Jump to content
The Education Forum

Dallas City Manager--11/63


Recommended Posts

One of the episodes of Turner's 'The men who killed Kennedy' is called 'The Witnesses'. In this episode, former DPD Officer LC Graves states:

"Chief Curry did not have the final say on how LHO was transferred--it came from his superior which was the City Manager at that time, so again, we knew better than to transfer him under those conditions but we didn't have any choice".

The City Manager of Dallas at the time of the assassination was Elgin E Crull.

In his WC testimony (WC Hearings Vol XV p.138-145) Crull denies issuing orders to Chief Curry concerning Oswald's transfer but mentions that he had a conference in Curry's office about 4pm on November 22 in which "I agreed with him that we would continue our policy of trying to co-operate with the press", conveniently implicating Curry as the main mover behind this 'policy'--the one that got Oswald killed.

Crull goes on to state that he left City Hall about 7pm on Friday night. Next day, he went down to the lake-- Lake Texoma--to stay on his boat, and was informed of the Oswald shooting on Sunday by a DPD officer who rang through to the marina.

Isn't it a little odd that the Dallas City Manager would retreat to his houseboat at a time of such turmoil in Dallas?

Others have supported Graves's assertion that Crull ordered Curry to fully co-operate with the media when organising the LHO transfer, including motorcycle cop 'Steve' Ellis who stated in 1988 that Crull and Mayor Cabell ordered Curry to co-operate with the media's requests concerning the prisoner's transfer.

btw, do any members with knowledge of the legal aspects know if the City Manager would have outranked the Mayor on this issue? (although it's highly likely that both were recieving instructions from higher authorities).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

A sidebar on Crull:

In 1966, he resigned from the City Manager position and was elected as Vice President of the Republic National Bank. There have been a few threads in the past regarding this bank which has some very interesting connections and board directors.

Crull below.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

A sidebar on Crull:

In 1966, he resigned from the City Manager position and was elected as Vice President of the Republic National Bank. There have been a few threads in the past regarding this bank which has some very interesting connections and board directors.

Crull below.

James

Thanks James. Obviously Crull was well connected. Crull actually appointed Chief Curry to his position, which, imo, made Curry Crull's man.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Elgin Crull and his position are a "required course" of study if one is to fully understand the forces which were put into motion in Dallas, which ultimately ended with Jack Ruby shooting LHO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallas,_Texas

Law and government

Main article: Law and government of Dallas, Texas

The city uses a council-manager government

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council-manager_government

Council-manager government

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/testimony/cabell_e.htm

Mr. CABELL - Under the charter of the city of Dallas, the city council is composed of councilmen and the mayor, the mayor having the status of a councilman, but also being the presiding officer elected by the people at large as the mayor. He is the presiding officer and the spokesman for the council. The council does not have administrative responsibilities nor authority. The council is a legislative and policymaking body who appoint the city manager, among certain other city officials or department heads.

The city manager in turn has the discretion of appointing those department heads under his direct jurisdiction, including the appointment of the chief of police. The council, by ordinance, is not authorized to, and in fact is prohibited from taking direct administrative action through or over any of the department heads appointed by and responsible to the city manager.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/testimony/crull.htm

Mr. CRULL. The city manager, under the Dallas Charter, is the chief administrator of the city government, being charged with the overall supervision of most of the departments of the government. There are a few exceptions. Being charged with the financial control and the operation of the budget, and the operation of the different departments.

The city manager is charged with the responsibility of appointing and removing department heads, and assistant department heads, the balance of the organization being under civil service.

He is the responsible official to the city council, which is the policymaking body.

Mr. HUBERT. Did you appoint Chief Jesse E. Curry to his position?

Mr. CRULL. I did.

Mr. HUBERT. Is that a political appointment, or just how was it made?

Mr. CRULL. We don't have any political appointments. We are a council-manager government. We have no political parties as such. The national parties take no activity in Dallas.

Mr. HUBERT. If you make an appointment, does the mayor or the city council have anything to do with it by way of suggestion or rejection?

Mr. CRULL. No, sir; the responsibility for the appointment and for the performance of the appointee is with the city manager. The council does set salaries for all appointees.

Mr. HUBERT. It is possible, I suppose then, for the city council to veto your appointment by not appropriating the money for the salary, is that possible?

Mr. CRULL. It is possible. It hasn't happened in 30 years.

Mr. HUBERT. The selection of Chief Curry was your own selection?

Mr. CRULL. That is correct.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk...Vol19_0206b.htm

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: This is now so easy in this "internet"/on-line archives days.

