August 2023

TCMA Management Messenger

Texas Representation on the ICMA Executive Board
2023 ICMA Annual Conference Scholarships and Texas Reception
Management Transitions
New Members
New Member Applications
Meet Your Colleagues
Two Years After Retirement…Well, Kinda
“Sorry, America, Your Insurance Has Been Cancelled”
TCMA Code of Ethics
TCMA Mental Wellness Benefit
TCMA to Host Exhibit Booth at TML
TCMA Educational Events
Memos on Meetings

Texas Representation on the ICMA Executive Board

By virtue of the ICMA Mountain Plains Regional Nominating Agreement, Texas holds a permanent position as vice president for the Mountain Plains Region on the ICMA Executive Board. The term of service for this position is a three-year commitment to commence September 2024 and conclude September 2027.  

TCMA’s role in the nominations process is to provide two qualified candidates for consideration by the ICMA Regional Nominating Committee prior to the general membership ICMA election held in spring 2024 (date to be determined). Criteria for candidacy: TCMA and ICMA full member (a chief administrative officer or an assistant or department head with full membership status) or a TCMA associate member who is also an ICMA affiliate member currently serving in an appointed position in local government, who has a minimum of five years of service to a local government and five years of membership in ICMA.

Expectations for service can be reviewed at Service Expectations. The TCMA approved petition, the schedule, and the “ICMA Mountain Plains Regional Nominating Committee Process for Identification and Selection” are available at Texas candidate for vice president of ICMA Mountain Plains Region

Please keep in mind the following TCMA timeline is slightly different than the ICMA timeline:

September 1, 2023

Notify TCMA members who are also ICMA members that nominations are being accepted for the Texas seat as the Mountain Plains region vice president on the ICMA Executive Board.

October 30, 2023, 5:00 p.m.

Petition deadline

Week of November 6, 2023

TCMA Executive Board endorsement

December 1, 2023

Statements for qualifications submitted to TML staff.

2023 ICMA Annual Conference Scholarships and Texas Reception

2023 ICMAThe ICMA Annual Conference is coming to Texas, and TCMA is a Conference Sponsor. Texas will welcome attendees during the Exhibit Hall Opening Reception on Sunday, October 1. 

Scholarship opportunities are available. The deadline is August 16. For more information, click ICMA Conference Scholarships

If you’re attending the Conference, please plan to attend the Annual Texas Reception on Monday, October 2, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Moonshine Grill, located at 303 Red River Street.

Management transitions

Brent Batla is the new city manager of the City of Keene.

John Beckmeyer is the new city manager of the City of Odessa.

Mayra Cantu is the new city administrator of the City of Bartlett.

Johnathan Flores is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Pharr.

Brian Funderburk retired as the city manager of the City of Rowlett on July 12. David Hall is the new city manager.

Frankie Davis is no longer the city manager of the City of Kermit. Mica Lunt is serving as the interim city manager.

Marie Garland is no longer the city administrator of the City of Meridian. Tiffany Gentry is serving as the interim city administrator.

Melissa Gonzalez is the new city manager of the City of Kenedy.

Tommy Gonzalez is the new city manager of the City of Midland.

George Huffman will retire as the city manager of the City of Archer, effective January 2024.

Janie Martinez is no longer the city manager of the City of Odem.

Keith Moore is serving as the interim city manager of the City of Glenn Heights.

Troy Meyer is the new town administrator for the Town of Copper Canyon. 

Dr. Brian Rowland is the new city manager of the City of Kirby.

Josh Selleck will no longer serve as the city manager of the City of Kilgore.

Aaron Smith is the new city administrator of the City of Kemah.

Gavino Sotelo is no longer the interim city manager of the City of San Benito. Ruth McGinnis is the interim city manager.

Derek Stephens is the new city administrator of the City of Tahoka.

New Members

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes the following new members approved by the Executive Committee on July 25, 2023.

