA is saddened by the passing of John Barth on October 29. John served as the city administrator of the City of Yorktown. John was proud to serve his hometown. He previously held positions in the City of Rosenberg and Travis County. Yorktown Mayor Bill Baker described John as a "phenomenal young man."
Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. Memorial services were not known at the time of this announcement.
Regions 1 and 2 will be holding a joint meeting and training event with the Texas Tech University Public Administration Alumni Association on November 19. For more information, click here.
how the heck did i get to nacogdoches, texas?
The Early Years
Many of us have worked with or for people who are great story tellers. I am not great at telling stories but want to make the attempt to answer the question posed above. It all started in 1992 in Fort Worth while living at home when I decided to go away to Stephen F. Austin (SFA) State University in Nacogdoches, a year after graduating from high school. I was the first in my small immediate family to attend college. Like many first-generation Americans, my parents encouraged me to pursue a higher education as a way to success.
Fast forward to 1994, my junior year at SFA, there was discontentment because of doubt to what the future would hold. An SFA professor, Richard Herzog, encouraged me to look at public administration. Admittedly, I had no idea what that field consisted of and it persuaded me to take a public management class taught by Gordon Pierce, who at that time was servicing as city manager of the City of Nacogdoches. The class was fantastic because Gordon brought real world examples to the classroom. Dr. Herzog also encouraged obtaining the required internship to meet the graduation requirements. As a result, Herzog arranged a lunch to meet C.G. Maclin, who was the city manager in Lufkin, a city about 25 miles south of Nacogdoches. C.G. bought me lunch and showed off his community and a variety of projects they were working on. At the conclusion of those two-plus hours, I was hooked and knew as a 20-year old that I wanted to be a city manager. Luckily, C.G. also hired me as a CMO intern, which allowed me to fulfill the requirement for graduation.
December 16, 1995, was SFA fall graduation. At the conclusion of graduation, I loaded a small U-Haul trailer and Chevy Blazer and told my girlfriend Jennifer (now wife), who also graduated that day, “I am ready to go back to DFW and never coming back to Nacogdoches.”
The Middle Years
Within a couple of months of graduation, I was hired as an analyst with the City of Carrollton. Shortly thereafter, I was enrolled in the MPA program at the University of North Texas. The time in Carrollton was invaluable because of obtaining front line, operational experiences. I also joined Urban Management Assistants of North Texas (UMANT), the assistants’ organization geared for developing a network of like-minded early career professionals. UMANT was the foundation of creating the long-lasting friendships that are still with me to this day. UMANT also afforded our group of cohorts the leadership development skills that we desperately wanted but could not get in the roles we had professionally.
Over the next 24-plus years, the philosophical career journey taken was to move up. The mentality was to stay in the DFW area because of the many opportunities city management offered for advancement. From 1996 until 2020, I worked at a number of communities that provided new challenges along the way:
- Carrollton: As mentioned above, is where my career started. I am forever grateful to my supervisor for taking a chance on a kid that had very little experience. I started as a fleet analyst and ended as a budget management analyst.
- Hurst: This city afforded me the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities within city operations, learn about project management, and encouraged involvement with TCMA and ICMA. There was tremendous support from now retired City Manager Allan Weegar, and Deputy City Manager Allan Heindel. At this point in time, my wife and I started a family and our perspectives changed for the future. I started as the assistant director of community services and ended in the same capacity.
- Addison: The opportunity in Addison is was what opened my eyes to the most non-traditional role of city government I had ever experienced. This tiny community is a real player in the Dallas County landscape. A community that embraced new urbanism, sense of place, transit-oriented development, spectacular special events, and a customer service level like no other. It also included retired City Manager Ron Whitehead, who I consider a father figure, mentor, and friend. The experiences in Addison were formidable. It completely formulated my entire management style of how people should be treated, the delivery of city services, and higher expectations for government services. I started as the assistant to the city manager and ended as an assistant city manager.
