Angel Jones, who became Missouri City’s 10th city manager in December 2022, said she aims to bring stability after being the fourth person to serve in the role in three years.

Jones said she originally didn’t have Texas on her radar after being terminated in May 2022 from her previous city manager role in Portsmouth, Virginia, where she claims she took a stand to protect employees from elected officials who “had an agenda.” After Missouri City City Council unanimously approved her hiring, however, she said she knew Missouri City was the right fit for her.

Before Portsmouth, Jones was city manager in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and city manager pro tem in Eugene, Oregon. She also served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a finance captain and equal opportunity officer for 14 years and as a senior consultant for federal programs, including U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What are you most proud of accomplishing since becoming city manager?

What I'm most proud of is the accomplishments we made as a team. The Council has been very supportive and, most of the time, we've had 7-0 votes on the items that go before them. There is definitely unity among the elected officials and the leadership regarding staff being valued and ensuring that we are competitive in our wages. ... I'm humbled by the fact that I have a seat at the table and, in doing that, I want to represent those that don't have a voice. ...

We have competitive wages. When I arrived ... I was frequently going around to different buildings and meeting with staff trying to identify what the issues were. ... When I went to [the] police, the main thing I got was [that] the city doesn't value us and we have people that are leaving and we can't stay here because our wages are so low, and that's a sign of lack of value. ... Now [the fire department] is fully staffed. There were a number of vacancies in the fire department, [and] ... we had 31 [vacancies] at the highest level for police, [and] I think now we're down to like 15. The whole morale, the whole atmosphere has changed, and not only for civil service, but noncivil service employees. ...

We've done so much in such a small amount of time. I reorganized [Missouri City departments] and created a neighborhood services department that's responsive to code enforcement issues and ensuring that we maintain those standards that help us to signal that we're a safe community [and] that we are a vibrant community.

The city was already taking steps on celebrating this diversity, and so that's one of the things that I found attractive in coming here. So we've just continued to do that because this is a very diverse city, and we want to recognize and ensure that everyone feels included in whatever we do.

What are some of the biggest challenges Missouri City is facing?

Of course, this is an employee's market, [and] we're a service organization, so maintaining, hiring [and] recruiting qualified employees is going to be a constant challenge. ... We see a lot of employees have choices, and ... what we can offer is definitely one of those things that's going to help whether they decide to come to us or not. The bidding wars between jurisdictions is a serious challenge; I've never seen this type of competitiveness among jurisdictions trying to recruit staff from one to another. ...

The other challenge I would say here is, [with] the fact that we're growing so fast and we're moving from a bedroom community to a thriving urban area, managing that growth in a smart way. Dealing with traffic congestion, dealing with the road improvements and infrastructure, all of that is going to be one [thing] that we really have to look at and ensure that we're managing that in a way that we don't lose the small comforts of the small city [as] we move into the midsize city, but we do it using smart goals.

What are some of your goals this year in your role?

Ensuring competitive wages to create a high-performing organization, a high-performing team. You [have to] have people that are the best and the brightest, and you have to be able to retain them. So that's one, and continuing to fill the vacancies that we have and ensuring we get the right people on the team that's going to move us forward. Another one of the goals is looking at our comprehensive plan, updating that [and] ensuring that we set the framework for how we want the city to look 20 years from now. ...

How do we diversify our revenue stream to take pressure off of our property owners and create a mix of revenues to help us be able to provide the services we need to provide? So whether it's grants, whether it's sales taxes—property taxes is, of course, the primary—but to the extent that we can consolidate, use technology, cut our expenses, look for different revenue streams, then I think that will be our goal to continue to try to diversify.

You have been referred to as a trailblazer since starting in this position. What have you done to make that happen?

I'm just humbled by that. I really am just surprised. ... The only way that I can say that I do it is just [that] I'm committed. I see this as the purpose for me; this is my calling. I don't see it as work, and I'm very passionate about what I do. I'm passionate about it because I see the difference [of] the decisions that we make in this organization, how it impacts people's quality of life—and I don't take that lightly given where I come from. To be in this position, I am very humbled [by the recognition].

I just do what I do, and I try to do the best I can do, and I'm sure staff probably says my standards are high and I have high expectations and all of that, but you have to set those standards. ... A lot of it is due to the fact that when [I] serve in these roles, I don't take it for granted. When I take an oath to God, then I'm going to serve and provide leadership in this organization. That means something to me. So every day, I get up and pray. How can I influence someone's life in a positive way, or have a meaningful accomplishment for that day? And that's what drives me. That's why people stop by my office and come in and chat and want to figure out what's going on and ask questions. And I'm totally open to that. Because again, this position is what I do, it's not who I am.

You’re Missouri City’s first woman city manager. How does it feel, and how are you breaking the barrier for women after you?

That's always an interesting question to me, because I guarantee none of my white male counterparts get that question about how you feel about being in this position, and 'what do you feel that that's going to do for those that follow?'

That is something that's always a weight on someone that is different that is coming in for the first time because there's always that tendency that, if you screw it up, you may close the door for anyone coming behind you that looks like you. That's a lot of weight, a lot of pressure to put on someone because you already have all the challenges that you're going to deal with, but then you add that on to it and state that you are the first ... and what does that mean? So, what I do with that is say it shouldn't matter if I'm female or male, if I'm of color or not. What you should look for is what is my product? What do I do? How do I convey what I can achieve? How do I accomplish what I achieved and did I make things better? By me being here, does it make things better? And are we moving forward versus not?

To that, I hope to think that when someone sees me in this position, what they see is someone who didn't go to an Ivy League school, that had a single parent, that had issues, that wasn't [from] a stable household, that was able to go and get a degree, that was able to be committed and go into the military and go and take positions that will enable me to build up my skill set. I volunteered for positions and tasks that I knew no one else wanted so that it will give me that experience, and hopefully someone will see that, if you work hard—if you can present yourself—it doesn't matter what you look like as long as you are prepared to do the work.