My Search for Former City Manager Mary Suhm, Who's Apparently Lost in City Hall

Categories: Schutze

marynote3.jpg
"A Note for Mary," a small hat-cam film by Jim Schutze, should be viewed -- and no one's saying it actually should be viewed -- as a cry for help.
Tuesday was a very strange day for me -- an experience I am sharing with you today (or inflicting on you, never quite sure) both here on the blog and also in a short film I made called "A Note for Mary." I made it with my hat-cam, a small camera device that I have used to similar ill effect in the past.

See also:
A Brazen Attack on Jim Schutze's Hat-Cam: Film at 11! No, Wait, Film at Now!

Here's the thing. Since she retired as Dallas' city manager, Mary Suhm has been beyond my reach. It's possible she regards not talking to me as one of the perquisites of her retirement. She may even have that written out somewhere in her contract: "No longer required to return phone calls or emails from Schutze once I am retired."

If I were convinced she was truly and fully retired, I swear I would leave her alone. No, really, I would. I would certainly try. But I'm not convinced.

Multiple reliable sources have told me they believe that Suhm is still present in City Hall, either full-time, on some regular cyclical basis or ... well, the other possibilities are just too scary to talk about. Some people have told me they believe she still has an office somewhere in the building. This may not be true, but I have heard it whispered often enough that, if it's not true, it should be called, "The Legend of Mary's Office."

On the one hand, why shouldn't she have some kind of little office somewhere at City Hall? No reason at all. She should, if she needs one. She could be involved in some harmless do-good projects like thinking about the future or encouraging kindness.

Or not. The whole business of having her around seems a little spooky to some people, who, by the way, always want to talk to me about it on a not-for-attribution basis, possibly because, unlike me, they are afraid of looking silly. They point out to me that the usual custom is for a retired CEO to vacate the premises and not be seen again for a good long time, so that the successor can make his or her mark.

But is she really there at all? Or is what people are seeing a ...? Don't even say it. It's too scary. And yet, in my role as a representative of this newspaper, I felt it was my duty to go to City Hall, to face whatever it was I would face there in order to finally put this question to rest.

Tuesday I put on a clean shirt and my hat-cam, even though Suhm once snatched it off my head, and went off to City Hall to find her. The results are in my movie, but it's kind of longish, so I'll give you the thumbnail here.

When I went to City Hall to look for her, I was told that only certain people could tell me if she had an office. Weird. Then certain people did tell me she had an office in the Intergovernmental Services (IGS) division. But she wasn't in it. She was, they said, "on vacation." Vacation from what?

Certain other people told me she does not have an office at City Hall but that sometimes she is allowed to sit on a chair in the IGS division. I believe that was a joke. I didn't get it.

Some security people in the building seem to believe she does have a regular office, but they couldn't find it in their phone directories when I asked, which would be perfectly plausible if she is a consultant, not an an employee. I later reached a person in the city's human resources division who said she had never heard of her. So you never know.

What I wound up doing was just walking around the building calling her name and asking people if they had seen her. That's the whole movie. It's pathetic. Don't watch it. I can't watch it again. I think it's a cry for help.

I also spent a good deal of time back in the office calling everybody I could think of and asking if Suhm had an office at City Hall. At the end of the day I got a call back from Shawn Williams, interim managing director of public information for the city, who told me emphatically that she does not have an office at City Hall and has never had an office at City Hall since her retirement, although he said she may have been spotted a few times in the area of the Office of Intergovernmental Services while helping out with projects there.

I may never sleep again.

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40 comments
markie19
markie19 topcommenter

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d-may
d-may

Was the audiobook at the beginning supposed to be some attempt at foreshadowing?


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Suhm: heard but not seen.

longball18
longball18

http://www.dallascityhall.com/html/intergovernmental_services.html 

"Intergovernmental Services

Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla Street, Room 4BN
Dallas, Texas 75201
(214) 670-5047
Fax (214) 670-5798

Managing Director
Brett Wilkinson
(214) 670-5797

Department Mission
To develop partnerships and serve as a primary point of contact for the City to local, regional, state and federal levels of government and other independent agencies; to develop and manage the City's state and federal legislative agendas; to protect the interests of the City by coordinating with departments to develop appropriate responses to state and federal legislative matters; and to maximize opportunities for acquiring and leveraging outside resources."


schermbeck
schermbeck

What a crock. You know perfectly well July is when City Hall shuts down, so of course she wouldn't be there manipulating the municipal machinations - there's no business going on. I wouldn't be the least surprised to find out you and she set this whole stunt up to throw us all off the scent. We should all show back up with hound dogs and the smell of secret memos when the final budget is being voted on in a month or so.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

She's on a beach behind a house on the northwest coast of Florida.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun. - Raymond Chandler (1888–1959), U.S. author. Philip Marlowe, in Farewell, My Lovely, ch. 34 (1940).

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

But on nights when the moon is full and the Spanish moss sway in the breeze and strange sounds are heard from the swamp, some folks have seen an eerie figure wandering the atrium, moaning and wringing its hands...

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Based on careful viewing of many good and bad private detective movies you need to switch tactics. Move from the Search to the Stakeout. Please keep in mind the Stakeout requires following the subject, a procedure that ideally requires at least 3 following team, best deployed with Holmesian disguises, and real time communications among the team and command center, which should have the resources to deploy standby backup teams and access CCTV. While these efforts are expensive, it seems logical the logistics could be simplified by placing a GPS device on her car, though I have no knowledge of the legality of this and do not recommend it and please insert whatever language is necessary from being deemed to condone any criminal act.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Hunt, Perot, etc have no office at marilla, but that doesn't prevent their influence. Telephones.