- Coppell: Coppell is a more traditional style suburban city. A community with a great school system, where excellent city services are delivered, and manicured neighborhoods are the norm. This was where our family was fully established in the community in which I worked. My early tenure in Coppell consisted of overseeing all operations with retired City Manager Clay Phillips. The time spent working for Coppell was the longest I had ever stayed at an organization. Here I truly learned about personal and professional adversity. I started as a deputy city manager and ended in the same capacity.
- Denton: A fast growing college community was a fascinating experience. The city is truly a full-service community with a very fast-paced and politically charged environment. It took long days, several evenings, and many weekends to keep up with the work. The fast-paced environment and the opportunity to break down silos, heavily influence a culture for customer service, and improve service delivery was extremely rewarding. I definitely used every skill gained from past positions while also navigating the politics and the bureaucracy. It was rewarding and empowering to place and encourage a talented staff in positions that challenged their comfort zone. In just three and one half years, I worked with former City Manager Todd Hileman and others to completely transform the organization. I started as assistant city manager and ended as deputy city manager.
During these past 20 plus years, I have been afforded the opportunity to build a career in DFW, establish a network, have family and friends close by, make close contacts, and access the exponential resources. There would be no reason to leave this region of the state because of the expansiveness of the DFW area. The career playbook was to take a challenge as it was presented, seize it, work hard, achieve, and then move on to the next opportunity. The bottom line it was “safe,” and I was content. Working for cities in the DFW market can provide anyone an entire career of opportunities all within a few miles of each community. Life was pretty good.
The Last Year Plus
The City of Nacogdoches has a population of about 33,000, is 27 square miles in size, is the county seat, and home to Stephen F. Austin (SFA) State University. In 2019, Nacogdoches ISD and SFA had experienced leadership changes. SFA hired a new president in August 2019, and the School District had hired a new superintendent in April 2020. Both of these leaders were brought in from the outside.
The City also experienced leadership changes as longtime city manager, Jim Jeffers, retired in January 2020. In the spring of 2020, the city council was recruiting to bring in someone from the outside to lead the organization. At first, I was very intrigued by the recruitment as an opportunity to be a first-time city manager in the city of my alma mater where it all started. I quickly dismissed the idea because I still had a child in high school and didn’t want to disrupt our household. I played the safe playbook.
However, the more I discussed it with my family and friends, the more I was interested. Plus, it was a great opportunity to collaborate with newly appointed leaders with outside perspectives to lead their organizations. And to become the city manager in the city where a career in this field all started really stoked me. Nacogdoches has quite a bit going for itself: it’s rooted in Texas history, its natural beauty and attributes, it’s a college town, the construction of Interstate 69, and the school district being in the middle of a large bond program.
I took the plunge and went all in on the open position. When the in-person interviews were conducted, then Mayor Shelly Brophy asked if “I was concerned about transitioning from an urban to a rural area?” My answer was I didn’t think it would be a concern because while Nacogdoches is rural, it has many urban and suburban issues like DFW. In late June 2020, I was selected to be the city manager and began my tenure in August.
We made the family decision to operate two households. Jennifer would maintain our home in Coppell so Allison could finish her junior and senior years at Coppell High School. I am renting in Nacogdoches in preparation for Jennifer to move here once Allison finishes high school. We make it work by meeting 2-3 times per month on weekends even though we feel rushed. Also, we have established a small group of friends in Nacogdoches who have welcomed Jennifer when she visits me.
The biggest adjustments coming to Nacogdoches are more on a personal level. The first year of my tenure, I fully committed to learn the job and the community. There was very little time spent on personal and professional development as engaging ICMA or TCMA were put on the backburner. The conveniences of having close friends and associates close by was definitely not present the first year in Nacogdoches. Being able to grab breakfast, lunch, or an after-hours drink with nearby colleagues didn’t happen. Add the limited contact with people in general because of the pandemic, the distance from family and friends, and being alone has been a difficult adjustment.
Fortunately, the Breakfast Bunch (David Morgan, Mark Israelson, and me) have a monthly Zoom call to catchup on family, life, and work. These calls have been a huge boost for me. These Zoom calls are missing our good friend Val Bradley, who we lost her to cancer in February 2020. We remember her fondly as we bring up the funny things she would say when we used to meet for an in-person breakfast.
