Dallas Hires From the Outside, Names Tacoma City Manager as New City Hall Boss

The Dallas City Council on Friday broke a longstanding tradition of promoting a city manager from within, naming T.C. Broadnax as the new boss.The full council will officially vote on Wednesday whether to hire Broadnax, the city manager in Tacoma, Wash. He will become City Hall's top executive, crafting a $3.1 billion city budget, making major hiring decisions and overseeing day-to-day operations of more than 13,000 uniformed and civilian employees.The current city manager, A.C. Gonzalez, is retiring at the end of January. Gonzalez was paid a $400,000 salary.A majority of the council came into City Hall on Wednesday seemingly with two candidates in mind: Broadnax and Assistant City Manager Mark McDaniel. They came to the consensus after a two-hour meeting behind closed doors Friday morning. Some council members went into the interviews strongly favoring an outsider, any outsider -- even though McDaniel had only worked at City Hall for two years.Mayor Mike Rawlings thanked McDaniel in a written statement.Broadnax did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Friday. He spoke with The Dallas Morning News last week and when he and four other candidates met with with city employees and the public Tuesday during a two-hour meet-and-greet at Dallas City Hall. Broadnax said after meeting with council members that he found them to be "optimistic about finding a way to continue to move forward despite the dark clouds that hang over the city."He was referring to the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension System and police and fire pay referendum lawsuits ​that have created a financial crisis for City Hall. Taxpayers may be on the hook for billions in both.​Broadnax also said the council told him they were "looking for somebody that will move the needle across the functions and operations of local government.""They want a partner and a leader that won't necessarily put them on his or her back, but really kind of move and share with this community what people see on the outside - that Dallas is great ," he said. "We know on ​ the ground the issues. But how do we meet the needs ​?"He said he "felt inspired" by the city during his visit.​Broadnax said that if hired, he would come to Dallas before his start date and begin holding community meetings to see what citizens want and need, especially in the shadow of increasingly grim headlines.​"The fundamental things local governments do, we're not going to stop doing those things just because of​ pension issues," he said. "They will exist. It's not like we have till next week to figure it out. We've got to work at it. We've got to get people in the room to figure it out ​ -- where the credibility is, all the other issues around feeling good around what city government is doing."​The job will be a major step up for Broadnax. Tacoma is a city with about one-sixth the population of Dallas. The budget there is about $1.9 billion.But Broadnax worked for more than five years in San Antonio city government as an assistant city manager.San Jose, Calif., Human Resources Director Joe Angelo, who worked with Broadnax in San Antonio, said Broadnax has all the right attributes to be a great city manager."T.C.'s professional and technical experience is exceeded only by his genuine sense of others and his commitment to advancing the public good," Angelo said.Angelo regarded Broadnax as a mentor even though he didn't work directly for him."I just kind of observed him when he dealt with my peers," Angelo said. "They all really enjoyed his management style and his focus on getting results and his ability to work with multiple interests and bring them all together. "City columnist Robert Wilonsky contributed to this report. This story will be updated throughout the day.QUICK FACTS | T.C. BroadnaxAge: 47Education: Bachelors degrees from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. in 1991. Master's degree in public administration from the University of North Texas in 1993.Experience: Worked his way up through Pompano Beach, Fla., city government from 1996-2006. Joined San Antonio as an assistant city manager in 2006. Became city manager in Tacoma in 2012.  Continue reading...

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