October 2022

TCMA Management Messenger

TCMA to Host Booth at the TML Annual Conference
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
City Management Clinic Gets a New Name
President Region Visit
Award Recognitions
A Welcoming Career Change
Ethics Corner
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

tcma to host booth at the tml annual conference


TCMA is excited to host an exhibit booth at the Texas Municipal League Annual Conference and Exhibition on October 5-7 in San Antonio. The booth will promote the Campaign for Professional and Ethics City Management. Encourage your elected officials to visit booth 702 and learn how professionally trained individuals are critical for the day-to-day operation of cities. TCMA extends a special thanks to all the volunteers for participating and sharing their expertise. 

Don’t forget to support the TCMA hosted educational session at 10:45-11:45 a.m. on Thursday, October 6. The City of Taylor, recipient of the 2022 TCMA City Council of the Year, will be showcased. They will present Putting Taylor on the Map.

To register and learn more about the Conference, click here

Management transitions

Mike Barnes is the interim city administrator of the City of Brookshire.

Sylvia Carrillo is the new city manager of the City of Bastrop, effective October 3.

Lawrence Cutrone is no longer the city manager of the City of Burkburnett.

Scott Campbell is the new city manager of the City of Corinth, effective October 3. 

Juan Cedillo is the new city administrator of the City of La Villa.

Wayne Dial is the new city administrator of the City of New Boston.

Eric Garretty will no longer serve as the city manager of the City of Mexia.  He will begin serving as the city manager of the City of Graham.  

Andy Harvey is no longer the city manager of the City of Pharr. Anali Alanis (assistant city manager) is serving as the interim city manager.

Darrell Hull is the new city manager of the City of Kennedale.

Charles Jackson is the new city manager of the City of Eagle Lake.

Julius Kizzee is the new city administrator of the City of Tool.

Erika McComis is the new town administrator of the Town of Argyle.

Tim Patek will no longer serve as city manager of the City of Gonzales, effective October 7. Tim Crow (police chief) will serve as the interim city manager.

Gilbert Perales is the interim city administrator of the City of Balcones Heights.

Cody Petree is the interim city manager of the City of Roanoke.

Cori Reaume is the interim city administrator of the City of Aurora.

Heriberto “Eddie” Rodriguez (police chief) is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Kempner.

Scott Sellers is no longer the city manager of the City of Kyle.

Delano Smith is the city manager of the City of Abernathy, effective March 21.

Paula Wakefield is serving as the interim city administrator of the City of Driscoll.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on September 26, 2022.

Full: Dana Clair, City Administrator, Grand Saline; Phillip Laney, Assistant City Manager, Alamo Heights; Stacey Norris, City Manager, Dalhart; Sharon Citino, City Manager, Bellaire

Associate: Christina Flores, Director of Human Resources, McAllen; Isaac Tawil, City Attorney, McAllen; Harrison Willeford, HR Coordinator, Northlake; Ruby Mowles, City Secretary, Ingleside

Student: Henry Hayes, Texas State University; Logan Pior and Justin Stackhouse, University of North Texas; Teagan Trammell, 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 September:

Full: Sharon Citino, City Manager, Bellaire; David Junek, City Secretary, Snook

Cooperating: Shekinah Kahongo, Management Analyst, Sugar Land; Lauren Lathon, Management Analyst I, Sugar Land

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes James R. Earp to his new position as city manager for the City of Hutto. James began his position on August 3. He previously served more than 15 years as first assistant city manager for the City of Kyle. Through his public service tenure, he has negotiated countless economic development deals, fostered numerous partnerships, and built a steady culture within his previous organization.

James has earned his credentials as a certified public manager through the William P. Hobby Center for Public Service and holds a Certified Texas Watershed Steward certification. He received his bachelor of business administration and bachelor of science in economics from Tarleton State University. He went on to receive his master of public administration from The University of Texas at Arlington and his graduate certificate in environmental management from Harvard University.

James has been a member of TCMA for 18 years serving many of those years on the Professional Development Committee. He has also served as the Region 7 president and TCMA Region 7 board director. He has been very active on the City Managers of Tomorrow Committee, serving as a manager in residence for Texas State University and acting as the TCMA organizer for the Intercollegiate College Bowl.

James and his wife, Melinda, have been married 22 years and have two children, Landon and Jolie.