Full: Timothy Crow, City Manager, Gonzales; Alonzo Echavarria-Garza, City Manager, Hearne 

Cooperating: Greg Shaw, Fulshear

Student: Kylie Brooks, Tarleton 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 July:

Full:  Darrell Kennon, City Manager, Vernon

Associate: Esther Williams, Assistant to the City Manager, DeSoto

Meet Your Colleagues

The TCMA Management Messenger welcomes Tobin Maples to his new position as the town administrator for the Town of Highland Park as of June 5. Prior to joining the Highland Park team, Tobin served as the city manager for the City of Fair Oaks Ranch. His years of public service with the cities of Fair Oaks Ranch, Argyle, Pearland, Wylie, Irving, Mansfield, Fort Worth, and Crowley; coupled with his private sector tenure within the engineering and land development industry, allows him to simultaneously manage from the local government administrator’s perspective and the private sector owner’s perspective.

Tobin received a Bachelor of Science in geography from Texas A&M University and graduate degrees in public administration and city and regional planning from The University of Texas in Arlington.  

Tobin and his wife, Heather who is a teacher, have been married 29 years and have three children. Their daughter is a graduate of The University of Texas and recently relocated to India to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology and social work. Their twin boys are energetically pursing their dreams, with one attending the University of North Texas and the other playing professional soccer in Sweden.

Two Years After Retirement….Well, Kinda

It has been nearly two years since I wrote my last article for the Management Messenger about my preparations for retirement. To catch everybody up, I retired as the city manager of Live Oak after 35 years of working for that super cool little city. I had a lot of plans: biking more, travelling, and walking on to the San Antonio Spurs. Not many of those things came to fruition. However, from my short time retired and the experiences I have had after that, I hope to share some lessons learned for those who are thinking about their post-retirement plans.

I don’t have any regrets about leaving Live Oak. If you are familiar with residency requirements, you understand the need to live in the city you manage and the difficulties or conflicts that can pose. In late 2021, I was planning my wedding to my soon-to-be wife, Diane, and considering how my residency requirement would fit into the mix. My wife lived in a more advantageous location in terms of proximity to downtown San Antonio with more things to do, so the decision to leave Live Oak was a life choice, and one that I was excited about. Though it was hard to say goodbye to a city I had been with for that long, I took the plunge into retirement in January 2022.

It is safe to say that I successfully retired for three months. That is about as much time as it took me to get married, sell my house, move my things, paint a garage or two, and settle into the idea that “every day is a Saturday.” I was sincerely enjoying the “not getting up early” and “not having too much to do” lifestyle. (Note that the statements in quotes are the things people who haven’t yet retired tell you what retirement will be like.) But after about three months, I could certainly tell there was something missing for me.

My first job after retirement, (unless you consider light home improvement a job) was running a non-profit foundation for economic development in a small, nearby city. What I learned from that experience was when you are considering a career shift or move somewhere new, it is important to make sure that the interests and vision that you have for yourself align with the organization or city you are going to. I worked for nine months and the “hard hitting” development attitude of the thriving, IH 35 corridor in Live Oak, did not translate to this small community at the foot of the Texas Hill Country. Most everyone there, most importantly the elected officials, were happy with things the way they were, and I often found myself frustrated with my work. I am grateful for the time I spent there and the personal growth I experienced in that position, but I knew that it was ultimately not the place for me to land.  

Some of my close friends reading this know that I was once a police officer. Leaving that profession full time in 2002, left me feeling that I “bailed” in pursuit of city management. City management is equally as noble a profession but probably not the “calling” that law enforcement is to most who have worn a badge. It has always been a desire of mine to one day return to that calling. So, 38 years after starting as a police officer, I gave it one more try. I will leave out many details, but I can tell you that as our bodies and most importantly our brains get older, they don’t have the same elasticity as they did when younger. Working shifts, especially night shifts, as I had done all those years ago, proved to be very demanding to my health. It came down to a doctor asking me, “What are you doing?” before it finally set in. Truth is, I had no idea what I was doing other than learning another valuable lesson. 

