Black History Spotlight on Anthony Snipes: First African-American City Manager of Missouri City, Texas

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Submitted by The City Government of Missouri City, TX

City Manager Anthony Snipes

On Dec. 1, 2016, City Manager Anthony Snipes celebrated his one year anniversary as Missouri City’s Chief Administrative Officer. Mr. Snipes was unanimously approved by City Council in December 2015 as the City’s first African-American City Manager, and during his first year, Missouri City has embarked on a journey to create and maintain a high performance organization.

This journey includes a two-pronged approach of (1) implementing a business planning strategy that guides strategic planning efforts and utilizes concrete measurements to demonstrate progress and (2) using a diagnostic/change model called the High Performance Organizational (HPO) framework to create a work culture based on the decisions and leadership of employees across all levels.  Here are three highlights of projects Mr. Snipes has spearheaded:

  • This year marks the first time that each department has engaged in a formalized business planning process. Business Plans track each department’s progress toward major initiatives that have been identified in the City’s Strategic Plan, Council Priorities, and Budget. Each initiative is accompanied by performance measures tracking progress, efficiency, and success. The process is overseen by our Chief Performance Officer Kathleen Weisenberger, who was hired in June 2016. She will report, bi-annually, on our progress toward Council identified initiatives.
  • The planning strategy also includes creation of Management Priorities to focus efforts and inspire development of the organization in those areas. The priorities include: Customer Service, Communication, Diversity, Open Government and Innovation, and Workforce Development. The taskforces have been created with members from various departments at all levels of the organization. These groups will provide recommendations to my office early next year.
  • In furtherance of implementing the HPO framework, the City relies on two employee groups – the Leadership Team and the Employee Engagement Group. These groups are tasked with evaluating far-reaching issues and actively searching for improvements to the organization. Thus far, the groups have produced refreshed strategic statements, including a Mission, Vision, and Credo statement, a Code of Ideals to guide employee interactions. The groups are also reviewing key policies and philosophies guiding City practices.

501(c)(3) Parks Foundation

As part of the City’s High Performance Organization (HPO) model, Mr. Snipes tasked staff with finding innovative ways to fund projects and programs. In 2016, one of these successful ventures was the newly created 501(c)(3) Missouri City Parks Foundation (MCPF), which is actively pursuing proposals and sponsorships focused on aiding Parks, Recreation Facilities, Trails, Special Events, Public Art, Education, Equipment, Scholarships, and Municipal Facilities.

To establish initial funding for the foundation, the Parks & Recreation Department collaborated with MCPF to host a range of signature events with community impact; they started in October, 2016 and will run through spring 2017. All ticket proceeds and net revenues from the events will go to support the foundation’s purpose and scope. In addition, MCPF Board members, along with many citizen volunteers, are gifting their time to collaborate with City staff to execute key fundraisers. In October, the individuals partnered for two successful activities: Community Night Out, which featured live musical performances, and Tricks and Treats in the Park, a family-friendly event that featured a Monster Mile Fun Run and a sweet treat trail.

City Budget

Beginning in the first week of January, Mr. Snipes, senior managers and outside financial advisors strategically tracked market trends and coordinated with City Council to earn the largest ever bond issuance by Missouri City and the City’s largest ever savings in any single transaction. On Feb. 23, 2016, the final approval was made by City staff to accept refunding with a net present value of savings of $8,568,934.64, at a true interest cost of $2.62 percent, and a par amount of $79,695,000. The gross savings (i.e. “real cash”) was $10,764,592 during the life of the bonds. The percentage savings of the refunded bonds was 10.75 percent, which is more than twice the typical amount on refundings.

Code Enforcement Changes

The Nuisance Abatement Team, consisting of members of Code Enforcement, the Police Department, Development Services, the City Manager’s Office, and the Legal Department, was formed by Mr. Snipes and has made steady progress throughout 2016. The committee is charged with developing the philosophy, processes, communications and means to measure the outcomes and reporting out on code enforcement initiatives. The group was formed in August and has brought forward the below recommendations.

The group recommended to and received a positive recommendation from the City Council Livable Community Sub-Committee to the full City Council the following code enforcement related items:

  • A resolution setting forth their code enforcement philosophy to provide Code Enforcement officers with flexibility to issue notices to appear in court for code violations based on officer’s training and experience.
  • An ordinance with the first of two readings which will allow peace officers or other employees whose duties include enforcement of city ordinances the ability to issue a notice to appear in municipal court to any person violating a city ordinance. This notice will require the person receiving the notice to appear in municipal court on the date indicated. Additionally, the person receiving the notice will provide personal identifiers such as name, address, date of birth and driver’s license. These identifiers will be utilized to secure a warrant for the arrest of persons who fail to appear as required by the notice.
  • An ordinance establishing graduated minimum penalties for various code violations. The ordinance, as recommended, provides for a minimum fine of $100 for a first conviction; $250 for the second conviction; and $500 for three or more convictions for Chapter 14 international code violations (i.e. Building Code) and environmental nuisances (i.e. high grass). The maximum fine amount that can be set for junked vehicle violations is $200 pursuant to state law. The committee recommended a minimum fine of $100 for a first conviction; $125 for the second conviction; and $150 for three or more convictions for Chapter 30 junked vehicle violations. The committee recommended for violation of solid waste receptacle placement. The following minimum fines for the offense are a minimum fine of $50 for a first conviction; $250 for the second conviction; and $500 for three or more convictions.

