Dallas City Manager's Job On The Line Amid Claims He Failed To Address Construction Permitting Issues
A top Dallas city official is at risk of losing his job after being accused of mismanagement of the city’s beleaguered permitting system.
The Dallas City Council will meet in executive session on Wednesday to review the performance of City Manager T.C. Broadnax, according to a report by the Dallas Morning News. While a specific offense wasn't named, several recent controversies have made Broadnax the subject of immense scrutiny by both his peers at City Hall and members of the public.
Mayor Eric Johnson said he supports Broadnax’s termination, per a statement released by the DMN. Three other city council members have also called for the review, including Paula Blackmon.
“It’s time to have an honest conversation about leadership at Dallas City Hall,” Blackmon said via email to Bisnow. “I saw, firsthand, the leadership gap we have in solving the permitting problems with urgency and expediency. We need bold leadership to solve this operational problem while addressing the IT concerns citywide and homelessness throughout the city.”
Broadnax said in a statement Friday that he welcomes the review.
“Periodic performance review is critical to me and all city employees to demonstrate progress and ensure transparency for our residents, taxpayers and stakeholders,” he said. “I am proud of the hard work which has led to accomplishment of many goals related to the City Council’s eight strategic priorities, and look forward to sharing the R.E.A.L. impact we continue to make to improve the lives of Dallas residents in ways that are responsible, equitable, accountable, and legitimate, together as One Dallas.”
Issues with the city’s permitting system have made headlines in recent months as the development community comes out in droves to bemoan millions of project dollars lost amid extensive delays. In a May 2 economic development briefing, Broadnax took umbrage with the notion that permitting system failings weren't being adequately addressed, and he pledged to continue prioritizing the issue moving forward.
“The sincerity and seriousness of this is not lost on staff, particularly me,” Broadnax said at that meeting. “But as I don’t issue individual permits but have to work with folks who do, we are working pretty hard, and I’m pushing them as best I can to ensure that we improve the product and can turn around in cycle times consistent with what other cities do.”
Phil Crone, executive director of the Dallas Builders Association, said in a recent Bisnow interview before Friday’s announcement that Broadnax had fallen short of his duty to adequately address longstanding issues with the permitting system.
“We are almost begging on bended knee for the city manager himself to jump in there and personally triage the situation,” he said. “Don’t rely on consultants, don’t rely on the people who are telling you, ‘We’re getting the job done, and we’ll get around to fixing it.’ Get in there and get your hands dirty.”
Pressure on the mayor and council by the DBA and others to hold Broadnax accountable appears to have worked, as Wednesday’s meeting could result either in his firing or disciplinary action. Johnson pushed back on implications by Broadnax that permitting issues are overblown and said someone has to answer for these shortcomings.
“There’s a danger to morale to not give people enough credit in government for the hard work that they do,” Johnson said to the DMN. “But there’s also a danger to the taxpayers and the folks that we represent when we don’t sufficiently hold people accountable and ask them to perform at the level that our residents and our business community demand.”
UPDATE, JUNE 10, 4:31 P.M. CT: This article has been updated to include a prepared statement from T.C. Broadnax.