TCMA Ethics Committee Annual Report

The following report is presented to the TCMA membership covering the period from June 2018 to May 2019.  The Ethics Committee and TML support staff have been quite busy this past year.

  1. Ethics complaints – Five complaints were deferred to ICMA. Two complaints are pending. One complaint resulted in a public censure, one resulted in a private censure, and another was cleared and the individual was advised on how to avoid situations that could rise to a violation in the future. The TCMA Board imposed the same for those ICMA members who are also TCMA members.For the year, TCMA had one TCMA investigation resulting in a member being denied the opportunity to rejoin TCMA. Eight non-member complaints were received but could not be investigated because they were not TCMA members.  However, two of those were denied TCMA membership because of their decision to run for public office while a practicing city manager or their intent to revoke their membership and then attempted to rejoin once the election was lost.  One withdrew an application for membership after becoming aware a member was going to oppose the membership for past actions as a city manager while not a member and a second was denied membership based on past actions.
  1. Ethics 202 Online Course. The online Ethics 202 (part 2) of the advanced online ethics series has completed the first round of edits. The final version should be available by Fall, 2019. Special thanks to Mesquite Managing Director of Community Services Valerie Bradley,  Pilot Point City Manager Alan Guard,  Frisco Deputy City Manager Henry Hill,  Mission City Manager Randy Perez,  Bryan Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker,  Pharr Deputy City Manager Ed Wylie,  and others who worked diligently worked to completed the second part.  Also, a special thanks to Kim Pendergraft with TML  for keeping us on task.  Ethics 202 is an interactive online course that covers Tenets 7-12 and the Rules for Enforcement. Ethics 201 (Part 1) was completed last year and is currently available. The course includes introductory material and Tenets 1-6.With the conclusion of Ethics 202, TCMA will have three online ethics courses: Ethics 101, which is an introduction to the TCMA Code of Ethics, and Ethics 201 and 202, which are advanced and more interactive training that includes case studies.
  1. TCMA Ethics Committee review of non-member violations. The Ethics Committee continues to explore and develop a course of action on how to respond when a non-member violates the Code.
  1. Updates to Tenet 4. The TCMA Board approved the recommendation by the Ethics Committee to accept ICMA’s changes to Tenet 4. The updates included moving the guideline for length of service to Tenet 3.
  1. Ethics Committee involvement with Student Membership. The City Managers of Tomorrow Committee reviewed various options to streamline the student membership application. Committee Chair and Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers and ICMA Mountain Plains Director Karen Daly developed and proposed a plan that would encourage students of colleges and universities to become members of TCMA and promote the city management profession. In addition to the ethics concern, the Board approved the following complete student membership requirements:
  • Student members are required to acknowledge they have reviewed the TCMA Code of Ethics.
  • Ethics training must be completed within one year to maintain their membership. Training can be completed through the online training course or training by a TCMA certified ethics trainer or the Manager in Residence.
  • Students are not required to adhere to Tenet 7.
  • Students are not required seek an endorsement from a sponsor (including the ethics review).
  • The membership fee for students is waived.
  1. TCMA represented in ICMA Ethics Webinar. Nicholas Finan, TCMA Ethics Committee chair and Texas City executive director of management services was invited to participate in the ICMA webinar titled “Know When to Say No.” ICMA Director of Ethics Martha Perego and MCMA Professional Conduct Committee Chair and Chisago, Minnesota, County Administrator Bruce Messelt also participated. It was stressed that ethics is not a member issue only, but should be a city organizational issue. The examples from Bellaire City Manager Paul Hofmann and Pflugerville City Manager Sereniah Breland were well received on how they encourage ethics, trust, selfless service, and integrity in their organizations. 
  1. TCMA Ethics Corner. The Ethics corner continues to be a monthly column in the Management Messenger. Several Ethics Committee members have submitted well received and timely articles  including John Dean, City Manager, Ovilla; Jim Dunaway, City Manager, Rusk; Steve Eggleston, City Manager, Andrews; Rolando Fernandez, Officer, Capital Contracting Office, Austin ; Adam Niolet, City Administrator, Hico; and Melissa Valadez-Cummings, Assistant City Manager, Cedar Hill. The Ethics Committee has relied on a talented editor Matt McCombs, former city manager and Jones Carter business development manager, who continues to ensure that each article is gender neutral, first person, and all article have as a single voice.  
  1. Goals for Next Year. The Ethics Committee will be recommending to the TCMA Board that the Committee explore and develop ideas for programs or encouragement for TCMA members to promote an organizational culture that includes ethics. The Ethics Committee is committed to completing the Ethics 202 online course, continuing the Ethics Corner with a new approach, conduct a train the trainer workshop for Certified TCMA ethics trainers, and complete its development on how to respond when a non-member violates the Code.   Finally, the Ethics Committee would hope to review and refine the Rules of Procedures for Enforcement.