City Secretary's Office


​Frequently Asked Questions

Question Topics​​​​​​​​

City Council Meetings
City History
Elections
Ethics
Lobbyist
Boards & Commissions
Other​


Questions about City Council Meetings:

​-Where are City Council Meetings held?
Information about when City Council Meetings are held is included in the City Council Rules of Procedure.
​-How do I sign up to speak at the next City Council Meeting?
A person wishing to address the city council must first register with the City Secretary's Office and provide the following information: Name, residence address, daytime telephone number, the subject matter to be presented and whether the subject is on the current city council meeting agenda/addendum.  A person may register in person, by electronic mail or telephone.  The earliest a person may register for an upcoming city council meeting is 8:15 a.m. of the next regular business day following the previous city council meeting.  The deadline for registering to address council at a city council meeting is 5:00 p.m. of the last regular business day preceding the meeting.  No person may register to speak during an open microphone period more than once within a 30-day period.  See also these revisions to City Secretary procedures for registering to speak.
​-Are there any guidelines or rules that I must follow if I want to speak at the next Council meeting?
Yes,  these rules are included in the City Council approved Rules of Procedures.  See also these revisions to City Secretary procedure for registering to speak.
​-Do I have to be a resident of the City of Dallas to speak at a City Council meeting?
No, you do not have to be a resident of the City of Dallas to speak at a City Council meeting; however, preference is given to residents. More information about this is available in the City Council Rules of Procedures.
​-Who is responsible for preparing the agenda for City Council meetings?
The City Manager is responsible for preparing the agenda for City Council meetings.
​-When and where is a City Council meeting agenda posted?
In accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, city council meeting agenda is posted at a minimum of 72 hours prior to the start of the meeting, or in accordance with other provisions of the Act.  Meeting notices and agendas are listed on the City's website and physically posted for viewing during normal business hours at: City Secretary's Office 1500 Marilla St., 5DS, Dallas, Tx. 75201.  (Photocopies of Council Agendas are also available free of charge.)
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How can I obtain a paper copy of the agenda before the city council meeting?
Please review the above question regarding the posting of the agenda. Once an agenda is posted, a copy is available from the City Secretary's Office at (214) 670-3738.
It is the City's normal practice to make the agenda of the regular voting meetings, which are usually the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, available on Monday, nine days before the meeting. There may be an addendum or change in the agenda up until the 72 hour posting deadline. This website https://dallascityhall.com/government/citysecretary/Pages/Public-Meetings.aspx will usually make the agenda available for view on the Monday following posting.​
​-How can I obtain a copy of the minutes of a City Council meeting?
Minutes of meetings since 1995 are available on the City Secretary's webpage or available in hard copy or CD from the city secretary's office. Minutes of the most recent meeting generally are available 14 days after the meeting date, when they are approved by city council.
​-What are the charges for copies of minutes or other records of Council meetings?
The City Secretary's office provides copies according to state regula​tions on charges, including $0.10 per page, up to 50 pages; and $1.00 per CD; mailing charges, if applicable.
​-How do I obtain a copy of a City Council meeting audio recording, annotated agenda, resolution, ordinance, contract or other approved items of the City Council?
Audio recording, annotated agenda, resolutions, ordinances can be found by accessing City Secretary's Office Agendas, Minutes & Digital Audio Recordings webpage.  Contracts or other approved items will require an Open Records Request.
​-How soon after the Council meeting is a resolution, ordinance, or other item available?
Approved items are generally available the Friday after the meeting. The web version of the agenda, with annotation of approvals, are updated the following week.
​-How can I find out about Council members' votes on agenda items?
The minutes of a Council meeting include the votes on each agenda item for that meeting. The minutes for the most recent meet​ing generally are available once approved by City Council. This approval is scheduled for the second meeting following the meeting date for the minutes. This may be as few as 14 days after the meeting, or longer if the minutes are not approved as scheduled, or if there are holidays or recesses. To learn the results of Council actions, check the updated version of the agenda on this web site which cso/includes annotations as to which items were approved, not approved, or deferred. This annotated agenda is displayed on the web a few days following the meeting. Minutes since 2005 are available from the City Secretary's web site.