Looking forward to 2017: Legislative Agenda

At their Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, regular meeting, City Council Members authorized Mr. Snipes to negotiate and execute a $106,000 contract with Greenberg Traurig for state legislative consulting services. After discussion by the City Council at a special meeting related to the potential items on the upcoming legislative session, the City decided to pursue hiring a legislative consultant to represent its interests; staff has identified a number of significant legislative measures that would potentially affect and limit the City’s ability to respond to resident needs if enacted. At the Special Meeting on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, City Council will meet the legislative consultant to discuss the proposed state legislature and identify any measures that would have a direct impact on Missouri City and what plans of action Council will take in 2017 to address and express their opinions on said measures.

Approval and implementation of the Comprehensive Plan

Missouri City’s Comprehensive Plan is a vision document that establishes the development priorities during the next 20+ years. The Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC), a Council-appointed group of residents, and consultant Freese & Nichols identified four corridors for development proposals and research:

  1. Texas Parkway
  2. Cartwright Road
  3. FM 1092
  4. Fort Bend Parkway

Updates are currently being shared on the Comprehensive Plan’s website, www.showmecity.com; a final plan will be reviewed and approved by Council in 2017. The 2017 schedule of presentations are:

  • Feb. 8: The final report will be given to the Planning and Zoning Commission; this meeting will be a public hearing
  • March 6: A public hearing at the regular City Council meeting and the first reading of the ordinance will be held
  • March 20: The second and final reading of the ordinance will be held at the regular City Council meeting

Continued focus on City marketing and branding

In 2017, Mr. Snipes, under the direction of City Council, will focus on the continuation of rebranding the City Hall complex as a premiere events and entertainment venue through oversight and continuance of already approved items:

  • The implementation of the Facilities Master Plan; at their Aug. 15, 2016 regular City Council meeting, Council authorized the City Manager to execute a $186,000 contract with Huitt-Zollars, Inc. to provide professional services for architectural and engineering for the development of a city-wide facilities master plan.
  • The implementation of Phase II of the Community Center renovation; Phase I interior upgrades to the complex were completed in 2016. The facility is open to rental for the public and will expand in 2017 to host events such as the Dad & Daughter Dance and new programming. Proposed future renovations include the development of a Veterans’ Memorial, an amphitheater, courtyard seating and playground equipment. These renovations will coincide with the completion of the new Houston Community College campus across the street from City Hall and the future expansion of the Missouri City Library, which will include a three-story addition and walkways between the three buildings.
  • Host the City’s inaugural MCTX Fest on April 8, 2017, at the City Hall Complex. Expanding on the success of the Oct. 1, 2016, Community Night Out event (which will again be held in 2017), this festival will highlight music, art, and food into one day-long festival.
  • A tourism center and new marketing specialist will be created in 2017 to focus on implementation of the City’s Hotel-Motel Tax funds and attracting regional, state, national and international tourist opportunities and partnerships to Missouri City.

A veteran municipal manager, Mr. Snipes has served in cities, including Macon, Georgia, Dayton, Ohio, Tallahassee, Florida, and Fort Worth and Austin, Texas.

Snipes with MR. D-MARS receiving his 2016 d-mars.com Top P&E Trailblazer Award.

His career has taken him through stints in local, state, federal and non-profit entities; providing him experience and expertise in a diversity of disciplines. An administrator who thrives on identifying opportunities with a focus on outcomes, Mr. Snipes’ journey has taught him to place the welfare of citizens above personal, professional, and political motives.  As he states often, “No other profession touches the day-to-day lives of people more so than public service.”

Mr. Snipes is also a 20+ year member of ICMA, which promotes the highest standards of ethical conduct. Outside of his role as City manager, Mr. Snipes has chaired for the past five years the Bowl for a Cause event, which has raised over $70,000 to benefit agencies like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.

Additionally, he created and has chaired for the last eight years in Fort Worth, Austin, and now in the Houston region, the Public Administration Day program which showcases city government to students in grades 11 and 12 to the public sector arena.

Mr. Snipes serves as the national 2nd Vice President on the Board of Directors for NFBPA. In that role, he serves as the advisor for three Texas chapters (Central Texas, North Texas, and Houston).  And, he mentors over 10 mentees in a number of cities throughout the state.

For more information, please visit www.missouricitytx.gov.

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