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Ashley Wayman to her new position as the city administrator of the City of Rollingwood. Ashley was appointed to the position on June 15, after serving in various roles for the city including interim city administrator, assistant city administrator and city secretary. Before joining the City of Rollingwood in 2019, Ashley served as the assistant finance director for the City of Leon Valley.

 Ashley holds a bachelor of business administration in accounting from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio and a master of public administration from Texas State University in San Marcos. Ashley is a proud graduate of the Inaugural Class of the Texas Women's Leadership Institute and serves as the Region 10 Representative on the TML Health Board of Trustees.

In their free time, Ashley and her fiancé Eric enjoy spending time with friends and family and traveling.

city management clinic gets a new name

Courtney Sharp

On September 9, the TCMA Board named the City Management Clinic in honor of the late Courtney Sharp. The Clinic will be called The TCMA Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic. Courtney helped develop the Clinic, which attracts those eager to learn and solve issues facing local government while networking in a relaxed environment. Courtney was a well-respected friend to TCMA, a former Texas city manager, and TCMA president.

In addition to naming the Clinic in Courtney’s honor, three scholarships will be offered to those seeking assistance to attend the event. Information about the scholarship and the event will be made available soon. The Clinic is scheduled for February 23-24, 2023, in Granbury. Registration will open soon.

President Region Visit

Jay StokesTCMA President Jay Stokes was an honored guest at a joint TCMA Region 1 and 2 event on September 23 at Texas Tech University. Joseph LaBeau conducted a training titled Caring For Your Mental Health and Those You Lead. TML Executive Director Bennett Sandlin provided a legislative update.

If your region has not scheduled a visit with Jay, you can contact him at jstokes@deerparktx.org.

Award recognitions

">The Management Messenger congratulates and recognizes the following for the 2022 ICMA Local Government Excellence Awards.

Community Partnership (under 10,000 population)
Lucas Farmers Market, City of Lucas
Joni Clarke, City Manager
Kent Souriyasak, Assistant to the City Manager

Strategic Leadership and Governance (10,000-49,999 population)
New Development Fiscal Analysis, City of Fate
Michael Kovacs, City Manager
Justin Weiss, Assistant City Manager

Distinguished Service Award
Teodoro Benavides, Associate Profession of Practice, The University of Texas at Dallas

55-Year Service Award
Mike Eastland, Executive Director, North Central Texas Council of Governments

A welcoming career change

A day I will never forget is November 16, 2015, as it was the day my life changed forever.

It was the day that my career as a journalist and editor ended. I did not know I would end up here, in a career where I can affect more change in a day than in a year at a newspaper. I did not know that I would have an opportunity in a city that is experiencing exceptional growth. Finally, I especially had no idea that I would get the opportunity and motivation to earn a master’s degree and continue to better my career. Here is my story.

I was almost getting over a bout of pneumonia when my publisher summoned me to his office. I had just finished a tumultuous first year at the Palestine Herald-Press, when the publisher informed me that things were just not working out. He was letting me go.

I should also mention that at this point, I had not been living in Texas that long. In fact, my family had been in our new house less than a month when I had to tell my wife that the reason we moved from our hometown in Indiana was done. We did not know very many people in Palestine, and we fretted about what the future would hold.  Looking back, I should have seen the writing on the wall, but I was taken aback. It could have also been that I was sick, mostly because I had been working 60-plus hours a week. But I was out at the Herald-Press.

Luckily, we knew enough people to get by, and I was offered a position at the City of Palestine as the communications and best practices officer. City Manager Mike Alexander, a man who would later become my mentor, put his trust in me to deliver the city’s message and engage with the public. Any of us who have spent time in public service, knows how challenging that job can be. It is especially tough when the local newspaper did not like their former editor’s career change.

However, Alexander and Assistant City Manager Michael Hornes, both TCMA members, took the time to teach me the inner workings of public policy and city management. Hornes encouraged me to further my education by enrolling in a master of public administration program. I found the perfect program for me at Stephen F. Austin State University. It allowed me to balance my career and my education, although my waistline became out of balance.

When Alexander moved on, Hornes had enough faith in me to make me assistant to the city manager after he was promoted to city manager. I learned budgeting and saw firsthand how fiscal decisions affect everyone in the organization. I also learned how to work with elected officials and interested stakeholders.

