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5 takeaways from a conversation with Austin City Manager T.C. Broadnax

The profile of a man's face with a black background
Patricia Lim
KUT News
T.C. Broadnax said he will focus on the city's most pressing challenges, including homelessness and policing.

T.C. Broadnax is about a month into his role as Austin’s new city manager. He started with a lot on his plate: building a budget for next year, finding solutions to house the homeless and hiring a new police chief.

He also has a lot of work to do around emergency preparedness. The City Council fired his predecessor, Spencer Cronk, over the city’s poor response to an ice storm that led to widespread power outages.

KUT recently sat down with Broadnax to talk about his priorities as city manager. Here are five takeaways.

He says he's motivated by a desire to impact people's lives

First, many might be wondering what T.C. stands for. Too Cool? Top Cat?

“Total Control,” he joked.

KUT did some research and was able to determine what the T stands for. But we'll let that remain a mystery.

While Broadnax wouldn't share his first and middle names, here is what he did say.

He was a military kid, who grew up in Topeka, Kansas. As a child, he said, the city made many promises to his family and their neighbors around redevelopment and other things that didn’t always pan out. He said he believes that's what steered him to public administration.

“Walking around my neighborhood, walking to school, playing basketball and football in the streets,” Broadnax said, “there were a lot of things that I believe as a child that I see so much in communities today that really motivated me at the time to want to be the person in the seat, to have the impact to change people’s experiences.”

Today, he said, that means addressing a range of issues from boarded-up buildings to loose dogs to crumbling infrastructure.

“Those are the kinds of things that, if the city touches those things, if I’m in charge and running a city, that we are doing it the right way,” he said.

Broadnax has been working in city government for more than 30 years, including as a city manager in Tacoma, Washington, and an assistant city manager in San Antonio for six years. His most recent stint was in Dallas, where he served as city manager since 2017.

His priorities are public safety and homelessness

Broadnax said no one day is the same. But essentially he functions as the CEO of the city, managing the day-to-day operations and overseeing a staff of about 16,000 people. He also implements the policies brought by the mayor and City Council.

“It's my job to work with the people who work for me to make sure those ambitious projects and initiatives they want us to do get done,” he said. “I operationalize them to make sure their policies and laws come to fruition.”

He said two of his top priorities are public safety and homelessness.

A person in a suit standing in an office at a desk with papers on it
Patricia Lim
KUT News
With Austin facing a deficit, Broadnax said he'll be looking at the city's critical needs. “If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority and not a lot gets done,” he said.

The police department has struggled to maintain and recruit officers. Officials have said that's partially because of the lack of security guaranteed by a labor contract and permanent leadership. Broadnax said he hopes to have a long-term contract with the Austin Police Association, the union that represents police, by mid-July.

“I believe having a contract will help with recruitment and retention because it gives prospective officers a look at what to expect if they want to join the force here,” he said.

He said he also hopes to name a new police chief by then as well. The process will involve law enforcement, community members and city leaders.

“I am excited we are able to do both of these things at the same time," he said, "and hopeful we will get to a good place and get a contract that both the labor side, as well as the City Council, can support."

Regarding homelessness, Broadnax said the city devotes a lot of money to the issue, but he will be looking at where the money goes and how to spend it so it gets people off the street for good.

In Dallas, he helped start and oversee an initiative that helped more than 2,700 unhoused people find homes in two years. He hopes to make the same progress in Austin.

“The longer term solution is the sustainability of helping people with resources, to house them – whether in permanent supportive housing or temporary – and ensuring they don't relapse because they run out of time,” he said. “I am in the process of working with our partners so we can make headway [in this area].”

He wants to improve the city's emergency preparedness

Broadnax said the city is taking being prepared for an emergency — whether that be extreme weather or a wildfire, for example — seriously. He said city staff are in the process of looking at the after-action report findings from the ice storm last year and determining what still needs to be addressed.

The city has been working to get a "resilience hub network" up and running. These facilities would function as neighborhood centers to support the community during disasters and other times of need. While some hubs would offer information, accessible bathrooms and cellphone charging, others would shelter residents and provide food and water during an emergency.

“I do believe there has been significant work done since last year,” he said. “I know we are ready and are better and continually working to improve and be prepared for things that occur here.”

He will focus on critical needs when crafting the budget

The City of Austin could be facing a budget deficit, meaning city leaders will soon have to make some tough choices about which programs can realistically be funded.

The City Council has given Broadnax direction to look into improving housing and resources for people experiencing homelessness, encouraging environmentally friendly practices, and starting new programs around housing affordability. But Broadnax said the city does not have the money to pay for everything.

“If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority and not a lot gets done,” he said. “So you have to be laser-focused on what those critical needs are.”

He said public safety and protecting and serving those who are most vulnerable are top priority when building the budget.

Broadnax will spend the next several weeks looking at where the city spends its money and determining what is and isn't working.

Budget discussions will begin in July.

He wants to connect with Austinites

Apart from building a budget, hiring a permanent police chief and finalizing a long-term labor deal with the police union, Broadnax said the next few months will be about spending time in the community. He said he wants to get to know the people and organizations of Austin.

“What strengthens me and pushes me is my connectivity to the residents,” Broadnax said, “and spending time at neighborhood associations, spending time around tables, and hearing from people about how they believe the city has served them, what more the city needs to do and what they can do to help us.”

He said he will also be focused on getting projects moving, streamlining the permitting process and addressing housing affordability.

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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