One does not even need to own or borrow a set of the WC volumes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

One of the episodes of Turner's 'The men who killed Kennedy' is called 'The Witnesses'. In this episode, former DPD Officer LC Graves states:

"Chief Curry did not have the final say on how LHO was transferred--it came from his superior which was the City Manager at that time, so again, we knew better than to transfer him under those conditions but we didn't have any choice".

Just on a little side note, for another reason I was reading the WC testimony of Justice of the Peace David Johnson.

In both arraignments of Oswald, one at 7:10 for the killing of Tippit, and the second supposed arraignment for the killing of JFK at 1:35, Oswald was informed of the charges against him and "remanded to the custody of the Dallas County Sheriff."

Why was he still in the hands of the Dallas City Police Department two days later?

Steve Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark and Thomas

I served four terms as a city councilman in a council - manager municipality of what currently is a city of 140,000 people. While the city manager does in fact run the day to day operations of the city (with council oversight) the job of the council is, in fact, to set policy. If, in the opinion of a majority of the council, the council feels that the manager is not implementing the policy of the council, the manager, who is an “at will” employee, can be removed with a majority vote at any time. This power of the council is designed to curb the potential for abuse by a city manager.

I have observed that the system can get screwed up a couple of different ways.

First: If a councilperson attempts to micro manage the system on an individual basis (ie attempting to direct the manager or a department head to provide, perhaps, a “special favor” for someone or to approve a contract with a “special someone’s” company or to hire a “special friend” or to get a “special project approved) versus the council, as a whole, making decisions in a public meeting.

Second: If the manager attempts to set policy rather than the council or (as the person who hires department heads) attempts to micro manage each department (by demanding that “special” favors be provided to “special” interests) rather than allowing each “player” to participate in the symphony that a well run city must perform.

With this in mind it would seem that Manager Crull would in fact defer to Chief Curry in the situation that would have confronted the Dallas City Manager at the time of the Kennedy assassination. Yet Crull would still be the one person that would be ultimatly responsible for the way any situation was handled. Conversely, in a matter as important as the assassination of a President, you can bet that the "department head" (Chief Curry) would be conferring with and keeping the manager fully informed of what was transpiring. Once again in my opinion Crull would defer to Curry. To do otherwise would be overruling the expert in an area where Crull was not the expert whom he had hired to handle such situations.

In today’s litigious society any city manager that did not operate in this manner and had a prisoner that was in the custody of his city who would die in the manner that Oswald was executed could have personal liability attached for not following the advice of the “department head” in the matter.

Believe it or not I have personally seen to many cities get in a great deal of trouble for not following “expert” advice or accepted policies in areas as simple as where traffic signals should be placed, in what order that they should be placed (as opposed to another area) and why they were in fact placed at that location and at that time versus another location.

The job of city manager is a tough assignment and finding a good or great city manager is one of the most important things a council does.

From the information provided I would not read too much into the actions of the city manager in this case. The fact that Crull went to his houseboat could indicate nothing more than he in fact had complete faith in Chief Curry’s ability to handle the situation.

Just some random thoughts.

Jim Root

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the episodes of Turner's 'The men who killed Kennedy' is called 'The Witnesses'. In this episode, former DPD Officer LC Graves states:

"Chief Curry did not have the final say on how LHO was transferred--it came from his superior which was the City Manager at that time, so again, we knew better than to transfer him under those conditions but we didn't have any choice".

The City Manager of Dallas at the time of the assassination was Elgin E Crull.

In his WC testimony (WC Hearings Vol XV p.138-145) Crull denies issuing orders to Chief Curry concerning Oswald's transfer but mentions that he had a conference in Curry's office about 4pm on November 22 in which "I agreed with him that we would continue our policy of trying to co-operate with the press", conveniently implicating Curry as the main mover behind this 'policy'--the one that got Oswald killed.

Crull goes on to state that he left City Hall about 7pm on Friday night. Next day, he went down to the lake-- Lake Texoma--to stay on his boat, and was informed of the Oswald shooting on Sunday by a DPD officer who rang through to the marina.

Isn't it a little odd that the Dallas City Manager would retreat to his houseboat at a time of such turmoil in Dallas?

Others have supported Graves's assertion that Crull ordered Curry to fully co-operate with the media when organising the LHO transfer, including motorcycle cop 'Steve' Ellis who stated in 1988 that Crull and Mayor Cabell ordered Curry to co-operate with the media's requests concerning the prisoner's transfer.

btw, do any members with knowledge of the legal aspects know if the City Manager would have outranked the Mayor on this issue? (although it's highly likely that both were recieving instructions from higher authorities).

