November 2022

TCMA Management Messenger

William "King” Cole Series
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Awards and Scholarships
Get Out!
Ethics Corner
TCMA Represented at the TML Annual Conference
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

William "king" cole series

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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 kdavis@tml.org or call 512-231-7400. 

Management transitions


Andrew Bill is no longer the city manager of the City of Jarrell.

Mike Boese is no longer the city administrator of the City of Wimberly.

Connie Gibbens is no longer the city administrator of the City of Hays.

Angel Jones has been selected to serve as the new city manager of the City of Missouri City.

Matt Lingafelter is the interim city manager of the City of Sunset Valley.

Marty Mangum is no longer the city administrator of the City of Vernon, effective November 25.

Arpegea Pagsuberon is the new city administrator of the City of Olney.

Christi Shivers is the interim city manager of the City of Mexia.

Scott Swigert is the new city manager of the City of Cleveland, effective October 10.

Fred Tillman is the new interim city manager of the City of Burkburnett.

New Members


The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on October 26, 2023.

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 

Student: Royce Clough, University of Texas at San Antonio; Lisa Morgan, University of Northern Texas; Jonathan Nieves, University of Texas; Arden O'Connell, Texas A&M University; Lindsey Wheeler, 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 October:

Full: Stacey Almond, City Manager, Lake Worth; Emily Barron, Assistant City Manager, Pflugerville; Thomas A. Hunter, Assistant City Manager, Pflugerville; Julius Kizzee, City Administer, Tool; Heather Nick, Assistant City Manager, Tyler; Carl Simpson, Assistant City Manager, Dallas; Brooks Williams, City Manager, Ferris; Brian Winningham, City Manager, Mont Belvieu   

Associate: Ashleigh Feryan, Neighborhood Services Manager, Lewisville; Faith Morse, Assistant to the City Manager, Mansfield

meet your colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Scott Swigert to his new position as the city manager of the City of Cleveland.  Scott’s appointment began October 10, 2022.  He began serving in the city management profession in 2017 as the assistant city manager for the City of Mont Belvieu.  Prior to that, he served as director of parks and recreation for the City of Deer Park, parks and recreation manager in the City of Midland, and as the recreation superintendent for the City of Brenham.   

Scott is a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), Texas City Management Association (TCMA), and Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS).  He currently serves on the ICMA Technology and Innovation Advisory Board, the TCMA Ethics Committee, has served on the board of the Texas Municipal League (TML), past president of the Texas Municipal Parks, Recreation and Tourism Association (TMPRTA), the board of the Texas Recreation and Parks Foundation, and past president of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS).   

Scott holds a bachelor’s of science degree in recreation, parks and tourism sciences from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in public administration from The University of Texas Permian Basin.   

Scott and his wife Jennifer have been married since 2000 and have three sons Kaleb, Jayden and Kayden with the youngest two being twins.   


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Awards and scholarships

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 6, 2023.

AWARD PROGRAMS

  • Administrator of the Year Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Mentoring Award in Memory of Gary Gwyn
  • Excellence in Ethics and Integrity Award 
  • Assistant of the Year Award in Memory of Valerie Bradley
  • Terrell Blodgett Academician Award
  • City Council of the Year Award
      

For information and applications, click here

TCMA also provides opportunities for professional development through scholarships. Unless otherwise noted, the deadline for submission is January 6, 2023.  
 

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS

  • Barney L. Knight Texas CPM Scholarship
  • Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship
  • Leadership Development Scholarship
  • Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship (Deadline April 7, 2023) 

For information and applications, click here

If you have questions about any of these programs, please contact Kim Pendergraft at kim@tml.org or 512-231-7400.

Get Out!


A call to get out of our cars and into our parks (and onto our trails).

Fall is a fun and fantastic time of year in Texas for a number of reasons: the weather finally cools down enough to make it more than bearable to be outside and actually enjoy it; sports activities increase with fall scholastic sports–especially football, and many children and families begin to plan, prepare, and anticipate the upcoming holiday season including the Halloween sugar rush, Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin rush, and Christmas peppermint and eggnog rush.

Let me share a little more about that first point – being outside.

Questions and Answers for Being Outside

Three easy and important questions to ask yourself about parks and trails

  1. What is the nearest park to your workplace, and when was the last time you visited that park?
  2. What is the nearest park to your home, and when was the last time you visited that park?
  3. What is your favorite (or bucket list) park? When did you last visit, or when are you going to visit? 

Three easy and important answers to visiting parks and trails

  1.  Your happiness: Studies show that city parks make people happy! New research suggests spending 20 minutes in an urban park will make someone happier regardless of whether they are engaging in exercise or not during the visit (see footnote 1). “Tweets during visits to urban parks exhibited a similar increase in sentiment as the jump on Christmas Day for Twitter as a whole;” if you want to replicate Holiday happiness without the presents, head to the park! (see footnote 2). And wouldn’t you know it, right here in Texas we have two of the United States top ten cities with the happiest parks with Austin ranked number two and Dallas number six. (see footnote 3).

