Senior Advisors and the Wisdom of Solomon

King Solomon, a ruler of ancient Israel, was known to have been wise beyond his years, even as a young man.

Solomon was famously approached by two women who claimed to be the mother of a newborn. It was not possible to tell who the rightful mother of the child was. After hearing from each woman, Solomon ruled that the child should be cut in half. (I know this is rather barbaric, but keep in mind this was in ancient times and I promise you the story has a happy ending!)

After hearing the king’s judgment, one woman burst into tears and begged that the child be given to the other. Solomon immediately gave the child to the distraught mother…he knew that only the real mother would be willing to give up her child rather than see any harm done.

After six months in my dream job of serving as a city manager, I find myself in need of wisdom regularly. For the record, I haven’t yet been faced with any child custody disputes.

What is most difficult about our calling in city management is that there is no single right answer for every situation that arises in our communities. If there was a fool-proof manual on how to be the best and most effective manager ever, I assure you I would have read it a dozen times over. While such a miracle city management manual doesn’t exist (and if it does, don’t hold out on me!) we do have a tremendous resource in the wisdom of our senior advisors.

I became acquainted with the TCMA Senior Advisor Program through Bob Herchert, advisory director at Freese and Nichols. He introduced me to Bob Livingston. Bob was the first TCMA senior advisor and began serving in 2014.  A.C. Gonzalez, George Shackelford, and Greg Vick also serve as senior advisors.

Senior advisors are retired city managers whose career has been respected among their peers. Their counsel, experience, and support of those currently serving in the profession is available to active TCMA members with wisdom, support, and more than likely, a lunch visit. They will travel to or call upon anyone in Texas when requested.

The ability to eat lunch is one of my finer qualities…. Bob and Greg on several occasions took the time to meet with me for lunch and talk through challenges as a new city manager. They offered their wisdom and advice along the way, and continue to do so. This was especially appreciated as they helped me work through a process to select our next chief of police.

Please call upon your TCMA senior advisors. They stand ready to listen and to support you as we all seek to lead with the “Wisdom of Solomon” in our communities.

Thanks again Bob and Greg. I appreciate the wisdom you have shared. Lunch is on me next time!

(Article submitted by Gabe Reaume, city manager, City of Saginaw. To learn more about the Senior Advisor Program or to contact a senior advisor, visit