Reflections on Texas City Management

As a 45-year member of TCMA, I want to reflect upon what this great organization has meant to me, my career, and my family. In short, it has meant a lot. When I embarked upon a career in city management back in the 70s, city managers had not yet caught up with public school superintendents regarding employment contracts. I did not quite understand when Dr. John Thompson, my professor at the University of North Texas, advised me to bank one year’s salary as soon as possible when I was hired for my first job as a city manager. It didn’t take long to learn why. Since those days, employment contracts have evolved and have done much to alleviate one of the inherent challenges of the profession. Even with six to 12 months severance pay written into contracts, life in transition can be very uncertain and disruptive for a manager and his/her family. This is where TCMA comes in. In my long career in city management, I have moved around some and have spent more time in transition than I would have liked. Each time that I have found myself in that situation, members of TCMA have come to my aid with both encouragement and interim employment. I would like to take this opportunity to especially thank Barney Knight, Leo Wood, Steve Jones, Mike Conduff, Hugh Walker, Ricky Childers, Karen Daily, and Don Taylor.

Apart from help in transition, conferring and networking with my fellow TCMA members over the years has been an invaluable resource in professional development. Certain members have also provided aspiration and inspiration along the way. George Schrader and Marvin Townsend come to mind.

Although a city manager may be the only one in town, thanks to TCMA he/she is not alone.

(Article submitted by Ken Taylor, City Manager, City of Universal City. Ken will retire April 30. If you have interesting news or helpful topics to share, please submit them to Kim Pendergraft at Please keep the information to fewer than 750 words.)