  2. Your health: Physical activity opportunities in parks help increase our fitness. Parks encourage active lifestyles. As parents we see how active our children are in the playground area. At a minimum, adults are active just going to the park and walking around. Even minutes spent walking on a trail or meandering throughout the park has health benefits. Incorporating physical sports that can be done alone or with others adds an extra level, including practicing yoga, shooting hoops, kicking the soccer ball, tossing a ball, and interacting with your pet dog.

  3. Your community engagement and social gatherings: Parks are great places for people to connect and relate in a shared environment. We all have been a wonderful community and special events in and around parks. Generally speaking, we seemed to be more relaxed and happier in parks prodding us to be more social and kinder to those around us.

Matt’s Favorite Texas Parks and Trails (in cities where I have worked)

Temple: Whistle Stop Park at 58 South 11th Street

I started my full-time local government career in Temple. The Whistle Stop playground at the park was built by community volunteers during my time at the City. In the playground, there is a fence slat with our family’s name engraved, as we contributed to the park. Whistle Stop Park (aptly named) is near the Santa Fe Plaza, a working train depot and museum. We have enjoyed taking our kids to the park to enjoy the playground, climb on static display trains, and safely roam the train depot area.

Killeen: Conder Park at 810 Conder Park

I worked eight years at City of Killeen and two of those years were in the parks and recreation department. Conder Park is my favorite park because of the disc golf course winding around the park. I enjoyed playing disc golf games with Colen Wilson, Killeen’s GIS guru. (I think we may have even beaten Temple in a friendly city vs city competition) There also is a nice water feature in the middle of the park. The tennis courts were re-purposed by the City into basketball courts to better meet the needs of the changing surrounding neighborhoods. I am a big fan and supporter of re-purposing parks and civic spaces.  

Lions Club Community Park at 1600 East Stan Schlueter Loop

The park comes in at a close second. This park was right outside my office for the two years when I worked in parks and recreation. It has an aquatic center, recreation center, senior center, sports fields, a great walking trail, and awesome playgrounds for my kids.

Del Rio: San Felipe Springs (and adjacent parks)

If you’ve never been to Del Rio, you really should visit. For a lot of Texans, Del Rio is on their way to Big Bend National Park, so make it a stop. Better yet, make it a destination for a day. The natural San Felipe Springs is the City’s drinking water source, a natural amenity, and popular hangout. You can find really cool public art along the Springs as well. For me, the Mayor Dora Alcala Hike and Bike Trail along the Creek provided many minutes of self-reflection. Our kids loved cooling off and playing in the Creek as well. Other parks along the San Felipe Springs are Moore Park, Abe Barrera Park, and Rotary Park.

Hutto: Hutto Lake Park at 805 Estate Drive

Did you know less than 250 feet from that 80-mph-let’s-bypass-Austin-on-the-east-tollroad there is a lovely little park with a scenic lake and a trail going around it? Lots of open space to run, throw a football or frisbee, or fly a kite. There is also a lighted basketball court and a pavilion and picnic sites. There are no “Hutto hippos” in this lake. However, you will see some “Hutto hippos” as you drive around the surrounding neighborhood.  

Matt’s Park Bucket List 

Klyde Warren Park in Dallas at 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway

This takes “get out of your car and into the park” to a higher level. Kylde Warren Park is a 5-acre deck park over eight freeway traffic lanes. In essence, this park re-purposed true open-air space (no ground) above the freeway. It opened 10 years ago and has it all – a children’s park, a dog park, lawn area, etc. The park recently opened the world’s tallest interactive water fountain/splash pad area; isn’t everything bigger in Texas? 

The Call and References

My invitation, challenge, and call are to take the time for your health, happiness, and community engagement. The return on investment is invaluable. You will probably spend more time than you planned and that is totally acceptable for your mind, body, and spirit! So, what are you waiting for? Get out of your car and into your parks and trails. 

If you’ve been to any of these parks or have another favorite Texas city park or trail, send me an email or give me a call. I am curious to know! 

Matt Wojnowski, Assistant City Manager, Hutto
Email: matt.wojnowski@huttotx.gov
Phone: (512) 759-4006

Footnotes:

1. University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Urban parks could make you happier.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2019. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190225123030.htm 

2. Visitors to urban greenspace have higher sentiment and lower negativity on Twitter
 https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/pan3.10045 

3. Gauging the happiness benefit of US urban parks through Twitter
 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0261056

ethics corner


Perspectives – Tenet 3, Part II

Thank you to Mansfield City Manager Joe Smoliski for starting the conversation on the Ethics Corner “Perspective” series, which will focus on an effort to evaluate several scenarios through a variety of lenses throughout the next year.

