February 2023

TCMA Management Messenger

2023 TCMA Professional Award Recipients
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship
Ethics Corner
Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic 
Mental Health and Wellbeing Webinar
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

2023 TCMA Professional Award recipients

TCMA is proud to announce the recipients of the 2023 Professional Awards. A presentation of awards will be held at the TCMA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 9 at Marriott Dallas Allen Hotel & Convention Center, located at 777 Watters Creek Boulevard, Allen.

Lifetime Achievement Award 

This award recognizes the city management professional who has made significant contributions to the field of local government management for more than 20 years.

Ricky Childers Lifetime AwardRicky Childers
Life Member and
Retired City Manager
Kay Godbey Lifetime AwardKay Godbey
TCMA Senior Advisor
Roy Rodriguez Lifetime AwardRoy Rodriguez
City Manager
City of McAllen
Randy Wright Lifetime AwardRandy Wright
City Manager
City of Portland

Vince DiPiazzaAdministrator of the Year Award

This award recognizes the city management professional who has made significant contributions to the field of local government management in the past 18 months.

Vince DiPiazza, City Manager, City of Uvalde

Mentoring Award in Memory of Gary Gwyn

This award recognizes a city management professional who has made significant contributions in the development of new talent and who has designed and implemented outstanding career development programs for local government employees.

Mentorship Pictures

Hugh WalkerExcellence in Ethics and Integrity Award

This award recognizes a TCMA member who has served in the local government profession with dignity, honor, and integrity and has demonstrated exceptional ethics while carrying out their duties in local government 

Hugh Walker, Deputy City Manager, City of Bryan

Caitlin BiggsAssistant of the Year Award in Memory of Valerie Bradley

This award recognizes the TCMA member who exhibits a fierce advocacy for advancing ethical local government leadership and the mentorship of young professionals.

Caitlan Biggs, Director of Administration Services/Town Secretary, Town of Little Elm

City Council of the Year, City of Mansfield

Mansfield Logo.Council

Management transitions

Gerardo Barrera is the new city administrator of the City of Bunker Hill Village, effective January 23.

Mario Canizares will begin serving as the new town manager of the Town of Prosper, effective February 20.

John Curry is no longer the city manager of the City of Chico.

Charles Ewings is no longer the city manager of the City of Justin. 

Brian Funderburk will retire as city manager of the City of Rowlett, effective July 12.

Kimberly Judge is the new city manager of the City of Dayton, effective January 18.

Tim King is the new city manager of the City of Trinity.

Keith Kiplinger is the interim city manager of the City of Nacogdoches.

Michael Leamons is no longer the city manager of the City of Glen Rose, effective February 17.

Justin Parker is the new city manager of the City of Spearman.

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

Gordon Pierce is the interim city manager of the Village of the Hills.

Jim Proce will no longer serve as city manager of the City of Anna, effective February 17.

Helen Ramirez is the new city manager of the City of Brownsville, effective January 9.

Kevin Rule is the new city manager of the City of Woodcreek.

Gary Scott is the new city manager of the City of Conroe, effective January 12.

Merle Taylor will retire as the city manager of the City of Snyder, effective April 5.

Monique Vernon will no longer serve as the city manager of the City of Kirby, effective February 28.

Raymei Zella will retire as city manager of the City of Cuero in the summer of 2023. A date has not been announced at the time of this issue.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on January 27, 2023.

Full: Ryan Henderson, Assistant City Manager, Anna; Kent Manton, City Administrator, Bruceville-Eddy: Helen Ramirez, City Manager, Brownsville; Steve Vasquez, City Administrator, Plains

Cooperating: Brandon Powell, General Manager, Lubbock County WCID#1; Steven Rapson, County Manager, Fayette County, Georgia; Jerrett Williams, Police Supervisor, Bryan

Associate: Shannon Hicks, Director of Public Works and Engineering Services

Student: Melinda Brown and Stewart Starry, Texas A&M University; Kiran Rawat, Texas Tech. University; Blake Manuel, Salvador Gonzalez, Jr., Mahamat Adoum Hassane, Paola Loera, Jennifer Nagorka, Michael Alan Penaluna, Alejandro Perea, Maryland Ruiz Quiasua, Andrew Shahidi, and Charles Wood, University of North Texas

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 January::

Full: Anas Garfaoui, Assistant City Manager, Live Oak; Charles Kreidler, City Manager, Aubrey; Grace Matlock, Interim City Manager, Jarrell; Melisa Milliorn, City Secretary/Assistant City Administrator, Grand Saline; Aaron Smith, Assistant City Manager, Odessa; Colby Waters, Assistant City Manager, Perryton 

Associate: Jon Barnes, Assistant to the City Manager, Amarillo; Brian Butscher, Director of Public Works, Sugar Land; Andrew Deavers, Director of Parks & Recreation/Assistant to the City Manager, Southside Place; Kelsee Jordan Lee, Economic Development Director, Cibolo; Gumaro Martinez, Executive Director Parks and Leisure Serves, Waxahachie; Juan Olaguibel, Superintendent of Bridges, McAllen

Cooperating: Erika Martinez, Assistant Director of Operations, Laredo

Tom Muelenbeck Scholarship

TM Scholarship

TCMA is accepting applications for the 2023 Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship. This $2,500 scholarship is available to a Texas City Management Association member’s dependent child who is a high school graduating senior and has been accepted to a Texas college or university.

