2018-2019 Nomination Slate

Texas Municipal Human Resources Association’s
2018-2019 Nominations and Elections

The TMHRA Nominating Committee and Board of Directors recommend ten individuals for five trustee positions and one individual for the secretary-treasurer position for the term beginning October 1, 2018.  The Nominating Committee and Board of Directors also recommend one individual for the TML Board representative for the term beginning October 12, 2018.  Our goal is to provide a diverse list of nominees representing different regions, city populations, and civil service status so that the organization can best serve our membership across the state.

Consistent with the TMHRA Constitution, the ballot is open to the voting membership by email from May 18 to June 18, 2018, 5:00 p.m. 


 Texas Municipal Human Resources Association’s
2018 – 2019 Candidates Nominated for Office


Paula Kutchka, Sugar Land, Region 14 (Houston area), pop. 117,869



Tadd PhillipsIncumbent, Georgetown, Region 10 (Austin area), pop. 67,140 – Civil Service

Vote for five (5) from the following ten (10)

Candidate for Trustee Picture City TML Region; Area Population Civil Service?
Shanté Jordan-Akafia
  Plano 13 (Dallas area) 277,720 Y
Larissa Rodriguez
  Uvalde 07 (San Antonio area) 16,540 N
Lindsey Cox   Schertz 07 (San Antonio area) 39,453 N
Christina Flores


  McAllen 12 (Rio Grande Valley) 142,212 Y
Craig Barnes   Plano 13 (Dallas area) 277,720 Y
Carmen Williams   Webster 14 (Houston area) 11,116 N
Yesenia Garza


  Seabrook 14 (Houston area) 13,716 Y
Michelle Graham   Pearland 14 (Houston area) 113,570 Y
Jim Powell   Texarkana 15 (Tyler area) 37,679 Y
Holly Guidry


  Nederland 16 (Beaumont area) 17,587 N


Shanté Jordan-Akafia, IPMA-SCP, Director of Human Resources/Risk Management, City of Plano

Shanté has almost 20 years of municipal human resources experience with the City of Palm Bay, Florida, and several municipalities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, including DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Allen, and Rowlett.  Currently, Shanté serves as the Director of Human Resources and Civil Service for the City of Plano. Shanté is a Dallas native and has had a long-standing passion for local government administration dating back to high school where she attended the Magnet Center for Government, Law, and Law Enforcement in downtown Dallas.

This passion for local government administration led Shanté to receive a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Grambling State University and a master of public administration from the University of North Texas.

Shanté served as a trustee on the TMHRA Board of Directors from 2008 to 2012 and from 2016 to present.  During this time, she had the pleasure of chairing the conference programming, newsletter, and sponsorship committees.  In her free time, Shanté enjoys traveling, meditative coloring, listening to audio books, and spending time with her husband and their sons.

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Craig Barnes, Human Resources Strategic Solutions Manager, City of Plano

Craig was born and raised in Garland where he met and married his wife, best friend, and roller coaster partner of over 25 years.   They have been blessed with three beautiful, intelligent, and talented daughters ranging in age from 10 to 21.

Craig is a proud member of Team Plano where he serves as the human resources strategic solutions manager.  His responsibilities include leading organizational initiatives that are focused on improving the operational effectiveness and efficiencies of human resources programs that impact the organization and customers.  Examples of these initiatives are the implementation of the City’s Talent Management Model tenets (Acquire Align Develop Retain); threading the organizational values which form the acronym SERVE (Stewardship Engaged Respectful Visionary Excellence) through employee engagement, performance, and recognition; and oversight of the Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

Before becoming a member of Team Plano, Craig had more than 17 years of service in the City of Garland Human Resources Department. His responsibilities included management of the citywide employee engagement program and intranet (COGnet), compensation, human resources project management, and various systems such as the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and the Human Resources Information System (HRIS). He previously served as the director of civil service and in many other human resources capacities, including risk management claims analyst and training coordinator. Prior to joining the City of Garland, Craig worked in the bank and insurance industries for 10 years.

Craig received his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University, holds an International Public Management Association – Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP) designation, and is currently enrolled in the University of Texas at Dallas Master of Public Administration (MPA) Certificate Program.  He is an active member of Dallas HR, the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), the Texas Municipal Human Resources Association (TMHRA), and the Texas Public Employer Labor Relations Association (TxPELRA).

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Lindsey Cox, Human Resources Manager, City of Schertz

Lindsey attended Texas State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in management with a concentration in human resources. Lindsey obtained her Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) designation in 2016 and is working to obtain her SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SCP) designation.  Lindsey worked in private sector human resources for five years prior to beginning her municipal service with the City of Schertz in 2017 as the human resources manager. Lindsey is responsible for oversight of personnel services, employee relations, and employee benefits. During her time with the City, Lindsey has helped implement new human resources management software to streamline recruitment, onboarding, and performance management.  Lindsey is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Texas Municipal Human Resources Association (TMHRA), and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR).

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Christina Flores, Director, Human Resources, McAllen

Christina was born in Camp Lejune, North Carolina, but grew up in the Rio Grande Valley. She has six years of experience in the field of human resources with a broad range of expertise including safety and risk management, worker’s compensation, employee benefits, and civil service. She served as the director of human resources and civil service for the City of Edinburg and was an assistant human resources director for the City of Brownsville prior to coming to McAllen.  She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor’s in business administration and a bachelor’s in psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration.

What she is most proud of, however, is being a wife and a mother of three boys.

