Next City Manager Must Stay ‘Focused on Core City Services’

T.C. Broadnax
T.C. Broadnax | Image by NBC DFW

With the upcoming departure of City Manager T.C. Broadnax just a few months away, Dallas officials must decide who will replace him and whether there is anything to learn from his stewardship.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Broadnax said on Wednesday that he intended to resign from his position effective June 3. His roughly seven-year tenure as city manager was marred with accusations of inefficiencies and poor management, as well as a number of high-profile incidents involving sensitive City information, including a 20-terabyte loss of police data in 2021 and a ransomware attack last year that led to the personal data of more than 30,000 people being exposed to hackers.

Respondents to DX‘s January “Rate Your Council Member” survey, which also polled Dallas residents on Broadnax’s performance across a number of City service categories, gave the embattled city manager a 1.9 out of 10 for effectiveness.

“It’s important that any new city manager is focused on core City services,” said Louis Darrouzet, CEO of the Metroplex Civic & Business Association, in a statement to DX. “We would like to see the City get back to meeting the core needs of the city and cut back on peripheral spending.”

Despite the City’s ever-increasing annual operating budget, its delivery of services has been leaving much to be desired. Poor road maintenance, increasing crime due to the Dallas Police Department’s officer shortage, trash in the streets and parks, and the prevalence of homelessness and vagrancy have been cited by residents as key sources of dissatisfaction in polling conducted by The Dallas Express and in the City’s own satisfaction survey.

Last year, the Dallas City Council voted to authorize the biggest budget in the city’s history alongside property tax increases, a move that prompted criticism from Mayor Eric Johnson, as reported by DX.

“It is simply not the case that we could not have significantly reduced the size of this budget and cut taxes without drastically cutting essential services,” Johnson said in a statement at the time. “Furthermore, it is preposterous to suggest that our city government could not, by being more efficient, deliver essential services next year using the same amount of tax revenue collected from Dallas residents and businesses just a year ago.”

Darrouzet seemed to agree with the mayor, telling DX on Saturday, “Reduced spending will reduce the City’s reliance on debt. An extreme example would be Argentina, they recently cut public spending by about 50% and turned their first surplus in 12 years.”

“We need a city manager that will drive efficiency in the City’s operations by removing redundant positions and processes,” he added.

Darrouzet previously told DX that the local business community has grown frustrated with various City inefficiencies — notably problems with the building permit process. Issues at the Development Services Department factored into Broadnax’s near-firing in 2022.

At a recent meeting of the Dallas City Council, council members deliberated what services deserve taxpayer dollars.

“I think we really need to consider the things that we’re spending money on,” said Council Member Cara Mendelsohn (District 12), explaining why she was voting against an initiative to spend $700,000 to provide menstrual products and other hygiene items to low-income residents. “We need to get very serious about what our job is.”

Other City priorities that have previously drawn scrutiny include the CIty’s focus on “equity” and “affordable housing” initiatives.

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