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Questions related to the history of the City of Dallas:
-Where can I obtain information or research records related the history of the City of Dallas?
You may contact the City Archivist at (214) 670-5270 with questions related to the history of the City of Dallas. Go to our Archives page for a list of​ Guides to the Archives.
-How many mayors have served the City of Dallas?
The Honorable Mayor Eric Johnson is the 60th Mayor of the City of Dallas.
-How can I find out when a certain council member or mayor was elected?
We provide here a list of Mayors, City Managers, City Secretaries, City Attorneys and City Auditors. A great deal more information is online, and a set of Guides to the Archives are now online. You may contact the City Archivist at (214) 670-5270 for more information.


​​Questions about City elections:

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Questions about Code of Ethics:

Disclaimer:​ No statement on this page replaces or interprets City code. Users may not rely on these FAQ answers as complete, detailed descriptions or interpretations of law or City code. The user must rely on the actual text of the City code, and may request an opinion from the City Attorney.​​​
-​How do I contact the Ethics Advisory Commission?
Your primary contact should usually be the staff coordinator in the City Secretary's Office, at (214) 670-3741.​
-How do I travel to City Hall to attend a meeting?
Detailed driving directions to City Hall are found on the City Secretary's web site here. These provide directions from main arteries, and includes three maps of city hall's location in the southern Central Business District.​
-Who must file an Annual Financial Disclosure Statement?
City Councilmembers and candidates, certain City employees, and members of certain specific boards and commissions on this list must file an Annual Financial Disclosure Statement​. 

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Questions about Lobbyist Registration:

-Do I have to file a quarterly report?
No.  Reports are only required to be filed if you have activity that must be reported.
-Is a non-profit organization requesting federal grant money from the city considered to be lobbying if the organization only communicates with city staff that are not city officials, even though the award of the grant money will ultimately be decided by city officials?
No. Communications with non-city officials do not constitute lobbying activities. Under Section 12A-15.2(10) (A) of the Dallas City Code, lobbying is “any oral or written communication (including an electronic communication) to a city official made directly or indirectly by any person in an effort to influence or persuade an official to favor or oppose, recommend or not recommend, vote for or against, or take or refrain from taking action on any municipal question.” If, after the application for federal grant money (which is considered to be a designated public subsidy matter) is posted on a city council committee agenda or a council agenda, the non-profit organization makes a lobbying contact with a city council member, then the organization (as the applicant in the designated public subsidy matter) must file a non-registrant disclosure statement within five days after the contact. See, Section 12A-15.7 of the Dallas City Code. If the non-profit organization has a paid lobbyist on staff (who receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying activities), and that paid lobbyist communicates with a city official at any time in an effort to influence or persuade the city official to take favorable action on the application for federal grant money, then that paid lobbyist would be required to register as a lobbyist within five days after the start of lobbying activity for the organization. The non-profit organization would be the client of the paid lobbyist. See Sections 12A-15.3 and 12A-15.5 of the Dallas City Code.
-Is my company (which is a professional consulting firm) or my employee (who is both a project manager and the person responsible for making sales calls on municipalities) exempt from the new Dallas lobbyist registration and reporting requirements since no separate compensation is received for lobbying activities?
Section 12A-15.3(1) and (2) of the Dallas City Code requires a person to register if the person receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying. Under Section 12A-15.2(3) of the Dallas City Code, compensation includes any money, service, facility, or other thing of value that is received, or is to be received, in return for or in connection with lobbying services rendered, or to be rendered, including reimbursement of expenses incurred in lobbying. Compensation does not include a payment made to any individual regularly employed by a person if the payment ordinarily would be made regardless of whether the individual engaged in lobbying activities, and lobbying activities are not part of the individual’s regular responsibilities to the person making the payment. Therefore, if your company does not receive the above-described compensation or reimbursement in a calendar quarter for lobbying a Dallas city official, then it is not required to register as a lobbyist. Further, if a CEO, board member, or employee of your company lobbies a city official, but such lobbying is not part of that individual’s regular job responsibilities and only occurs incidentally, then those individuals do not have to register as lobbyists.
If you have a staff lobbyist, however, who lobbies city officials as a regular part of his or her job responsibilities, regardless of whether the individual holds other responsibilities with the company and regardless of whether the individual’s compensation for those lobbying duties are paid for separately or are covered by the individual’s salary, that individual would have to register as a lobbyist. So if the employee is regularly assigned by your company to lobby city officials, which means to communicate with city officials in an effort to influence or persuade them to favor or oppose, recommend or not recommend, vote for or against, or take or refrain from taking action on any municipal question [see definition of  “lobbying” in Section 12A-15.2(10)(A)], and the employee receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for those lobbying activities (even if such compensation is included in a salary that also covers other job responsibilities), then that employee would be required to register as a lobbyist and your company would be his or her client. Please note that any communications the employee has with a city official for the purpose of managing a project being performed by your company under an existing city contract would not be considered a lobbying contact that triggers registration requirements.
Also note that under Section 12A-15.2(12), a municipal question means a public policy issue of a discretionary nature that is pending before, or that may be the subject of action by, the city council or any city board or commission. It includes, but is not limited to, proposed actions or proposals for action in the form of ordinances, resolutions, motions, recommendations, reports, regulations, policies, nominations, appointments, sanctions, and bids, including the adoption of specifications, awards, grants, or contracts. It does not include the day-to-day application, administration, and execution of city programs and policies such as permitting, platting, and design approval matters related to or in connection with a specific project or development.
-Are chambers of commerce and nonprofit entities required to comply with the registration and reporting requirements for lobbyists under Article III-A, Chapter 12A of the Dallas City Code?
Section 12A-15.3 of the Dallas City Code requires a person who receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying activities to register as a lobbyist and to report certain information regarding his or her lobbying activities. Section 12A-15.2(3) (B) of the city code specifically provides that “compensation” does not include payments to an individual regularly employed by a person if lobbying activities are not part of the individual’s regular responsibilities. Thus, compensation does not include an individual’s regular salary if lobbying is not part of the individual’s regular job duties.
Consequently, the lobbyist registration and reporting requirements would only apply to an employee of a chamber of commerce or non-profit entity whose regular job duties consisted of lobbying activities, or to a chamber of commerce or non-profit entity that has been retained for lobbying activities and receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for those activities. Persons who engage in occasional or incidental lobbying activities, but whose regular job responsibilities do not include lobbying, would not have to comply with the lobbyist registration and reporting requirements.
-If our company sponsors a table at an event and we offer up one of the seats to the chamber for elected officials, and a council member is seated at our table, do we need to count that as a meeting?
I assume by “meeting,” you are asking if a lobbying contact occurred. A lobbying contact would only occur if any communication was made to the council member “in an effort to influence or persuade an official to favor or oppose, recommend or not recommend, vote for or against, or take or refrain from taking action on any municipal question.” See Section 12A-15.2(10) (A) of the Dallas City Code.
If we are at a meeting and say hello to and/or introduce a council member to someone we know, must we count that as a meeting?
Please note that Section 12A-15.2(10) (B) lists certain types of communications that are not considered lobbying. Under Section 12A-15.2(12), a “municipal question” means a public policy issue of a discretionary nature that is pending before, or that may be the subject of action by, the city council or any city board or commission. The term includes, but is not limited to, proposed actions or proposals for action in the form of ordinances, resolutions, motions, recommendations, reports, regulations, policies, nominations, appointments, sanctions, and bids, including the adoption of specifications, awards, grants, or contracts. The term does not include the day-to-day application, administration, and execution of city programs and policies such as permitting, platting, and design approval matters related to or in connection with a specific project or development.
If we meet with a council member about utility construction in their district, must we log that meeting/contact?
Please note that even if a lobbying contact occurred, it would not trigger the lobbyist registration and reporting requirements unless it was made by a person who received compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying activities. See Section 12A-15.3 of the Dallas City Code. Also note that certain exceptions to the requirements for lobbyist registration and quarterly activity reports are set forth in Section 12A-15.4 of the Dallas City Code.
-As a utility company, if we are working with council member staff for customer concerns, do we need to log all of the communication?
Members of a council member’s staff are not city officials under Section 12A-15.2(1) of the Dallas City Code, so communications directly with them are not usually considered to be lobbying. If, however, the contact with a council member’s staff is for the purpose of making an indirect communication to influence or persuade the city council member to favor or oppose, recommend or not recommend, vote for or against, or take or refrain from taking action on any municipal question, then such communication would be considered a lobbying contact that would need to be reported, assuming it is made by a person who is required to register as a lobbyist. See Section 12A-15.2(10) of the Dallas City Code.
-What communications with city officials constitute lobbying under the regulations? The regulations detail those communications that are not deemed to be lobbying, but we do not see provisions making clear what does constitute lobbying.
Section 12A-15.2(10) (A) of the Dallas City Code defines lobbying as “any oral or written communication (including an electronic communication) to a city official, made directly or indirectly by any person in an effort to influence or persuade an official to favor or oppose, recommend or not recommend, vote for or against, or take or refrain from taking action on any municipal question.” Thus, all such communications are lobbying, unless specifically exempted by Section 12A-15.2(10) (B).
-Is a person required to register as a lobbyist if the person speaks with city officials on his or her own behalf or on behalf of his or her own company rather than for other companies/clients?
Section 12A-15.3(1) and (2) of the Dallas City Code requires a person to register if the person receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying. If a company does not receive such compensation or reimbursement for lobbying, then it is not required to register as a lobbyist. Further, if a CEO, board member, or employee of a company lobbies a city official, but such lobbying is not part of that individual’s regular job responsibilities and only occurs incidentally, then those individuals do not have to register as lobbyists. If the company has a staff lobbyist, however, who lobbies city officials as a regular part of his or her job responsibilities, regardless of whether the individual holds other responsibilities with the company and regardless of whether the individual’s compensation for those lobbying duties are paid for separately or are covered by the individual’s salary, that individual would have to register as a lobbyist and the company would be his or her client.
-Can a corporation, partnership, or other entity register as a lobbyist?
A corporation, partnership, or other entity is required to register as a lobbyist if it receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying. If it does not receive compensation for lobbying activities but has more than one paid lobbyist on staff that would be required to register individually, the corporation, partnership, or other entity may choose to register as a lobbying firm and include in that registration the names and lobbying contacts of its staff lobbyists, instead of having them register individually. See Ordinance No. 27834 (adopted by the Dallas City Council on April 7, 2010), which: (1) amended Section 12A-15.2(11) of the Dallas City Code to define “lobbying firm” to include “a person who has one or more employees that are lobbyists on the person’s behalf and the person is the client,” and (2) added Section 12A-15.3(b) which reads as follows:
A lobbying firm that is not required to register under Subsection (a) of this section may register as a lobbyist with the city secretary if the lobbying firm has more than one employee who is required to register under Subsection (a). A lobbying firm that chooses to register under this subsection for all of its employees that are lobbyists, instead of having them register individually, will be deemed to be a “registrant” and “a person required to register” for all purposes of this article and will be subject to all requirements, procedures, and penalties applicable to a “registrant” and “person required to register,” as those terms are used in this article.
-If a corporation, partnership, or other entity is permitted to register as a lobbyist, is it necessary for each individual employed by the corporation who engages in lobbying activities to also register individually as a lobbyist?
No. Section 12A-15.4(6) of the Dallas City Code provides an exception to lobbyist registration and reporting requirements for an “agent or employee of a lobbying firm or other registrant, provided that the lobbying firm or other registrant files a registration statement or activity report for the period in question fully disclosing all relevant information known to the agent or employee.” Also, see the answer to Question No. 9.
-Does incidental contact (such as contacting city officials to inquire about  matters unrelated to any specific procurement, or communicating with city officials in social settings, or responding to questions asked by city officials about matters unrelated to any specific procurement) constitute lobbying?
A lobbying contact would only occur if any communication was made to a city official “in an effort to influence or persuade an official to favor or oppose, recommend or not recommend, vote for or against, or take or refrain from taking action on any municipal question.” See Section 12A-15.2(10) (A) of the Dallas City Code. Also, see Section 12A-15.2(10) (B) which lists certain types of communications that are not considered lobbying. Please note that Ordinance No. 27834 (adopted by the Dallas City Council on April 7, 2010) amended Section 12A-15.2(10) (B) to exclude from the definition of lobbying any communication “made in an oral or written response narrowly tailored to address an oral or written request by a city official for specific information.”