But, an office may imply a paid relationship, maybe via shell company consultancy?

How to find that....

Darren
Darren

A simple open records request ought to put this rumor to bed, one way or another.

Voot
Voot

I would think circulating the rumor that she's in a 55 gallon drum at the bottom of White Rock Lake would either root her out in short order or launch interest in some new, fun summertime water sports, like trolling for catfish with 27/0 hooks.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Shawn Williams is a South Dallas blogger that the City hired two years ago as a way for the City to sell the black community on the agenda of making things better for black folks. Then that job went away for a while and then when Frank Librio left, they give Williams the job of being in charge of Public Records. Essentially, keeping the secrets of Dallas City Hall under lock and key. Now, who do you think would want that? Suhm of course. As of this writing, we know that his office is stalling on numerous records being requested by various individuals and groups, and has even denied the requests of certain council members.

Again, who does that sound like?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Looks like your "multiple reliable sources" sent you on a snipe hunt.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

You can find her office in the basement of the Alamo.


Glad to to see hatcam (earcam) back.  I love these episodes.  And yeah, I feel sorry for the persons who told you where here "office" was

roo_ster
roo_ster

JS:


I hope you are happy now that all those folks trying to help you will now end up "Vince Fostered" and dumped up on the grassy knoll for Robert Groden to find.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

Can Shawn Williams be trusted?  Or is Suhm still secretly pulling everyone's puppet strings so she can pull her backroom deals without being publically accountable? If she is retired and supposedly has no more authority, why is she hanging around the Office of Intergovermental Services (what is that exactly?) at all?

You should ask AC Gonzalez to see if his strings are being pulled.  That would put both Suhm and Gonzalez on record on what is going on.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@d-may

I do not discuss my work. I merely present it.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Darren you are assuming someone has made a record of her existing there since she "retired"  She probably has a visitors badge so as not to have a badge that tracks back to her

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Darren

ha . . .ha ha . . . . hahahahhhahahahhahaHAHAHAHAAHA . . . . !


*ahem*

longball18
longball18

@dallasdrilling.wordpress.com 


Yeah, Im thinking she's there because of all the investigation's going on. She is worried and trying to manage the process as best she can. 


As one insider put it in a prior Schutze article:


bigbexardaddy5 days ago

Killingworth told to resign May 7, 2013 during lunch hour with Ryan Evans, Suhm. Around130 in rage he started sending emails announcing retirement. He was expendable when his arrogance,incompetence finally got HUD's attention, including IG. Project Reconnect 2 indictments and hundreds of thousands ordered repaid so far. All programs all years being examined.

JK, Zavitkowsky, Evans, Suhm smug, over-confident, and got where they are by being smart enough and willing to do, say anything. Orgs and corps missing JK and worried about possible KarlZ, Evans departure are those enriched by the current no bid, no rfp, no competitive application system.

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primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Very well done. Extremely cost effective. If their dad gave them walkie talkies or cellphones he could have kept up with them.

Darren
Darren

@ScottsMerkin @Darren  I don't know city hall policy but don't visitor badges have to be signed for ? Unless that's information privileged from disclosure, it can be requested.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@primi_timpano

Sure, just chain-saw the body in half. Lots of times...I mean, I've seen movies with this, lots of times.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

@longball18 Any City Hall staff employee that would admit that Suhm is still "in office" would find their desk cleared and in a box the next day. Depending on any staffer to give up that info is ridiculous. Schutze knows who to call to get an answer within seconds, should he decide to do so.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Darren eh, who knows, but if they really are trying to keep it on the down low that she does in fact office their.  Its not going to be as easy as checking the badge system or the system directory.  This is Dallas we are talking about

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@wcvemail; Forgive my unforgivable lack of imagination. I've even seen the original Fargo.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @Darren Let her in and out through the 'smoker's door'.  Back in the 90's worked on a threat vulnerability assessment for DOD and DOS facilities overseas.  #1 easiest access without a badge to secure areas?  Smoker's door.  #1 most commonly found security breach?  Smoker's door.  These nondescript doors usually exited from some little used area, most often a stairwell exit leading into a loading dock or alleyway.  Smokers used them so often that the doors were usually left propped open or had locks taped over.  Few if any were alarmed, even fewer had badge readers or keypads.


I really hope these vulnerabilities have been corrected.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @ScottsMerkin yup,  I was wondering aimlessly behind arlington city hall looking lost and some smoker asked if they could help me.  Anyhow, they let me in the smokers door and even told me how to get back to the smokers door so I wouldnt have to walk all the around the outside of city hall when I was done to get back to my car.  Not one person after that asked me who or what I was doing

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

Smokers!

I always picture Dennis Hopper's Deacon character in Waterworld now when I hear that term.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@ScottMerkin: what genius. Does it require taking a puff or few to give added authenticity to your mission. Smoker's breath and the smoker's door. Well played. Very well played.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@primi_timpano In my previous smokers life 185 days ago, I would have lit a smoke and kind of lingered there hoping to get let in.  

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @primi_timpano

That is the one perk of smoking that I kinda' miss - automatic back-door access.

I hadn't even really considered it until you brought it up, here. We are no longer in the club . . .

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