Finalists Compete to Replace Retiring Dallas City Manager

Five candidates interviewed Tuesday

Five finalists for the job of Dallas city manager shuttled between private interviews with City Council members Tuesday afternoon and meetings with citizens Tuesday evening.

It's part of the process to replace retiring City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, who announced in May that he would step down in January.

The City Council could take action as soon as Friday to select a winner or again narrow the field, which began with more than 100 applicants.

Dallas leaders have big expectations for a new chief executive who will face major finance and infrastructure problems.

But Dallas is also one of the nation's largest cities with a city manager form of government, and Gonzalez was paid $400,000 a year. It is a plum job.

Dallas City Council members have scheduled a Friday morning meeting for possible action on a replacement.

Here is background of the five finalists along with comments about them from their hometown press:

  • T.C. Broadnax is city manager of Tacoma, Washington, a port city with population of about 200,000 people and 2,200 employees. A Dec. 5 article in the Tacoma News Tribune said Broadnax should have a legitimate shot at the Dallas job. "T.C.'s annual performance reviews come off like Hallmark cards, with City Council members seemingly trying to outdo one another in effusive praise. Critiques are minimal," the paper said.
  • Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley is a San Antonio consultant who recently left the city owned electric company after previous experience as a San Antonio assistant city manager. San Antonio Woman Magazine published at 2015 article with the headline, "Jelynne LeBlanc-Burley: Ready For the Future." "…she has been implementing customer-focused policies that utilize both technological and human resources to improve service, help people in need, conserve energy and look to the future," the article said.
  • Jim Twombly has been Tulsa city manager since 2009. The city has population of about 400,000 with 3,600 employees. An Oct. 19 Tulsa World newspaper article said new Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum is planning to change managers, but the new mayor had praise for Twombly. "Jim (Twombly) is an incredibly sharp guy," Bynum said. "I think he's just been a great asset to the city. … Wherever he ends up, Jim is going to be a great asset."
  • For about a year, Maura Black Sullivan has been chief executive officer of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the smallest finalist city with a 2010 population of about 173,000. She served previously as interim executive director of the Memphis Housing Authority. A Dec. 15, 2015, article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted Mayor Andy Berke praising the new CEO. "Not only does Maura have decades of experience in Municipal Government, she has a passion for service," the article said.
  • The one insider among the finalists is Assistant Dallas City Manager Mark McDaniel. He served as Tyler city manager before coming to Dallas in 2014. A Nov. 29 D Magazine Front Burner blog article about the finalists suggested McDaniel's short time in Dallas might be an advantage. "He's an insider-y outsider… …Odds he'll be hired: bet the house," the article said.

Several Dallas City Council members have said they strongly favor an outsider for Dallas city manager now.

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