Feb 27, 2024 - News

Broadnax's chief of staff chosen as interim city manager

Illustration of Dallas City Hall with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Dallas City Council chose an interim city manager Tuesday, less than a week after T.C. Broadnax announced he will step down in June.

The big picture: The hiring process for high-ranking public officials tends to be costly, time consuming and filled with speculation.

  • Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and two council members have said they're worried the rest of the council is rushing to find Broadnax's temporary replacement.

The latest: Council members ultimately voted to appoint Kim Bizor Tolbert, Broadnax's chief of staff, as interim city manager after Broadnax leaves. The vote was 12-2.

  • Several council members said they don't want the city to skip a beat in the transition to a new city manager.
  • "To be clear: I have no issue with Kim Tolbert serving in an interim capacity. My problem is with this deeply flawed process, not with the person," Johnson said in a statement after missing the meeting.

Catch up quick: Broadnax reportedly brokered a deal with several council members to resign without tipping off the mayor.

  • Only Johnson was absent from Tuesday's special-called meeting. He sent a memo last week to his council peers saying they had time to discuss the city manager position at a future regularly scheduled meeting.
  • Council members Paul Ridley and Cara Mendelsohn have also said they should take their time with the important decision.
  • "I'm uncomfortable with the time that we have taken to process this very important decision … We needed an opportunity to consider all potential candidates, and I don't think we've had the time to do that," Ridley told council.

Between the lines: Dallas continues to face an affordable housing shortage that the next city manager will have to deal with.

  • The city's permitting process is notoriously slow, a problem developers say pushes them to seek opportunities in surrounding suburbs with more streamlined processes.
  • Plus, Dallas streets remain riddled with potholes and lack proper maintenance. A proposition on the May ballot would direct more than half of the $1.25 billion bond money toward fixing streets and creating new parks.

What we're watching: Whether the mayor and the rest of City Council can come to a consensus on what Dallas needs in its next leader.

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