Crull goes on to state that he left City Hall about 7pm on Friday night

And at approximately 11:55 PM, Jack Ruby was positively identified as getting onto the elevator in the Dallas Police Department Bldg./City Jail and riding down to the main floor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark and Thomas

I served four terms as a city councilman in a council - manager municipality of what currently is a city of 140,000 people. While the city manager does in fact run the day to day operations of the city (with council oversight) the job of the council is, in fact, to set policy. If, in the opinion of a majority of the council, the council feels that the manager is not implementing the policy of the council, the manager, who is an “at will” employee, can be removed with a majority vote at any time. This power of the council is designed to curb the potential for abuse by a city manager.

I have observed that the system can get screwed up a couple of different ways.

First: If a councilperson attempts to micro manage the system on an individual basis (ie attempting to direct the manager or a department head to provide, perhaps, a “special favor” for someone or to approve a contract with a “special someone’s” company or to hire a “special friend” or to get a “special project approved) versus the council, as a whole, making decisions in a public meeting.

Second: If the manager attempts to set policy rather than the council or (as the person who hires department heads) attempts to micro manage each department (by demanding that “special” favors be provided to “special” interests) rather than allowing each “player” to participate in the symphony that a well run city must perform.

With this in mind it would seem that Manager Crull would in fact defer to Chief Curry in the situation that would have confronted the Dallas City Manager at the time of the Kennedy assassination. Yet Crull would still be the one person that would be ultimatly responsible for the way any situation was handled. Conversely, in a matter as important as the assassination of a President, you can bet that the "department head" (Chief Curry) would be conferring with and keeping the manager fully informed of what was transpiring. Once again in my opinion Crull would defer to Curry. To do otherwise would be overruling the expert in an area where Crull was not the expert whom he had hired to handle such situations.

In today’s litigious society any city manager that did not operate in this manner and had a prisoner that was in the custody of his city who would die in the manner that Oswald was executed could have personal liability attached for not following the advice of the “department head” in the matter.

Believe it or not I have personally seen to many cities get in a great deal of trouble for not following “expert” advice or accepted policies in areas as simple as where traffic signals should be placed, in what order that they should be placed (as opposed to another area) and why they were in fact placed at that location and at that time versus another location.

The job of city manager is a tough assignment and finding a good or great city manager is one of the most important things a council does.

From the information provided I would not read too much into the actions of the city manager in this case. The fact that Crull went to his houseboat could indicate nothing more than he in fact had complete faith in Chief Curry’s ability to handle the situation.

Just some random thoughts.

Jim Root

Jim,

Thanks for that. What you say basically squares with Crull's own testimony ie. that the City Manager is appointed by and answerable to, the Dallas City Council.

The conflicting versions of who arranged for Oswald's security--or lack thereof, is the main concern, imo.

Somebody ensured that Ruby was handed a golden opportunity to murder LHO. Ruby was in the DPD building on Friday night and, had he been granted an opportunity, may have killed LHO then and there. Crull admits in his testimony that the meeting between himself, Curry and Curry's deputy occured at 4pm on Friday. This is when the 'policy' of co-operating with the press--even if such co-operation placed LHO's life in peril--had its genesis (officially at least). Crull even states that the question of LHO's security was not discussed and was, in fact, secondary to the imperative of 'wrapping it up and showing the world that the killer had been caught'. At one point at least, Ruby claimed he was working as an interpreter for the Israeli press.

Detective LC Graves argues that the DPD heirarchy were unhappy with the arrangements and would have preferred to transfer LHO in secret, and at night, but they were overruled---by Crull. I tend to believe him and think that while it was made to look like incompetence by the DPD, the murder of LHO was made possible by the directive issued by Crull, and possibly backed by Mayor Cabell, that Curry comply fully with all requests by the print and electronic media for access to LHO. From 4pm on Friday the 22nd, Oswald was the proverbial dead man walking.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,
One of the episodes of Turner's 'The men who killed Kennedy' is called 'The Witnesses'. In this episode, former DPD Officer LC Graves states:

"Chief Curry did not have the final say on how LHO was transferred--it came from his superior which was the City Manager at that time, so again, we knew better than to transfer him under those conditions but we didn't have any choice".

Just on a little side note, for another reason I was reading the WC testimony of Justice of the Peace David Johnson.

In both arraignments of Oswald, one at 7:10 for the killing of Tippit, and the second supposed arraignment for the killing of JFK at 1:35, Oswald was informed of the charges against him and "remanded to the custody of the Dallas County Sheriff."

Why was he still in the hands of the Dallas City Police Department two days later?

Steve Thomas

Good question, Steve.

Maybe just a clerical oversight or maybe the DPD planned to hand LHO over to the Sheriff at 1.35am but were prevented from doing so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a very inteesting thread.

It raises a number of questions in my mind.

Others better versed in JFK assassination studies may have answers.

(1) What's known about Crull's background and activities up to 1963?

