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Local Government

Mayor Dissolves the Committee Tasked With Picking a New City Attorney

The Administrative Committee is no more. In a separate move, he appointed himself to chair the Legislative Committee. Councilman Lee Kleinman previously chaired both.
Kelsey Shoemaker

In a short memo to City Council on Sunday, Mayor Eric Johnson dissolved the ad hoc Administrative Affairs committee, a group that was in the middle of choosing Dallas’ next city attorney and had an agenda ready for Tuesday.

The committee typically examines amendments to city code before forwarding them on to full Council for final approval. It also typically guides the search for the city’s four appointed positions—city manager, city secretary, city auditor, and city attorney.

The committee was set to meet on Tuesday afternoon and would’ve considered amendments to Council rules of procedure and to city code. The agenda also included a closed session item to “deliberate appointment of City Attorney.” Instead, the full Council will interview four candidates on February 5, according to the mayor’s spokesperson, Tristan Hallman.

“It was an ad hoc committee, and after some discussion about its purpose, the mayor decided it was no longer needed,” Hallman said in a text.

Council member Lee Kleinman chaired the ad hoc Administrative Affairs Committee, with Carolyn King Arnold, Tennell Atkins, Jennifer Staubach Gates, and Jaime Resendez serving on it.

In a separate move that came via memo on January 10, Johnson appointed the ad hoc Legislative Affairs Committee. He installed himself as chair, Councilwoman Paula Blackmon as vice chair, and council members Atkins, Gates, and Cara Mendelsohn as members. Kleinman chaired that committee—which hadn’t met since late 2018—under previous mayor Mike Rawlings.

Dallas has been searching for a city attorney since Larry Casto stepped down on August 31, 2018, lifting Christopher Caso to the interim role. City Council approved a three-month extension for Caso’s position last month; as an interim, he makes a salary of about $100,000 less than his predecessor.

Caso has applied for the permanent gig. Whoever gets it will need a majority vote from Council (they would’ve even before the administrative committee went away).