Mayor Johnson: Broadnax Not Entitled to Severance

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson | Image by NBC DFW
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson | Image by NBC DFW

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he does not believe former City Manager T.C. Broadnax is entitled to severance pay because he was not fired.

“It’s clear the person wasn’t being asked to leave,” he said in an interview with CBS News Texas’ Eye on Politics. “The situation that we were dealing with is pretty straightforward. [Broadnax] wanted to leave and take another position, and [he] did. And that’s fine. … But do you have the right to walk out the door with half a million dollars [of] taxpayer money to do that? I wouldn’t have included the provision at all in the last city manager contract. … It wasn’t a termination.”

The Dallas Express reported in April that Broadnax, in a memo to City Attorney Tammy Palomino, identified the eight Dallas City Council members who suggested he resign.

“This memorandum is to advise you that per … my Agreement of Employment, I notified the City Council of my resignation from my position as City Manager on February 21, 2024, following suggestions that I resign by a majority of the City Council,” Broadnax wrote on April 8. “… For your awareness and in the interest of transparency, please find below the City Council members referred to above and the dates that the suggestion to resign was made.”

Four days earlier, on April 4, Broadnax was named Austin’s next city manager. DX reported that he applied for that position just days after he announced he would be leaving the City of Dallas and that the eight council members named in Broadnax’s memo — Chad West (District 1), Zarin Gracey (District 3), Paula Blackmon (District 9), Carolyn King Arnold (District 4), Gay Donnell Willis (District 13), Adam Bazaldua (District 7), Jaynie Schultz (District 11), and Jaime Resendez (District 5) — may have unlawfully orchestrated the resignation in private to facilitate his receipt of at least $423,000 in severance pay.

Broadnax’s first day on the job in Austin was May 6. His employment agreement provides for his receiving an annual salary of $470,017.60, in addition to a $1,620.32 yearly cellphone allowance, a $7,000 annual executive allowance, and a $5,000-per-month housing allowance for up to six months.

Johnson said during the CBS interview that he hopes Broadnax does not receive the severance pay, which is equal to his annual salary in Dallas.

“I think that’s a council decision, and I’m a member of the Dallas City Council,” Johnson said. “I would hope we would make the decision that this departure doesn’t qualify for severance [with] the way the provisions of the contract were designed. I feel like this is a situation where someone found a position in another city they wanted to take, and that’s not what the spirit of this provision is about. This is about being involuntarily separated from your employment, i.e., being fired and being compensated for that.”

Severance pay is a benefit commonly negotiated between prospective city managers and the city councils that hire them. Whatever happens with Broadnax’s severance pay, the next city manager of Dallas will likely not be offered such an extravagant perk.

“The most important thing … [is] we need to get that hire right,” Johnson said. “We need to get the right person in this position, and we need to make sure there’s not a provision like that in their contract. I don’t want to have any more debates about the severance. I don’t want to pay any more folks for leaving the job. If we are going to borrow any concepts from corporate America, … how about the concept of paying people for performance?”

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