Dallas City Employees Are Too Fat, So City Hall Now Has a "Chief Wellness Officer"

Categories: City Hall

MikeRawlingsDance.jpg
@Mike_Rawlings
Mayor Mike Rawlings is his own chief wellness officer.
It's been six months, 11 days, and, oh, about three-and-a-half hours since City Manager A.C. Gonzalez was voted into office on a promise to shake things up at City Hall, and it's finally happened. The city announced today that Gonzalez has injected new blood into upper management by bringing in two fresh faces: Eric Campbell, an assistant city manager in Charlotte, N.C., and Mark McDaniel, the city manager in Tyler.

Kudos to them. Kudos also to Ryan Evans, who has been permanently placed in Gonzalez's former perch as first assistant city manager. But where there are winners, there are also losers.

Theresa O'Donnell, far too upstanding and attentive to public concerns to last in the city manager's office, is now the "chief planning officer" for the newly created "Department of Planning and Neighborhood Vitality," which sounds a lot like her old position as head of the city's department of sustainable development and construction but isn't because that job still exists.

See also: A.C. Gonzalez is Dallas' New City Manager

And poor, bow-tied Forest Turner. Six years after Mary Suhm stuck him in his assistant city manager post, he's being demoted in rather spectacular fashion. Turner, the city announced, will become Dallas' first Chief Wellness Officer.

What's a Chief Wellness Officer? Basically, it's City Hall's version of Michelle Obama, or perhaps Richard Simmons. From the city's official announcement:

Dallas has a high incidence of employees who are overweight or obese. The co-morbidities associated with excess weight (diabetes, heart disease, and muscular-skeletal problems) are significant and projections for future health-care costs to address these conditions are frightening. Improving employee health will not only help mitigate future health care cost increases, it will also improve the quality of life for our employees. Mr. Turner will look at nationwide best practices to implement at the City to move toward a healthier employee population.

Turner is no doubt imminently qualified for the post. He put such a system in place in the street services department, and he is quite trim himself. But it's got to be a gut punch to have one's authority over several city departments -- and the tens of millions of dollars that flow through them -- stripped and replaced by a bunch of fat people.

So, as you go forth in a few hours to celebrate the weekend, make sure to pour one out for Turner. He needs your moral support.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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27 comments
kduble
kduble

If city leaders truly wants people to walk more, they could stop allowing buildings near subway stations to be leveled for big-box store parking.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Did anyone actually lose their job, i.e., out the door, or even take a pay cut in this so-called shake up?  Promising changes in 5 of 7 top managers meant 5 people on the street  "Spending more time with their family", not slotted somewhere while we bring in even more expensive managers.  People in top slots in every organization get let go all the time.  Even the President's Cabinet does a regular weed and prune.  Not in Dallas.  We follow the Gene Roddenberry Star Trek theory of promotion:  Hang around long enough and everybody becomes an admiral, even if they are still a radioperson or steering the ship.

smichaelclark59
smichaelclark59

I don't see any of the "fat" city employees in the photo.  The DPD has an obesity problem

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Anyone else smell that AC making hires with big money to build a core cadre slavishly loyal to him rather than taxpayers?

andypandy
andypandy

Seems like Dallas could learn a few thing from its older neighbor to the West.  Fort Worth has included local gov't and the community in "Fit Fort Worth" and "Tour de Fort Worth" for a few years now all run by Mayor Price without the need for creating a Chief Wellness Officer.

JFPO
JFPO

"Theresa O'Donnell, far too upstanding and attentive to public concerns..."

Surely you can't be serious.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

So what, they have a lot of corrupt and incompetent employees also that costs the city a lot of money.  Are they going name a Chief Honesty/Integrity Officer or Chief Competency officer?

Greg820
Greg820

Let’s build a gym the “Dallas Way!”

Land purchased in South Dallas at 15X the value.Vague acquaintance of Councilman gets $1,500,000 consulting fee for locating abandoned gym on Google Maps.

Another vague acquaintance (on parole for bribery, extortion and money laundering) of another councilman gets another six-figure consulting fee for recommending Mikes Painting (consultant’s brother) to put on a coat of paint.Add several other consulting fees for carpet, lighting, parking lot stripes, etc.

Gym opens 3 years later with massive cost overruns and a six lane tollway with a direct connection from City Hall.

Opening halted when it was discovered that no gym equipment was ever purchased.

Gym equipment purchased.Now missing.Found two years later in councilman’s home.

Gym lies fallow for another three years.

City pays another vague acquaintance of councilman another six figure sum to turn gym into hip walkable urban shopping center.

Building collapses due to corrosive effects of cheap paint—after check deposited.

Did I leave anything out?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

How 'bout just give everybody a 50% pay cut and let'em pay for their cakes and pies with bribe money?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

The AHCA requires that corporations with over 50 workers become compliant with the Central Planning Committee's "Corporate Wellness initiatives" (unless Obama changed it again), which likely requires some sort of Wellness Compliance Officer, this might be related to those demands.

I wonder if, like smokers, the overweight will be separated from the non-porkers at break and lunch times.

highdraw_
highdraw_

This was not much of a "shake-up" at all. To really shake it up, Gonzalez would have needed to hire a City Manager from that outside that could have taught him ethics and honesty. That would have never happened, so were left with musical chairs and two outsiders that are under Gonzalez's control. 


Net-net, not much here at all. Just some nice window dressing to quell the hollering. 


Wouldn't it have made much more sense to replace Ryan Evans and Zavitkovsky? Guess that wouldnt happen either, they are Gonzalez's peeps!  



Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Is "Department of Silly Walks" next?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

To quote an authority on this kinda thing, "what about greed management? That's what we need here."

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

So if I read this article correctly the executive level head count at City Hall just went by 2.


Of course, now subordinates have to be hired, so how many more will that be at City Hall?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@JFPO

Republicans like all God's children. However Republicans like nice asses.

Can we at least agree that city workers should trend toward nice asses?  Male or female in the interest of clarity.

Or is this not an area of concern for you?

bryanr01
bryanr01

@Greg820 Yeah, only I saw missing was where we have to repay federal grant money.  Otherwise, spot on!


primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

I thought the health ins companies helped their insureds with this kind of thing.

maxim2
maxim2

Oh come on Edward Holman!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@primo_timpano

The voluntary is more compulsory now, I think.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@maxim2

I have never wavered from my name.  Conversely, I have never wavered from hammering those who think they can strike from the advantage of surprise,

Beware. I move asymmetrically. 

I already know who and where you are.

maxim2
maxim2

I know what you are wearing right now!

maxim2
maxim2

And i know exactly where you are!!

highdraw_
highdraw_

@maxim2 Come on Edward Holman, you've never been at a loss for words before! 

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