Retired city managers are often faced with the potential of working as consultants. I was approached by a couple of firms, all of which I chose not to pursue. However, there was one firm that I did agree to do some work for. Without mentioning any names, I’ll tell you that they are a large delinquent tax, fines, and fees firm that does work for most cities in Texas. Working with them was a wonderful experience. I really felt like I was valued. As they talked about the profession and changing laws and the potential for new program development to assist Texas cities, I felt like I had something to contribute. The best part for me was that I got to remain in contact with people in the city management profession. At the end of the day, I am so glad this opportunity found me, and I sincerely regard the people I worked with as family. However, it was a contract gig with no benefits and retirement, and taxes hit me hard at the end of the year. 

Finally, I discovered the opportunity to go back to work for another city that I had been acquainted with while serving on the northeast side of San Antonio. I interviewed for the executive director of the Economic Development Corporation for the City of Schertz, an awesome city that can best be described as “having all their ducks in a row.” The second interview was with Schertz’s new city manager Steve Williams, a tremendous visionary, and I was lucky enough to get the job. As I begin my journey working for this incredible medium-sized city, I think I have found where I was supposed to be all along.

The lessons learned that I hope that those who are reading this can take away are: 1) You may not actually be ready to retire yet, and that is okay. 2) Make sure your vision and values are aligned with the place you decide to work. 3) There are a lot of things to take into consideration when trying to go back and do something that you last started 38 years ago. 4) Work for those who truly make you feel like family. 5) And finally, there is always a great city or organization out there who will see your value and want to have you working with them.  It may take some time and isn’t always easy to see, but keep the faith and it will happen. 

If you have any questions or observations, I would enjoy hearing them. Contact me at or 210-380-5033.

(Article submitted by Scott Wayman, Executive Director, Economic Development Corporation, Schertz)

“Sorry, America, Your Insurance Has Been Cancelled”

This article is one of several to come, written by each of the seven current city managers who serve on the 18-Member TML Risk Pool Board of Trustees. 

TML Risk Pool

Last month, Randy Criswell wrote about the birth of the full service TML Risk Pool in 1981. I believe that – like Opal and Randy – one of my roles on the Pool’s Board of Trustees is to communicate our “why.” Our Pool was the first municipal pool in the United States, and it remains the largest. 1981 was a long time ago, and as the city managers on the Board today we feel compelled to share with you, our fellow managers, why the Risk Pool is still the best choice for cities.

By the mid-1980s, the TML Risk Pool was providing workers’ compensation, liability, and property coverage to almost 800 cities. The Texas Municipal League (TML) had created the Pool in 1974 and expanded coverage offerings in 1981, largely because the traditional insurance industry was unwilling to do so. 

In 1980, the United States prime rate rose to over 20 percent, and many insurers cut premiums to get as much business as they could to invest at that rate, while betting on fewer losses. But losses rose faster than their investment income, and then a few years later the prime rate dropped by more than half. The market came apart when losses exceeded investment income – many major liability insurers became insolvent. 

Then came 1986. A growing number of negligence lawsuits against public (and private) entities made liability insurance vital to protect taxpayers. But purchasing that insurance from traditional companies became very expensive, if they even offered it. Ironically – plaintiff’s lawyers, who insurance companies blamed for the crisis – couldn’t even get their own malpractice insurance. Similarly – insurance brokers, who were profiting from commissions on rising premiums – couldn’t afford their professional liability insurance.

According to TIME Magazine, some of the most prominent “horror stories” involved municipal services. To quote some examples:Risk Pool TIME

  • Police patrols in the towns of Piermont and Sloatsburg (in New York's suburban Rockland County) were suspended, with all 13 officers being told to sit at headquarters while the towns looked for a liability insurer to replace the old one, which was in receivership. 
  • Hartford, Connecticut, known as “the insurance capital of the world” because so many carriers headquarter there, saw its own municipal liability coverage slashed from $31 million in 1984-1985 to only $4 million in 1985-1986. That happened despite a 20 percent rise in total premiums to $1.8 million.
  • In 1985, the city council of Blue Island, Illinois (population 22,000) voted down a 30 percent increase in property taxes needed to pay skyrocketing liability premiums. The town was left with no choice but to self-insure, risking a large judgment that might force a tax increase anyway.  

