Politics & Government

Albert Black’s Campaign and Dallas City Secretary Disagree About Whether He Can Serve on DHA Commission

Who knows where this leads?

We were the first (and only) media outlet to let you know that the Dallas city secretary sent Albert Black a letter saying that he was being forced to forfeit his position with the Dallas Housing Authority. Bilierae Johnson, the city secretary, informed Black that the city charter doesn’t allow political candidates to serve on such boards. Then we told you that Black’s campaign said the city secretary was wrong. Before Black filed to run for mayor, his people had looked into the matter. Well, now I’ve got the city secretary’s response to Black’s campaign’s response. I had called the city secretary’s forfeiture letter a “gaffe.” Johnson wrote to me on August 9:

There was no gaffe.

Although DHA and its board of commissioners are governed by certain provisions in the Texas Local Government Code Section 392, Section 392 also makes it clear that the presiding officer of the city of Dallas appoints all of the commissioners to the DHA board. Moreover, City of Dallas appointed commissioners are subject to the applicable provisions of the Dallas City Charter.

In my capacity as City Secretary, tasked with the responsibility of monitoring boards, commissions, and other appointive officers, my letter dated July 27, 2018, was to notify Mr. Black of the forfeiture provision in the Dallas City Charter (which was approved by City of Dallas residents). Chapter Ill, Section 17(a) of the Dallas City Charter, states in part, “If a member of any board or commission appointed by the city council or any appointive officer of the city … becomes a candidate for nomination or election to any public office, he or she shall immediately forfeit his or her place or position with the city.”

On July 21, 2018, Mr. Black held a formal campaign event at the Frazier Court Community Center announcing his candidacy. Such announcement by a city of Dallas mayoral appointee to DHA triggers immediate forfeiture of his place. As a result, Mr. Black has forfeited his position and is no longer a member of the board.

I shared that response with the Black campaign. On August 10, they passed along word from DHA’s general counsel:

On Monday, August 6, 2018, the City Secretary was informed by DHA of its research which clearly showed the City Secretary’s error. DHA requested that the City Secretary provide the law relied on by her office to support the forfeiture letter to Commissioner Black, along with the City Attorney she consulted with. As of today, DHA has not received a response.

So here we are. One side, presumably, has to be wrong. More updates as events warrant.


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  • DubiousBrother

    They should have used Dwaine Caraway’s consulting service to avoid this misunderstanding.

  • topham

    The powers of the city and DHA come from the Texas legislature, because they both were created under laws passed by the legislature. In the housing authority statute, the legislature says the mayor appoints housing commissioners.

    But it also says that once appointed, the “powers of an authority are vested in the commissioners of the authority.” “Powers” includes the power to set rules about whether a commissioner must resign to run.

    If the DHA were a city department or board, it would be governed by the city charter. But the DHA isn’t a city department, and it’s not governed by the city charter. It’s governed by its commissioners. The lege says so.

  • BJ

    I believe you’re the only one reporting the story because Albert does not and will not have any big money behind him.