City Hall

Five Things to Know About T.C. Broadnax, the Lone Finalist for Dallas City Manager

T.C. Broadnax, currently the city manager in Tacoma, Washington, is the lone finalist for Dallas' open city manager job, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced Friday morning.

Broadnax' nomination comes after a week of interviews with members of the city council and, at a reception Tuesday night at city hall, the public. "I am pleased to announce that the Dallas City Council will vote this Wednesday on whether to appoint T.C. Broadnax as our next city manager," Rawlings said in a statement.

Before the council votes on hiring Broadnax next week, here are five things to know about the man who will replace outgoing city manager A.C. Gonzalez in January.

1. If you want to piss Broadnax off, call him Teaser. — Just after he took the job in Tacoma, Broadnax had the following strange, testy exchange with a reporter from the Tacoma News Tribune:

TNT: When you were interviewing for the manager’s job, I told you I was going to find out what T.C. stood for. So, I know your name now. Is that something you want to talk about?

Broadnax: That is not something I want to talk about.

TNT: It’s a family name?

Broadnax: It is a family name. But, I’ll say this – and hopefully, you don’t go there with it – but the issue is, well one, I changed my name, first of all. But I think it speaks to what I thought was a business decision.

TNT: You changed it legally to T.C.?

Broadnax: My name is legally T.C. But there was always a long discussion about my name, the family name, and I’m the type that I want to get directly to business. I just don’t want to stop and talk about (it). Only people from Kansas know the name, in theory.
Curiosity stoked, we spent about five minutes trying to dig up the first name with which Broadnax was born. It's Teaser.

2. Broadnax likes to get lost while driving, which will prove useful in Dallas. — In the same interview, Broadnax talks about getting lost on purpose while driving around Tacoma and then finding his way home. Replicating that hobby shouldn't be a problem in Dallas. Maybe he can hit a pothole or two.

3. Our new city manager will be moving up in weight class. — In Tacoma, Broadnax puts together a city budget of about $1.8 billion every two years. Dallas' latest annual budget is $3.1 billion. Tacoma has about 200,000 residents while Dallas, last year, had just a shade under 1.3 million. Broadnax is moving from the country's 107th largest city to its ninth biggest.

4. Broadnax is just what Rawlings' opposition on the council wanted. — After Gonzalez announced his retirement in late May, Scott Griggs and Philip Kingston, Rawlings' strongest opposition on the city council, both stressed the need to hire an outsider to fill the position, someone who wasn't beholden to the internal politics of Dallas city staff and city hall. They also wanted the new hire ready to go before Gonzalez vacated his post at the end of January 2017.

In Broadnax, Griggs and Kingston got exactly what they wanted. The new city manager is experienced, having worked a Texas city with a government that looks a lot like Dallas, and will bring new blood to managing the city and its budgeting process.

5. Broadnax is an experienced budget fixer. — As Tacoma's city manager, Broadnax corrected both a $30 million mid-year budget deficit his first year on the job and a $63 million projected deficit on his first biennial budget through what he calls "a transparent, community and employee budget engagement initiative/process to provide budgetary education and reset community expectations and service levels."

Gonzalez's detractors on the Dallas City Council often criticized his first budget drafts for initially containing deficits that they said Gonzalez would use to manipulate the budget to fit city staff's priorities rather than the council. Transparent handling of budget deficits would be a step forward for council/manager relations.

Broadnax at a Glance

Latest Gig
City manager in Tacoma, Washington (since 2012)

Previous Employment
San Antonio assistant city manager (5 years)
Assistant city manager in Pompano Beach, Florida (10 years)

Master of Public Administration, University of North Texas
Bachelor of Political Science, Washburn University
Bachelor of Organizational Communication, Washburn University

Source: City of Tacoma

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young