Mayor Seeks Official’s Opinion on Broadnax Severance

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson | Image by Eric Johnson/Facebook

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has asked City Attorney Tammy Palomino to determine whether former City Manager T.C. Broadnax should receive his more than $423,000 in severance pay.

“While Mr. Broadnax’s Agreement of Employment stipulated that he would receive a severance payment if a majority of the Dallas City Council suggested he resign, the background and timeline of these events raise serious questions about the legitimacy of this alleged ‘involuntary separation,” Johnson claims in the May 14 document.

It’s not the first time the mayor has raised concerns about what he claims was a “behind-the-scenes scheme” by eight Dallas City Council members to orchestrate Broadnax’s resignation that allowed him to receive the severance payment. In April, The Dallas Express reported that Johnson questioned the same council members’ motives in his newsletter and argued that Texas lawmakers should ban large severance payments. Johnson went so far as telling CBS News Texas’ Eye on Politics that Broadnax is not entitled to severance, DX reported.

“Indeed, some — if not all — of the City Councilmembers identified in the April 8, 2024 memorandum provided by Mr. Broadnax have both publicly and privately stated support for him and his work as the city manager,” according to Johnson’s memo to Palomino. “Many of them, in fact, previously voted in favor of awarding him a raise as a result of his last performance review.”

The council members were identified as Jaynie Schultz, Paula Blackmon, Jaime Resendez, Adam Bazaldua, Chad West, Zarin Gracey, Carolyn King Arnold, and Gay Donnell Willis. Neither they nor the other council members immediately responded to a request for comment on Johnson’s memo.

“Curiously, Mr. Broadnax was also named as a finalist for the city manager position in the City of Austin, Texas, on March 5 — a mere 13 days after he resigned from the City of Dallas. At that point, the City of Austin had been recruiting potential city manager candidates for months,” Johnson wrote in his memo. “A few weeks later, on April 4, the City of Austin offered Mr. Broadnax the job. Mr. Broadnax began working for the City of Austin on May 6 — less than two months after his resignation.”

The employment agreement Broadnax signed in February 2017 to become Dallas’ city manager stipulates that he’s “entitled to receive a lump sum payment equal to (12) months of his then-current base salary” because of “involuntary separation,” the criteria of which includes “the City Manager’s resignation following a suggestion, whether formal or informal, by a majority of the City Council that he resign.”

Johnson argues in the memo to Palomino that Broadnax’s separation was not involuntary but was crafted so he could “depart from the City of Dallas with severance pay shortly before pursuing and accepting a position with the City of Austin. … Therefore, the severance clause of Mr. Broadnax’s Agreement of Employment should not apply, and the City of Dallas should have no obligation to pay Mr. Broadnax nearly half a million dollars from Dallas’ taxpayers.”

Severance pay is a benefit commonly negotiated between prospective city managers and city councils, but Johnson said in the CBS 11 interview that he would not support the next city manager of Dallas receiving this provision in his contract.

“As the City of Dallas’ chief legal counsel, whose job it is to defend the residents and taxpayers of Dallas, could you please clarify the following: Considering the highly questionable nature and background of Mr. Broadnax’s resignation, should Mr. Broadnax be paid severance pay from the City of Dallas?” Johnson wrote to Palomino in the memo.

In Austin, Broadnax’s employment agreement provides he’ll receive a starting 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.

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