It's a common refrain, one you'll hear often if you're unfortunate enough to attend many Dallas City Council meetings. When one of the council members wants to talk at length about something with city staff, he or she will often request to do so "offline."
That means the council member wants to prod staff about some issue away from the high-definition digital video cameras that record every public meeting at City Hall. Naturally, these unseen asides arouse curiosity about what members of the council view as big enough priorities to take back to the city manager's office.
Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax and his staff have kept records of their one-on-one interactions with council members since Broadnax started his job with the city in 2017. Through a public records request, the Observer got its hands on the manager's reports this week.
There's not anything groundbreaking or nefarious in the reports we obtained from the city, but the documents paint on interesting picture of the work the council's done over the last year, as well as the challenges faced by each of Dallas' 14 council districts.
As you can see from the documents included above, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has to go to the city manager's office quite a bit, which makes sense given that Broadnax, thanks to Dallas' weak-mayor system, is the city's CEO.
Over the last couple of months, Rawlings has pressed city staff on how Dallas plans to regulate dockless bike-share companies, something that the council will discuss at length Wednesday afternoon; the potential privatization of the convention center; and whether the city has "developed a long-term strategy" to deal with issues like the Khraish Khraish eviction controversy in West Dallas that plagued Rawlings and the city last year.
Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway pointed out to Broadnax's office that several businesses in the Lancaster Kiest Shopping Center had improperly placed signs. City staff issued notices to the businesses, and Caraway got the offending signs removed.
Mark Clayton, who represents portions of East Dallas and Lake Highlands, took Broadnax and the city manager's chief of staff on a tour of his district to show them several "very large potholes" and a new homeless camp.
The Byron Nelson golf tournament was of particular concern to Tennell Atkins, whose district hosted the tournament for the first time this year. Atkins wanted to make sure the city had a place on the tournament's planning committee and had numerous questions about the way parking regulations would be enforced during the tournament.
Perhaps the most predictable questions came from Pleasant Grove representative Rickey Callahan. Callahan, whose previously urged the city to "break the backs" of the homeless, pressed the manager's office to clean up homelessness on Buckner Boulevard and make sure that the Dallas County Jail had enough space to house panhandlers arrested on outstanding warrants. Callahan also wanted to make sure the city's loud music ordinance is enforced in his district.
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Many of Philip Kingston's and Scott Griggs' concerns centered on public safety. Griggs asked Broadnax about the status of new Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall's Texas Commission on Law Enforcement exam, and Kingston wanted an update on the Dallas Police Department's ongoing investigation into the department's vice unit. Like Rawlings, Kingston also pushed staff for a quicker resolution in Dallas' search for bike-share regulations.
The list goes on and on for some 38 pages, which you can check out in full in the attached PDF.