Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson appoints council members whom he rejected in May’s elections to chair the committees

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson released his latest list of city council appointments on Wednesday. And deviating from his first two years in office, he appointed all 14 of his colleagues to management positions.

The move echoes the mayor’s recent statements attempting to work with the latest version of the city council, which includes incumbents with whom he was occasionally at odds during his two years as Dallas’s top elected official. And some of them were councilors whom he had spoken out against in the local elections that spring.

In a memo on Wednesday, Johnson cited his call to city officials to “get back to basics” during the inauguration earlier this month. He said he is hiring new Mayor Pro Tem Chad West to ensure City Manager TC Broadnax moves forward with plans to resolve issues related to public safety, the 911 call center, permits, and others. The mayor said he planned to liaise with committee chairs on “our common agenda for the next two years”.

“No time can be wasted at this important point in our city’s history,” Johnson said in the memo.

The mayor’s goals in the recent appointments were “to have the most boring, productive councilor we’ve ever had because it’s time to get to work,” said Tristan Hallman, Johnson spokesman.

The 12 committees influence the city’s policies, projects and initiatives and can recommend that items be sent to the full council for possible adoption. The election of the members of the committees, which consist of five to seven members, is at the sole discretion of the mayor. He can also revoke the status of chairman or vice-chairman at any time, which has happened several times in the past two years.

When Johnson announced his first committee appointments in October 2019, Councilors Adam Bazaldua and Paula Blackmon had no chair or vice-chair roles. You stayed out of these positions starting this week, along with Carolyn King Arnold, who had been chairman of the Quality of Life, Arts and Culture Committee but was at some point removed from that position by Johnson.

Councilor Casey Thomas chaired three committees through Wednesday, Cara Mendelsohn chaired two committees and was vice-chair of two others.

Bazaldua – who represents District 7 and ran against Donald Parish Jr., whom the mayor supported – is now chair of the Quality of Life, Arts and Culture Committee, succeeding former councilor Adam Medrano. Blackmon is now chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee. Arnold is vice chairman of the Economic Development Committee, which Tennell Atkins chairs.

Johnson also publicly supported an opponent of Jaime Resendez in the May election. But Resendez is now chair of the Judicial Nominations Committee. The mayor also seemed to favor an opponent of Blackmon.

Bazaldua, Resendez and Blackmon said Wednesday that they were satisfied with their committee appointments and were keen to start resuming meetings in August.

“I think we’re all ready to move forward and do some good things for the people of Dallas,” said Resendez, who will be the new deputy mayor’s office. In April he called Johnson “the most divisive and combative political figure in city politics in a generation” after the mayor supported his challenger in the elections.

New Councilor Jaynie Schultz will chair the Labor, Education and Equal Opportunities Committee. She is the only freshman member appointed to chair the committee.

Here is the full memo with all the council committees.


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