I was moving on in my education in city management when Alexander called me one day and asked if I was interested in becoming the city administrator in Fairfield. I was full of doubt about making the leap at first, but the opportunity to further my career was a great opportunity that I did not want to pass up. Therefore, after discussing the opportunity with my friends and mentors, I started the application process.

Fairfield had started a process of transition, both economically and organizationally. The city had started to recover from the shock of losing its largest employer, the Big Brown power plant and companion coal mine, in 2016. In addition, the city lost its longtime mayor, city administrator, and police chief in 2018. The new Mayor, Kenneth Hughes, led the effort to use its biggest asset, Interstate 45. Organizationally, I had the support of the mayor, council, and a lot of great employees who trusted me enough to let me learn and grow as an administrator and person.

The men and women at the City of Fairfield allowed me to make the mistakes any first-time city manager who probably was not ready for the role was bound to make. I am also very fortunate to rely on TCMA and its members like Alexander, Hornes, and Senior Manager Bob Livingston for help when I needed it. I would like to think that we in Fairfield are moving in the right direction, and we have the people in place to take the city to even greater heights.

The day I was fired from the newspaper could have been one of the worst days of my life. Other than my wedding day and the birth of my three children, that day became one of the best days of my life. That day, in its own cosmic way, gave me the kick necessary to move to a better career. By the way, don’t feel bad for the Palestine Herald-Press, they have done well since I have been gone. I was one of the first people to congratulate the publisher when the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize for its editorial writing in 2019.

For all new city managers and administrators, just know that those of us who have changed careers to become members of TCMA are also here to help. We may be able to offer a different perspective. We may have the experiences needed to offer an uncommon solution for all the unique problems we all encounter. Helping other members is one reason why I enjoy participating in our organization. It is the way I can repay the help I have received getting to my favorite career. My inbox is always open.

(Article submitted by Nate Smith, City Administrator, Fairfield and can be reached at nate.smith@fairfieldtexas.gov.)

ethics corner


Critical thinking has long been considered a hallmark of effective leadership. It goes without saying that, as leaders, we must be willing to consider the impact of our decisions – and actions – on those around us and the organizations to which we belong. Our ability to reach well-reasoned conclusions depends on our willingness and ability to view an issue through the lens of another; to consider an alternative perspective or perception.

Over the next twelve months, the TCMA Ethics Committee will evaluate a number of scenarios for which the likely course of action or response depends largely upon the perspective from which the issue is viewed. Throughout the year, committee members will seek to evaluate an ethical dilemma from multiple perspectives. We will seek to identify the influence that an individual's perspective and perception have on their interpretation of a just and equitable outcome. 

Jennifer May, deputy city manager of the City Sugar Land and the vice chair of the TCMA Ethics Committee, and I will explore the mentoring relationship between a male city manager and a female assistant city manager that he provides support to. We have chosen to change the names, but the ethical dilemma(s) surrounding the individuals' relationship are very real. More specifically, the perception of their relationship leads the city manager to make a series of decisions that are perceived differently by those around them. For me, it's an exercise in recognizing the difference between perception and reality.

Perspective on the Relationship Between a Mentor and a Mentee

Scott is the city manager in a mid-sized community in Texas. He has six direct reports, each of which he meets with regularly to provide guidance and support. By all accounts, Scott is a conscientious leader, one that is guided by an inner sense of right and wrong. He makes it a point to allocate time and resources toward the personal and professional development of those he mentors. In fact, several of the directors that Scott has mentored have gone on to become members of the executive management team in surrounding municipalities. It appears as if the effort Scott puts into the professional development of his subordinates is both heartfelt and effective. He considers it a responsibility and a privilege to invest in their success.

While the effort Scott puts into his mentoring relationships with his team is evenly distributed, the manner in which he conducts mentoring sessions varies slightly. It is common for Scott to meet with his police chief and fire chief one-on-one behind closed doors. Their discussions often focus on sensitive issues involving open criminal cases, medical emergencies, or personnel matters. No one has ever questioned the setting or length of their meetings, and no one sees a need to make changes. In Scott's opinion, the closed door is necessary and appropriate.

When Scott meets with his executive assistant, Lily, he does so in a conference room with the door open. While these meetings occur less frequently than meetings with either of the chiefs, they are equally as productive. They discuss progress on departmental goals and objectives, professional development, performance, and from time to time, sensitive matters. Scott's meetings with the assistant to the city manager, Kori, follow a very similar format. He is an active listener and always provides honest feedback. He considers it an investment in their development, and he is happy to do so.