The deadline to apply is April 7.  To learn more and apply, click Tom Muehlenbeck Scholarship

ethics corner

Last month, Caitlin Biggs, Little Elm director of administrative services/towns, introduced the complex topic of gifts and ethical issues associated with receiving such gifts. This month’s perspective focuses on whether or not to accept gifts even if they fall under the organization’s threshold. 

The holiday season can bring many gifts from citizens, vendors, and external agencies. Some of these gifts might be directly given to the organization as a whole to share amongst employees and other gifts might be directly addressed to a specific individual in a department.

Carol works as a customer service representative at the utility billing front desk, and she interacts with the public on a regular basis where many people are friendly. During the holiday season, multiple gifts are delivered and addressed to Carol from citizens and businesses who thank her for her help and exceptional customer service throughout the year. The gifts range from a box of chocolates to free hockey tickets. Carol is unsure of how to handle this situation and researches her organization’s policy on gift acceptance which states the thresholds for accepting gifts. Carol meets with her supervisor to report the gifts and seek further guidance. It was determined that the gifts meet the organization’s threshold and Carol decides to keep the gifts. 

Although it was determined that the gifts complied, should Carol have accepted the gifts? Could some of the citizens and businesses be trying to win favor with Carol for special treatment in the future as related to their utility billing or were the gifts simply acts of appreciation for the employee?

Regardless of how the gift is intended, it is important for organizations to instill and uphold policies pertaining to the acceptance of gifts. These policies indicate the organization’s threshold for accepting gifts and set the official, objective parameters that should be followed by the team.   

Part of this policy might specify that if a person presents a gift to a city employee as a reward for service or as an act of expressing appreciation, then the employee shall report the gift to their supervisor and the city manager.

Sometimes a gift may be of low value, or it may be difficult to assess the value. Other times, a small gift may be regularly given by an individual, business, or external agency. Managers and employees should be aware of this and assess the intent of the gifts as they may be intended to gain favor. 

An organization should take into consideration these types of scenarios and specify the process and reporting of gifts. These types of policies provide guidance to employees on how to comply with the acceptance of gifts and avoid issues such as bribery or conflict of interest. 

The Penal Code defines prohibitive acts and punishments related to gifts and bribery. Section 36.10 of the Penal Code provides a list of exceptions to gifts to public officials and employees such as: 

  • An item that has a value of less than $50 (excluding cash or a negotiable instrument);
  • A gift given by a person with whom the official or employee has a familial, personal, business, or professional relationship that is independent of the official or employee’s status or work; and
  • Any benefit that the official or employee is entitled to receive by law or for which the person has performed a duty independent of the person’s status as a public servant. 

City managers should develop sound gift acceptance policies to ensure employees and the organization complies with the law as well as encouraging ethical behavior.

The TCMA Code of Ethics, particularly Tenet 3 as it relates to this topic, should influence judgment and decision making in consideration of gift acceptance. Tenet 3 focuses on demonstrating the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity to merit trust and respect. The act of accepting gifts can be a slippery slope even when gifts are within the organization’s threshold. It’s important to maintain high ethical standards and report questionable gifts to avoid issues of influential decision making, favoritism, bribery, or conflicts of interest. 

(Article submitted by Kent Souriyasak, Assistant City Manager, Lucas)

Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic 

2023 TCMA Clinic_FINAL_website 1000x300

Join us in Granbury for this Annual Event!

The Texas City Management Association (TCMA) Courtney Sharp   
City Management Clinic 

Topics include:

  • Animals in Disasters: How the Texas A&M VET Can Help
  • Leadership Leverage: Maximizing Your Leadership Impact 
  • Resilient Leadership: Navigating Stress and Increasing Mental Toughness 
  • Parents as Managers
  • Public/Private Partnerships
  • Legislative Update

Read all about the Clinic and register today at City Management Clinic.

mental health and wellbeing webinar

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Register Today for Part Four of the TCMA Mental Health and Wellbeing Webinar Series!

How to Become More Resilient During Challenging Times

 Friday, February 17. 2023, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

During these unprecedented times, employees face many stressful challenges. Increasing our resilience can be a key strategy to successfully coping with and managing the stress and pressure. This session will discuss several approaches that can help individuals to increase their resilience and maintain their health and daily effectiveness.

To register, please click here.

Previous Mental Health and Wellbeing Webinars can be found here.

tcma educational EVENTS

Courtney Sharp City Management Clinic
February 23-24, 2023

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

TCMA Podcast  
Perspectives on City Management  
Listen to episodes here.

TCMA Webinar Series: Maximizing Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

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

Memos on Meetings

The Membership Committee met on January 13. The Committee is scheduled to meet on March 23-24 in Mesquite.

The TCMA Allies Committee met on January 18. Meeting minutes are available here. The Committee is scheduled to meet on March 15 by video conference.

The 100 Year TCMA Celebration Task Force met on January 31.

The Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet on February 9 by video conference.

The Public Policy Task Force meets every Thursday via video conference.

The Advocacy Committee is scheduled to meet on March 2 by video conference.

The Board is scheduled to meet on April 21 in Deer Park.

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.