Austin leaders approve city manager

March 28, 2024

Update April 4: Austin city officials have unanimously approved T.C. Broadnax as city manager. He will begin his tenure May 6.

Original story: Officials in Austin, Texas, have reportedly selected their next city manager, choosing Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax to take over the city’s lead administrative role.

Mayor Kirk Watson named Broadnax as the recommended selection for city manager following meetings that came hours after Broadnax and fellow candidate Sara Hensley, the city manager of Denton, fielded questions from Austin media outlets on a variety of topics.

The hiring subcommittee recommended posting a council action for April 4 to negotiate and execute an employment agreement with Broadnax, Watson said. The subcommittee is made up of the mayor, the mayor pro-tem and three city council members.

“This posting will also be for potential passage of an ordinance to employ T.C. Broadnax as Austin City Manager,” Watson said in a post on the Austin City Council message board.

Broadnax, who announced his resignation as the Dallas City Manager earlier this year, said he looked forward to serving in Austin.

“With the continued growth of our state’s capital city, I am mindful of the critical needs we must urgently address and I am committed to doing so with a collaborative, transparent, inclusive and equitable approach,” Broadnax said. “I also want to thank the Dallas City Council, city staff and residents for the opportunity to serve as their city manager for the last seven years.”

Prior to the announcement, Austin media members asked Broadnax and Hensley questions about several topics, including why they believed they were best suited for the role in Texas’s capital city.

“There are a lot of things that have happened in Dallas … that I’ve had to experience as a city manager in my brief time there that some managers, frankly, don’t get to deal with or have to deal with in their entire career,” Broadnax said. “And those things happen monthly for me. And so I think I’m built to run a city of large sizes.”

Broadnax has served as Dallas’ city manager since February 2017. Before that, he served as the city manager of Tacoma, Washington. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from Washburn University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Texas.

Broadnax reportedly resigned from Dallas’s top administrative role at the suggestion of the Dallas City Council, which previously considered firing him in June 2022 over his job performance on issues such as 9-1-1 call times and information security.

While he survived that effort, council said in a joint statement that the dynamic between Broadnax and Mayor Eric Johnson — who often butted heads — had “not been conducive to effective governance and the advancement of Dallas’s interests” and called his resignation “a necessary step towards fostering an environment conducive to maximizing the potential of our beloved city.”

Austin City Council members shared on the city council message board their reasons for selecting Broadnax for the role.

“The scope of TC’s experience tipped the balance for me: he has not only managed cities of our size and complexity, he has specifically demonstrated the ability to work through difficult controversies,” Mayor Pro-Tem Leslie Pool said. “His vision for public service and his experience — that testing — will help Austin meet our challenges now and into the future.”

Council member Natasha Harper-Madison pointed to Broadnax’s responses about transit, mobility and criminal justice as reasons why she chose to recommend him for the position.

“He spoke candidly and with a great deal of knowledge about transit and mobility and how transit related construction needs to be planned to have the least impact on individuals and businesses with comprehensive plans for mitigation.” Harper-Madison said. “His perspective on the pervasive and worldwide challenge of homelessness and potential solutions, while recognizing barriers, was insightful and optimistic.

“I also appreciated his deep commitment to youth empowerment and development — most especially at-risk youth, as well as the importance of diversion and re-entry efforts for people with criminal justice involvement.”

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

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