Last week, I posted a letter from the Dallas City Secretary’s Office informing mayoral candidate Albert Black that he was immediately being booted from his position with the Dallas Housing Authority because the city charter didn’t allow him to run for office and serve as a DHA commissioner. Well, not so fast. The Black campaign wrote to me:
Prior to Albert Black’s filing and announced candidacy for Dallas Mayor, DHA and its outside counsel thoroughly researched this issue. DHA is a political subdivision of the State of Texas, and DHA’s commissioners are exclusively governed by Texas Local Government Code Section 392 — not the Dallas City Charter. Texas law does not require Mr. Black to step down as a DHA Commissioner — Texas Public Housing Authority Commissioners are required to step down once elected to public office, and the Dallas City Secretary’s Office and the Dallas City Charter play no role in this process.
Moreover, this matter is not simply a concern regarding Albert Black — this matter is a challenge to DHA’s ability to maintain its autonomy and to independently carry out its mission for the thousands of Dallas families, free from influence or control by political forces. Albert and his wife were both born and reared in a DHA housing community, so Albert’s work with DHA is not only critical to Dallas, it is very personal to him and countless others. It is Albert’s intent to remain on DHA’s Board of Commissioners while he and others make significant progress for the 60,000 families and individuals served by the Agency.
It’s hard to look at this gaffe by the city secretary and not think about the curious deal last month with the effort to get a paid sick leave measure on the ballot. The city secretary threw out 60,000 signatures, about half the number gathered by activists to get the issue in front of voters. As things stand, we won’t get to vote on the matter. A lawsuit might be forthcoming. Just a little context for this mistake with Black.
I’ve emailed the city secretary for comment and will update this post if I get a response.