Friday, February 17

Session topics and times are subject to change without notice.

 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Registration and Information
 7:30–9:15 a.m.


Roundtable Breakfasts (ticketed event)
Join in the fun at these informal interactive discussions on issues you want to address with your peers from similar sized cities. You will leave these discussions with ideas to implement and new friends who share similar interests.

  • Small Cities: Under 10,000 population
  • Medium Cities: 10,000–50,000 population
  • Large Cities: Over 50,000 population
 9:15–9:30 a.m. Refreshment Break
 9:30–10:30 a.m.




General Session
Leadership: When “It” Hits the Fan

Gerard Braud, Crisis Communications Expert
As a city leader, you have no margin of error when it comes to leading your city through a crisis. The secret to success is to prepare on a sunny day for effective communications on those darker days. In this thought-provoking keynote, crisis communications expert Gerard Braud will teach you how to master being your best in crisis situations and be the leader whom others want to follow. You will:

  • Learn to spot dangers before they are dangers
  • Break the cycle of decision paralysis and second-guessing
  • Discover the communications skills you need to succeed
  • Unlock the truth about social media and employees during a crisis  
 10:30–10:45 a.m. Refreshment Break
 10:45–11:45 a.m. Concurrent Sessions
  • Build a Culture of Engagement in Your Community
    TML President Mary M. Dennis, CMO, Mayor, City of Live Oak; Laura Hill, Mayor, City of Southlake; and Ron Cisneros, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Boerne
    Engaging the public in decision-making leads creates community-wide ownership of your city’s future. Texas cities are leading the way in developing innovative citizen engagement methods that involve citizens in creating policies and programs that represent their interests and build strong communities. In this session, you’ll hear from mayors in three different-sized Texas cities on how they are building a culture of engagement in their communities.
  • Lessons from Ferguson: What Every Elected City Official Needs to Know
    Ryan Turner,
    General Counsel and Director of Education, Texas Municipal Courts Education Center
    In response to the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson and the subsequent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, the United States Department of Justice conducted an investigation into the policing practices of the Ferguson Police Department, and announced in 2015 that the Ferguson Police Department had engaged in misconduct against the citizens of Ferguson by discriminating against African-Americans and applying racial stereotypes in a “pattern or practice of unlawful conduct.” The Justice Department’s report also detailed practices in the municipal court that imposed substantial and unnecessary barriers to defendants that eroded community trust and contributed to making policing less effective. As the City works to rebuild, the Justice Department’s  report provides insights that may prevent other cities from experiencing similar tragedies.Attend this session to learn about:
    *  how the Ferguson Municipal Court practices harmed the City of Ferguson;
    *  the safeguards in Texas law designed to prevent similar abuses of power; and
    *  the consequences and reforms stemming from the Ferguson tragedy.
  • City to City Success Stories: Community Identity and Sense of Place
    Anne Culver, Executive Vice President, Scenic Texas; Paul Stevens, City Manager, City of Waxahachie;  Erin Smith, Planning Director, City of Belton
    Explore the value of community identity and sense of place as a means to drive economic development and civic pride.  In this panel presentation, representatives from various Texas cities will discuss the steps they have taken, the programs they have put in place, and the tangible benefits derived from focusing on community identity and sense of place.

11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Networking Lunch (ticketed event)
 1:00–2:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  • Effective Code Enforcement for Nuisance Properties
    Janet M. Spugnardi, Deputy City Attorney, City of Irving
    This presentation will examine the wide array of legal tools available in the State of Texas to achieve compliance on nuisance properties, and discuss enforcement strategies that can be utilized by code departments working in conjunction with their city attorneys.
  • Annexation: What’s at Stake
    Scott Houston, General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director, Texas Municipal League
    Texas cities are among the fastest growing in the country. The state demographer projected the state’s population will double by 2050, which would mean 25 million more people living in Texas. Because new growth to support the influx takes place around urban areas, cities will have to deal with the challenges of providing quality of life, safety, and services to those who move here.  It’s important that cities retain their authority to deal with growth just outside the city limits. Balancing the need for sustainable development with property rights is the goal. In this session, you’ll learn why annexation is vital to the state’s economy and to the health and prosperity of cities.  You’ll also hear about the legislative challenges that cities are facing from those who wish to curtail it. 
  • Engaging Youth in Your Community
    Kristy Cole
    , City Secretary, City of Rockwall; and Beth Dattomo, Program Manager, City of Garland
    The youth in a community are often times the voice that government is missing.  Giving young people a chance to interact with local leaders and work in their communities to advocate for their peers, is vital to the success of today’s cities.  The cities of Garland and Rockwall both have youth councils in place that effectively bridge the gap between local government leaders and youth leaders.  During this session, you will learn what it takes to start your own youth council and learn about best practices and the hurdles you may need to overcome.
2:00–3:00 p.m. Concurrent Sessions
  • Municipal Revenue and Economic Development
    Bill Longley, Legislative Counsel, Texas Municipal League
    Attend this session for a primer on the major sources of revenue for cities, a discussion of the lesser-known sources of revenue that can be pursued by the city council, and insight on the economic development tools that can broaden your city’s tax base to increase municipal revenue.
  • City Hall Goes Social
    Beth Van Duyne
    , Mayor, City of Irving;
    Jay Warren, CPC, Marketing Communications Manager, City of Arlington;  and Heather Lockhart, Assistant General Counsel, Texas Municipal League
    Social Media, when used effectively, can help city officials streamline communications with constituents and engage in a more personal way. Hear how some creative Texas cities are using social media to increase transparency, foster citizen engagement, and build their brand and reputation. TML legal staff will also discuss how to mitigate the potential risks associated with an open online dialogue and ensure legal compliance.
  • Properly Run Council Meetings
    Mary Kayser, City Secretary, City of Fort Worth
    Learn proper use of Robert’s Rules of Order in a real-world situation through a mock city council meeting. 
3:00–3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:15–4:15 p.m.



General Session
Rapid-Fire Learning:  Ideas that Work
In this valuable session, TML 2016 Municipal Excellence Award winners will present their innovative programs that worked to solve an issue in their cities. Many of these programs can be adapted for your city.

Dustin McAfee, Community Development Director, City of Sachse; Tristan Cisco, Water Education Coordinator, Public Works, Town of Prosper; Trevor Minyard, Senior Financial Analyst, City of McKinney; Edward Broussard, City Manager, City of Tyler; Stephanie Franklin, Managing Director of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Services, City of Tyler


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