DeSoto’s New City Manager Takes On COVID-19 Crisis

DeSoto's new city manager Brandon Wright has hit the ground running

Out of Iowa Into a Crisis

DESOTO – Straight from Davenport, Iowa, DeSoto’s City Manager Brandon Wright has jumped right into his new role.

Comments about Wright included a recent one from the mayor “he has really hit the ground running.”

He had to, since his arrival occurred amid the COVID-19 health crisis sweeping the world.

“It really says something about the man that he was eager to come on board in the midst of one of the greatest threats that this city has ever faced and he has made an immediate impact,” said  DeSoto Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan.

Originally from the Chicago area, Wright spent the last 10 years of his life in Davenport. His wife and three children will join him in Texas at the end of April when they close on their house there. They plan to purchase a new home in DeSoto.

Wright was eager to take on his new role in DeSoto because he said, “I have managed large municipal disaster recovery efforts in the past experience and understand firsthand the importance of consistent and integrated leadership during these times.”

He said since he knew his role in Davenport was near completion and he could positively contribute to what was happening in DeSoto, he worked with both sides to expedite his transition to Texas.

A Unique Opportunity To Bring Community Together

“While starting as DeSoto’s City Manager during this pandemic has had its challenges, it also provides a unique opportunity to see the community coming together in new and important ways,” Wright added. “I have been able to step directly into working with the Mayor and City Council, the senior management team, and community stakeholders on addressing challenges and problems that are new to all of us.”

Wright said that like everyone else, he is looking forward to the day when residents and businesses can get back to normal life.

“That transition will involve close collaboration and synchronization with the Mayor and City Council, Dallas County, and our partner Best Southwest cities,” he said. “DeSoto will also need to be thoughtful in the way we approach planning for the next fiscal year as we continue to learn about the economic consequences of the crisis.”

Currently working from City Hall, he said he is practicing safe social distancing with video conferences, phone calls and email communication.

“The Interim City Manager, Renee Johnson, was doing a great job in full coordination with the city’s senior management team. Knowing that the transition was coming and that many of the decisions related to this crisis would endure well past the originally anticipated start date, it has helped to have one direction established early on,” Wright said when ask about his early start date in DeSoto. “I am focused on ensuring that City services remain available to DeSoto residents and businesses during this crisis, that our employees can operate safely and have access to the benefits they need, that our front-line public safety personnel are supported in their increased response, and that we continue to monitor the changing financial climate.’

Brandon Wright Has Years Of Experience

Wright has more than 14 years of local government experience. When he left Davenport, Iowa he was the Chief Financial Officer/Assistant City Manager for that city. He had also served in other capacities there prior to his latest job role in Iowa.

In Davenport, Wright worked on several major floods that hit the Davenport, Iowa (Quad Cities) area. At that time Wright was one of the Senior Davenport officials who was out in front discussing the impact of the floods showcasing his leadership ability during a time of crisis.

He has a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Brigham Young University. He is also a Certified Public Finance Officer and a graduate of Harvard University’s State and Local Government Executive Program.

Wright’s employment agreement with the city of DeSoto was approved in a special city council meeting on March 26 via Telephone Conference. This allowed him to begin his new job a little over two weeks earlier than scheduled.

“From the very start, Brandon provided leadership in planning and implementing strategies to help us address the COVID-19 crisis while reaching out to our local and regional partners to ensure that we would not go it alone,” McCowan concluded.