Dallas Council Contracts City Manager Search Firm

Dallas City Hall | Image by D Guest Smith/Shutterstock
Dallas City Hall | Image by D Guest Smith/Shutterstock

On Wednesday, Dallas City Council members approved $66.8 million in taxpayer spending, including $134,374 to contract Baker Tilly to conduct the search for a new city manager.

“I just want to emphasize the priority I think that this body has taken [sic] on this process and what this is going to be for the future of our city,” Adam Bazaldua (District 7) said. “It’s a very important process [that should not be rushed more] than it needs to. I want to make sure that’s real clear. I look forward to participating in the discussions as we move forward through the process.”

The contract term is one year, with a one-year renewal option.

The council’s hiring of the Chicago-based firm comes just over two months after the Ad Hoc Administrative Affairs Committee set a timeline for soliciting and contracting a consultant. Danielle Thompson, director of the City’s Office of Procurement Services, said 15 companies submitted proposals and that the same council members who represent the committee scored and evaluated them.

“No city staff was part of the evaluation — with the exclusion of the Small Business Center,” Thompson said. “Outside of that, no city staff participated.”

Baker Tilly scored 83.92 out of a possible 100. Firms were awarded up to:

  • 55 points for experience, qualifications, and local and regional market knowledge.
  • 20 points for project understanding and method.
  • 15 points for business inclusion and development plan.
  • 10 points for cost and fee structure.

“We have a number of medium-to-larger-size chief executive officer recruitments in local government public sector,” Baker Tilly director Art Davis said. “We’re currently working on Amarillo. We’ve worked in the City of El Paso … [and] a number of cities all around the country. We’ve worked on city manager and larger executive recruitments for communities all over the country,” including Kansas City; Beaumont, Texas; Midland, Texas; Fulton County, Georgia; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After council members asked Davis to explain how the company describes or measures a successful search, another Baker Tilley director, Edward Williams, provided a blunt response.

“There is no perfect city manager, okay?” he said. “You may expect someone … that brings at least 85-90% of what you’re looking for and then give that person the opportunity to develop skills. We will not collectively be able to find someone … [who] is perfect for you.”

Nina Arias, Dallas’ director of human resources, said that although the contract term is one year, the typical search lasts six months.

But that “does not mean the engagement will last that long,” Thompson said. “Really, council leads and guides the firm on what [sic] and how you find a new city manager. But, again, city staff will not be part of that after today.”

Baker Tilly operates an office in Frisco.

After seven years as Dallas’ city manager, T.C. Broadnax left on May 2 to become Austin’s city manager. Former Deputy City Manager Kimberly Tolbert was named interim city manager on February 27 — six days after Broadnax resigned.

Other expenditures approved on Wednesday include:

  • $16,497,925 for a construction services contract with Austin Filter Systems for flood protection and storm-drainage relief improvements.
  • $13,877,983 for a construction services contract with SYB Construction Co. for the installation of storm-drainage improvements and water and wastewater main replacements at multiple locations.
  • $11,000,000 for development loan agreements with TX Tenison 2023 to develop the Tenison Lofts at Samuell Grand and with the Dallas Housing Finance Corporation to purchase and become the long-term ground lessor of the property.
  • $7,000,000 for a two-year master agreement with Consolidated Traffic Controls for the purchase of dynamic message signs and traffic signal materials.
  • $5,253,400 for a three-year service contract with Herc Rentals for emergency dewatering services during localized flood events.
  • $2,908,232 for a one-year cooperative purchasing agreement with GTS Technology Solutions for Department of Information and Technology Services support services.
  • $2,002,200 for a two-year master agreement with Hall Brothers for the purchase of materials for the Department of Public Works.
  • 1,940,945 for a three-year service-price agreement with Top Basketball Officials Association and Raymond Alford Jr. for sports officiating.
  • $1,031,965 for a three-year service-price agreement with Miller Pipeline Corp. for service and maintenance of water main pipeline joints.
  • $852,500 for a supplemental agreement with Stearns, Conrad and Schmidt for the operational management of McCommas Bluff Landfill.
  • $632,513 for a three-year service-price agreement with Vertosoft for a cloud-based asset-management software system.
  • $600,000 for two professional-services contracts with East Texas Testing Laboratory Inc. dba ETTL Engineers & Consultants Inc. and Alliance Geotechnical Group for construction materials-testing services during installation of capital improvement projects at water treatment and distribution facilities.
  • $529,637 for a three-year service-price agreement with Lone Star Railroad Contractors for the railroad spur track system’s repairs, maintenance, and inspections.
  • $500,000 for a supplemental agreement with Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell for additional legal services for airline gate leases at Dallas Love Field.
  • $415,000 for an amended contract with Dallas College for instructional services for police academy training.
  • $347,500 for a five-year cooperative purchasing agreement with DBT Transportation Services for air tower maintenance and repairs through an interlocal agreement with the City of Grand Prairie.
  • $324,905 for a supplemental agreement with Nathan D. Maier Consulting Engineers for bridge repair at Cedar Creek and the Dallas Zoo.
  • $217,228 for a construction services contract with Whirlix Design Inc. for the installation of playground equipment and an independent safety audit.
  • $200,000 for a supplemental agreement with Benzon Aviation Consulting to continue developing and implementing strategies for airline use and lease agreements at Dallas Love Field.
  • $200,000 for a one-year service contract with Sons of Solomon for the planning and production of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.
  • $184,000 for a three-year service contract with Callyo for an audio and video recording system for the Dallas Police Department.
  • $80,000 for a supplemental agreement with Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin for continued legal counsel, advice, and representation for Dallas Police Officer Esteban Montenegro in Bryan Riser v. Esteban Montenegro.
  • $29,844 for the acquisition of a drainage easement from Heather Heflin for about 675 square feet of land at 2424 Knight St.

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