Scott and both of his assistant city managers, Christina and Mike, have a more structured mentor relationship. In many ways, their leadership team meetings take on a "group mentoring" session feel, whereby Scott, Christina, and Mike discuss organizational challenges, offer one another feedback and advice, and discuss ways in which the team may become better. Christina and Mike often serve as "peer mentors" to one another, and both can be counted on to provide honest and constructive feedback. Scott's mentoring sessions with Christina and Mike are of a more traditional "one-on-one mentor" variety. Their one-on-one sessions are virtually identical, with one exception. 

When Scott meets with his male assistant city manager, Mike, they almost always meet behind closed doors. This gives them the freedom to speak freely about sensitive topics related to personnel, professional growth, and performance. The privacy of this setting enables both of them to be honest, blunt even. Scott is able to be extremely candid, without the fear of having someone overhear their discussion. Mike, in turn, feels free to be more candid with Scott. This is the sort of honesty and candor that allows the mentor and mentee to address issues that reside below the surface.  

When Scott meets with his female assistant city manager, Christina, they meet in Scott's office with the door ajar. Acutely aware of how their voices may be heard by Scott's executive assistant, whose desk is located in the hallway outside of his office, they lower their voices when speaking about sensitive topics or avoid them entirely. Nevertheless, their mentoring sessions are still quite valuable, and Christina's performance is absolutely impeccable. Scott can see how the advice and direction he offers Christina during their mentoring sessions is applied in her work. The fact that the door remains open during their sessions does not seem to impede their effectiveness, but even Scott acknowledges that there is a difference between his meetings with Mike and Christina.

Early in his tenure as the city manager, Scott made the decision to keep the door open when meeting one-on-one with his female colleagues. This was not the result of any specific incident; rather, Scott believed that an open door removed any question about the appropriateness of the meeting. He wanted his female colleagues to feel safe; free from any unjustified criticism that they were behind closed doors with a male supervisor or that their relationship with him had become too comfortable. He even made it a habit of seating them closest to the door during their meetings. 

Scott was aware that employees outside of the city manager's office often joked about how Lily and Kori were the boss's favorites. While nothing about Scott's previous meetings with either of his female colleagues had been alleged to have been inappropriate, he decided to implement an open-door policy for all meetings with female colleagues and, in his opinion, remove all doubt. Scott has not been shy about discussing his preference for open door meetings when mentoring female colleagues. In fact, he attributes his reputation for being ethical in matters related to his female colleagues, in part, to his open-door meeting policy.

Join Us Next Month for an Alternative Perspective

If you read the previous section and thought that Scott could or, perhaps, should conduct his mentoring sessions differently, you aren’t alone. If you thought that Scott’s approach was well-intentioned and justified, you aren’t alone either. Your opinions are most likely informed by your own experiences, as was Scott’s. 

The key to reaching a well-reasoned conclusion as to the appropriateness of Scott’s mentoring style depends on our willingness and ability to view the mentoring sessions through the lens of another; to consider an alternative perspective or perception. Christina and Mike may have very similar perspectives, as they are both being mentored by Scott. However, their perceptions may differ drastically based upon the setting.

In November's edition of Ethics Corner, Jennifer May will examine the mentoring relationship between Scott, Christina, and Mike from an alternative perspective. How might Mike’s perceptions differ from Christina’s? I hope that you will join us again next month for another look at the same interactions only, this time, through different eyes.

(Article submitted by Joe Smolinski, City Manager, Mansfield) 

tcma educational EVENTS

TCMA Podcast
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here

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

Alternatives to Silos

12:30-2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 20

Everyone Has Personal Challenges
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, November 17

TCMA Webinar Series: Maximizing Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

Managing the Stress of Relationships
1:00-2:00 p.m., Friday, October 21

How to Maintain a Mentally Healthy Workplace Environment
1:00-2:00 p.m., Friday, December 9

How to Become More Resilient During Challenging Times
1:00-2:00 p.m., Friday, February 17, 2023

Memos on Meetings

The next Board met on September 9. Meeting minutes are available here.

The TCMA Allies Committee met on September 14. Meeting minutes are available here.

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.