This is one of the most important city council elections that Dallas has ever had. I thought long and hard about entering this race, and I am doing so because I believe we need solid change in the management and governance of our beautiful city. I believe that out of the pool of candidates, I am the best, boldest, most experienced voice to bring about that change. I am not the status quo.
As many of you know, I ran for District 11 in 2017, four years ago. I was supported by the Dallas Police Association and the Dallas FireFighters Association, among many others. For my first ever run, I snagged 38% of the vote, but was beaten by the former incumbent, now finally “termed out”. (Traditionally, incumbents are tough to beat! I could write a book about what they do!)
By the way, our district has about 55,000 citizens, but only ten percent vote, usually. Thus the same few voters control the agenda over and over again, rotating their friends and contacts through the system. This is why it is so very important that you get out to vote on May 1 or in early voting. Voting for change is the only way change will happen!
In Dallas, there are 14 council members elected from single-member districts and a mayor elected at-large. The mayor is elected for four years, and council members are elected for two-year terms. Council members can serve up to four consecutive two-year terms. Which means, once they are in office, chances are they will be there for 8 years. Then they are “termed out”, but after two years they can return again to be on Council. We call them Boomerangs.
The mayor can serve two four-year terms.
Dallas’ government has changed and grown – from a mayor and six aldermen, to a
commission with a mayor and four commissioners elected at-large, to the present
council-manager system that has been in place since 1931.
Originally, the council was composed of nine members and the mayor, who was elected
by council vote. In 1951, the eight council members and mayor were all elected at-large. The structure changed again in 1968 to 10 council members and the mayor, who
were all elected at-large, but eight council members represented specific districts.
Later, in 1979, eight council members were elected from single-member districts with
two council members and the mayor elected at-large. Our current system began in
1991 with 14 council members elected from single-member districts and a mayor
Council-manager government combines citizen input-through elected council members with the professional training and experience of a city manager. Our current city manager is T.C. Broadnax.
The City’s organization under this plan is similar to that of a corporation. The mayor
and city council serve as the equivalent of a board of directors. They set the public
agenda, adopt policy and laws and appoint the city manager, city auditor, city attorney,
and city secretary.
In Dallas, the manager oversees City operations with an executive team of assistant city
managers, each responsible for various departments. Mr. Broadnax, for example, hires the Chief of Police. The City organization currently
has over 13,000 employees and a total budget of more than 2.1 billion.
By the way, four of the ten largest cities in the United States have the council-manager form – Dallas, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Jose.