In October, Joe wrote: “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.”

To continue the conversation this month, I’ll be exploring the scenario Joe wrote about from the perspective of Christina – the female assistant city manager mentioned in the story. 

Perspective on the Relationship Between a Mentor and a Mentee 

To recap the scenario outlined last month, Scott is the city manager in a mid-sized community in Texas and is known as a conscientious leader committed to investing in and mentoring his direct reports – including his two assistant city managers, Christina and Mike.  
While Scott has never been accused of anything inappropriate, he previously decided to implement an open-door policy for all meetings with female colleagues to ensure they felt safe and to remove any doubt about his commitment to Tenet 3 of the TCMA Code of Ethics, which provides guidance that members should not engage in workplace relationships with anyone they directly or indirectly report to, appoint and/or supervise within the organization. Accordingly, though Scott regularly meets one-on-one with both Christina and Mike, his meetings with Mike (and his male police and fire chief direct reports) are almost always behind closed doors, while the door always remains slightingly ajar during his meetings with Christina. 

Christina respects Scott a great deal – especially his commitment to impeccable ethics, and she appreciates his concern for her feelings of safety. Further, Christina also deeply believes in the importance of the TCMA Code of Ethics, including Tenet 3, and certainly agrees that there are definitely settings that would be questionable at best – and completely inappropriate at worst – in which to conduct any work meeting, much less one between male and female colleagues.  

Christina also knows that Scott is not intentionally trying to punish or disrespect her with his open-door meeting policy, yet she still wonders if this is the right approach and can’t quite shake the feeling that she is seen as “less than” her male peers. Often, she finds herself wondering questions like the ones below:

  • Do my male colleagues – including Scott – feel like my presence in the workplace is an ethical challenge to be worked around? 
  • Am I seen as less credible or trustworthy than Mike within our organization?
  • Is Scott’s policy sending a subtle message that I – and other women – can’t be trusted?
  • Do my male peers feel like I am being inappropriate when I meet with my male direct reports or mentees one-on-one with my office door shut?
  • What does this say about my ability to one day be a city manager, and will I be seen as unethical if I, too, need to have closed door meetings like Scott does with the police or fire chief?
  • What does this say to other females in our profession or my LGBTQ+ colleagues that are a part of TCMA as they seek out professional growth opportunities and become mentors and managers themselves?  
  • Is it wrong that I wish that Scott applied this policy consistently in his meetings with Mike?
  • Should I speak up on my concerns that this policy could unintentionally limit my ability to grow and be seen as a trustworthy, credible leader, or will Scott and others perceive me as whining or being too demanding?
  • Should my respect for Scott and his commitment to our Code of Ethics outweigh my feeling of being diminished in my ability to be seen as a leader and mentor?
  • What is the best way for both Scott and me to live out our mutual commitments to the TCMA Code of Ethics – including Tenet 3?

Join Us Next Month for Additional Discussion

If after reading last month’s article or the one above, you find yourself agreeing more strongly with one perspective than another, you certainly aren’t alone. Our hope is that, regardless of which perspective you more easily identify with, this series will encourage us to consider others’ experiences and perspectives alongside our own as we all navigate how to live out the TCMA Code of Ethics in our daily lives.  

In December’s edition of Ethics Corner, we will be further examining both perspectives of the mentoring relationship between Scott, Christina, and Mike – and sharing how our thoughts may have changed after considering both perspectives.  

I hope that you will join us again.

(Article submitted by Jennifer May, Deputy City Manager, Sugar Land)
 

TCMA Represented at the TML annual Conference

Booth


Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller and McAllen Assistant City Manager Jeff Johnston hand out bling and talk to attendees about the city management profession at the TML Annual Conference.

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 Plainview City Manager Jeffrey Snyder and Canyon City Manager Joe Price showing off their West Texas A&M University socks at the TML Annual Conference.


tcma educational EVENTS


William “King” Cole Session 1  
January 26-27, 2023
Austin

William “King” Cole Session 2  
March 30-31, 2023
Sugar Land

TCMA Podcast
Perspectives on City Management
Listen to episodes here


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

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


TCMA Webinar Series: Maximizing Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

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 Ethics Committee met on October 20. Meeting minutes are available here. The next meeting is December 14.

The City Managers of Tomorrow met on October 28.

TCMA Allies Committee is scheduled to meet via video conference on November 16.

The Public Policy Task Force is scheduled to meet via video conference on December 1 and 15.

The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet via video conference on January 13.

The Board is scheduled to meet on January 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.