Over the last few months, I have engaged with East TCMA, TCMA, and ICMA. In fact, I included personal/professional development as a focus area, and the city council approved this request in my year-two work plan. Like most business leaders, I joined Rotary, local foundations, and other civic groups. These are very important to show a commitment to the local community. Being remote is no excuse to not engage with others. It’s easy to get buried in the job, and I have to be reminded to get out and get some sun.
In all, I believe my short time in Nacogdoches has been rewarding but very challenging for me personally and professionally. My family has stepped up in my absence and we have grown together while being apart. So how the heck did I get to Nacogdoches? It all started with chances that others gave me; by watching, learning, and listening to so many people that have come into my life. For that I am eternally gratefully and plan to pay it forward to the next generation of local government leaders.
(Submitted by Mario Canizares, City Manager, Nacogdoches)
Ethics and Ego: A Symbiotic Relationship
What are ethics? There are a multitude of definitions, spanning from philosophical literature to corporate core values. No matter what definition you use or find, the underlying principles typically include good versus bad, right versus wrong, and some relationship to moral duty and obligation. But what does this mean? The subjective topic of ethics is difficult to universally define - what was ethical yesterday, may not be ethical today, and vice versa. Moreover, what may be considered ethical in other societies may be deemed unethical in ours.
Navigating the various decisions and situations humans constantly encounter requires a sound moral compass. We will be challenged in whatever role we play, whether as a team member or as the leader of the team. Although there are numerous attributes, choices, and factors that influence our ethical decision making, I would like to focus on a controversial attribute that many would argue needs to be removed when making ethical decisions: one’s ego or sense of self-worth.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ego? Was it good, bad, or analytical? Ego is often associated with a negative connotation, but it does not have to be. With anything in life – food, medicine, exercise, and vitamins – too much or too little can make a dramatic impact. Too much ego can be an indicator of poor performance or leadership; there must be a balance. For example, there is a lot of ego among Special Operations communities, Law Enforcement SWAT Teams, Search and Rescue Teams, and Pilots; and there needs to be. Demanding jobs require balanced egos which enable members of these elite teams to constantly run towards high-risk situations.
So, what is the correlation between a balanced ego and ethics? It is simple, without some level of ego an individual may fall easily into making a poor ethical decision. This is not black and white, nothing in ethics is. But take any situation where someone’s ethics was questioned or investigated, and ask yourself “why?” or how?” One could easily argue too much ego may have caused the ethical dilemma, but an argument could be made that there was not enough ego to withstand the pressures or underlying predicaments that led to an unethical decision. Standing firm and challenging the status quo is a complex undertaking for anyone, but especially for one with a poor ego.
If a board of directors unanimously voted to do something that went against your values or code of ethics that would cost you your job if you did not go along, would you still go along? It is easy to say “of course not,” but factor in life: what if your wife got laid off, your kid is sick, or insert any number of life altering events that happen daily. Would that change your answer? You may not know how you would respond. Some individuals in that situation choose the unethical route because they lack the ego to stand strong and be guided by their moral compass - to choose the hard right over the easy wrong.
Like ethics, there is no right or wrong approach. We each have our own way of tackling this challenging world. The next time someone argues to take the ego out of an unethical decision, I challenge you to consider the possibility that there was not enough ego to stand firm for what is right. I further challenge you to look back to the many situations in your life that perhaps a little more ego would have changed the outcome or how you handled a particular situation.
(Submitted by Dalton Rice, City Manager, Morgan's Point Resort)
TCMA EDUCATIONAL EVENTS
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here
William "King" Cole Session 1
January 27-28, 2022
William "King" Cole Session 2
March 24-24, 2022
Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars
(Pre-registration is required)
Growing Your Career
12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 17
Memos on Meetings
The Advocacy Committee met on October 15 via video conference. Meeting minutes are available here.
The Executive Committee met on October 19 via video conference.
The Professional Development Committee met on October 28-29 in Lost Pines.