Dallas City Hall Is Fat

Let's get healthy, people!

In this story about City Manager A.C. Gonzalez hiring two new assistants, I stumbled across a stunning bit of information: “80 percent of those insured under the city’s health plan are overweight or obese. That ultimately costs the city tens of millions of dollars in preventable expenses.” A former assistant city manager, Forest Turner, is being reassigned to deal with this problem.

Eighty percent? Holy hell. That was my first thought. Then I started doing some math (which is a bit scary). Come along with me:

First, here’s how the CDC defines overweight and obese. A 5-foot-9 person who weighs 170 pounds is considered overweight. That doesn’t seem so bad. But the overweight range extends up to 202 pounds. If you stand 5-foot-9 and weigh 202 pounds, that’s an issue. So I’d really like to know what percentage of city employees are obese. If only 10 percent are obese, and the other 70 percent are overweight, then no biggie. And here’s the deal: 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. City employees, then, are only 10 percent worse than the U.S. average. Not good. But not as shocking as I first thought when I read that.

Except hang on. I think you have to go a bit deeper here. The city has about 12,600 employees. If I’m not mistaken, that number includes Fire-Rescue and DPD. The former has about 2,100 folks, the latter about 4,200. Both of those figures, though, include support personnel, civilians. In other words, not folks fighting fire and crime. So subtract them. Gives you 1,700 firefighters and 3,600 sworn cops. I mean, there are certainly fat cops. But just let me use my broad brush here. Feels to me like we’ve got 5,300 city employees who ought to be in decent shape — which makes that 80 percent look really bad. If you take firefighters and cops out of the equation — roughly 42 percent of the city’s 12,600 employees — then City Hall is really fat.

One more thing: I’d like to know what the stats are for DISD. I bet it’s even worse than City Hall.


  • Eric Celeste

    A relevant Simpsons deep cut for you: http://www.soundboard.com/t/159744

    • Eric Celeste

      [Just realized no one under 35 knows what a deep cut is. Sigh. So old.]

  • Brad Brazeal

    There will be a lot of cops and firefighters that are considered overweight, but because of muscle mass. BMI is an awful stat.

  • Larry

    Tim, fat, obese…..you are just so vain and shallow, aren’t you? You just care about what people look like. There’s more to people than just their looks. You need to accept people for who they are. Being a skinny toothpick does not indicate being a healthy individual(read sarcasm in these statements…Lol). In all seriousness, I’m sure you’re going to get these type of comments if you haven’t already.

    Brad, BMI is a general indicator for body fat percentage using height and weight. If you were looking for accurate muscle mass to body fat comparison you would probably use BMI, along with the calipers and also the technique where you put yourself in a harness and float in the water(can’t think of the title for this)
    to get a more accurate reading.

  • dthomas937

    ok, the real story here ought to be the fact that the city manager has not, and apparently will not, implement real change. This is what’s wrong with the culture in this city. An interim assistant city manager (former director of sustainable development and construction) was not given the assistant city manager position, but was given the “chief planning officer” position over a new department named “planning and neighborhood vitality”….whatever that is….so basically it’s a promotion and reward for this person and for two positions that were beneath her while director . In addition, the 2 new assistant managers being brought in will be surrounded by upper and lower level staff that have been in place for many years. This all equates to status quo. The outside hires will not be able to implement meaningful “change” within the existing culture there. The city of Dallas is all about whose butt you kiss and whose team you’re on. Without change coming from the top down (new city manager), it’s just about impossible to insert new approaches, mindsets and thinking without being isolated and vilified. I would not be surprised if the new hires leave within two years. Lastly, this “re-organization” is another example of the city’s top heavy staffing structure while lower level staff are continuously shafted and blamed for everything.