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Yesenia Garza, Human Resources Director, City of Seabrook

Yesenia began her municipal human resources experience with the City of South Houston more than 20 years ago. She went on to enhance her experience with the City of Pearland and the City of Friendswood.  She is currently serving as the human resources/civil service director for the City of Seabrook.

She obtained her associate of arts in business administration and management from the University of Phoenix in 2013 and became a certified public manager from the University of Houston in 2015.

She is a member of the Texas Municipal Human Resources Association (TMHRA), the Texas Public Employer Labor Relations Association (TXPERLA), the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPERLA), the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IMPA-HR), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and the Texas Chapter of the Public Risk Management Association (TX-PRIMA).

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Michelle Graham, Director of Human Resources, City of Pearland

Michelle is an 18-year veteran of the City of Pearland.  She began her career at the City as a recreation center supervisor in January 2000 and held a variety of positions before being promoted as director of parks and recreation in April 2009. In July 2015, Michelle was asked to fill the interim vacancy for the human resources director and then in November 2015 officially transitioned to that role and was also appointed the civil service director.

Since coming to the human resources department, she has been on a quest to position the department as a strategic partner in the organization. With such a high percentage of the City’s budget going for personnel each year, Michelle is passionate about having the right people with the right systems in place to move toward becoming a high performing, continually evolving organization.

Michelle earned her bachelor of arts degree in communication from Sam Houston State University in 1995, and in 2000, she received a master’s degree in therapeutic recreation from Southern Connecticut University in New Haven, Connecticut.

In addition to her career, Michelle has served in many leadership roles in professional associations as well as non-profits. She is a member of the Texas Municipal Human Resources Association (TMHRA), the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), and Women Leading Government.

She is proud of departmental achievements, including the 2017 TMHRA Innovation Award, and individual awards over the years, but her second happiest day was when she married her best friend, Shelby, in April 2014 and her happiest day was in December 2008 when she became the proud mom of a very sweet, handsome, independent, and determined nine–year-old red head, Matthew.

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Holly Guidry, Human Resources Director, City of Nederland

Holly is a Southeast Texas native and attended Lamar University where she earned a bachelor of business administration in human resources management. Holly joined the City of Nederland as the court administrator in 2010 and has been the human resources director/civil service director since 2013.  She also serves as the assistant to the city manager for special projects.

Holly is responsible for managing all personnel related operations, benefits administration, and risk management. During her time with the City, she has developed a water/wastewater treatment operator trainee program to allow current employees the opportunity to work towards state licensing.  She also assisted in the City’s first salary and benefit survey in more than 20 years and established an employee wellness incentive program with plans to continue to expand the program in the future.

Working in a small city often presents unique challenges, and she strives to address issues directly for the betterment of Nederland.

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Jim Powell, Human Resources/Civil Service Director, City of Texarkana

Jim has been with the City of Texarkana more than 24 years. He served as the general services director for 19 of his 24 years. Jim graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of business administration in business administration and management.

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Larissa Rodriguez, Human Resource Manager, Uvalde

Larissa joined the City of Uvalde as an administrative assistant in 2010. Within six months of employment, she was appointed deputy city secretary in addition to her administrative duties. From June 2012 through February 2013, she served as the city secretary while still holding on to her administrative duties as well as assisting the human resources manager when needed. Due to structural changes within the administration department along with the hiring of additional staff, Larissa was promoted to human resources manager in February 2013.

As the sole human resources employee, she is responsible for recruiting, processing new hires, benefits administration, training, claims and risk management,  policy, and employee relations. During her tenure, she has implemented several improvements, including developing a peer interview process, implementing a healthy initiatives benefit and wellness fair, introducing a safety footwear incentive, and finding effective ways to educate staff about safety practices. Larissa’s goal is foster an environment that values diversity, employee inclusion, appreciation, and safety practices, while maintaining a dedicated focus on improving the overall well-being of the organization.

During her employment, she earned an associate of arts from Southwest Texas Junior College in 2014 and a bachelor of applied science with an emphasis in organizational leadership from Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College in 2016. She has four years of human resources experience.

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Carmen A. Williams, GPHR, SPHR, IPMA-SCP, SHRM-SCP, Director of Human Resources, City of Webster

Carmen currently serves as the director of human resources for the City of Webster. Carmen began her career in human resources more than 30 years ago with the City of New Orleans, Louisiana, Civil Service Department.  It was there that she developed her passion and commitment to the human resources profession.   She has the distinction and honor of serving as the City of Webster’s fourth director of human resources. Carmen was blessed to join the Webster management team in August 2016 under the wise guidance of City Manager Wayne J. Sabo.

Prior to joining the City of Webster, Carmen served as the personnel director for the City of Lake Jackson for more than 11 years beginning in 2004 and had the distinction of being the second  person to serve in that capacity.  She worked on several major projects from compensation to performance evaluations.  In March 2001, Carmen joined the Texas Department of Transportation’s Houston District Office and headed up their human resources office, which served more than 1,500 employees in several counties.

Carmen holds a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Because of her dedication to keeping abreast of current topics and trends in human resources, Carmen holds the following certifications: Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI),  International Public Management Association for Human Resources – Senior Certified Professional (IPMA-HR SCP), and the Society for Human Resources – Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Carmen has membership in several professional organizations, including the Texas Municipal Human Resources Association (TMHRA), the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), HR Houston, the New Orleans, Louisiana, Society for Human Resource Management (NOLA-SHRM), World at Work (WAW), and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA–HR).  Carmen joined TMHRA in 2005.  She had the honor of serving on last year’s TMHRA Nominating Committee.

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