The city launched the Inspector General Division in March of this year and named attorney Bart Bevers as its first chief. Bevers answers to Dallas City Attorney Chris Caso.
The creation of the office was part of efforts to prevent misconduct by city employees and elected officials. In recent years, high-profile corruption cases include former Councilman Dwaine Caraway, who received a 51-month prison sentence after his conviction on charges of accepting bribes, tax evasion, and honest services wire fraud.
The federal government granted Caraway an early release from prison in February.
Johnson’s chief of staff, Tristan Hallman, commented on the mayor’s support for the inspector general’s office.
“Fully funding the new Inspector General Division was named this summer as one of [Johnson’s] top budget priorities,” Hallman tweeted.
Council members gave preliminary approval to City Manager T.C. Broadnax’s budget proposal on Wednesday, September 7 and reportedly had $14 million in funding that needed to be allocated.
Bevers asked for enough to hire six more people due to the deluge of complaints that his office has received, but some members on the council do not see adding more personnel to the office as a priority. They contended at the meeting that it is growing too rapidly.
Council members Carolyn King Arnold and Chad West reportedly proposed taking $345,000 away from the office, which has a budget of $1.7 million and a staff of 10 employees. Ultimately, the council withdrew funds from the division, but replaced them with dollars allocated to the city’s pension stabilization program.
Johnson’s priorities also included an “across-the-board” property tax cut and an increase in police funding. Broadnax’s draft increases the police budget by about $45 million and provides for hundreds of more officer hires.
The budget proposes a modest decrease in the property tax rate, though the city will still collect an estimated $132 million more in property taxes due to rising appraisals.
The current rate is $0.7733 per $100 of assessed value while the proposed rate is $0.7458 per $100 of assessed value.
The Dallas City Council will take a final vote on the budget proposal on Wednesday, September 21.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."