Under Section 12A-15.2(12), a “municipal question” means a public policy issue of a discretionary nature that is pending before, or that may be the subject of action by, the city council or any city board or commission. The term includes, but is not limited to, proposed actions or proposals for action in the form of ordinances, resolutions, motions, recommendations, reports, regulations, policies, nominations, appointments, sanctions, and bids, including the adoption of specifications, awards, grants, or contracts. The term does not include the day-to-day application, administration, and execution of city programs and policies such as permitting, platting, and design approval matters related to or in connection with a specific project or development.
Even if a lobbying contact occurred, however, it would not trigger the lobbyist registration and reporting requirements unless it was made by a person who received compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying activities.
See Section 12A-15.3 of the, Dallas City Code. Also, note that certain exceptions to the requirements for lobbyist registration and quarterly activity reports are set forth in Section 12A-15.4 of the Dallas City Code.
-Who has to register under the Dallas lobbying ordinance?
Section 12A-15.3(1) and (2) of the Dallas City Code requires a person to register if the person receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying.
-Specifically, does an employer (XYZ Company) have to register?
An employer/company is required to register as a lobbyist if it receives compensation or reimbursement of $200 or more in a calendar quarter for lobbying. If the employer/company does not receive compensation for lobbying activities but has more than one paid lobbyist on staff that would be required to register individually, the employer/company may choose to register as a lobbying firm and include in that registration the names and lobbying contacts of its staff lobbyists, instead of having them register individually. See Ordinance No. 27834 (adopted by the Dallas City Council on April 7, 2010), which: (1) amended Section 12A-15.2(11) of the Dallas City Code to define “lobbying firm” to include “a person who has one or more employees that are lobbyists on the person’s behalf and the person is the client,” and (2) added Section 12A-15.3(b) which reads as follows:
(b) A lobbying firm that is not required to register under Subsection (a) of this section may register as a lobbyist with the city secretary if the lobbying firm has more than one employee who is required to register under Subsection (a). A lobbying firm that chooses to register under this subsection for all of its employees that are lobbyists, instead of having them register individually, will be deemed to be a “registrant” and “a person required to register” for all purposes of this article and will be subject to all requirements, procedures, and penalties applicable to a “registrant” and “person required to register,” as those terms are used in this article.
-​Can an employer register and list the lobbyists that work for it and their activities to the City of Dallas?
​Yes. Section 12A-15.4(6) provides an exception to lobbyist registration and reporting requirements for an “agent or employee of a lobbying firm or other registrant, provided that the lobbying firm or other registrant files a registration statement or activity report for the period in question fully disclosing all relevant information known to the agent or employee.” Also, see the answer to Question No. 13.

