Dallas city manager announces retirement

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 6/6/2016, 8:40 a.m.
Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez recently informed Mayor Mike Rawlings and the Dallas City Council of his intentions to retire.
The Dallas Examiner Logo Photo by Robyn H. Jimenez

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez recently informed Mayor Mike Rawlings and the Dallas City Council of his intentions to retire.

“I am announcing my retirement as city manager, effective the end of January 2017,” he announced. “This date is in consideration of the time needed for your selection process, and of the time needed by the incoming city manager to get a grasp of all city operations and begin work on the 2017/18 city budget.”

Gonzalez became city manager in July 2013, when he was appointed interim city manager. He was hired permanently in January 2014 by a unanimous vote of the City Council.

“For almost two decades, I’ve worked as part of the leadership team of Dallas,” Gonzalez recalled. “While I have managed other cities, serving our residents as city manager for the past few years has been the pinnacle of my career. Dallas is where my heart is and the place I call home. That is why my decision to make a career change in 2017 is not an easy one.”

During his tenure with the city of Dallas, Gonzalez has garnered a number of achievements, spearheading projects that have changed the face of Dallas. These include development of the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel, the Love Field Modernization Program and the Dallas Stars Reunion Arena lease negotiations, which brought the professional sports franchise to Dallas.

Prior to being appointed to his current position, Gonzalez served as first assistant city manager, overseeing Aviation, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Municipal Courts, Office of Emergency Management and the Dallas Police Department. Over the years, he has also managed Convention and Event Services, Housing/Community Services, Economic Development, and Planning and Development Services.

In those roles, he led the effort to build the Omni and organized streetcar advocates implementing the first modern streetcar system in Dallas. He was responsible for several Tax Increment Finance zones and negotiated numerous development projects that have grown the city’s tax base.

As city manager, Gonzalez also expressed a desire to address the culture, systems and people within the organization and to provide the community with unprecedented access to their local government. As a result of his efforts, the city now has its highest Transparency Report Card rating, a new and improved website, increased public access to council, board and commission meetings, and development of a new open records platform.

Other achievements include improved customer service, more emphasis on teamwork and collaboration within departments, urban design and strengthening neighborhoods through a new program called Neighborhood Plus. Strides were made in Building Inspections and in creation of the Center for Performance Excellence to manage productivity training citywide.

Established efforts which continued under Gonzalez’s leadership include crime fighting efforts, infrastructure and further improving enterprise systems such as the Omni Hotel and Convention Center and Love Field Airport, both of which have experienced unprecedented success. Gonzalez also made critical executive staff changes to streamline and improve the organization.

From shifting the conversation on the Trinity River projects, to addressing performance management, economic development, public information and transparency, Gonzalez changed the way the city does business and actively solicited input and feedback from citizens.

Actively engaging city staff as a whole has also been a top priority, which Gonzalez addressed through citywide advisory committees that engaged hundreds and boosted morale and customer service.

Proof of this fact comes from the latest customer service survey, in which citizens the city the highest ratings ever seen in previous surveys.

“It has been my privilege to serve as city manager, but there is no question that this is a very tough job with 24/7 demands,” Gonzalez concluded. “I’ve come to a point where I just want my life back. I look forward to spending time with my family and applying my experience to new exciting challenges.

“I wish you and the city of Dallas every success moving forward.”