Through it all, the Pool was there for its Members, avoiding the pain caused to commercial insurers by speculative investing. Moreover, TML supported legislation in 1987, as part of greater tort reform efforts, that amended the Texas Tort claims Act to protect cities with tort caps for most governmental functions.

Unlike the commercial insurance industry, which uses profits to measure success, the Pool provides coverages, services, and risk management tools with the goals of saving lives, preventing injuries, and protecting property. Put simply, the Pool is Member-owned, Member-governed, and Member-driven. This Member-first risk management philosophy ensures that, over time, the Pool offers the best value proposition for cities and the taxpayers who support them.  

(Article submitted by Chris Coffman, City Manager, City of Granbury; Past-President, Texas City Management Association; and Trustee, Place 8, TML Risk Pool Board of Trustees)

TCMA Code of ethics

On June 8, the TCMA Board approved updates to the TCMA Code of Ethics. They now reflect the ICMA Code of Ethics and include the most recent changes including new language for Tenet 1, and new language and guidelines for Tenets 4, 9, and 11. The view the current version please click TCMA Code of Ethics.

TCMA Mental wellness benefit

TCMA_Mental Wellness_email 800x220TCMA continues to promote mental health and wellbeing of our members. Just like caring for our physical health, mental wellness is also critical to overall health. The challenges of our profession can be draining, weigh heavy, and take a toll on mental health including added stress on families.

Through a partnership with Deer Oaks EAP Services, TCMA members have access to a variety of tools. The Deer Oaks EAP benefit covers three confidential, pre-paid, short-term counseling visits to members and their families.  These visits can be conducted in-person or electronically. Deer Oaks clinicians have considerable expertise and knowledge in the areas of stress, depression, anxiety, workplace difficulties, substance abuse, marital problems, family or parenting conflicts, grief, domestic violence, and unhealthy lifestyles. They are also well versed in helping clients of all ages and backgrounds. 

You can contact Deer Oaks at 888-993-7650 or visit the Deer Oaks website and log into the TCMA portal at The login and password are TCMA. You can also access services through the iConnectYou app in the Apple Store and Android Play Store with the code “231963.” Deer Oaks EAP is available when you need it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  

TCMA is committed to the health and well-being of its members and their families. We encourage you to take advantage of this added and important benefit. To learn more and to access on demand webinars, click TCMA Mental Wellness Assistance Program

TCMA to Host Exhibit Booth at TML


TCMA is excited to host an exhibit booth at the Texas Municipal League Annual Conference and Exhibition October 4-6, in Dallas. The booth will promote the Campaign for Professional and Ethics City Management. Encourage your elected officials to visit booth 1318 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 9:15-10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 5. The City of Mansfield, recipient of the 2023 TCMA City Council of the Year, will be showcased. They will present Problems Have Solutions; Predicaments Have Outcomes; Leaders Have a Plan Fueled by Data.

To register and learn more about the Conference, click here

tcma educational EVENTS

TCMA Podcast  
Perspectives on City Management  
Listen to episodes here.

Tex-ICMA Coaching Webinars 
(For more information and to register, click here)

High Performance Local Government: Creating a Culture of Higher Organizational Performance
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, September 7

Career Pathways to Move Up the Local Government Ladder
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, October 19
What to Do When Everything is Falling Apart: How to Reset
12:30-2:00 p.m., Thursday, November 16

Memos on Meetings

The City Managers of Tomorrow Committee met on July 26 by video conference. Meeting minutes are available here.

The Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet by video conference on August 10.

The Membership Committee is scheduled to meet by video conference on August 17.

The Professional Development Committee will meet on August 30-September 1, in South Padre Island.

The Advocacy Committee is scheduled to meet by video conference on September 7.

The Allies Committee is scheduled to meet by video conference on September 13.

The next Board meeting is September 22, 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 hereFor 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 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