Council Member Tennell Atkins was re-elected to a one-year term as mayor pro tem, edging out Council Member Adam Bazaldua in an 8-7 vote on Wednesday.

“I just want to remind my colleagues when we had the initial discussion to move this to a one-year from a two-year term, the idea was to give everyone the chance who wanted it at leadership at some time during their service to the City,” Council Member Jaynie Schultz (District 11) said. “I just wanted to call that out.”

Dallas City Council made the change in June 2023 “to provide uniformity, transparency, and clarity,” documents show. “The City Council required a ballot procedure for nomination and election of Mayor Pro Tem and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem and approved that the Mayor Pro Tem and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem would be elected for one-year terms.”

The election process requires no motions, but council members were allowed to remove themselves from the nomination ballot. They did that on Wednesday, except for Atkins (District 8) and Bazaldua (District 7).

“I think it’s very important that we explain to the public what is going on,” Council Member Carolyn King Arnold (District 4) said. “Traditionally, we’ve had in the past the two-year term so that member would be able to serve. … I voted against that item because I believe we need to speak to leadership and not just the popularity and not just what I want to do. It is about the City of Dallas and service.”

Bazaldua said nominating himself for mayor pro tem was not a reflection of Atkins’ service.

“I want to make it very clear that me running has nothing to do with the job performance of our current mayor pro tem, nor did me supporting the change of one year have anything to do with anyone’s performance. But I do want to make that very clear because I put my name in the hat with a colleague of mine who is currently serving. And that’s not in any way a mark on the leadership or the role that I’ve seen be placed as mayor pro tem over the past year,” Bazaldua claimed.

Under Texas law, the mayor pro tem presides over council meetings in the mayor’s absence and performs the mayor’s duties if he “fails, is unable, or refuses to act.”

“First, I want to thank all of my colleagues for electing me for mayor pro tem,” Atkins said. “We have a great team. … I respect everyone on this council.”