City of Dallas News

Treadmill-desk mastermind leaves City of Dallas employ

Treadmill-desk mastermind leaves City of Dallas employ

Girl at a treadmill desk
Treadmill desks, at which you can work and walk at the same time, were part of Forest Turner's wellness program. Photo via Medicalexpress.com

Dallas' chief wellness officer Forest Turner has left the employ of the city, and the wellness program he supervised has reverted to its previous status under the auspices of human resources.

A city spokesperson confirmed that Turner was gone; his termination date was March 16. Turner's assistant, Kim Mackey, was assigned to another department in December.

A staffer in the human resources department said that a meeting was scheduled with the city's benefits manager to see if and how the program should move forward.

Turner was a longtime city employee who'd been gifted with the wellness program appointment by city manager A.C. Gonzalez as part of a restructuring in 2014. He'd been an assistant city manager since 2009, after overseeing other departments such as sanitation and water utilities. He was noted for wearing bow ties and for his dedication to working out at all hours of the day.

Turner was the manager in charge of Code Compliance, under which the animal shelter falls, in 2010 when a cat was left to die after being trapped behind a wall. The Humane Society of the United States subsequently did a sharply critical review of the shelter's practices, causing a major shakeup.

Turner's initiatives had included trying out treadmill desks. As part of a pilot program, one was installed in the 311 call center, where employees could walk on a treadmill while answering calls.

For the 2015-2016 budget, Turner, who was being paid $187,610, requested new staff positions, but they were rejected by the Dallas City Council in September 2015.