(2) It seems that maintaining "press access" to Oswald was a planned ruse to expose him to danger. Who controlled access to the Dallas Police Headquarters that weekend? In particular, who controlled access for journalists?

(3) was Oswald's move on the Sunday morning public knowledge? If it wasn't, who did know about it?

(4) on such a critical matter, the assassins may well have arranged backup for Ruby. Were other suspicous characters spotted on the occasions Oswald "met the press"? (especially people indetifying themselves as 'journalists')

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Motorcycle cop Steve Ellis backed up Graves' version: Elgin Crull, the city manager, and Earle Cabell, the mayor, eventually gave Chief Curry direct orders, “No, you will not do that! You will notify the news media and the press so that they can be in the basement with their lights and cameras set up before you move him.” That’s what got him killed! But we took the blame for it, and all of us were called a bunch of dummies. It eventually cost Curry his job because somebody else laid it on him and it wasn’t him at all. But he wouldn’t speak up!

While Jim Root has laid out how the City Manager should operate, he also notes that I have personally seen too many cities get in a great deal of trouble for not following “expert” advice or accepted policies in areas as simple as where traffic signals should be placed, in what order that they should be placed (as opposed to another area) and why they were in fact placed at that location and at that time versus another location.. In other words, City Managers can and do over-ride the experts they themselves appoint. And as anyone who follows politics and politicians will know, it is easy to make known what you want done without spelling it out so that you truthfully (but certainly not honestly) have deniability in the event of any alimentary canal discharge hitting a motorized instrument for producing a current of air.

Interestingly, in Crull Ex 1, he doesn't mention any meeting on the Friday afternoon with Curry, instead placing it during the morning of the 23rd where he brings up the subject of the number of reporters in the area, and that Curry had responded it was necessary to avoid being labeled "Gestapo". The exhibits then notes Crull's agreement with Curry's assessment. This exhibit also reports Crull issued two sets of "instructions" to Curry... first was that "no comment" was to be made to the media about his (Crull's) alleged role in the transfer, and that Curry was to "cooperate fully" with the FBI in regards to Ruby's entry into the basement. So much for not giving directives...

James notes that Crull became VP of the Republican Bank after leaving the City Manager role. Prior to being City Manager, he was in the "newspaper business". You can bet that was selling them on a street corner...

On Ruby... it is known he had other opportunities to get Oswald that weekend, but didn't. Maybe that is because Oswald was keeping his mouth shut both during interrogation and in front of the media? Before being taken downstairs on the Sunday for the transfer, Oswald was spoken to by Agent Kelley of the Secret Service. From Mae Brussell's "Last Words" article:

Kelley approached Oswald, out of the hearing of others, except perhaps Captain Fritz's men, and said that as a Secret Service agent, he was anxious to talk with him as soon as he secured counsel, because Oswald was charged with the assassination of the President but had denied it. Oswald said, "I will be glad to discuss this proposition with my attorney, and that after I talk with one, we could either discuss it with him or discuss it with my attorney, if the attorney thinks it is a wise thing to do, but at the present time I have nothing more to say to you."

Perhaps it wasn't until then, it was felt necessary to take Oswald out...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's known about Crull's background and activities up to 1963? (Sid Walker)

Sid,

Crull was a former city hall reporter for the Dallas Journal. He started with the city in 1939 when the former City Manager, James Aston took him from his newspaper job and made him his assistant.

Crull served in the Air Force during WW2.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think Crull began his career as City Manager in 1952.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's known about Crull's background and activities up to 1963? (Sid Walker)

Sid,

Crull was a former city hall reporter for the Dallas Journal. He started with the city in 1939 when the former City Manager, James Aston took him from his newspaper job and made him his assistant.

Crull served in the Air Force during WW2.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think Crull began his career as City Manager in 1952.

James

You're right, James---52 to 66:

http://www.ci.dallas.tx.us/cso/managers.shtml

Do you know when or how he died? I assume he is deceased or otherwise now about 100 years old.

Background information about Crull doesn't seem to widely available on the net, although I'm not the world's finest researcher. As a person connected to the JFK story, he seems to have eluded scrutiny. Obviously, few have focused on the role he played in Oswald's death. I have about 15 books on the assassination and he doesn't get a mention, not even in the 600+ pages of Manchester. Very strange.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark,

Crull died in 1976, he was 68 years old. He passed away in Parkland Hospital which suggests he had been suffering illness but I don't have any more details. Given the date, I wonder if he was slated to be interviewed by the HSCA? Those years in the mid 1970's were very popular for people to expire in.

I have also been digging around my notes and found that after WW2, Crull completed his active military service at the Pentagon where he worked on the management control staff.

He was President of the Texas City Managers Association, Vice President of the International City Managers Association and a member of the Municipal Finance Officers Association.

James

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...