Interim Dallas City Manager Kim Tolbert frequently travels on taxpayers’ dime yet rarely on what could be strictly considered City business.

Tolbert’s trips have almost always involved diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) conferences, as documents obtained by The Dallas Express suggest.

The documentation shows that Tolbert took a multi-day trek to the National League of Congressional Cities (NLC) conference while accompanying the Dallas City Council on a trip to Washington, D.C.

The conference itinerary lists events titled “Race, Equity, And Leadership (R.E.A.L.) Council Meeting” and “Women In Municipal Government Board Meeting,” among other similarly themed sessions. There was also a “Celebrate Diversity Breakfast” and “LGBTQ+LO Membership Meeting,” to name a few others.

While some events are indisputably relevant to serious municipal governance issues, like a workshop on getting federal taxpayer grants for local projects, many others appear to lean more toward political pow-wows, like the “Racial Equity for Municipal Leaders” session.

Some events, like the “Immigration Roundtable,” were listed as “invite only,” and documents do not show whether Tolbert received one. Moreover, DX was not provided a record of which events Tolbert attended. All that is known is that registration for this series of meetings costs around $800.

Meanwhile, Tolbert’s hotel expenses were $2,500. This cost was well above the General Service Administration recommended rate for Washington, D.C., in March 2024 and required special authorization from Tolbert’s predecessor and then-superior former City Manager T.C. Broadnax.

In explaining his authorization of the expense, Broadnax noted that Tolbert “was asked” to attend the NLC conference, although he did not specify by whom. He then claimed that by the time the decision was made for her to attend, registration for group rates had closed, and surrounding hotels had booked up.

“As a result, The Westin Washington, D.C. City Center hotel was identified as still available, cost-effective, and provided feasible walking distance or driving distance to the conference,” Broadnax wrote.

The expense, which was substantially higher than other trips to metropolitan areas Tolbert took in the more than 300 pages of travel documents DX obtained, raises questions about whether the taxpayer money would have been better spent on attending other events.

For instance, around that same time, the 2024 Most Significant Infrastructure Projects Summit was held in New York City, which focused on how local infrastructure projects can spur business growth.

In 2023, Dallas citizens rated infrastructure as the fourth most pressing issue facing the city, with only 18% saying they were satisfied with the state of public infrastructure.

Tolbert was contacted for comment as part of the production of this story but did not respond by the time of publication.

This travel expense is the second instance of Tolbert incurring unusually high expenses while traveling to events of arguable relevance to local governance on taxpayers’ dime.

When she was deputy city manager last year, Tolbert flew first class to a feminist conference and another event with a substantial amount of DEI-related activities, a recent DX investigation revealed. This spurt of jet-setting cost Dallas taxpayers over $5,000.