Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax is a finalist for the top job at the city of Dallas.
Dallas released the names of five finalists for its city manager position Tuesday. Broadnax told The News Tribune that he's excited to compete to run one of the biggest cities in the country with the same governance structure as Tacoma.
“It's one of those positions that if you are in that seat you’ve got a lot of responsibility, so I’m looking forward to getting to know and better understand their community and their City Council and see if in fact there is an opportunity for me to be had down there,” he said.
Dallas is the third-largest U.S. city with a city manager-council form of government, according to the National League of Cities. Phoenix and San Antonio, Texas, outrank it by population.
The job would be a homecoming of sorts. Broadnax came to Tacoma in February 2012 from San Antonio, where he was an assistant city manager for five years.
He said Dallas faces similar issues to Tacoma in figuring out how to manage its growth and dealing with increasing homelessness and family instability.
“When you spend your career in local government you think about those types of positions that give you an opportunity to impact people's lives in a positive way and change people's perspective of government, and I think Dallas is a wonderful stage,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity, I think, for somebody that wants those types of challenges and I definitely do.”
Broadnax will fly to Dallas next week for more interviews and a public meet-and-greet. He said he thinks the chosen candidate will be offered the position by the end of the year.
But, he added: "I’m still here, I’m the city manager," he said, "and I’m competing to be the city manager in the city of Dallas, so I’m going to keep doing my job while I am here."
Mayor Marilyn Strickland said Broadnax informed her in October that he has been contacted by a recruiter for the Dallas job.
“I’m not surprised he has the attention of recruiters. It’s an opportunity for him that I think it would be hard for anyone to pass up,” Strickland said. "...He’s a city manager who I believe was cut from what I call the 21st century model of city managers where he is about using technology, being very transparent and having a commitment to equity and having high expectations of staff."
Broadnax has a reputation for budgeting prowess. On his arrival in Tacoma, he took on a troubled city budget that required $60 million in cuts amid the economic pains of the recession.
His spending plan for 2017-18 also has been well-received by council members and the public, who have lauded it for doubling spending on homelessness services, adding police and fire positions and avoiding painful cuts such as the closure of libraries.
Dallas’ current city manager, A.C. Gonzalez, is retiring in January. The other finalists for the job include a Dallas assistant city manager; a chief operating officer for Chattanooga, Tennessee; the city manager for Tulsa, Oklahoma; and the president of JLB Group, a consulting firm.
“We're looking for a Dak Prescott of the city manager world,” Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson told the Dallas Morning News. “Someone who the stage is not too big for. Just gets it done. Great communicator and just performs.”