Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez To Retire After 2.5 Years: Has He Done a Good Job for Dallas? (Poll Time!)

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WFAA-TV reported on Monday that Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez is retiring after two-and-a-half years as the manager of the city, the most powerful job at City Hall.

Gonzalez is married to motivational psychologist Melinda Marcus.

Arthur Charles Gonzalez is the city’s top CEO. He oversees a $3.1 billion budget and manages 13,000 employees. His salary was about $400,000 a year, one of he highest paid city managers in the country, which was decided and approved by the Dallas City Council in January 2014, when he took over the job from Mary Suhm and prevailed over two outside candidates. Of note: San Antonio’s Sheryl Sculley may be higher paid, she will make $425,000 this year. (City Managers are not cheap.) The City of Dallas has made a habit of hiring City Managers from within rather than bringing in “outsiders”, which some might think of as fresh blood.

Gonzalez sat down with News 8 for an interview Monday afternoon, saying he is ready to have his life back.  Apparently his birthday is this week, and he would like “to get my life back in terms of a better work and personal life balance”.

Has A.C. Gonzalez been an effective Dallas City Manager?
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Though he swears he is not being forced out of his job, a contingent of council members have recently criticized Gonzalez over the way he manages the city staff and finances, among other things. Though he told Channel 8 that naturally someone is always out there criticizing a City Manager’s moves, he also believes he has support of two-thirds of the Council. He clearly had the support of the Mayor:

Mayor Mike Rawlings called Gonzalez a “class act” and says he was not treated well at times by some members of the council. He gives him high marks for his performance.

“He’s given a lot to the city of Dallas,” Rawlings said. “Citizens probably don’t appreciate the 24-7 nature of the job.”

It’s a tough one. Most vocal critics have been Scott Griggs and Phillip Kingston, who voted for him but said up front they wanted change in the way the city was run. (Note: it would be interesting to see a list of the changes they were expecting.)

According to the WFAA-TV report, Council member Lee Kleinman is disappointed Gonzalez is leaving.

“It’s unfortunate that some council members create a hostile work environment when they don’t get their way on certain things,” he said. “He was clearly supported by the majority of the council.”

Scott Griggs, apparently happy with the news, says he wants the next city manager to come from outside Dallas City Hall — fresh blood. He thinks Gonzalez was not managing well.

Gonzalez says he believes he brought significant change to City Hall, increasing transparency and efficiency.
Gonzalez’s detractors, like Kingston and Griggs, have argued City Hall isn’t well managed and that he hasn’t followed through on his promises to bring change.

A audit released back in March found a disturbing lack of documentation that resulted in the awarding of about $30 million in affordable housing contracts.

There have been many problems plaguing Gonzales’ tenure. From improper awarding of those housing contracts to the recent death of Antoinette Brown, mauled by wild dogs in South Dallas, there certainly has been a lot of drama and controversy. Gonzales took the heat for not solving the wild dog problem sooner. There was the Uber deal — of course, Austin just banned Uber altogether, Gonzalez managed it —  to the Standing Wave, a failed multi-million whitewater project on the Trinity River. Let us not forget “Griggs Gate”, when Council member Scott Griggs was accused of allegedly threatening to break the fingers of a City Hall staffer over a meeting about the proposed Trinity Parkway, an acid-reflux-causing topic in itself.

Good Lord, just writing that list makes we want to throw the poor guy a retirement party.

But hey, Dallas is no small town. The city is home to the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation (behind New York City and Houston) and ranks 14th in the world for GDP. Dallas proper is about the 9th largest city in the country. I don’t think a city has ever quite run like clockwork, especially one with 11 sparring City Council members, each protecting their own turf. A.C. had only about two and a half years to try to get things ship shape. And he’s leaving as residents face one of the largest hikes in residential property values ever.

What do you think about his tenure as City Manager? Will A.C. Gonzalez be missed? Or should he go?

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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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