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Questions about City Council appointed boards and commissions:

-How many city council appointed boards and commissions exist and how can I find out what they are?
There are 56 city council appointed boards and commissions, listed here.​​
-Who is appointed to what board and by which council member?
You may call the Boards & Commissions Division of the City Secretary's Office at (214) 671-8970 to obtain information on specific board members or to obtain a list of all board members. This information can also be found on the city secretary's home page.
-What are the qualification requirements for City Council appointed board and commission members?
The qualifications are established in Chapter 8-1.4., the Dallas City Code. A copy of the code is available in the City Secretary's Office or at the Dallas Public Library. Request​s for copies of the qualifications may be directed the City Secretary's Office at (214) 670-3738.
-How do I get information on boards and commissions?
You may contact the Boards & Commissions Division of the City Secretary's Office at (214) 671-8970.

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Other frequently asked questions:

-How do I file a claim with the City or obtain information about the status of my claim?
Claims are handled by the Department of Human Resources, Risk Management Division at (214) 671-9458
-How do I submit an Open Records request to the City?
Information about how to request records is available on the Open Records page.
-How do I obtain a copy of the Texas Open Records Act, including allowable charges??
You may hard copy of the Act and the General Service Commission rules on charges from Open Records at 214-659-8010.  You may also obtain these documents from the Texas Attorney General's open government page.
-How can I obtain the Dallas City Code, including subscription service for future updates?
The Dallas City Code and update subscriptions may be purchased from the publisher: American Legal Publishing Corporation at (513) 421-4248.  The Dallas City Code is now also online, along with the City Charter.
-How can I purchase a Dallas City Charter or a Dallas City Budget book?
The Dallas City Charter and the Dallas City Budget are available online.  For more information on how to purchase please contact City Controllers Office at  (214)670-3536 or for more frequently asked questions regarding the budget please visit Budget and Finance webpage.