Broadnax Gets a Golden Parachute To Land in Austin

T.C. Broadnax Jr. | Image by T.C. Broadnax/LinkedIn

In a unanimous vote on Thursday, Austin City Council members appointed T.C. Broadnax Jr., the outgoing Dallas City Manager, as Austin’s new city manager.

The decision comes just days after the Austin City Council Committee recommended Broadnax over the other finalist, Denton City Manager Sara Hensley, and less than two months after Broadnax submitted his resignation to the Dallas City Council, reported The Dallas Express.

“Certainly, I’m looking forward to working with T.C. Broadnax and excited for his leadership and the breadth and depth of the experience he brings with him to the City of Austin,” Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes said.

“I’m really excited about Mr. T.C. Broadnax joining us,” Austin City Council member Jose Vela added. “[He’s] probably the most qualified city manager candidate we have hired. I’m glad he’s coming to Austin.”

Although Broadnax’s last day with the City of Dallas is set for June 3, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said Broadnax’s first day as Austin’s city manager is scheduled for almost a month earlier.

“I will also point out to council and really to the public that the start date for Mr. Broadnax … is May 6,” Watson said.

It is unclear whether this means that Broadnax will be leaving the City of Dallas sooner than initially thought.

DX reached out to the City Council for clarification on the matter but has not received a response by time of publication.

“[It was] a very, very important decision — perhaps the most important decision — that we’ll make as a council,” Watson added. “I think that we’ll be very proud, and I think Mr. Broadnax will make us very proud when he comes on as city manager. Good job, everybody.”

According to his employment agreement with the City of Austin, Broadnax’s starting base salary is $470,017.60, nearly $50,000 more than his current salary in Dallas. He’ll also receive a $1,620.32 annual cellphone allowance, including a $225 cell phone equipment annual allowance, a $7,000 annual executive allowance, and a $5,000-per-month housing allowance for six months.

“It is very exciting that council has reached the decision to hire T.C. Broadnax as the next City Manager for the City of Austin,” Council Member Zohaib “Zo” Qadri told The Dallas Express in an email before the April 4 meeting.

“We had a rigorous and lengthy discussion among Council Members, where we ultimately decided that his breadth and depth of experience, coupled with positive feedback, put Mr. Broadnax over the top. I look forward to working with him as we approach Austin’s opportunities and tackle our city’s issues together in the future. I feel confident that his anticipated start date will allow him ample time to work with City Council on crafting our next budget,” Qadri added.

Austin Interim City Manager Jesus Garza called Broadnax “an outstanding selection.”

The Dallas Express contacted Austin City Council members multiple times before the April 4 meeting to ask for their comments about Broadnax’s selection, but Qadri was the sole respondent. However, other council members told the Austin American-Statesman in March how they felt about Broadnax as a then-candidate.

“I look forward to collaborating with the new city manager to shape Austin’s future in a way that reflects the aspirations and priorities of our residents,” said Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly.

Council Member Paige Ellis called the decision to pick Broadnax “tough,” the Statesman reported, adding, “I am eager to work with Mr. Broadnax to move our city toward a more resilient, inclusive, and equitable community for all. We are ready to accomplish great things for our community.”

Before the April 4 meeting, DX asked the Austin Chamber of Commerce to comment on Broadnax’s nomination but was told “[t]he Chamber can’t provide commentary on any position that’s voted on by city council or the public as part of our bylaws,” via email by Shannon Contreras, director of communications.

According to records obtained through a Texas Public Information Act request, Broadnax applied for the Austin city manager position on February 25 after seven years with the City of Dallas.

“I am excited to submit my resume for consideration for the position of City Manager for the City of Austin, TX,” Broadnax wrote in his cover letter to Mosaic Public Partners, a consulting firm.

“My professional work experience provides a solid local government management foundation, well-suited for the responsibilities and duties of this position. As the City Manager of the City of Dallas, TX, my skills, and abilities qualify me for this position and allow me to bring a unique perspective and proven record in city management, financial, and operational performance to support the Austin City Council’s goals for the next city manager,” Broadnax continued.

Broadnax also touted his work in police oversight, housing, homelessness, and public safety in his application.

“Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to deal with all facets of local government to develop transformative and innovative solutions to drive change,” he wrote. “Since my tenure with the City of Dallas, I have provided executive leadership and strategic direction to tackle the city’s urgent and complex problems with particular emphasis on public safety, housing and homelessness, transportation, economic development, and authentic community engagement.”

However, Dallas residents have become increasingly frustrated about the direction the City is headed, especially with public safety, homelessness, street maintenance, and vagrancy — some of the same issues that concern Austin residents.

In Austin, Broadnax will oversee a $5.5 billion budget and more than 16,000 employees — about 3,000 more than the City of Dallas. Austin’s population, however, of about 975,000, is smaller than Dallas’ population of around 1.3 million. Since Broadnax arrived in 2017, the City of Dallas’ budget has increased from $3.2 billion to $4.6 billion.

DX asked the Austin Police Association and Austin Firefighters Association for their response to Broadnax’s nomination after the Statesman reported those labor unions preferred Hensley over Broadnax. They did not respond to DX’s emails.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s spokesperson did not return a message from DX seeking comment by the time of publication.

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